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Snipers at War

An Equipment and Operations History

Authors: John Walter
01/Feb/2018
History, Weaponery
Hardback C Format
9781925675092
$34.99

Snipers at War is a detailed history and analysis of the equipment, tactics and personalities of the ‘sniping world’, from the pursuit of accuracy to the latest electronic aids to observation and ranging.

Technology and marksmanship from the Crimean War to the present day is examined in detail. The role of the sniper was largely ignored until the Winter War of 1939-40 between Finland and the USSR showed what could be achieved by specialist marksmen: Finn Simo Häyhä amassed 505 kills in less than a hundred days, a lesson learned by the Red Army to its cost.

By the Germans invasion of 1941 the Russians were prepared: when the war ended, in addition to men such as Vasiliy Zaytsev, a Stalingrad hero with 242 accredited kills, the USSR had trained more than 2000 women as snipers.

After 1945, the sniper’s reputation declined again. However, the Vietnam War, seemingly unending Middle Eastern conflict, internal strife in Sri Lanka, and ever-present urban threats have given new impetus not only to sniping but also to the development of new and more effective weaponry.

John Walter

John Walter

John Walter, born in Glasgow in 1951, is among the world’s most prolific writers on small arms—author of seventy books, translated into more than a dozen languages. Walter has worked with edged weapons, bladed tools, firearms, railway locomotives, warships, scientific instruments and even heraldry. Among his published works have been several studies of the Luger […]

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1 review for Snipers at War

  1. (verified owner)

    In the preface to this book, John Walter recounts the challenges he faced in what he initially imagined might be a simple task to collate existing information into a single source on this topic. Even the briefest glance at this book tells us that this topic is complex and multi-faceted. Walter describes in considerable detail the evolution of equipment used by marksmen, noting that it was the invention of the optical sight, first used widely in the US Civil War, that improved accuracy. Apart from the detailed analysis of the evolution of the equipment right up to the present day, there are some impressive sniper statistics demonstrating what can be achieved by outstanding marksmen. Finn Simo Häyhä, recalled to active service from his family farm in the winter war of 1939-40, amassed 505 kills in less than a hundred days, a lesson learned by the Red Army to its cost. Häyhä’s fieldcraft, writes Walter, was “impeccable” with virtually all of his kills achieved with an open-sighted rifle. The Russians, by the time of the German invasion of 1941, were prepared: when the war ended, in addition to men such as Vasiliy Zaytsev, a Stalingrad hero with 242 accredited kills, the USSR had trained more than 2000 women as snipers. After 1945, the sniper’s reputation declined again. However, post-World War II conflicts have given new impetus not only to sniping but also to the development of new and more effective weaponry. – Peter Masters. First published in Australian Defence Magazine, Sept 2018

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