First World War sniper rifle

Ross Model 1910 Mk III .303 calibre rifle used as a sniper rifle on the Western Front by Private Alfred Hugh Dillon MM, Wellington Infantry Regiment.

Private Dillon arrived in France as a member of the 20th Reinforcements (B Company, Wellington Infantry Battalion) on 7 December 1916. He was awarded the Military Medal (MM) for gallantry at Bon Avis Ridge over the period 29 September – 3 October 1918 while acting as Battalion Observer.

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Peter MacDonald

Posted: 07 May 2012

Also during 1916 on the Western Front battlefeild, there was a sniping duel between the British and German Snipers, to dominate no mans land ..also in the air at the same time there was a dueling war between Aces, notable were The Red Barron, and Brish Ace Mick Mannock. The sniping duel in the Trenches saw the Germans dominating no mans land, costing thousands of British casualties, until eventually the British got the upperhand after introducing a Sniping school organised by Major Hesketh-Pritchard, a former big game Hunter. NZ snipers did not attend this British Sniping college as their sniping tactics were well learned at Gallipoli,and the NZ system was hand picking men for the Task, they worked in Pairs Sniper and Observer,or sometimes the Sniper would work alone, as the NZ Snipers did on Gallipoli, sometimes for days searching for targets and opportunities, also they would receive training in the sections on the tactics, which they received when joining the Snipers and Observers section.

Peter MacDonald

Posted: 06 May 2012

Snipers and observers were grouped into sections from each Battalion. These were specialist soldiers, often hand picked for the role. Sgt Dick Travis VC DCM MM Croix De Guerre of the 2nd Otago Infantry Battalion was in charge of a sniper observer section. They had to be men who could be left to their own devices to plan and carry out their own operations against the enemy. Their range of tasks included observing enemy movements, locating artillery, sniping posts, machine gun positions, carrying out silent raids on enemy trenches in six-man teams to identify units and take prisoners for interogation, and mapping out areas of no mans land in front of their battalions. Also when a battalion or company attacked, snipers would move into no mans land before zero hour to knock out enemy machine gun positions once the attack commenced. They were soldiers of above average intelligence, high fitness levels, and self awarness. These men were of a type that were dangerous when roused.