Here’s a heart-warming story in the UK’s Independent about Juba, an insurgent marksman in Baghdad who claims to have killed 37 US soldiers.
The sniper team watching the US troops from several hundred yards away is waiting for a clear shot. There is the sniper himself and a spotter who is also operating a video camera. For a few moments they are frustrated by the number of Iraqis milling around, obscuring the soldiers.
“People are around them,” warns the spotter. “Want me to find another place?”
“No, no. Give me a moment,” says the man with the gun. There is a pause and then the crash of a shot and the gunner in the vehicle is hit and slumps forward. “Allahu Akbar – God is Great,” says the sniper.
The info in the article apparently comes from CDs distributed by the insurgents’ PR department.
The “Juba Returns” video says that Islamic Army snipers favour the Tabuk sniper rifle which was produced in Iraq from a Yugoslav design. It is accurate up to 500 to 600 yards and has the advantage of using standard Kalashnikov ammunition that is available all over Iraq. The “commander” in the video says that Islamic Army marksmen rely on a training manual written by a retired US special forces officer called Major John L Plaister entitled Ultimate Sniper. It is freely available from bookshops and was updated “for today’s Global War on Terror”.
Ultimate Sniper is, in fact, a pretty good book. What we’re supposed to do about the fact that enemy snipers can sometimes read is beyond me.
It fires the same 7.62×39 ammunition used by the AK-47 and is a poor man’s sniper rifle, being basically a “sniperized” version of Yugoslavia’s M70, itself a clone of the Russian AK-47. The Dragunov SVD and even the Romak PSL, compared here, fire the more powerful 7.62×54. The Tabuk (like the Romak PSL) uses the same action as the AK-47, though the longer barrel (23″ vs 16″) probably helps quite a bit. It seems to Murdoc to be more of a “designated marksman”-type weapon than a true sniper rifle, but it’s the result that counts. In the hands of a skilled shooter, any weapon can be deadly.
Whether or not this “Juba” character is for real, or only a fantasy cooked up by the enemy’s propaganda crew, the insurgents do have a fair number of proficient marksmen. You can bet that we’ve got guys working on getting this bastard and his comrades.
And this is particularly interesting:
America has its own sniper subculture. Its youth are fed on a diet of films that hero worship the warrior engaged in single combat. The Amazon.com store carries dozens of books about the history of sniping, the craft and techniques, how-to guides for sniping and worshipful paeans to sniper heroism.
Maybe it’s just Murdoc, but that paragraph seems to overstate things just a bit.
Anyway, if you want to worship and support snipers, support to good guys at AmericanSnipers.org.