During the mission planning phase, the sniper also selects an objective rally point. From this point, the sniper team reconnoiters the tentative position to determine the exact location of its final position. The location of the ORP should provide cover and concealment from enemy fire and observation, be located as close to the selected area as possible, and have good routes into and out of the selected area.

a. From the ORP, the team moves foward to a location that allows the team to view the tentative position area (Figure 4-8 page 4-16). One member remains in this location to cover the other member who reconnoiters the area to locate a final position. Once a suitable location has been found, the covering team member moves to the position. While conducting the reconnaissance or moving to the position, the team—

• Moves slowly and deliberately, using the sniper low crawl.

Avoids unnecessary movement of trees, bushes, and grass.

Avoids making any noises.

Stays in the shadows, if there are any.

Stops, looks, and listens every few feet.

b. When the sniper team arrives at the firing position, it—

Conducts a detailed search of the target area.

• Starts construction of the firing position, if required.

Organizes equipment so that it is easily accessible. Establishes a system of observing eating resting, and latrine calls.

Organizes equipment so that it is easily accessible. Establishes a system of observing eating resting, and latrine calls.

Sniper Concealment Equipment


A sniper mission always requires the team to occupy some type of position. These positions can range from a hasty position, which a team may use for a few hours, to a more permanent position, which the team could occupy. for a few days. The team should always plan to build its position during limited visibility.

a. Sniper Position Considerations. Whether a sniper team is in a position for a few minutes or a few days, the basic considerations in. choosing a type of position remain the same.

(a) Type of terrain and soil. Digging and boring of tunnels can be very difficult in hard soil or in fine, loose sand. The team takes advantage of what the terrain offers (gullies, holes, hollow tree stumps, and so forth).

(b) Enemy location and capabilities. Enemy patrols in the area may be close enough to the position to hear any noises that may accidentally be made during any construction. The team also considers the enemy's night vision and detection capabilities.

(a) Amount of time to be occupied. If the sniper team's mission requires it to be in position for a long time, the team constructs a position that provides more survivability. This allows the team to operate more effectively for a longer time.

(b) Time required for construction. The time required to build a position must be considered, especially during the mission planning phase.

(3) Personnel and equipment:

(a) Equipment needed for construction. The team plans for the use of any extra equipment needed for construction (bow saws, picks, axes, and so forth).

(b) Personnel needed for construction. Coordination is made if the position requires more personnel to build it or a security element to secure the area during construction.

b. Construction Techniques. Belly and semipermanent hide positions can be constructed of stone, brick, wood, or turf. Regardless of material, every effort is made to bulletproof the front of the hide position. The team can use the following techniques:

• Pack protective jackets around the loophole areas. Emplace an angled armor plate with a loophole cut into it behind the hide loophole.

Sandbag the loopholes from the inside.

(1) Pit. Hide construction begins with the pit since it protects the sniper team. All excavated dirt is removed (placed in sandbags, taken away on a poncho, and so forth) and hidden (plowed fields, under a log, or away from the hide site).

(2) Overhead cover. In a semipermanent hide position, logs should be used as the base of the roof. The sniper team places a dust cover over the base (such as a poncho, layers of empty sandbags, or canvas), a layer of dirt, and a layer of gravel, if available. The team spreads another layer of dirt, and then adds camouflage. Due to the various materials, the roof is difficult to conceal if not countersunk.

(3) Entrance. To prevent detection, the sniper team should construct an entrance door sturdy enough to bear a man s weight.

(4) Loopholes. The construction of loopholes (Figure 4-9, page 4-18) requires care and practice to ensure they afford adequate fields of fire. Loopholes must be camouflaged by foliage or other material that blends with or is natural to the surroundings.

(5) Approaches. It is vital that the natural appearance of the ground remains unaltered and camouflage blends with the surroundings.

Construction time is wasted if the enemy observes a team entering the hide; therefore, approached must be concealed. Teams try to enter the hide during darkness, keeping movement to a minimum and adhering to trail discipline. In built-up areas, a secure and quiet approach is needed. Teams must avoid drawing attention to the mission and carefully plan movement. A possible ploy is to use a house search with sniper gear hidden among other gear. Sewers may be used for movement also. -

Sniper Loophole

c. Hasty Position. A hasty position is used when the sniper team is in a position for a short time and cannot construct a position due to the location of the enemy, or immediately assumes a position. The hasty position is characterized by the following

(1) Advantages:

(a) Requires no construction The sniper team uses what is available for cover and concealment.

(b) Can be occupied in a short time. As soon as a suitable position is found, the team need only prepare loopholes by moving small amounts of vegetation or by simply backing a few feet away from the vegetation that is already thereto conceal the weapon's muzzle blast.

(2) Disadvantages:

(a) Affords no freedom of movement. Any movement that is not slow and deliberate may result in the team being compromised.

(b) Restricts observation of large areas. This type of position is normally used to observe a specific target area (intersection, passage, or crossing).

(c) Offers no protection from direct or indirect fires.

(d) Relies heavily on personal camouflage.The team's only protection against detection is personal camouflage and the ability to use the available terrain.

(3) Occupation time. The team should not remain in this type of position longer than eight hours.

d. Expedient Position. When a sniper team is required to remain in position for a longer time than the hasty position can provide, an expedient position (Figure 4-10) should be constructed. The expedient position lowers the sniper's silhouette as low to the ground as possible, but it still allows him to fire and observe effectively. The expedient position is characterized by the following

(1) Advantages:

(a) Requires little construction. This position is constructed by digging a hole in the ground just large enough for the team and its equipment. Soil dug from this position can be placed in sandbags and used for building firing platforms.

(b) Conceals most of the body and equipment. The optics, rifles, and heads of the sniper team are the only items that are above ground level in this position.

(c) Provides some protection from direct fires due to its lower silhouette.

Figure 4-10. Expedient position,

(2) Disadvantages:

(a) Affords little freedom of movement. The team has more freedom of movement in this position than in the hasty position. Team members can lower their heads below ground level slowly to ensure a target indicator is not produced.

(b) Allows little protection from indirect fires. This position does not protect the team from shrapnel and debris falling into the position.

(c) Exposes the head, weapons, and optics. The team must rely heavily on the camouflaging of these exposed areas.

(3) Construction time: 1 to 3 hours (depending on the situation).

(4) Occupation time: 6 to 12 hours.

e. Belly Hide. The belly hide (Figure 4-11) is similar to the expedient position, but it has overhead cover that not only protects the team from the effects of indirect fires but also allows more freedom of movement. This position can be dugout under a tree, a rock, or any available object that provides overhead protection and a concealed entrance and exit. The belly hide is characterized by the following

(1) Advantages:

(a) Allows some freedom of movement. The darkened area inside this position allows the team to move freely. The team must remember to cover the entrance/exit door so outside light does not silhouette the team inside the position or give the position away.

(b) Conceals all but the rifle barrel. All equipment is inside the position except the rifle barrels. Depending on the room available to construct the position, the rifle barrels may also be inside.

(c) Provides protection from direct and indirect fires. The team should try to choose a position that has an object that will provide good overhead protection (rock tracked vehicle, rubble pile, and so forth), or prepare it in the same manner as overhead cover for other infantry positions.

(2) Disadvantages:

(a) Requires extra construction time.

(b) Requires extra materials and tools. Construction of overhead cover requires saws or axes, waterproof material, and so forth.

(c) Has limited space. The sniper team will have to lay in the belly hide without a lot of variation in body position due to limited space and design of the position.

(3) Construction time: 4 to 6 hours.

(4) Occupation time: 12 to 48 hours.

f. Semipermanent Hide. The semipermanent hide (Figure 4-12, page 4-22) is used mostly in defensive situations. This position requires additional equipment and personnel to construct. However, it allows sniper teams to remain in place for extended periods or to be relieved in place by other sniper teams. Like the belly hide, this position can be constructed by tunneling through a knoll or under natural objects already in place. The semipermanent hide is characterized by the following

(1) Advantages:

(a) Offers total freedom of movement inside the position. The team members can move about freely. They can stand, sit, or even lie down.

(b) Protects against direct and indirect fires. The sniper team should look for the same items as mentioned in the belly hide.

(c) Is completely concealed. Loopholes are the only part of the position that can be detected. They allow for the smallest exposure possible; yet they still allow the sniper and observer to view the target area. These loopholes should have a large diameter (10 to 14 inches) in the interior of the position and taper down to a smaller diameter (4 to 8 inches) on the outside of the position. A position may have more than two sets of loopholes if needed to cover large areas. The entrance/exit to the position must be covered to prevent light from entering and highlighting the loopholes. Loopholes that are not in use should be covered from the inside with a piece of canvas or suitable material.

(d) Is easily maintained for extended periods. This position allows the team to operate effectively for a longer period.

(2) Disadvantages:

(a) Requires extra personnel and tools to construct.This position requires extensive work and extra tools. It should not be constructed near the enemy. It should be constructed during darkness and be completed before dawn.

Figure 4-12. Semipermanent hide position,

(b) lncreases risk of detection. Using a position for several days or having teams relieve each other in a position always increases the risk of detection.

(3) Construction time: 4 to 6 hours (4 personnel).

(4) Occupation time: 48 hours plus (relieved by other teams).

g. Routines in Sniper Team positions. Although the construction of positions may differ, the routines while in position are the same. The sniper and the observer should have a good firing platform. This gives the sniper a stable platform for the sniper weapon and the observer a platform for the optics. When rotating observation duties, the sniper weapon should remain in place, and the optics are handed from one member to the other. Sniper data book, observation logs, range cards, and the radio should be placed between the team where both members have easy access to them. A system of resting, eating, and latrine calls must be arranged between the team. All latrine calls should be done during darkness, if possible. A hole should be dug to conceal any traces of latrine calls.

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