You must first select an area for your kill zone. The area you select should make success likely. You will base your decision on the probability that the target will appear in this area during the period of time you are there. You must select a primary and at least one alternate hide. Roads, bridges, rivers, and fields all offer good visibility.
Wooden frame housing or single layer cinder blocks or bricks will not stop direct rifle fire or close range pistol fire. A machine gun will tear them to pieces. If your hide is inside a building you may use sandbags as a barricade inside the house, or dig a position through the floor and into the ground. This will be next to impossible if the structure is on a concrete slab. If the building is raised, and the structure is strong enough, the building itself will provide overhead cover from RPG's or thrown grenades. Mortar or artillery is a different matter. These will devastate the building, collapsing the structure on top of you. You must get out before heavy weapons are brought to bear. This goes for almost any position you choose. You should use anything available to provide cover, and choose the best cover available that fills other essential requirements.
If you do not have sandbags, or the time to fill them, use dirt, logs, timbers, bricks, or anything else you can find.
Personal camouflage is essential at all times. You must achieve two things, break up your outline and blend in. You break up your outline by creating shadows where they should not be and highlighting places that should be in shadow. You can also do this by wearing materials that obscure the outline of your body, face, hands, etc.
From the time we are first born we know what a face is. It is the first thing newborns sees when their eyes open. By the time a person is 4 years old they can see facial patterns in clouds and their closet at night! It is the one feature that is most recognizable to anyone. When applying camouflage stick or civilian creams use the dark tones on raised facial features and the light tones on recessed (reverse shadows), but run areas together across your face on a diagonal. You don't want a perfect reversal because it will still look like a face!
When using vegetation for camouflage, use very short branches. Long branches and grasses move in an exaggerated fashion when you make slight movements. Choose vegetation that blends in to the area you are hiding in.
Try to select a place for your hide that provides natural concealment, then augment it as necessary. It is impossible to shoot near or after darkness without your muzzle flash being seen. Any high powered rifle puts out a tremendous muzzle flash. Be careful to position yourself in a way that minimizes the angle at which the flash can be seen. This usually means keeping the muzzle well back of whatever you are shooting out of. Strategically located branches will help.
The sun can be used as camouflage during certain times of the day. When the sun is to your back and at an angle of 15 - 45 degrees to the targets' eyes, anything on the horizon under the sun is difficult to see. If there is light colored earth, white paint, windows, strategically located cars (windshields), the glare can work in your favor depending on the location of the sun, even if it is in your eyes! Careful analysis of site placement and timing is necessary for this to work.
Whatever you do, do not select the most prominent terrain feature for your hide. These areas will always be scrutinized. If the enemy is fired upon, he will return fire to these features first. See the section below titled "Look of your hide" for more on this subject.
Selecting a hide in a built up area (towns, cities, etc.) requires some additional work. NEVER shoot from windows unless you have too. If you must, then position yourself against the back wall of the room. NEVER stick the barrel of the rifle out of the window. Close to the window you can be seen from a much wider angle than you can if you are well back into the room. What is better, in a wood frame house, is to cut a hole through the wall eight inches above floor level. Make the hole large enough to see the kill zone from a spot four feet or more back from the wall. If the building is somewhat dilapidated, make a few more holes in the wall to shoot from. This will provide the enemy more choices when he is trying to decide where the fire is coming from. It also helps to disguise the hole as "just another hole in that 'ole building over there".
If height is necessary, do not climb up on the roof unless necessary. In a house type structure, go into the attic area and build a platform or stand which will elevate you. Cut a hole in the roof and dislodge the shingles. From the front so it will look like a roof in a state of disrepair. Dislodge a few other shingles at different heights and NOT equally spaced to achieve an effect like that of the multiple wall holes described above. If you must use the roof, position yourself by a chimney or other protrusion so that you are not silhouetted against the sky or background.
The concept of a silhouette is important. Always consider what you will look like against the background. You should try to blend in.
Better yet, get below ground in a position under a raised floor structure. Make use of the supports or stairs as cover/concealment. If you are using a weapon with a back blast area (LAW, 90mm Recoilless, RPG, etc.) make sure that you are not in an enclosed area or the blast may incapacitate you!
On really soft ground, it will be apparent that a lone "someone" has walked through this area. A good tracker can tell when you were there.
Never travel in a straight line or a predictable zig zag. Change your route often enough so that no one can review your course over a period of time and predict where you are going. If you have fired your rifle, you will not have time to circle and study your trail. If you have not, this is a good thing to do. When thinking this through, consider that you are alone. You MUST NOT GET CAUGHT, you do not have the firepower to fight the enemy. You must avoid contact at all costs. Remember discipline? No matter how tempted you may be, do NOT hazard confrontations without thinking about the consequences.
Envision a similar scenario in a town, with low houses and buildings except one six story job right up the street. Top it off with about thirty closed windows in the building and one open window on the fifth floor. The same thing happens -- what will you do? NEVER use a "likely" spot. Lee Harvey Oswald made a pretty good choice when he picked that building.
NOTE -- Many people have duplicated the conditions of the JFK assassination and proven that a good rifleman could make the same shots. Many conspiracy theorists point to some statement by an "expert" who claimed that nobody could fire an old Mannlicher-Carcano that fast. Whoever made that statement was just full of crap.
Two or three years ago at a shooting match in Ohio (?) the organizers recreated this scenario with a tower, moving target, and an old Mannlicher-Carcano with a cheap scope. Practically everyone who entered the match did just as well as Oswald and several did better. The top shooter was left-handed -- just like Oswald! Others point to the fact that Oswald was only an average marksman while in the Marines. So what? The only record on my DD 214 regarding shooting skill was the "Marksman" score I shot in basic training. That was the first time I qualified. I did it with an abused basic training issue M16. There is no record of the many times I shot "expert" or of my "advanced marksmanship training" , as the Army refers to it -- hehehe! A real sniper shoots his best under pressure or when he's shooting with a purpose. The sight picture becomes a part of you, connected to your brain, and there is no way you are going to miss. END NOTE
You must not talk unless it is necessary and then only in a whisper. It is better to use signals for all communication. If you must eat in your hide make sure that you do not leave litter on the ground. Do not scatter your equipment about. Everything not in use must be packed and ready to run with at all times. A spotting scope, rifle, notepad, and pencil are the only things you need to have ready.
Careful notes should be kept referencing all sign that you cross and everything that you see or hear. When you set up your position you will make a preliminary scan of the area to make certain you have not been seen. You should then check your coordinates by using resection with your compass and map. Every terrain feature in or near the kill zone should be noted. Check the range to each and note it. After all ranges have been determined, go back and calculate any scope adjustments necessary for each range. Determine the right combination of minimum scope adjustment and hold for each range.
After I prepare my range card and I'm satisfied with my position I begin a methodical search of the area. I use a pattern because it gives me something to do and it keeps me from missing an area.
I begin from the left edge of the area at maximum range and slowly sweep to the right and then back, decreasing the range until I'm looking at the area close to my hide. DO NOT neglect the zone close to your hide. It is very easy to become complacent and assume that there is no one close to you. You naturally assume that if there was someone there you would see them. That is only true if the person approaching stumbles, makes a loud noise, or is talking to someone. I have been in many situations where people suddenly appeared very close to me.
Humans do not have super hearing. It is easy to walk closely to someone in the woods without them hearing you. This is especially true when a wind is blowing or it is raining. When selecting your hide, try to pick a place that will provide an early warning of someone's approach. Dry leaves that crunch, thick vines, logs, or other obstacles that someone would have to cross. Usually people will go around obstacles it because it is easier.
If they suspect you are there you are in trouble. If your target is a valuable leader it is possible security forces will sweep the area before he travels through it. They will look in all the likely spots. If it is night then they can use infrared equipment that will detect your body heat. This equipment can be hand held or mounted on a vehicle or aircraft. You will need something to protect you from this and a good hole will do the trick. You must have a lid covered with dirt and camouflage to pull over you when the security forces pass by. A good shrub with intact root ball works well. When an aircraft is involved you must be very quick to do this before they can spot your movement. Remember this, air personnel will only spot you if there is a heat differential or if you move. During daylight the worst thing you can do is move. Freeze, don't move, wait until the aircraft passes. A spider hole is excellent cover and concealment. It must be positioned on high ground to provide good visibility. This bush will die and must be replaced. Pick a variety (if there is one) which is naturally dry looking. You will have to experiment with the vegetation in the area to determine which plant looks live the longest. Preserving the root ball will help keep the plant fresh. Dig the hole deep enough so that you don't have to bend to hide. Leave a step that will raise you up to shooting level. You must hide the dirt from the hole. Don't leave it in a pile nearby. Isolated piles of dirt look suspicious, whether you cover them with leaves or not. A nearby stream will wash the dirt away, but be careful not to leave tracks or fresh dirt near the bank. Also, if you dig into the side of a small rise, you may be able to disguise the dirt as part of the rise. Then you won't have to tromp around the area of your hide, leaving sign.
One trick I've seen with several variations is this -- To set a trap, the hunter leaves a small interesting object or clue that the hunted spots, he stops, picks up, looks around, then proceeds in the desired direction, right into a trap. What would happen in the movie if the "hunted" spotted the object, acted as if he didn't see it, walked past out of sight, then stopped and looked for the hiding place the hunter was using, and surprised the hunter from behind? People who write movie scripts do not have a secret source advising them on these things. They dream it up and make it work on screen. ANY sign you leave WILL be used to track you down and kill you.
Another one is where the hunted hides under the water and breathes through a reed. This can work, but depending on the diameter of the reed, it better not be more than 6" long. Otherwise the tube fills up with your exhaled breath and you try to breathe the same air over and over again. The worst time to discover this is when someone is standing 4 feet away and looking for you! Have you ever tried to breathe through a straw? You don't have to be under the water to test it, or hiding in fear of your life.
Smart soldiers will follow tracks, but they might send out security elements to their right and left flanks just in case you double back to ambush them. If they suspect an ambush, as in the case where sign looks too obvious or planted, they will determine the most likely spots for your hide, then circle around to surprise you. They won't come diddy bopping down the trail following tracks.
A note about dogs: Sprinkle cayenne powder around the area in a circle around your hide, this will keep away animals. If you must run, sprinkle some behind you every so often. Not just where you walk but on the bushes to the right and left of your path. Hounds don't have to sniff the ground where you walked unless the trail is several hours old. They "wind" you. Nose up, they run towards your scent that is in the air and clinging to things you came close to. As they run, you want them to kick up and breathe the pepper. That will put them out of action long enough to put some distance between you and them. A good trail dog can follow a trail over 24 hours old!
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