A sniper's ability to place shots precisely into vulnerable points gives him the capability of degrading and destroying materiel targets in addition to human ones. It's only a matter of knowing where these Achilles' heels are located and how best to impact them.
First, understand that you'll always achieve the deepest penetration and least likelihood of ricochets by having your bullets impact at 0 degrees obliquity—that means impacting perpendicular to the target's surface. As our illustration on page 250 shows, a 1-inch medium becomes 50 percent thicker (1.5 inches in relative terms) if your bullet hits it at 45 degrees.
Second, for most materiel targets you're better off using black-tipped armor-piercing ammunition. The U.S. M993 (7.62mm) AP round's
tungsten penetrator can picrce up to 1/2 inch of steel if fired at 90 degrees obliquity to the surface, and even the green-tipped 62-grain M855 5.56mm round incorporates a tungsten core.
If you can use a .50 caliber, all the better yet.
Armored vehicle vision blocks can be cracked by 7.62mm fire. Although crewmen can change blocks, they'll be blinded at least temporarily, which can help your comrades engage them with antitank missiles. The laser rangefinder, located on a tank turret in a squarish 6-inch mount, is
The angle of your bullet matters. Shoot perpendicular to the materiel's surface.
SMALL-ARMS TARGETS. Even heavy hardware has an "Achilles' heel susceptible to small arms fire, as are the commander's and driver's infrared searchlights. Soviet and Chinese forces traditionally teach their tankers to pause momentarily to fire; this is the best time for you to shoot, too. Helicopters hover for a second or two while soldiers disgorge, the perfect time to head-shoot the pilots or destroy the turbine engines with shots into the front air intake or back exhaust stack.
Antiaircraft missilemen are easily replaced, but their guidance units are not. Aim just above and forward of the handgrip to hit the infrared tracker unit. Similarly, any weapon system that uses optical sights can be degraded by focusing your fire on the optics; a massive artillery piece is ineffective without its shoebox-sized sight.
This principle is true for modern electronic control units, too, such as the antitank missile launcher shown on a Soviet BMP armored fighting vehicle. One round through the box-shaped control unit and that missile is little more than an expensive noiscmaker.
Radar dishes themselves aren't harmed by rifle fire, but in the center of the dish is the system's emitter, a microphone-sized device susceptible to even slight damage. Knock this out and, for example, a ZSU-23-4 antiaircraft system loses much of its effectiveness.
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