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Sniping Scouting and Patrolling (1940)

Price $159.00 Sale


A Textbook For Instructors and Students

GALE AND POLDEN LTD, Aldershot, c.1940

'Sniping is extremely interesting work. The keen man delights in matching himself against a cunning and experienced enemy, in being top dog, and staying that way. He takes all the advantages he can and gives none.'

A rare first edition of this WW2 sniping handbook, undated, but published by Gale & Polden c.1940. The book covers all aspects of sniping and was largely based on the experiences of allied snipers in the trenches of WW1. It is a practical manual which includes detailed instructions for snipers operating in trench warfare, street fighting and open warfare. Subjects covered include: equipment, organization, intelligence work, observation, sniping posts, loopholes, camouflage, sniping in attack and defence, 'dummy heads', decoys, and telescopic sights. It is well illustrated with photographs, line drawings and diagrams. The book also looks at the tactical use of scouting, observation and battlefield intelligence work.

'The sniper's duty is to worry the enemy night and day, give him no peace at any time. He is always on the offensive. The least part of a man showing himself by day should be fired at, unless by waiting a little he will expose himself more, giving a better chance to put him permanently out of action. The ideal of the sniper is to kill with one shot any enemy he sees.'

British Army Sniping: The Allies' development of systematic sniping during WW1 was initially unpopular even among their own troops, but was an inevitable response to highly effective German sniping. In the first two years of the war German sniping was accounting for around 100 fatalities a day. By the end of the war, Allied snipers were more than matching their German opponents, thanks largely to their Canadian instructors. Major Nevill Armstrong defined the sniper as: "An expert rifleman 'out to kill' who is highly trained in observation and the use of ground; equally valuable in trench and open warfare. He should be able to pick out targets exposed for only short periods and kill with a single shot from concealed positions". During both world wars the British army trained their snipers in specialized sniper schools. Major Hesketh-Prichard founded the First Army School of Sniping, Observation, and Scouting at Linghem in France in 1916. He also devised a metal-armoured double loophole that would protect the sniper observer from enemy fire. Another innovation was the use of a dummy head to find the location of an enemy sniper. Snipers reappeared as important factors on the battlefield at the start of World War II. During Germany's 1940 campaigns, it became clear that well hidden snipers could halt the enemy advance for a significant amount of time. During the retreat to Dunkirk, British snipers were able to significantly delay the German advance.


In very good condition. The boards are in good condition, with some minor wear at the edges. There is an ink stamp of 'Rutlish School. O.T.C.' on the front board. The binding and hinges are good and secure. The text, plates, and illustrations are in very good condition.

Published : c.1940
Illustrated with line drawings, diagrams & photographs
Red boards with black titling
Dimensions: 125mm x 190mm
Pages: 131