“Sniping in France,” by Major H. Hesketh-Prichard

A truly wonderful find on the internet, coming by way of WRSA (I think), about British Army snipers on the Western Front in WWI, as organized by the remarkable Major Hesketh-Prichard.

From the foreword by General Lord Horne of Stirkoke, G.C.B., K.C.M.G., etc.:

In the early days of 1915, in command of the 2nd Division, I well remember the ever-increasing activity of the German sniper and the annoyance of our officers and men in the trenches. I can recall the acquisition by the Guards’ Brigade, then in the Brickfields of Cuinchy with Lord Cavan as Brigadier, of two rifles fitted with telescopic sights and the good use made of them. It was the experience of 1915 that impressed upon us the necessity of fighting for superiority in all branches of trench warfare, amongst .which sniping held an important position. It was therefore a great satisfaction to me upon my arrival from the battlefields of the Somme in the autumn of 1916 to find Major Hesketh-Prichard’s School firmly established in the First Army area, thanks in a great measure to the support and encouragement of Lieut.-General Sir Richard Haking, the Commander of the Eleventh Corps.

From that time onwards, owing chiefly to the energy, enthusiasm, tact and personality of its Commandant, the influence of the Sniping, Observation and Scouting School spread rapidly throughout the British Forces in France. Of its ups and downs, of its troubles and its successes, and of its ultimate triumph, Major Hesketh-Prichard tells the tale with modesty typical of the man.

I may be permitted to add my testimony that in each phase of the war, not only in the trenches, but in the field, we found the value of the trained sniper, observer and scout.

This book is not only a record of a successful system of training, valuable as such to us soldiers, but also will be found to be full of interest to the general reader.

This should be bookmarked, and printed out if one has the wherewithal to do so. And, it should be cross-walked (!) with McBride’s classic, A Rifleman Went to War.

About vmijpp

VMIJPP hails from the star city of the south, Roanoke, Virginia. A 1989 graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, he is a retired artillery officer in the United States Marine Corps, with time in both the active and reserve sides. He served in Iraq in 2004, and in Afghanistan in 2009-2010. He joined the magnificent OPFOR.com as a guest blogger from the now defunct but never uninteresting Rule 308, where he denounced gun control and other aspects of tyranny, and proclaimed the greatness of the United States. When the sun set on OPFOR.com, he migrated here with Keydet1976 and the others.
This entry was posted in Great Britain and the Empire, History, The Art of the Rifle. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to “Sniping in France,” by Major H. Hesketh-Prichard

  1. DaveO says:

    I was under the impression that the Brits despised their own snipers as they did their work from afar and hidden – very unVictorian-Edwardian chivalry. Proper soldiering required men to stand up, dress ranks and be gunned down just paces from their starting point.


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