Conducting a Delay with Snipers

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A delay is a defensive operation in which ground is traded for time, with an advancing enemy slowed or temporarily halted, usually by a weaker force. The classic example is the Battle of Thermopylae, the 480 B.C. delay of a 100,000-man Persian army by King Leonidas of Sparta and his 300 royal guards. Their spirited defense of a mountain pass so narrow that only 10 men could advance at once bought enough time to mobilize the Greek army and prepare an ultimately successful defense.

The key to Thermopylae, or any effective delay, is finding terrain that naturally reduces the enemy's width and speed so that your limited fire has an effect. An enemy restricted by a bridge, causeway, paddy dike, narrow trail, or mountain pass can be delayed dramatically by properly employed sniper rifle fire.

By properly I mean maneuver at least three teams in unison, along the same narrow avenue of approach, then retrograde using backward leapfrogs. When the enemy attempts to maneuver against one sniper hide, he's engaged from another while the first team displaces. The enemy diverts its maneuver to the second hide, only to be engaged by the diird team, and so on. The enemy's advance is made more difficult by the emplacement of mines and booby traps where he'll likely maneuver when trying to bypass or flank a hide.

When backed up by skillfully directed artillery on top of terrain exploited to the maximum, I think three to five sniper teams could slow even a reinforced company's ad

Basic Offensive and Defensive Tactics



A DELAY BY SNIPERS. Multiple sniperteams phase ambushes along a single avenue of approach.

vance to only a couple of kilometers per day, enough time for their parent unit to prepare an elaborate deliberate defense.

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