When the topic of snipers in WWII comes up, it's almost always about Soviet snipers and the eastern front. What about the western front? I'm specifically interested in how or if the British, American, and German armies utilized them. Some specifics relating to the topic:

  • Were they ever assigned to a squad, similar to a designated marksman in modern militaries?
  • Were they their own unit, and if so, how many soldiers typically made up a sniper unit?
  • What was the primary task of snipers? When did command decide a task needed a sniper instead of a typical rifle unit?

2 Answers 2


Treatment of snipers varied by country and time. The Germans and British both mixed solo snipers and snipers in squads (both dedicated and mixed). American snipers were poorly trained due to their quick deployment times and a lack of camouflage instruction.



In Italy and Normandy, on a defensive stance, the Germans made an extensive use of snipers in the general meaning: A shooter who is alone on his position, can move on his own decision, in order to inflict casualties on an attacking force that is compact.

The British army used snipers in the same way, but with the help of infantry squad as the tradition of the British Army is to use effective groups of infantry. Notably, the New Zealand army in Creta got some effective units of sheep guardians that were able to fire accurately.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.