Eastern Front Sniper, The Life of Matthaus Hetzenauer

This well-written and nicely illustrated book is a natural counterpart to “Notes of a Russian Sniper”, FIRE Project review file B2556, full review tinyurl.com/gn7u7hj. – Since James the Bastard was shot by a sniper firing a hack butt from concealment, the sniper been a powerful resource with which to attack an enemy – Highly Recommended.


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NAME: Eastern Front Sniper, The Life of Matthaus Hetzenauer
FILE: R2556
AUTHOR: Roland Kaltenegger
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword, Greenhill Books
BINDING: hard back 
PAGES:  149
PRICE: £19.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWII, World War 2, World War II, Second World War., German 
sniper, covert shooting, attrition, morale, sniper scope, hand 
finished rifles

ISBN: 1-47387-875-6

IMAGE: B2556.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/y9gq8e7f
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION: This well-written and nicely illustrated book is a 
natural counterpart to “Notes of a Russian Sniper”, FIRE Project 
review file B2556, full review tinyurl.com/gn7u7hj.  - Since James 
the Bastard was shot by a sniper firing a hack butt from concealment, 
the sniper been a powerful resource with which to attack an enemy – 
Highly Recommended.

The author has not confined his study to the life and military career 
of Matthaus Hetzenauer. He has also looked at the techniques and 
tactics employed by snipers that are still current today. The 
illustration is excellent and includes many drawings .

The sniper was very important to Germans and Russians in the bitter 
fighting of the Eastern Front. Hetzenauer was the most successful 
German sniper, equating with the best of the Russian snipers and was 
responsible for at least 300 kills, being awarded the Knight's Cross. 
To put that in perspective the average kill rate of all soldiers in 
an army is only in decimal percentage points, demonstrating the 
importance of the sniper numerically and financially. What it does 
not show is just how much damage is done to enemy morale, or the 
relative importance of the kills.

James the Bastard, illegitimate half-brother of Mary Queen of Scots, 
survived many attempts to kill or capture him. He was finally brought 
down by a stone ball fired by a concealed sniper using a hack butt. 
He was probably a long way from being the first victim of a sniper 
with a firearm, but his is the first death to be recorded. His killer 
was using a primitive firearm that was typical of any available at 
that time. Most were matchlocks and few used wheel locks, most 
commonly firing a stone ball rather than a lead bullet. As the range 
of such weapons was poor, the sniper had to find a place of ambush 
and wait for the target to pass closely. That limited the potential 
effectiveness of a sniper.

Flint lock long arms began to change the fortunes for snipers. 
Beautifully crafted weapons with very long barrels, carefully 
selected gunpowder and very careful casting of lead bullets combined 
to allow some long range shooting that was not only effective, but 
allowed the sniper to fire from beyond the likely range of return 
fire. By the Napoleonic Wars, the Baker rifle had introduced a new 
standard for snipers and the general principles of the British 
Rifles companies still hold for sniping today. The Baker rifle was 
made with great precision and the riflemen were very carefully 
trained. Although Wellington used riflemen as light infantry in many 
of his Peninsular War battles, they were most frequently used in 
very small numbers, mixed with formations armed with the less 
effective smooth-bore muskets, or as small units of skirmishers, 
scouting ahead of the main units. A standard tactic of the Rifles 
was to pick their ground carefully ahead of the enemy and beyond 
the range of enemy muskets, and then carefully pick off the enemy 
officers and NCOs. Although the total number of kills might be small 
against the total enemy strength, it did great damage to morale and 
destroyed the enemy ability to manage his formations, making them 
vulnerable to the Rifles comrades in the general units who would 
closely engaged the enemy.

On the Eastern Front, all these old proven skills were used by 
snipers equipped with the best rifles and optics available and with 
carefully manufactured ammunition. They employed great skill in 
concealment and often operated in pairs, with one sniper as the 
shooter and the other as the spotter who was also responsible for 
watching the shooter's back.

The author has managed to convey much of the personality of 
Hetzenauer and provides a graphic view of his working environment. 
A great read