1. URBAN TERRAIN - Sniper effectiveness depends partly on the terrain. The characteristics of an urban area degrade control. To provide timely and effective support, the sniper must understand the scheme of maneuver and commander's intent.
• Observation and fields of fire are clearly defined by roadways. However, rooftops, windows, and doorways limit surveillance, because each requires constant observation. The effects of smoke from military obscurants and burning buildings can degrade what otherwise appears to be an excellent vantage point. All-round defense becomes more important, because the enemy can fire from many directions. His infiltration attempts must be countered.
• Cover and concealment are excellent for both the attacker and defender. The defender normally has an advantage, because the attacker normally exposes himself when moving through the area.
• Avenues of approach inside buildings are best, because movement in a building is less easily detected than movement through the streets. The sniper must be conscious of all avenues of approach, and must be prepared to engage targets that appear on any of them.
a. Selection of Positions - Snipers should be positioned in buildings of mass- or heavy-clad frame construction that offer long-range fields of fire and all-round observation. The sniper has an advantage because he need not move with, or be positioned with, lead elements. He may occupy a higher position to the rear or flanks and some distance away from the element that he is supporting. By operating far from the other elements, a sniper avoids decisive engagement, but remains close enough to kill distant targets threatening the unit. Snipers should not be placed in obvious positions, such as church steeples and rooftops, since the enemy often observes these and targets them for destruction. Indirect fires can generally penetrate rooftops and cause casualties in top floors of buildings. Snipers
should not be positioned where there is heavy traffic, because these areas invite enemy observation as well.
b. Multiple Positions - Snipers should operate throughout the AO, moving with and supporting the company teams as necessary. Some teams may operate independently from other forces. They search for targets of opportunity, especially for enemy snipers. Since a single position may not afford adequate observation for the entire team without increasing the risk of detection by the enemy, the team may occupy multiple positions. Separate positions must maintain mutual support. Each team should also establish alternate and supplementary positions.
c. Tasks - The commander may assign the following tasks to snipers.
• Conduct countersniper operations.
• Kill targets of opportunity. The sniper team assigns priorities to these targets based on their understanding of the commander's intent, which might include, for example, to engage enemy snipers, leaders, vehicle commanders, radio men, sappers, and machine gun crews, in that order.
• Deny enemy access to certain areas or avenues of approach. In other words, control key terrain.
• Provide fire support for barricades and other obstacles.
• Maintain surveillance of flank and rear avenues of approach (screen).
• Support local counterattacks with precision fire.
2. STABILITY AND RECONSTRUCTION OPERATIONS - In stability and reconstruction operations, the sniper can dominate an AO by delivering selective precision fire against specific targets IAW the ROE. Since the ROE normally limit collateral damage and civilian casualties, snipers selectively kill or wound key individuals who pose a threat to friendly forces. Targets often hide in the civilian populace, which makes them nearly invulnerable to US forces, who cannot destroy these targets without causing innocent casualties. The sniper may also be employed to gather information in an S&R operation.
a. Tasks - Some of the specialized tasks that commanders may assign to snipers follow.
• If and as authorized by local orders or instructions, snipers engage dissidents involved in such activities as hijacking, kidnapping, and hostage taking.
• Snipers engage dissident snipers as opportunity targets or as part of a deliberate clearance operation.
• Snipers covertly occupy concealed positions to observe selected areas.
• Snipers record and report all suspicious activity in the area of observation.
• Snipers help coordinate the activities of other elements from their hidden observation positions.
• Snipers protect other elements of the controlling forces, including key civilian noncombatants such as judges, politicians, fire fighters, and repair crews.
b. Anonymity - Commanders must carefully protect the anonymity of unit snipers, even from other Soldiers in the unit. This is especially true of successful snipers, because dissidents will target them. Ideally, snipers are held in a central reserve and employed only after shooting starts. If needed, snipers may deploy in hidden observation posts.
c. Special Considerations - Ideally, a sniper should deploy where he can receive the order to fire from the appropriate local commander. This is often difficult. Due to the typical remoteness of the sniper's position, direct communication with the commander is often impossible. Therefore, all orders, to include targets and Rules of Engagement, must be clear to the sniper team before it deploys. Before that, the team must rehearse when to open fire in all possible scenarios. They learn how to determine when their fire constitutes reasonable force, regardless of circumstances:
• If the sniper is away from the local commander, then he must positively identify and engage his targets based on his written orders.
• If he is physically near or in radio contact with the local commander, he identifies and engages based on the verbal orders of the local commander.
• For accuracy in actual operations, snipers zero their weapons daily, before being placed on standby. They zero at a minimum range of 100 meters just before their standby shift. They should zero again just before deploying to a covert OP.
3. PEACE OPERATIONS - The tasks of the sniper team during peace operations generally consist of gathering intelligence, overwatching, and reporting, but may also include countersniping. For peace operations, snipers are employed in various types of observation posts.
a. Covert Rural - This is just like a conventional OP except that, depending on the nature and duration of the task, the team should have--
• Weapons and other equipment to suit the task, based on METT-TC.
• Smoke and pen flares as an alternate means of communication.
• Close support during the insertion. This might mean acting as a radio relay or providing any other means of support needed in case the team has to extract.
• A method of insertion appropriate to the task. Insertion is usually coordinated through the battalion S-3. Common methods of insertion include foot, vehicle, or helicopter.
• The team will need at least 24 hours to prepare for a long-term OP.
b. Covert Urban - A covert urban OP requires more preparation time than does an overt OP. Reconnaissance for suitable OP locations can take two to four days. Some of that time is used to determine the local habits in the area such as patterns of foot traffic and children at play. Children present the greatest compromise threat. The team must also learn what local security is in place, and where unexploded ordnance (UXO) is located. Finally, they must allow time to infiltrate, set up security, and exfiltrate.
c. Overt Urban - Commanders use snipers overtly in urban operations as deterrents. Overt urban OPs should cover the target area and have both flank and rear security. Higher vantage points reduce sniper team exposure. "The commander should only place snipers in overt OPs if the enemy sniper threat is low and if no other assets can achieve the desired results." Just as they do when snipers operate anywhere, commanders should aggressively protect the identities of the sniper team.