Snipers earning their pay in Iraq

Sniper Tactics Dominate the Iraqi Battlefields (April 25, 2004 entry)

Today’s Strategy Page has an excellent post on the employment of snipers in Iraq. Among the best of it is:

The marines won’t release any numbers of sniper kills (except that the top scoring sniper in Fallujah has 24 kills so far), but it is known from emails coming back that the marines use snipers, and sniping tactics (for non-snipers), extensively. Part of this is to comply with the Rules of Engagement (ROE) that call for minimizing civilian casualties. Most often, the marines only use a lot of fire power when they are ambushed (there is no better way to deal with an ambush than to blast your way out of it). But most of the Iraqi gunmen are killed by single shots, usually by the trained snipers, after the snipers and their commanders had carefully set up sniper firing positions that covered areas they knew Iraqis liked to travel through. UAVs and lots of scouting, plus questioning of prisoners, reveals the Iraqi routes and makes them deadly to use. This has terrorized the Iraqis, which is exactly what it is intended to do. The army and marine snipers particularly like to work at night, when their night vision and thermal imaging equipment enables them to shoot accurately in the darkness. This further reduces the chance of civilian losses, and increases the terror.

24 kills so far for the top Marine sniper. Ooh rah.

Go read the whole thing.