Iraqi snipers get a skills set hone- up
IT IS believed more than 1200 Iraqi forces were killed in the battle for Mosul and more than 6000 wounded.
Among them were Iraqi Ranger Battalion sniper Staff Sergeant Amehed Mo Head Taer’s friends.
“Three of my friends died but they weren’t from my unit,” he said.
“I feel really sad and sorry about losing my friends but it has not broken my ability to still invite the enemy to die.
“Everyone will leave their families; I will leave my wife and children, to make my country free from all enemies.”
The type of fighting faced by the Iraqis in the recapturing of Mosul is often referred to as the deadliest urban combat since World War II.
It was an incredible feat given most of the foot soldiers had limited, if any, formal training.
“I saw most of the fighting in Mosul,” Staff Sgt Taer said. “Many snipers of the enemy were killed in short range by my unit.”
Staff Sgt Taer, 30, said he and his unit’s soldiers had previously been trained by the Spanish military and they were now relishing the chance to work with the Australians and New Zealanders.
“I will continue to practise when I leave this course and teach my friends,” he said.
“God willing, we will see a good future for my country.”
A New Zealand instructor with a protected identity said about 30 students including Staff Sgt Taer began the sniper course on Sunday, which will include an introduction to spotting, marksmanship and live firing.
He said the course was developed beyond a beginner level to cater to the varying experiences of those in the classroom.
“We do a diagnostic at the start of the course and find out what combat experience they have and then translate that into what they know about the weapons system,” he said. “They might have a lot of combat experience compared to Australians and New Zealanders but in terms of knowing how to employ the weapons correctly they are a bit weak, so we try and suit the training to our audience.”
The instructor said one of the challenges was the Iraqis’ use of eastern European weapons compared to American- based models used by the coalition forces.
“They feed us back their combat experience in what they saw in Mosul and how they reacted to that and then we can use that in our own tactics, techniques and procedures.
“I think it’s really cool that we train the Iraqis in this line of work where it’s such a precision effect where they can enable their commander, and it can work across all environments saving civilian lives.”
The instructor said making the training as enjoyable and realistic as possible kept the Iraqi soldiers motivated to become better shooters.
“The sniper is a force multiplier and it’s not just a precision or lethal effect, you can support the commanders with observations and keep people safe,” he said.
“It can protect the troops and the civilians so I think it’s a big pay- off course for the Australians and New Zealand trainers to conduct.”
STAFF SGT AMEHED MO HEAD TAER