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By Daniel Brown,Business Insider
Military snipers from several NATO countries recently practiced high-angle shooting in the Austrian Alps.
Snipers from Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, the United States, and other NATO countries practiced the shooting from Sept. 9-14 at the International Special Training Centre's High-Angle/Urban course at the Hochfilzen Training Area.
"High-angle shooting is when you shoot further than 300 meters at angles greater than 15 degrees," Lt. Alexander Rishovd, a sniper instructor assigned to the Norwegian Army Land Warfare Centre, said.
"Imagine the whole shooting process being a triangle and the sniper is on top, the line of sight to the target at the other end is greater than the distance the bullet travels in a flat line," Rishovd said. "With the greater the angle the more the deviation between the line of sight and the distance that gravity has to affect the bullet."
And the pictures are stunning.
Check them out below.
The NATO soldiers hiked 6,500 feet up to the high-angle range several times during the five-day period, even using packhorses to help get their gear up.
Austrian packhorses haul equipment up to a high-angle range on Sept. 12, 2018. US Army
And the training taught the soldiers how to pack lightly.
Multinational snipers hike to the high-angle range on Sept. 13, 2018. US Army
"With a sniper rifle and sometimes two rifles, hundreds of rounds of ammo, tripod, spotting scope and night optics, mountaineering gear, sleep system, and water and food, your pack easily gets over 40 kilos," one Belgian special forces soldier said.
"It is a difficult balance because snipers require a lot of specialized equipment, so you have to decide what is absolutely mission essential."
After ascending to the range, they started the high-angle shooting.
A US Army sniper team from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment engages targets uphill of their position on Sept. 12, 2018. US Army
"Each degree of angle will have an associated number value called its cosine," Rishovd said.
"For snipers shooting at high-angles they need to measure the range to the target in line of sight and multiply it by the cosine [to] get the actual range the bullet is going to fly. Then the sniper will set his bullet drop compensation from that distance."
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They practiced shooting directly across valleys.
A Norwegian Army Telemark Battalion sniper team takes aim at targets across a valley on Sept. 11, 2018. US Army
Down into valleys.
A Dutch sniper engages targets below in a valley on Sept. 12, 2018. US Army
Italian snipers from the 4th Alpini Regiment engage targets uphill of their position on Sept. 11, 2018. US Army
They also used smoke to help ascertain how fast and in which direction the wind was blowing.
A Slovakian special operations sniper engages targets uphill of his position as smoke in the foreground is used to indicate wind speed and direction on Sept. 12, 2018. US Army
“The calculations are not very difficult,” one Belgian Special Forces soldier said. “The challenge is the shooting positions."
A Belgian special operations sniper takes aim at targets across a valley on Sept. 11, 2018US Army
"To aim at targets that are at odd angle requires getting into difficult and sometimes unstable and uncomfortable positions," he continued. "It is also difficult for the spotter to get a good line of sight. The further out you shoot the more the angle and other factors effects your shot. Operationally it is one of the most commonly used skills, so it is good to refine them here."
They even practiced "stress shoots," which test a soldier's physical fitness and firearms training together to replicate a combat situation.
A Norwegian Army Telemark Battalion sniper and a US Army sniper run back to their rifles during a stress shoot competition on Sept. 13, 2018. US Army
You can read more about stress shoots here.
Snipers from different countries were paired together too.
A Norwegian Army Telemark Battalion sniper engages a target using a night vision optics while a US Army sniper from 2nd Cavalry Regiment acts as a spotter Sept. 10, 2018. US Army
"Each country has its own tactics, techniques and procedures," an unnamed US Army Special Forces sniper instructor said. "When we pair snipers from different countries together, or have them compete against each other, they are able to compare and see what works best."
After the training sessions, the snipers hiked back down from the high-angle range.
Multinational snipers begin their descent down from the high-angle range on Sept. 13, 2018. US Army
"It is very difficult to find ranges where you can shoot at high angles," US Army Staff Sgt. Ryen Funk said. "We don't get to practice high angle enough, so it is good to come here and get that experience."
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