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Snipers effectiveness

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Hi all,

Today i did some tests to evaluate the snipers in the game in order to see what they can do and to use the best tactics to employ them.

First, a few links to read to have an idea of what is done in real life and the tactics employed.





(See Matthäus Hetzenauer WW2 sniper. His longest confirmed kill was reported at 1100 metres .)

I noticed that military snipers are not supposed to open fire at less than 300

m. You can see the details about the 2430 m shot made by corporal Rob Furlong.

It seems that it took only 3 shots to hit the target, but that it was in exceptional conditions.

For the .050 cal it seems that 1500 m to 2000 m is the effective range and 1000 m for smaller caliber.

I made a 2100 m long map, flat, with to buildings. Best conditions of visibility and no wind.

I had a full company of Syrian infantry (90 men) and one platoon of veteran marine snipers + 3 M707 Humvee.

I gave the order to the syrians to move and they were spotted by the humvee in 20 seconds. The snipers had only ? but no identification.

They spotted infantry at 1700 m. The first man was hit at 1580 m.

I just let them do without orders. They hit 5 guys at 900 m, 800 m ,760 m and 720 m. The Syrians lost their cohesion and some refused to advance. At less than 700 m my snipers were hitting at least one man each minute. I

started to give targeting orders and it was better for suppression.It's possible to eliminate a hq or a group faster because when they have to face heavy fire they panick and run away and you can have more kills when

you use the target order.I guess they have better results when they focus on one target.

At 700 m They were all panicked and i could not give orders (except to one hq and the arty spotter).

After 20 mn, end of the "battle".

25 dead, 16 wounded (red), 25 missing.

With targeting order i was able to kill a hq of 3 men at 720 m easily.

As you can see, The Syrians lost 45 % of their men, and 75 % if you take those who ran away, only with 6 snipers !

I did the same test with the british troops.I had only five snipers and no vehicule. They spotted at 1800 m and started to shoot at 1400 m. First man down at 1320 m and second at 1100.Two were hit at 1000 and 900 m. Snipers were very efficient at less than 800 m but Syrians had less suppression and panicked soldiers.

The result after 20 mn is : 20 dead, 20 wounded (red) and 6 missing.

So, much less soldiers panicked maybe because the .050 caliber has more suppression effect.

Regarding those results, i think that in real life or with a human player in the game, the attack would have been broken before the syrians reach 45 % of wounded/killed. Maybe the effect of panick should be more important (i used conscript troops) and for a longer time.

The syrians never saw the snipers. But they were able to see the humvee at more than 2000 m.

Notice that when they were moving they lost the contact (only ?).

At 1500 1300 m if you stop your advance, the sniper will lose contact but if you are at less than 1000 m they still see you even when on the ground. Of course i imagine that with grass and other covers that would be different.

It seems that the more they are soldiers on the battlefield the faster they are seen. I did a test with on only a group of 7 men and they were spotted later, even with the M707 humvee. Also, the more men you have the faster you spot and experience is important.

I did a test with infantry inside a building at 500 m of the snipers.

They could move and shoot and they were not detected. But move on the roof and you are dead. I don't know if they should be seen inside the building when they move, but maybe snipers should have a chance to spot them. I could see from that buildings the snipers with syrians arty spotters at 500 m but not with normal troops(insurgent).

I finished with a test against vehicules.

It took 1 mn to destroy a 4x4 at 300 m and a little more to destroy to others at 420 and 480 m (they were on fire). One UAZ was destroyed in 2 mn at 400 m and a BRDM 2 in 1 mn at 380 m (but mostly with grenades and not

snipers). I think that against soft vehicule the .050 cal is not powerful enough or the 4x4 are to hard to kill because i saw many hits in the engine before the destruction and at short distance they were helped by the other


It seems that on single hit in the engine is enough to stop a 4x4 and at less than 400 m that should be an easy target for a veteran sniper. I think that maybe this should be change.

At more than 500 m it takes more time to destroy a 4x4 even when hit in the engine.

I tried to hit a tank commander at 2000 m but no success.

On the flank, a BRDM 2 had only light damage at 500 m or more.

I don't know if incendiary munitions are in the game but it seems they are more effective in real life since one of the first mission of those rifles is to destroy vehicules. The armor piercing incendiary mk 211 that can be

fired by M2 machine guns and M 107 sniper rifle has tungsten core and incendiary and explosive charge.

I tried with heavy machine guns to compare. It took only 5 bullets and 4 seconds to destroy the BRDM 2 on the flank and they damaged a bmp 1 at 600 m forcing him to pop smoke.3 pick-up destroyed in less than one minute,

with two on fire.

My impression is that snipers should be able to spot at longer range, more than 2000 m in good conditions, but i don't know if the optics that spotter use are better than normal infantry and if they are modelled in the game.

Another lesson is that if you don't want to be seen, don't move. Some soldiers were not detected at 500 m because they did nothing.

I wonder if spotting is related to the number of men firing, one shooter is maybe harder to spot that a all squad.

For those who are not asleep after reading all this :), i think that snipers should be used at 300 m or more but not less (maybe 400 m for the syrians) and use them against valuable targets (HQ, rpg, etc...)with targeting order. They are very good at 1000 m or less and deadly at less than 800 m (for the syrians i would say 800 to 600 m).

Using snipers at to short distance is the assurance to get them killed by rpg or the fire of automatic weapons, especially for syrians.

Now i will stop with snipers, i learned a lot about them, but i would like to play the new british campaign :).

I hope that this was useful and will help other players for better use of snipers.

If some are interrested i plan to do some testing with machine guns.

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Regarding sniper fire against enemy troops in buildings:

It seems overtly hard to get target acquisition on enemy firing out of windows for snipers. And by that I mean that they don't seem to have any comparative advantage vs. even crew men inside vehicles. In fact, I have seen situations where MGers in vehicles even buttoned have spotted firing enemy in buildings that my snipers could not. I feel that snipers with their optics should have an increasing advantage to spot enemies especially in localized areas where they may have spotted enemy fire previously. The more the enemy fires, the quicker he can be zeroed in by a sniper who has LOS to that area. Instead, the snipers seem to be "looking all over the place" in their spotting routines like normal troops. Once an area exhibits fire, the spotting should go from generalized "eyeball" spotting to scan with the scope and acquire.

My most frustrated is when normal infantry can target an enemy chappy and the big bad sniper next action spot over is totally oblivious. I first noticed this in the Brit demo. Makes me wonder about how the details of the spotting routines actually work. Is it possible that troops who are being fired upon have a much higher probability of spotting than the squad or sniper next door? That doesn't make much sense on the face of it, but could be a limitation of calculation power in the engine overall.

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Ok, just after posting, I realized how stupid part of the above comments sound considering some modern vehicles have optics and electronics which blow the doors off even the best sniper scopes.

But I hope you follow my point regarding the sniper's seemingly limited spotting abilities.

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Have you tried using cover arcs for your snipers to see if they spot more effectively?

I imagine that is how they would be employed in real life. A sniper team generally isn't meant to cover a wide area, since they will be peeking through their scopes with a narrow field of vision quite often.


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I did a test with infantry on building.

The building was at 500 m of the snipers. 3 men on the roof, 3 on the third floor and 7 at ground level.

Snipers had cover arcs but they spotted nothing.

I ordered the syrians to move, no contact even for those on the roof.

I ordered the guys on the third floor to move on roof and they were spotted : 2 men down. As soon as they do nothing, they are not detected.

I ordered the seven guys to open fire.

The first to be spotted was the rpg. The others were harder to spot and i could only see one or to guys in the same time.

Snipers were invisible to syrians.

To have an idea of what soldiers can see i made a 4 Km long flat map.

1 company of syrian infantry

3 M707 and a platoon of snipers.

Syrians spotted the M707 at 2500 m but those who don't have binoculars (rpg teams) had only ?.

Vehicules spotted the syrians at 2000 m and snipers just after at about 1800 m.

Syrians did not spot snipers.

I believe that spotting is related to movement, shooting and the type of weapon (rpg is spotted first), the number of men shooting, and equipment of course (binoculars).

I don't know if snipers and humvee should have seen the syrians at more than 2 km. I didn't try with a tank. Maybe would it spot infantry at longer range.

Maybe snipers should have a chance to spot infantry in buildings when moving inside. But maybe they have better results at shorter range.

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I think i can answer your question SlowMotion.

I just had a report from the front.

Syrians decided to launch an night attack to try to identify the troops that wiped one company yesterday.

Same map, night,no wind etc....

1 Marines sniper platoon

3 M707 humvee

Humvee spot at 1700 m

Snipers at 800 m

Contact is lost when Syrians stop moving.

First man hit at 750 m

Two at 650 and two at 600 one minute later.

Syrians never get at less than 400 m of the marines.

All units panicked and i could not give orders.

The Company hq was eliminated at 400 m.

The snipers could see 400 to 600 m when syrians were stopped.

Very interresting detail : Those who performed buddy aid were Chosen as target by snipers. I saw at least 3 of them hit while they were helping the wounded.

When they were at less than 500m the other members of the platoon started to open fire Joining the snipers. But when the Syrians are on the ground, they tend to stop the fire while snipers still shoot.

Result after 20 mn :

27 dead

17 Wounded (red)

40 missing

Without the humvee, Snipers spotted at 800 m.

First hit at 700 m and second at 650.

at 400 m of the marines positions, i could command only 3 syrian units.

The company hq could get as close at 350 m but was eliminated. I gave a target order and the group fired with all weapons and some rifle grenades.

4 mn before the end of the battle, all syrians units were panicked.

Results :

23 dead

17 wounded

46 missing

Syrians were unable to spot the vehicules and snipers.

So, don't attack snipers without cover and it seems it's better to let your friends die if you want to survive.

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Thanks for this playtesting...... Very interesting...

As for the "in the dark" question. On the one hand, I think they would of course have a reduced spotting abilities........on the other hand, due to NVG, they would have an even larger advantage over Syrian forces once any engagements begin...

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Interesting post. Yesterday I was playing a broad daylight big city scenario as blue. The Syrian snipers had this annoying habit of killing my most vital guys! Spotters, other snipers, officers, Javelin teams, etc. So it seems whether he's Red or Blue as good sniper is a good sniper.

There had been some concern before the Brit release (based on the dawn demo scenario) that snipers were having problems. When you're fighting against 'em, there don't seem to be problems :)

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MikeyD, thanks for interest.

Glad to know that this can be useful.

I started to test the weapons in CMBO with the 88 at gun and the stuka.

It was easier for WW2 for me because it's a passion since i'm a kid and i have a lot of history books about tactics etc... Like many members of this forum i believe.

I think it's useful to know what you can expect from your soldiers.

Sometimes we are not happy with the result of a battle. This side is too strong etc.... When i started to play CMSF i was very confident in US tanks. I took a hard lesson at the first fight.

I think many players, just like i did, rely on materiel before tactics.

I was disappointed by snipers in the game, especially Syrians. I think it's my fault because i used them at too short distance and they were wiped out buy the US after on shot.

In CMBO i was to confident in Tiger. I played the Villers-Bocage battle a lot of time to experiment different tactics. I have a very good book about this battle with comments of Lieutnant-Colonel Wolfgang Schneider who was instructor at the tank school of Munster. I took a few good lessons to and i had Wittmann's Tiger destroyed by a Stuart in a frontal shot that killed the driver ! With training i was able to finish the battle without a single loss for the german.

For Schneider, Wittmann was too confident in is Tiger too. That's the reason of is death. And he could have better results in this battle with better tactics.

When i played CMAK, at the end i use to take Italians, the same in CMBO with italians, romanians etc... and you learn a lot with troops that don't have big tanks or guns. This helps to use better troops too.

I play Il2 1946, it's my second favorite game after CM. I used to choose heavy german planes with heavy weapons with bad results. I had the chance to read a book about flying on line called "in pursuit" and i was a better pilot because i started to think more about tactis than caracteristics of planes.

In this book the author says that the best pilots fly the worst planes online.

And they are very succesful.

That's something to think about when people say "Syrians are too weak, this tank is bad etc..."

When i started to play CMSF i use to loose with Syrians and When i took US it was the same. Why ? I didn't know the weapons and i wasn't cautious enough with bad tactics.

I did a little test with machine guns.

It seems that germans used to put their MG42 at ground level. This way, bullets do not go in the ground and fly in a straight way. You can hit two or more soldiers with one bullet.

What i found fantastic with this game it's that this works.

I had two 7.62 mg one on the third floor, one on the ground. I saw to times two soldiers hit by the same bullet of the mg at the lowest level (they were hit at the same time and they were one behind the other).

I did the same with .050 cal and had the same result once.

I think this can help in the placement of those weapons.

Syrians were attacking in line. i would like to know the effects when you shoot from the flank or in a column. I think it's a tactic used in real life to have the more chance to hit a maximum of soldiers.

I will try to do more testing, and i let you know the results.

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Curious about the spotting abilities of snipers versus regular grunts, I created a 2km long test map with a high berm down the centre separating a standard 3 man sniper team with M110 from a 9 man US Army squad.

Advancing from the far end of the map towards the US forces were 2 Syrian mechanised infantry squads (sans vehicles). All units were regular experience, normal motivation, no leader bonus and fit. The terrain is dirt, weather is clear, there's no wind and it's 9:30am.

Both US teams had contact markers at 1350m. By 1200m, the squad had identified the enemy but the sniper still had a contact marker. At 1050m, the sniper also identified his target.

It was interesting to note that, at 1000m, the sniper would see 4 individuals when the Syrian squad moved but would gradually lose sight of these one by one over a minute or two until he could see but a single soldier. On the other hand, the squad saw all 8 squad members at the same distance and would only lose sight of up to 2 of them after several minutes had passed.

It's hardly an exhaustive test, but indicates larger units spot farther and identify targets sooner than small sniper units, despite the sniper's improved optics. The sniper's optics benefit him primarily in being able to engage distant foes. In the test, the sniper achieved his first kill at 830m and killed the final squad member at 400m. The Syrians suffered greater suppression and tired quicker from the sniper fire than the other Syrian squad did when it came under long range fire from the US squad's M249s.

I was surprised to see the M249s light up the Syrians from about 850m. The fire was ineffective (no casualties or suppression) and it wasn't until the Syrians were at 500m that it caused some light suppression.

The final observation I made was that the Syrians were completely unaware of the US forces until they'd been under fire for some time. Despite coming under fire at 850m, the Syrians only saw a contact marker and didn't identify the squad until they reached 500m. On the other side of the map, the sniper didn't even show as a contact marker to the Syrians until 600m and wasn't identified until 450m. There's an obvious correlation between the size of the spotting units (remember, the sniper is whittling down his target, leaving fewer pairs of eyes to spot him) and the volume of incoming fire they're receiving (M249 vs M110).

Next, I'll compare the spotting abilities of the 3 man sniper team with a 3 man HQ unit. I'm also curious as to whether units occupying the upper levels of buildings spot better than those on the ground.

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Ricochet67 : it might be interesting to look at putting a sniper right next to a squad. The squad spots better with 9 pairs of eyes, and (in theory) conveys a '?' spot to the sniper which then has a greater chance of spotting. So putting the sniper next to an infantry squad might improve its spotting. Might be worth testing how much difference it can actually make.

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It might be interesting to look at putting a sniper right next to a squad. The squad spots better with 9 pairs of eyes, and (in theory) conveys a '?' spot to the sniper which then has a greater chance of spotting.
Are you sure that this actually works that way? I seem to recall that spotting informations only travels through the OOB network, but not between "unrelated" squads.

Best regards,


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Are you sure that this actually works that way? I seem to recall that spotting informations only travels through the OOB network, but not between "unrelated" squads.

Best regards,


IIRC Steve said recently that it could pass between units in voice contact directly (but only ones in the same formation - not sure whether that means same platoon, company or whatever). And that passing info between entirely unrelated units (tanks and nearby infantry) was possibly coming in CM:N. Will check for link when I get a moment.

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Here we go. Linky to infallible Steve comment:


There is an information sharing radius that doesn't rely on C2. However, I believe it only applies to units within the same formation. Which it shouldn't, logically. Hopefully that can change for Normandy. With poorer C2 people will need all the help they can get

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I'm not sure that would help the snipers.

I had Humvee that spotted a few hundred meters before the snipers.

The snipers started to have ? (each time a new unit was detected by M707), but they didn't have identification at longer range if i remember well.

For exemple at night humvee spotted at 1700 m and snipers at 800m.

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