This is a short synopsis and if anyone has anything to contribute please do so! There probably has been something like sniping ever since the development of the rifled barrel. Some seminal sniping was done in the American Civil War and the Boer War. However, modern sniping really got its start in WW1. Here, shooting accurate, scope-sighted rifles became the norm. Early lone snipers gave way to two-man teams, a shooter and a spotter/observer. This system has been carried on up until the present time, the only difference being that the equipment is now so much better. The Germans were the first to recruit and use snipers and they dominated the trenches of their enemies until about 1916 when British, and to an extent, the French, started catching up. After the war, sniping fell out of favor in almost every army. Perhaps it could be excused in the Heer since they were more concerned with totally rebuilding from the bottom up. The former Allies were mostly concerned about reducing their armies and sniping, never popular with those in charge, was one of the first things to be discarded, because, the planners said, sniping was a creature of trench warfare and all armies agreed that such a war could not be allowed to happen again. Therefore, sniping programs were felt to be unnecessary and disbanded. Only one army embraced sniping in the interwar years and that was the Red Army. One of the lessons they learned from the Spanish Civil War was that snipers were a cheap "force multiplier". So they promoted sniping, developed a sniping version of their trusty Mosin-Nagant rifles and started training snipers in wholesale batches. When war broke out in Europe sniping wasn't seen to be something that was needed. The quick campaigns of movement seemed to make sniping irrelevant. Certainly, the U.S. Army thought so as they started to build a mechanized army oriented to offence. Later, they would learn differently. At this time, other than the USSR, only the Waffen SS under the patronage of Heinrich Himmler had an ongoing, active sniper program. After the German invasion of the Soviet Union the Heer started taking bunches of casualties from unseen marksmen. Certainly, Soviet snipers contributed their fair share to the heavy German casualties of Barbarossa and also helped slow down the advance of the German forces. They also helped hold back German infantry and slowed encircling movements so that other Soviet soldiers could escape. To say the least, the Germans were impressed! Unfortunately for them, with the exception of the SS noted above, there wasn't any snipers or sniping equipment available to the Germans. However, the Heer was always able to jury-rig something up so individual soldiers, armed with captured Soviet sniper rifles started taking the sniping war back to the Soviets. We have all read accounts of Soviet vs. German snipers in Stalingrad (some true, some not) so at least some German units had snipers by that time. German sniper training schools were established and such courses could take up to four or five months to complete. "German thoroughness" again being evident. British sniping really got going after the invasions of Sicily and Italy. There, German snipers were much in evidence and the British had to play catch-up. This they did and by 1944 they had some very good sniper teams working in Normandy to combat what was seen as a German sniper behind every bush. (There certainly wasn't that many German snipers but this is a good example of sniping dominating the battlefield and limiting movement). Since there seems to be a British book about every aspect of WW2, is there a good one about the British snipers?? More info is needed here. The U.S. Army came into sniping late. Sniping rifles were developed and distributed, but their use depended upon the importance given sniping by regimental and divisional commanders. That meant that sniping might be important in one division or regiment while a neighboring unit might have none. Some units established their own sniping schools while others just handed out scoped rifles to soldiers who were good shots and they just did what they could within the platoon or company they were assigned to. After the war the U.S. Army again abandoned sniping, picked it up somewhat in the Korean War, abandoned it again, and then only after Vietnam came up with permanent, comprehensive program. With its emphasis on rifle marksman ship, the USMC was a whole different matter. Sniping was given a higher priority and by the end of the war progress had been made in what was to become the Marine Scout-sniper program which continues to this day. In the Pacific, Japanese snipers made themselves felt in most of the major battles of the island-hopping campaign. They had good field craft and camouflage plus they were accurate and effective out to say 400 meters, which in the jungles of the area was a long ways. Here I ran into problems! I have not found much on Japanese sniper training or doctrine. Obviously they had some but I haven't run across it yet. Can any of you help?? As far as I can tell, the Italian army did not field and snipers but I could be wrong here.