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.
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
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