When North Korea invaded South Korea forcefully in 1950 the whole world sat up and took notice. The Communist forces marched in aggressively with all their battle armor and troops ready to take on the South Korean nation. One of the strategic elements of the Communist warfare included well-trained snipers from North Korea.
These snipers had been trained specially by China as well the former Soviet Union for the Communist regime. The majority of the Korean snipers were equipped with a rifle known as the Moisin Nagant Model 1891/30.
Failure of Allied Forces War Snipers
The first five years of the war saw many of the Korean snipers effectively taking out strategically important targets. In fact this strategy was also utilized by the US armed forces who had gathered their resources to liberate South Korea from the Communist regime. An Army Marksmanship Training Unit was established at Camp Perry, Ohio in United States. It was the first US Army Sniper School and was operated in the years 1955 and 1956.
However, the effectiveness and collateral damage potential of Korean War snipers for South Korea was not really appreciated and their value was not understood. This led to the abandonment of the training program soon of the establishment of the sniper school in America.
Well-Known Communist Korean War Snipers
The Communist regime went on to utilize Korean War snipers very effectively. One of the famous snipers of the Communist forces during the Korean War is the Chinese sniper known as Zhang Taofang.
Selection of North Korean War Snipers
A sniper was actually chosen to be a member of a sniper team. The aim of a sniper is to identify a target and be able to lock in a shot immediately and neutralize it. However, Zang Taofang’s first encounter with the allied forces was anything but successful.
He aimed at a target and missed while shooting 12 bullets at the enemy and then in return was almost killed by the heavy enemy fire. Once he reassessed his skills he was able to practice and shoot without missing the target. Experienced snipers were soon left behind as he is on record for having shot seven enemies with nine bullets on February 15, 1953.
He soon gained a lot of popularity after his stint of 40 days with the sniper group resulted in him successfully shooting 71 Army personnel with 240 bullets. In fact news reports published in the local papers were quoted as claiming that the Korean War sniper had shot 113 members of the enemy.
UN troops reported that the Korean War sniper had hit 214 targets while using the Mosin Nagant 7.62mm carbine without a scope! This is quite an unbelievable achievement, but amazing things are known to have happened during the Korean War.
The many tunnels that North Korea had dug through to South Korean territory allowed their snipers to reach prime locations. That meant that in addition to sniping skills it was actually a combination of shooting and a prime location for selecting targets that led to the success of North Korean snipers, whereas South Korean and the Allied Forces did not benefit nearly much from utilizing this tactic.