Sniper Considerations During Offensive Operations.
1. Offensive Missions - During offensive operations, snipers--
• Conduct countersniper operations.
• Conduct offensively oriented reconnaissance operations.
• Overwatch movement of friendly forces and suppress enemy targets that threaten the moving forces.
• Place precision fire on enemy crew-served weapons teams and into exposed apertures of bunkers.
• Place precision fire on enemy leaders, armored-vehicle drivers or commanders, FOs, and other designated personnel.
• Place precision fire on small, isolated, bypassed forces.
• Place precision fire on targets threatening a counterattack or fleeing.
• Assist in screening a flank using supplemental fires.
2. Movement to Contact - During a movement to contact, snipers move with the lead element, or they can be employed 24 to 48 hours before the unit's movement--
• To choose positions.
• To gather information about the enemy.
• To deny enemy access to key terrain through controlled precision fires, preventing enemy surprise attacks.
3. Assault - Snipers can provide effective support during an assault.
• Snipers placed with lead elements move to positions that allow them to overwatch the movement of the element and to provide long-range small arms fire. Sniper teams are most effective where supporting vehicles cannot provide overwatching fires.
• Snipers may also be placed in a position to suppress, fix, or isolate the enemy on the objective. The sniper rifle's precision fire and lack of blast effect allow the sniper to provide close supporting fires for assaulting Soldiers.
• If time permits, snipers might be deployed early in the operation. Because the snipers' weapons have better optics and longer ranges than other types of small arms, they can provide additional long-range observation and precision fire on any enemy targets that may appear.
• Snipers may move with the assault force toward the objective; occupy a close-in, support-by-fire position where they can help suppress or destroy targets threatening the assault force or move onto the objective to provide close-in, precision fire against enemy fortified positions, bunkers, and trench lines. Selection of the sniper support-by-fire position depends on METT-TC. The closer snipers are to the objective area, the greater the chance they will be discovered and lose their effectiveness.
• If elements appear on the battlefield at the same time snipers arrive, the snipers' security and potential for surprise are degraded. To increase security and surprise, snipers may move covertly into position in an objective area well before the main attack arrives. Ideally, a sniper team moves with infiltrating dismounted Infantry. This is faster and more secure than moving alone. After the snipers are in position, Infantrymen may remain nearby as additional security, but they are more likely to have other supporting tasks to perform.
• After their fires are identified, snipers reposition as soon as possible. The commander must carefully evaluate where snipers will be most useful. If he wants to use snipers in several different places, or if he wants them to contribute throughout the attack, he provides transportation to enable them to move quickly, stealthily, and safely on the battlefield.
• Upon consolidation, snipers may displace forward to new positions that are not necessarily on the objective. From these positions, the snipers provide precision fire against bypassed enemy positions, enemy counterattack forces, or other enemy positions that could degrade the unit's ability to exploit the success of the attack.
1. Actions Against Fortified Areas - Assaulting forces usually encounter some type of fortified positions prepared by the defending force. These can range from hasty, field-expedient positions produced with locally available materials to elaborate steel and concrete emplacements complete with turrets, underground tunnels, and crew quarters. Most are field expedient. More elaborate positions are likely only when the enemy has had enough time to prepare his defense. He might have fortified weapons emplacements or bunkers; protected shelters; or reinforced natural or constructed caves, entrenchments, and other obstacles.
2. Enemy Defensive Positions - The enemy tries to locate these positions so they are mutually supporting and arrayed in depth across the width of his sector. He tries to increase his advantages by covering and concealing positions and by preparing fire plans and counterattack contingencies. Fortified areas should be bypassed and contained by a small force.
3. Sniper Support - The sniper's precision fire and observation capabilities are invaluable in the assault of a fortified area. Precision rifles can easily detect and destroy pinpoint targets that are invisible to the naked eye. The snipers' role during the assault of a fortified position is to deliver precision fire against OPs; exposed personnel; and the embrasures, air vents, and doorways of key enemy positions. The commander plans the order in which snipers should destroy targets. Their destruction should systematically reduce the enemy's defense by destroying the ability of enemy positions to support each other. Once these positions are isolated, they can be reduced more easily. The commander must decide where he will try to penetrate the enemy's fortified positions, and then employ his snipers against those locations. When operating from positions near the breach point on the flanks, snipers can provide continuous fire support for both assaulting units and other nearby units. Sniper fires add to the effectiveness of the entire unit. The commander can employ snipers where he cannot use other resources, for various reasons.
4. Sniper Plan - The sniper team bases its plan on information available. The enemy information it needs includes the following:
• Extent and exact locations of individual and underground fortifications.
• Fields of fire, directions of fire, locations and numbers of embrasures, and types of weapon systems in the fortifications.
• Locations of entrances, exits, and air vents in each emplacement.
• Locations and types of existing and reinforcing obstacles.
• Locations of weak spots in the enemy's defense.