Russia: April 21, 2001


: Russia is considering deploying trained sniper teams to Chechnya. Increasingly, rebel snipers are causing more and more Russian casualties. The Russians are good at collecting combat statistics. One they came up with was that a single good sniper, firing 12-16 accurate shots, can pin down an entire infantry company (a hundred or so troops.) Noting that the ten top Russian snipers in World War II killed over 4,500 enemy soldiers, it is felt that using more Russian snipers would be the best way to deal with the problem. The Russians feel that ten sniper teams (30 men) would make a big difference. But Russia has not been making much effort to train and maintain snipers. Meanwhile, the Chechens have spent years developing snipers. Because their snipers usually operate against far superior forces, the Chechens use special tactics. Each sniper is equipped with a good rifle and well insulated clothing (snipers often have to remain still for hours before getting a good shot. Each Chechen sniper is accompanied by a support group of six to eight men with assault rifles who wait some way off. If the sniper is discovered, which sometimes happens after firing, the support group starts firing on the enemy. The support group doesn't want to get into a real fight, just make a lot of noise and distract the enemy troops. This enables the sniper to get away. Many Chechen snipers are women, who tend to be more patient. Most of a snipers time is spent waiting, quietly, in one place, for a target to present itself. Chechen snipers prefer long range shots (1,000 meters), which makes it easier for the sniper to get away if discovered.