<XMP><BODY></xmp> Designated Marksman=Platoon Snipers

        An idea that was popular in the military press sometime back was for infantry squads and platoons to have organic snipers. Or, looked at another way, the best shot in a squad should be given equipment to exploit his talent. According to FM 100-60 and 100-63 many Russian units already incorporate a SVD rifleman. This man will also be armed with an AK-74 and carried whichever weapon was appropriate for the action.

        The name most often used for a squad level sniper is "Designated Marksman". Terms such as "Sharpshooter" and "Chosen Man" also have historical precedents.
        The envisioned role for the DM is that while machine guns are used to suppress the area an enemy is in, the DM engages any point targets that present themselves, priority being given to leaders, heavy weapons and electronic equipment (radios, designators etc). Its probable that the DM will be issued with AP, AP-Incendiary or Sabotted ammunition.
        There are several options for arming such a man. It is likely that the weapon used will be in a chambering compatible with rounds used in the squad's rifles or machine guns, at least at squad level. I've come across reports that the British Army is using .338 rifles at platoon level for units in the JRRF (Joint Rapid Reaction Force) on the basis of 14 per battalion, with one per platoon and a small pool for snipers in the battalion recce platoons.

7.62mm L96 and .338 L115A1

Further Comments
        It's odd how terms change and evolve. When I first encountered the term "Designated Marksman Rifle" it was in the context above. Since then the term has begun to be used for a semi-automatic rifle to arm the Spotter in a sniper team.
        Recently DMR has changed context again
DMR M-14
        Now it is being used for a semi-automatic sniping rifle. The model above is essentially a M21 brought into the 21st century.

"M16A4 with associated combat optic (ACOG 4x), the West Coast’s SAM Rifle ~ All interviewed were extremely pleased with the performance and felt it “answered the mail” for the role of the Squad Advanced Marksman (SAM). All said the fixed 4-power ACOG sight that was included was the perfect solution. It gave them the ability to identify targets at distance, under poor conditions, and maintained ability to quickly acquire the target in the close in (MOUT/room clearing) environment. As above, many “stacked” it with the AN/PVS-14 to get a true night capability. No Marines present in interviews knew of any situation where the shooter could shoot the gun to its full capability or outshoot it. Interviewees included STA platoon leadership and members who are school trained MOS 8541 Snipers. They saw no need for the accuracy and expense involved in the version being built for the “East Coast” SAM Rifle by Precision Weapons Section (PWS), WTBN, Quantico. The standard M16A4 with issued optic more than satisfied their requirements."
from USMC Field Report from Iraq

        The above report illustrates that many off-the-shelf weapons may be sufficiently accurate to meet the needs of a Squad Marksman.
        The Israelis have choosen a scoped M-16 as a DMR, there being five marksmen in a platoon.

        A good case can be made that the best choice of weapon for a Squad Marksman would be a semi-automatic or selective fire 7.62mm weapon, such a weapon giving the correct balance of long-range punch and defensive firepower. On the other hand a equally good case can be made for having a weapon that can use the same ammunition and magazines as the rest of the squad's weapons. Possibly the choice will boil down to personal preference and the terrain being operated in.

Further Update
        The British Army has recently began to issue the L110 (FN Minimi/M249) on a more general scale. What is interesting is that the L86 LSW will be retained. One suggestion that I've seen is that a fire team should have two riflemen, an LSW and a SAW. One of the rifles will probably have a 40mm Underbarrel Grenade Launcher. Even though based on weapons as poor as the SA-80 family, such an armament offers considerable firepower, obviously an advantage for small unit operations such as COIN. It is envisioned that the LSW have a dual role, supplementing the automatic fire of the SAW and providing long range precision fire to beyond the capabilities of the rifles.
        A M16 H-bar fitted with an ACOG sight will fill this role even more effectively, since its configuration allows the use of drums and C-mags.

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