Small Wars Journal

The Sniper Shortfall: Why the Marine Corps Could Lose its Next Urban Fight

The Sniper Shortfall: Why the Marine Corps Could Lose its Next Urban Fight by Shawn Snow – Marine Corps Times

“Urban terrain for snipers is a dream world for shooting positions and angles, the ability to hide and move,” Place told Marine Corps Times in an interview.

As Marines clawed their way through the city street by street and house to house, ­snipers like Place provided overwatch from above, pushing enemy insurgents further and further away from their comrades with long range precision fires.

“We were able to push the enemy ­completely back and also limit their range and their movement as well,” Place said. “They didn’t understand how far we could shoot.”

And while insurgents were kept at bay by precision shots, Marine snipers had freedom of movement on Fallujah’s rooftops, knocking out loopholes, or moving through connected ­houses and blown holes in the walls of the tightly connected old city.

For snipers and their spotters, it was “very easy to move back and forth,” Place said. We’d “shoot from one hide and move to another.”

The first battle for Fallujah, known as ­Operation Vigilant Resolve, would earn Place the nation’s third highest award for combat bravery.

He would leave Iraq with 32 confirmed kills as a scout sniper with 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines.

The lessons learned from the Corps’ fight in Fallujah have not been lost.

But the Corps is reeling from a shortage of its professional marksmen — and it’s one that could impact the Corps’ ability to fight and navigate in future dense urban environments…

Read on.