The sniper team’s organization is simple and consists of two positions: a shooter and a spotter. Don’t let the wording fool you — both are trained shooters, referred to as snipers, and in most cases have a relationship that functions interchangeably and always complimentary.
There are certain situations when a sniper might have to operate alone with no spotter, and subsequently must take on both duties. However, operating in a two-man team gives the greatest flexibility and lethality on the field for a mission. For this reason, snipers should primarily operate in a team of their own, positioned as an extension of a platoon or similar level. During insertion or extraction, the sniper team can be attached to a security team totaling the size of a squad or fire team.
Responsibilities in a sniper team
For the team to survive successfully they must move, act, and communicate as a single entity. Think of the sniper team like an attack helicopter crew: the spotter is the pilot at the controls in charge of driving the mission, while the shooter acts as the gunner managing the weapon system.
Here’s a breakdown of the responsibilities between the shooter and spotter in a sniper team:
The role of a sniper team
The sniper team’s role is two-fold: First and foremost, they are shooters capable of delivering deliberate, long-range fire out to 800 meters and beyond with the precision of a surgeon and enough impact to cause disarray in any enemy force before they know what hit them. A sniper’s motto, “one shot one kill” is a deep-rooted mentality that shapes the way they pick their fights and how they conduct themselves as disciplined, analytical types who consistently strive for perfection. Secondly, what some may argue is as important as the first, surveillance and intelligence reporting. Knowing the layout and movement of enemy forces is a critical necessity in order to construct any plan. The characteristics of a sniper team is at the forefront of tackling this responsibility.
With a low profile and extended operating range unmatched by any other role or vehicle, a sniper is a deadly presence even when they are not pulling the trigger. All roles must understand and respect that the battlefield is an active and changing landscape and a sniper remains vital to field leaders by relaying this information as it develops.