From the American War of Independence to World War II, the history of the military combat marksman is one of indifference and cost cutting. Despite the proven effectiveness of the rifleman in battle, for most of the 20th century snipers were regarded as little more than paid assassins. It was not until the Vietnam War that the undeniable effectiveness of the sniper was fully appreciated by the military, and with the advent of the 21st century the sniper has become one of the most vital battlefield specialists. Illustrated throughout with colour and black and white photographs, this chronological study of snipers details their evolution, training, weaponry and tactics. It also includes material from the author's first hand interviews with the veteran snipers whose skills and extraordinary courage have made them the most greatly feared specialists in warfare.
Martin Pegler was born in 1954 and educated at Hampton School. He has a BA Hons in Medieval and Modern History and an MA in Museum Studies, both from University College, London, and he was Senior Curator of Firearms at the Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds, for a number of years. Martin enjoys shooting historic firearms, and has participated in many shooting competitions. He is the author of a number of books including The Military Sniper since 1914 (Osprey, 2001); and Firearms in the American West 1700-1900 (The Crowood Press, 2002), and he has also contributed to a number of magazines. In the 1980s he had the privilege of interviewing many World War I veterans about their wartime experiences, and the recordings are now part of the sound archives of the Imperial War Museum, London. The author lives in Northern France.