By Sgt. Michael Maddox
First published in
SFOR Informer #100, November 8, 2000
- Cpl. David Panneckoucke, lies on the ground patiently setting up his
sights and eyeing his target. He's trained as a marksman to use the
PGM 12.7 mm rifle and has done this plenty of times. But usually, his
target are vehicle size, today he's looking to hit a cola can from 1,200
This may sound far but the rifle he is using can be accurate anywhere
from 500 to 1,800 meters.
After getting set up, he fires three rounds down range making corrections
after each round. In the end, he finds that he has missed by a half
While that may sound like a disappointment, it actually means if he
were firing on a vehicle he would have hit his target with deadly accuracy.
was the scene as soldiers from the French Battle Group practised sniping
in cool temperatures and high winds Oct. 11. Being able to come that
close to such a small target in high winds takes a lot of work, but
nothing the soldiers can't handle, according to 2Lt. Francois Theodoly-Lannes.
"I think that the most difficult thing to do here on this range
is to evaluate against the wind and the temperature," he explained.
"We are not shooting very far today. Normally, you must hit the
target. The target for this weapon is not people, it's a car or larger
target. If we had used it on a normal target, he would have hit the
"Wind can make it harder to hit the target, but we are used to
estimating the speed of the wind and the direction when shooting over
long distances," he added.
weeks of each year are dedicated to training with this weapon. The practice
at Macipolje went towards that requirement and refreshed the soldiers
knowledge of just how a sharpshooter team works on a real mission.
"It takes a team of three soldiers, one NCO who is the team leader,
one shooter and one soldier who carries all of the ammunition,"
said Theodoly-Lannes. "The NCO watches and estimates the corrections
on the firing."
Training and Exercises
Nations of SFOR: France