school for snipers

13 08 2009

Two recent posts on the Strike-Hold! website resonate with me. The first concerns the International Special Training Centre (ISTC) Sniper Course at Grafenwoehr, Germany. The article itself is a worthwhile read, but most striking is this picture:

U.S. Army Master Sgt. Eric Ludan, an instructor for the International Special Training Centre's (ISTC) Sniper Course provides feedback to two Special Forces Soldiers following a live-fire exercise July 24 at the Grafenwoehr Training Area. The Sniper Course is an intense five-week course that teaches NATO Special Operations Forces (SOF) in basic sniper fundamentals. The students spent the night stalking and observing their targets during the evaluated exercise. The facilities at the Joint Multinational Training Command allow the SOF throughout NATO to train to standard. (U.S. Army Photo by Staff Sgt. Gina Vaile-Nelson, 133rd MPAD)

U.S. Army Master Sgt. Eric Ludan, an instructor for the International Special Training Centre's (ISTC) Sniper Course provides feedback to two Special Forces Soldiers following a live-fire exercise July 24 at the Grafenwoehr Training Area. The Sniper Course is an intense five-week course that teaches NATO Special Operations Forces (SOF) in basic sniper fundamentals. The students spent the night stalking and observing their targets during the evaluated exercise. The facilities at the Joint Multinational Training Command allow the SOF throughout NATO to train to standard. (U.S. Army Photo by Staff Sgt. Gina Vaile-Nelson, 133rd MPAD)

If ever a more succinct illustration were needed of the benefits of selecting your personal concealment with the terrain of your operational area in mind, surely this is it. See how the US Army’s ‘Universal’ Camouflage Pattern (UCP) stands out like a glowing grey ghost against the lightly wooded background, and even the khaki-looking Multicam worn by the spotter in the middle of the picture appears out of place. In a real operation, the spotter would no doubt have customised his garb with dirt, scrim and fresh foliage to render it less visible, or even worn a ghillie like the German sniper in the foreground, but I have reservations about the utility of such techniques when used to attempt to compensate for UCP’s ineffectiveness. A pig wearing lipstick is still a pig.

The other Strike-Hold! story that I found particularly interesting tells of how some British soldiers in Afghanistan’s Helmand province are dyeing their desert camouflaged under-armour combat shirts (UBACS) a curious greeny-blue. You can read it here. UK readers may have seen about this in the Daily Mail or the Sun (where a disengenuous, hysterical spin was put on the issue to make more of the story than meets the eye), but the original source of the pictures, and a hint as to the  explanation why, is found in Michael Yon’s excellent blog, penned from the frontline in Afghanistan.

Into the Green Zone

Into the Green Zone

I can’t help wondering how something like this might work, out in the green zone…

PenCott multi-environment camouflage pattern

PenCott multi-environment camouflage pattern

PenCott multi-environment camouflage pattern

PenCott multi-environment camouflage pattern

Sniper wearing PenCott multi environment camouflage pattern in open farmland

Sniper wearing PenCott multi environment camouflage pattern in open farmland

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2 responses

13 08 2009
Lawrence

Nice one Dom.

31 10 2009
canada, cramer and cuepat « The Camo Side of Dominic Hyde

[…] be a FAIL for effective camouflage, but a WIN for Army fashionistas and the B.S. brigade, just like UCP (Universal Camouflage Pattern) was for the US […]

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