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                Chronological History of Snipers

 1.Ninja or Shinobi (16th century Japan) supposedly trained to cover retreating armies, targeting officers from concealed positions.One of Japan's most famous warlords, Takeda Shingen, was possibly fatally wounded by a sniper. The range was not that long given the muzzle loading match lock used.

2.Lord Brooks, who represented the Parliamentarians in the English Civil War, was the first recorded British sniper victim.

3.Timothy Murphy (American Revolution) killed British General Simon Fraser during the pivotal Battle of Saratoga from what has been determined was a range of over 300 yards with a smooth bore musket, hampering the British advance and causing them to lose the battle.

4.Scotsman Patrick Ferguson (American Revolutionary War) - developer of the world's first breech-loaded military rifle (which advanced sniping and sharpshooting tactics), fought with his Corps of Riflemen (recruited from the 6th and 14th Foot) at the Battle of Brandywine, where he may have passed up a chance to shoot George Washington.

5.Napoleonic Wars- Use of Marine sharpshooters in the mast tops was common usage in navies of the period, and Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson's death at Trafalgar is attributed to the actions of a French sniper. The British Army developed the concept of directed fire (as opposed to massive un-aimed volleys) and formed Rifle regiments, famously the 95th and the 60th who wore green jackets instead of the usual redcoats. Fighting as Skirmishers, usually in pairs and trusted to choose their own targets, they wrought havoc among the French during the Peninsular War in Spain and Portugal.

6.British Rifleman Thomas Plunkett (Napoleonic Peninsular War) shot French General Colbert at a range of between 200 meters and 600 meters using a Baker rifle.

7.Colonel Hiram Berdan (American Civil War) commanded 1st and 2nd US Sharpshooters, who were trained and equipped Union marksmen with the .52 caliber Sharps Rifle. It has been claimed that Berdan's units killed more enemies than any other unit in the Union Army.

8.Sergeant Grace (American Civil War) whacked Major General John Sedgwick at the then incredible distance of 730 meters during the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, with a British Whitworth target rifle causing administrative delays in the Union's attack. Creating such confusion was a contributing factor leading to the Confederate victory. Sedgwick, typical of an arrogant officer ignored advice to take cover, his last words according to urban legend being, "They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist-" upon which he was shot. In reality, he was shot a few minutes later.

9.Major Frederick Russell Burnham - assassinated Mlimo, the Ndebele religious leader, in his cave in Matobo Hills, Rhodesia, effectively ending the Second Matabele War (1896). Burnham started as a cowboy and Indian tracker in the American Old West, but he left the United States to scout in Africa and went on to command the British Army Scouts in the Second Boer War. For his ability to track, even at night, the Africans dubbed him, He-who-sees-in-the-dark, but in the press he became more widely known as England's American Scout.

 File:Major frederick russell burnham dso 1904.jpg

10-Pieter Arnoldus Krueler was a 14 year old messenger and scout during beginning the 2nd Anglo-Boer War, finishing that conflict as a mounted sniper with De La Rey's Commandos. He later fought as a sniper and Askari leader with the Germans in Africa during WW I. He is said to have over 100 kills in those two conflicts.At the Battle of Spion Kop in January 1900 he confirmed over a dozen British kills, with his partner in crime Koos Ley.


Modern Era Snipers

1.William Edward "Billy" Sing (Gallipoli Campaign, World War I) - killed between 150 and 201 Turkish soldiers.

 File:Billy sing.jpg

2.- Francis Pegahmagabow (World War I) - Native Canadian sniper credited with 378 kills.

 File:Francis Pegahmagabow.jpg



3.- Finnish Lance Corporal 3.Simo Häyhä (December 17, 1905 ? April 1, 2002), nicknamed "White Death" (Russian "Belaya Smert", in Finnish "Valkoinen kuolema",Swedish "den Vita Döden") by the Soviet Army, was a Finnish soldier. Using a standard iron-sighted, bolt action rifle in the Winter War, he had the highest recorded number of kills as a sniper in any major war. In temperatures between -4 and -40 degrees Fahrenheit, dressed completely in a white camouflage suit, Häyhä was credited with at least 505 confirmed kills of Soviet soldiers, and 542 if including the unconfirmed deaths. The unofficial Finnish front line figure from the battlefield of Kollaa places the number of Häyhä's sniper kills over 800. A daily account of the kills at Kollaa was conducted for the Finnish snipers. Besides his sniper kills, Häyhä was also credited with over two hundred kills with a Suomi KP/-31 submachine gun, thus bringing his credited kills to at least 705. All of Häyhä's kills were accomplished in less than 100 days.

4.Junior Lieutenant Vasily Zaitsev (World War II) is credited with killing 225 German soldiers during the Battle of Stalingrad and later, he is famously portrayed in the film Enemy at the Gates and in the book War of the Rats;both however are fictionalized accounts.

5.Obergefreiter Matthias Hetzenauer (World War II) - Austrian sniper who was credited with 345 kills on the Eastern Front, the most successful in the Wehrmacht received the Knight's Cross.

6.Obergefreiter (Private First Class) Josef 'Sepp' Allerberger (World War II) - Austrian sniper credited with 257 kills on the Eastern Front. Recived Knight's Cross April 20, 1945.


7.Lieutenant Lyudmila Pavlichenko (World War II) was a female Soviet sniper with 309 confirmed kills, making her the most successful female sniper in history on confirmed kills.


8.Zhang Tao Fang (1931- April 29, 2007) was a Chinese soldier during the Korean War and is credited with 214 confirmed kills in 32 days without using a magnifying scope.

9.Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock, USMC (Vietnam war) ? achieved 93 confirmed kills. He held the record of longest confirmed kill at a distance of 2,250 m (2,460 yd) (using a AN/PVS-2 scoped M2 Browning machine gun) for 35 years until 2002.



10.Sergeant Chuck Mawhinney, USMC (Vietnam war) had 103 confirmed and 216 probable kills. In one memorable engagement, he hit 16 NVA trying to cross a river during a night engagement.


11.Adelbert F . Waldron US Army (Vietnam war) ? achieved 109 confirmed kills, and earned two DFCs.



12.Master Sgt. Gary Gordon and Sgt. First Class Randy Shughart during Operation Gothic Serpent, were Delta Force snipers awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions protecting the injured crew of Michael Durant's downed helicopter during the Battle of Mogadishu on Oct. 3, 1993. Dramatized in the book and film Black Hawk Down. They both collectively accounted for over 50 insurgents before they were overwhelmed and killed.


                SFC Randall David Shughart                            MSG Gary Gordon


14. Chris Kyle, 1974-2013, U.S. Navy SEAL, 160 confirmed kills in Iraq.


See WW II Operations and Training Video for German Snipers



21st century

1.Canadian soldier Corporal Rob Furlong, formerly of the PPCLI (Operation Anaconda, Afghanistan) - holds the record for the longest-ever recorded and confirmed sniper kill at 2,430 meters (1.509 miles) using a .50 caliber (12.7 mm) McMillan TAC-50 rifle.

2.U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Timothy L. Kellner - regarded as one of the top snipers still active in the U.S. Army with 139 confirmed kills and over 100 unconfirmed during Operation Iraqi Freedom

3.Canadian soldier Master Corporal Arron Perry, formerly of the PPCLI (Operation Anaconda, Afghanistan) - briefly held the record for the longest-ever recorded and confirmed sniper kill at 2,310 meters (1.435 miles) after eclipsing US Marine Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock's previous record of 2,286 meters (1.420 miles) until it was later eclipsed by fellow Canadian Corporal Rob Furlong. Hathcock's record had stood for thirty five years. Perry used a .50 caliber (12.7 mm) McMillan TAC-50 rifle. He managed to acquire U.S. ammunition which was a heavier grain load and better a better quality to get that kill. (This page being updated)

See the videos posted below regarding a brief history of military snipers and their missions past and present.


WW II snipers



Snipers Deadliest Missions



Modern Sniper



Cliff Worsham and Colin Heaton 1988. OK, so we were not in the category of the great snipers, but here we are back in the day.


Maj Gen James E. Livingston at the Scout Sniper STA (Surveillance, Target Acquisition) Platoon, 1st Bn 6th marine Regiment Reunion on Nov 8, 2015. Top left to right: Doug Zizzi, Colin Heaton, Mike Brodzik, Matt Sarsfield. Bottom: Robert Kane, Maj Gen Jim Livingston, Cliff Worsham.

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