British snipers

Discussion in 'General' started by Longlance, May 23, 2015.

  1. SMLE

    SMLE Junior Member


    My grandfather Edward Byrne was with the 2nd London Irish Rifles and was sent on a snipers course in 1942.

    Looking at his service record entry it looks as if the course was held at the Brigade HQ and lasted 4 days followed by another 6 days the following week.

    B103 Course.jpg

    I have his section roll book from North Africa in 1942-43 and it shows his section as part of the standard rifle company and equipped with a Bren but instead of Riflemen there are 1st and 2nd Snipers and 1st and 2nd Bombers. Bexley84 did let me know that the LIR set up "Scout and Sniper" sections during this time. I don't know if this is how snipers were normally employed at this period.

    Roll 1.jpg Roll 2.jpg
  2. redtop

    redtop Well-Known Member

    Snipers did work as pairs.
    It would not be unusual for two snipers to go out together one acting as spotter and one sniper and periodically swapping roles.
    ceolredmonger likes this.
  3. redtop

    redtop Well-Known Member

    Hi SMLE
    I wonder if your Grandfathers Section was trained for a specific job.
    The make up is not that of a normal rifle sections .
    A Cpl and L/Cpl as normal and a Bren pair for covering fire, a sniper pair and a pair of bombers (entry men?).
    Also they seem to have revolvers issued to the Bren pair which is unusual and would more likely be of use to the snipers for local protection.
    They may be worked as a house clearing team snipers and Bren covering the entry group
    ceolredmonger likes this.
  4. ceolredmonger

    ceolredmonger Member

    Martin Pegler - formerly of the Royal Armouries did some extensive research work on Snipers. I think he wrote an Osprey and at least on excellent general work.
  5. ClankyPencil

    ClankyPencil Senior Member

    Yeah. I've got his book 'Out of Nowhere - A History of the Military Sniper' published by Osprey.

    Amazon Link

    ^^ You can pick up a 2nd hand hardback edition on amazon pretty cheaply

    It's a really good book covering all aspects of Sniping from training & tactics to equipment (rifle/scope combinations, camoflage, ammunition etc) and their development.

    It has loads of sketches, photos & documents and some personal accounts.

    I particularly like how a lot of contempary photos (i.e. IWM/US/MOD) are included, and he identifies what equipment is being used, including any adaptions made (i.e. it seems many commonwealth troops preferred using the Bren Gun sling on their sniper rifles etc).

    Even if you're not heavily into sniping/snipers it's still an interesting read and probably worth getting hold of a copy.
  6. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    The History of the 58th 1939-1945: 2nd Battalion The Northamptonshire Regiment includes an interesting Load Table for a company, undated but 1943-44-ish. I've had a look through the text and can't see a reference to the table; make of this what you will:
    Right at the bottom of the table, below the company total line so perhaps not part of the company establishment, are three snipers with two sniper rifles, one standard rifle and 300 rounds of .303" between them. Despite there being columns for kit like binoculars, etc. nothing else is listed against the snipers.
  7. Kellard

    Kellard Member

    The Royal Marines always retained their snipers and the RM Sniper Wing at RM Small Arms School Browndown was in operation throughout the war. The snipers did use the P14 and later the No4Mk1 (T)

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