Raids by Fire

Spec Ops Shooting

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In a sense, some of Britain's greatest aces of World War II were in the SAS, not the Royal Air Force. Hundreds of Nazi warplanes were destroyed by SAS ground raids against German airfields in North Africa, a mission for which Col. David Sterling had specifically founded his commando force in their distinctive sand-colored berets.

Armed with Bren guns and satchel charges, Sterling's desert raiders could inflict damage only at close range. Their amazing early successes declined, however, when the enemy beefed-up airfield perimeter defenses.

But such installation defenses would not prevent aircraft destruction by today's .50-caliber sniper rifles, which can reach out nearly 2 miles and—as world-record shooter Skip Talbot learned—place shots consistently into targets the size of fighter cockpits and transport engines.

All that's needed to accomplish a raid by fire is line-of-sight high ground that overlooks an important enemy installation, which by no means is limited to airfields. Seaports, refineries, munitions dumps, missile parks, major headquarters—any localities having valuable targets vulnerable to .50-caliber fire are suitable objectives.

And most high-tech counterbattery radars, sensors, and airborne surveillance platforms would not detect a threat so small as a three-man .50-caliber sniper team. Imagine the enemy's confusion trying to figure out even tvliai was hitting their valuable planes, much less where it was coming from.

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