Army

Sniper School: How Soldiers Target Enemies In Urban Areas

Forces News has been given special access to the British Army's marksman training programme in Wiltshire - the Specialist Weapons School.

A vital part of sniper training takes place in urban areas.

Marksmen need to have full control of their movements and patience in cramped conditions.

Sixteen trained snipers have been put to the test as they strive to become instructors on the British Army's marksman training programme.

The Specialist Weapons School hones the skills of personnel which define them as dedicated marksmen, trained in the art of observation, reconnaissance, camouflage and concealment.

The training happens in cramped rooms of a disused building, where snipers set up a makeshift watching post.

Their aim is to terminate a pretend 'enemy' participating in hostile activities.

"In that situation, we are just looking for as much information about the people that we are looking at as much as possible," said one of the soldiers on the course.

The information can range from the kind of clothes the person is wearing, their height, and other significant details needed to confirm they are the target the snipers are looking for.

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The urban phase of sniper training takes place in disused buildings.

The training itself can be uncomfortable as snipers needed to carry out routine activities, like eating, drinking and sleeping in a very limited space, staying as hidden as possible.

Within the space of two six-man rooms, it was challenging for the snipers in training, with patience key to the job.

Snipers are trained to remain in position without being seen for lengthy periods of time that can span from hours to weeks.

Staying hidden is only part of the task, along with logging and reporting any information they see is also crucial to the success of their missions.

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A white bedsheet behind the snipers can be instrumental in becoming "invisible" to the targets.

"A white bedsheet at the back of a room can do so much," said a sniper.

"Literally... you become invisible."

In a matter of seconds the situation could change dramatically, he explains, so it is important not to miss anything that is happening outside their hiding spot.

Once information is spotted and gathered, it needs to be relayed back as accurately as possible.

With future conflicts more likely to take place in this type of environment, the urban phase of training is fundamental to the future success of sniper missions.