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Friend of mine asked me a question the other day. Did Australia have snipers in Vietnam and if so did they have their own unit or were they integrated in other units. Quite frankly I did not have a clue. Can anybody out there enlighten me and my friend?
This may help you a bit.
The Following has been taken from the Digger History website http://www.diggerhistory.info/pages-asstd/sniper.htm
During WW2, some Lee Enfield 3T (T for telescope) rifles were supplied and some Diggers were trained at unit level to fill the sniper role. In Korea, the Malayan Emergency and later in Vietnam, Australia had no organised sniper concept or application, the only exception being a few Australians training with the US 25th Division in early 1970, although this was primarily a marksmanship course using US XM 21 7.62mm rifles.
Since the early 1970s, there has been a change in perspective in sniping with the introduction of the Sniper Cell at the School of Infantry and the Parker Hale rifle in 1978. W02 King says there are criteria the potential sniper must fill. He has got to be an above-average shot preferably a marksman, and have good basic infantry skills.
"The six-week course is very practical. We are out in the field nearly the whole time and there are a number of disciplines the students must get through. "Of course, there is shooting which is the main one, navigation, stalking, observing and reporting, judging distance and camouflage.
"He has to be fit and I like to see a bloke who can pick things up quite quickly. We find the 'bushies' have no problems at all," W02 King says. "Soldiers wearing spectacles and smokers are at a disadvantage for sure. "The Parker Hale rifle we use at the moment is a right-handed 'gadget' and left-handers have difficulty carrying out the instant actions and chambering rounds," W02 King adds.
At this time, the sniping rifle in service with the Australian Army is the Parker Hale Model 82, a bolt action repeating rifle in 7.62mm calibre. It weighs just under 6kg, has a TX 1200 heavy barrel and is fitted with a Kahles Helia ZF69 6x42 power telescopic sight and Number 7 reticle (crosshair) pattern.
The memory fades but I’m fairly sure we had no snipers in our battalion in Vietnam as they was no call for them in jungle warfare where vision was so limited. We had plenty of sharp shooters though.
I recall on one occasion I set a night ambush near Ap Thu an Bien on the Long Green coast waiting for VC sampans to land with supplies for their Long Hais bases. The vision was about 200 metres from the sand dunes and whilst we had our usual weapons and starlight scopes to assist night vision, we did not have snipers or special weapons with us.
In different parts of the country where the terrain was different from Phuoc Tuy there may have been a need for snipers and maybe even used them but that is beyond my knowledge.
Thanks Gary, seems like the gentleman in question is another bull**** artist feeding off the reputation of genuine Vets! He asked the question as the person he was inquiring about claimed to have been a sniper in Vietnam in 1968. Ah well, they are out there.
Thanks Dave, I do not remember that one so it must have been before you took over the Company. I must have been off somewhere else with Claude.
No I wasn't with C Company at the time Al. I was still the Adjutant and in April 1969 I took an ambush patrol of BHQ and Support Company men from FSPB Bruiser located in the Long Green to the south of Xuyen Moc. We went from Bruiser due south to the coast missing the well used tracks to avoid the plentiful mines down there.