Examining GW Tactics: Fire and Maneuver in Urban AO’s

From the Archives, 2016

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In a recent Article, Law Enforcement told how they found a very large collection of ‘tactical writings’ in the home of Dallas Police Shooter and Army Panty Bandit Micah Johnson.

According to Police, the tactic of “Fire and Maneuver” or “Shoot and Move” was the tactic seen most often in Johnson’s “voluminous” notes.

Since Johnson’s MOS and military career was devoid of any real Combat training or experience while in Afghanistan, Where Johnson actually learned these tactics is up for debate. John Mosby in his superb Mountain Guerilla blog  makes the case that Johnson was taught these tactics possibly by somebody who had participated in Mil-Sim (Airsoft).

My personal opinion is that Johnson at some time or another, post-Army career, received training by Black Power militants within the BLM community, who are most likely, according to Robert Spencer from Jihad Watch connected with HAMAS through the help of CAIR, which is widely known to financially support Terrorism.

The student of history and Guerilla Warfare does not have to look very far back to see the deadly nexus between 1960’s  Black Power militant movements, like the Black Panther Party and the Nation of Islam led by Louis Farrakhan, so the BLM/HAMAS-CAIR connection is by no means a conspiratorial stretch.

Below is a video of an Armed Black Panther Rally/March in Austin, Texas in 2015. Note the chants about how the streets are “Our Streets” and “Oink Oink, Bang Bang” (overtly alluding to how they will Kill Law Enforcement).

When one starts piecing together the Dallas attack, the “Shoot and Move” tactic used by Johnson was one of the main reasons police thought there were facing MULTIPLE shooters, instead of just one shooter, as the fire was coming from many different positions. Gunfire echo in an urban setting combined with the chaos and high stress most likely attributed to this confusion.

This is a very important lesson to learn, both in the study of Guerilla and Counter-Insurgency Warfare (COIN). The guerilla must use any and all “force multipliers” to his advantage to try to overwhelm the enemy (both mentally and physically.) One of the greatest force multipliers is the APPEARANCE that the Guerilla (or the Guerilla Force) outnumber the Conventional Force.

chimney

This tactic most often manifest itself as a psych-warfare tool first. Keeping the enemy confused and fearful creates hesitation in how they will respond both tactically and strategically, which gives the guerilla more time to plan and attack. We can understand this point better as we listen to the Police radio traffic from that day of the attack in Dallas.

Now that we have briefly touched on some of the offensive aspects of fire and manuever warfare, let’s talk about the DEFENSIVE aspects.

The armed citizen must understand that regardless if it is you and a perp facing off at 10 feet in a gas station parking lot or you pinned down in an urban shootout like the one in Dallas, MOVEMENT = LIFE!

I will be touching on some of the more detailed aspects of urban sniping and fighting in some later installments, but right now the key thing for you to remember is to ALWAYS MOVE TO SOLID COVER AND KEEP MOVING UNTIL YOU ARE OUT OF THE KILL BOX.

In Combat Shooting you will often hear the maxim: “GET OFF THE X” (With the “X” Being the Kill box.) For those of you that understand how the OODA loop works (Observe, Orient, Decide and Act) when you MOVE In a fight, regardless if it is empty hand, stick, knife or gun, you force your enemy to RESET their OODA Loop. Even something as simple as a side-step can buy you 1/2 a second of reaction time in a fight and that half-second may be all you need to neutralize your opponent  or escape.

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When we are talking about a situation like the Dallas shooting, where civilians were caught out in the open with a shooter in an elevated position, Movement can be a tricky thing. Depending on the shooter’s elevation, your cover may be of little use since the shooter may be able to position themselves to look OVER and DOWN onto your position. This is what I mean by having SOLID or COMPLETE cover. Remember, If you don’t have a solid roof over your head, it’s a possibility he can see you and consequently, shoot you.

Combine this fact with the shooter using “Fire and Maneuver” tactics and this is how you can end up being PINNED Down and eventually overwhelmed and killed. I cannot stress enough how important movement is in these situations. Staying “planted” in a kill box, regardless of how “safe” you feel, is a sure-fire recipe for a funeral.

Pictures from that day show how officers and civilians alike were “hugging” the ground, Getting as LOW as possible behind vehicles or any cover that was available.

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Staying low as possible is a good tip anytime shooting is taking place, however in an urban setting where the shooter is elevated, it is mandatory. We will discuss more on “Urban sectors of fire” in another post, but for right now it will suffice for you to understand that in an urban setting, depending on how elevated the shooter is, he may be able to shoot farther on the “oblique” than he can straight on, it just depends. Of course what type of rifle he is armed with and his skill level play heavily into that equation. I recommend John L. Plaster’s The Ultimate Sniper and his chapter on Urban Sniping for more advanced reading on the subject.

 

Stay Alert, Armed and Dangerous!

Going Mobile

From the Archives, 2016

mad

A learned a long time ago that when shit goes bad, it goes bad in a hurry. Very often you will have little to no time to think about what you really need to do, you are just going to have to react.

The seasoned prepper knows from experience that there are two basic options when the fecal matter hits the oscillator: Either you Stay Put (Shelter in place if you are using Newspeak terminology) or You Go Mobile, either on foot or by vehicle.

The system I use for going mobile is pretty basic with one of the main advantages being it keeps your gear fairly ORGANIZED so you can lay hands on it in a pinch.

Now without going too deep into the whole “First, Second and Third” Line of gear thing, Here is how I have things laid out.

Slings, Cases, Chest Rigs and Battle Belts

It goes without saying your fighting weapons are your first priority and need to stay ready to be deployed. Ensuring ALL your fighting long arms have a good sturdy sling is mandatory for Going Mobile. Regardless if you prefer 1 or 2 Point slings, just make sure they are durable and will hold up under abuse.

I also have a portable padded rifle case with backpack straps in the event I want to haul more than one long arm at a time. These are bulky and awkward when worn on the back, and I doubt I would ever use it, but it never hurts to have it as a contingency.

There are several options out there for how you stage your ammo and Maintenance and Cleaning gear for these weapons. Some people use Sneaky Bags and Bandoleers. Me, I have found using Chest Rigs and Battle Belts equipped with a holster to fit your Fighting Pistol is much more practical.

For my Pistol since most of the time it is on my person, I simply keep a couple of dual mag carriers (4 mags) stocked and ready to go. This way, irregardless of what goes down, I can either just grab the spare ammo for the pistol or if I feel the need to bring a long gun, holster my pistol in the appropriate chest rig or battle belt and toss the extra pistol mags in my rig or BOB.

For my Rifles and Shotgun I have a Chest Rig and Battle Belt for my Main Fighting Rifle, a Chest Rig and Battle Belt for my DM AR Rifle (.308) Rifle and a simple Battle Belt for my 12 Ga Shotgun. The reason for the different rigs is very simple: CALIBER. I have been asked wouldn’t it be simpler just to switch out the mag carriers and just use ONE Rig? This is a very nifty utilitarian ideal except for the glaring problem that we already mentioned: When Shit goes bad it goes bad in a hurry! You will not have time to be switching out mag carriers, and designing your rig on the fly…you will need to grab your rig and haul ass!

HAVE AMMO, WILL TRAVEL

cans

When you need to move more ammo than what you have on your Rigs and Belts, I suggest using Military Ammo Cans. They are Cheap and Plentiful and stack nicely. The .50 Cal Cans are the  biggest and most predominant, but I also have quite a few of the smaller and narrower .30 Cal Cans, which I have found is great for storing bricks of .22LR Ammo and 12 Gauge ammo. There is also the added benefit of being able to know what ammo is in what can simply by the type of ammo can it is stored in. Just an added perk when you need to get to it in a hurry.

YOUR BOB, VBOB, MEDIC PACK and SURVIVAL PACK

Since this is not a beginners article, I am not going to go into the importance of BOB’s and VBOBS. As far as gear goes, they are pretty much the center piece of a good preparedness plan, so put some serious time, effort and money into building yours.

A Word about VBOBS. Besides the standard items, don’t forget to pack some vehicle maintenance items too; Remember, in a post-apocalyptic, SHTF world AAA is not available. Now obviously you cannot prepare for some of the more major mechanical problem that may arise, but you can prepare for some of the more common ones.

Here is a short list:

  • Belts (Serpentine or Individual belts depending on your make/model)

  • C Clamps

  • Bailing Wire

  • Fuses

  • Duct Tape

  • Work Gloves

  • Screwdriver/Pliers (Regular and Needle Nose)/Wire Cutters

Also, regularly check that your spare is aired up and your jack and other equipment is intact. You would be surprised at how many people forget about that one. Remember: PRACTICAL, NOT TACTICAL wins the day!

As far as a MEDIC PACK, I know a lot of you keep a fully stocked Blowout Kit/Trauma pack in your BOB/VBOB’s and that is awesome, but experience has taught me it is more practical to have a separate medic pack fully stocked, ready to grab with everything from your basic “boo-boo” kit to a full trauma workup with surgical tools.

Also if you have a family, tailor your medic pack to their needs. So often folks go full tilt “Tacti-Cool” in outfitting their bags with Quick-Clot and Sucking Chest Wound Seals and forget about the more practical stuff you will be grabbing much more frequently, like Sting-EZE, Burn Balms, Anti-biotic Ointments, Benadryl, etc.,etc. Also if you have anyone in your tribe that had medical issues and takes maintenance medications (diabetes, heart conditions) these need to top the list obviously.

A SURVIVAL PACK to many people is basically a BOB with 2 to 4 weeks of supplies versus 3 days. Experience has taught me however to minimize everything but FOOD and WATER in these. The main reason being is if you have to exfil in a hurry, this is going to be the only bag with large amounts of food and water in it. Because of weight concerns, you will only be able to carry so much water, this is why it is mandatory to include a well made water filtration unit and several dozen water filter straws for everybody in your tribe. I also pack a small camp stove with some fuel and a GI Grill (County-Comm is selling a version of these right now btw.)

EVERYTHING ELSE

As far as organizing the rest of your gear, I suggest you have a bag for each category below:

  • Flashlights/Lanterns

  • Knives/Tools

  • Range Bag/Training Kit

  • Gunsmith/Maintenance

  • General Field Gear

If I forgot anything, create a bag for it!

Stay Alert, Stay Armed and Stay Dangerous!

On War: Understanding the Importance of Doctrine

Doctrine is an important topic in warfighting, and perhaps the most important area for an intelligence officer to understand. Doctrine defined is The guiding principles that an adversary uses to plan and execute his operations. When we understand adversary doctrine, we’re better informed about what he might do in the future because we understand what…

via On War: Understanding the Importance of Doctrine — American Partisan

Learning from Insurgent Tactics: The Vehicle as a Weapon

From the Archives, 2015

Armored Van used in Attack on Dallas PD 6/13

Armored Van used in Attack on Dallas PD 6/13. Bought on Ebay for $8K

The attack on Dallas PD this past Saturday by a man in an armored van represents a variation on a tactic that has not been seen since the DC Sniper Murders in 2002, where a man and his young accomplice, using a Chevy Caprice sedan and turning the trunk into a “mobile” sniper hide, killed 10 people and critically wounded three others. The two concepts, an Armored Wagon or Van and the Mobile Sniper Hide, have at their core, basically the same concept: To Use a vehicle as a platform for a shooter or shooters to engage civilians and law enforcement, attempting to kill as many as possible. The differences lay in HOW these methods are applied.

The Mobile Sniper Hide (MSH) is a covert weapon, meaning it’s strength lies in NOT being detected, as the shooter engages targets both quietly and quickly as possible, keeping the location of the shooter (and shot) both hid (in the DC Sniper Case, by shooting from the car’s trunk through a small hole). The Armored Wagon on the other hand, OVERTLY engages targets (through gun ports), purposely drawing fire as it rolls on, ie like the Dallas PD attack recently.

The critical keys to remember if the AV concept is to work effectively, is that the engine block must be further bullet proofed (a .50 Caliber round took out the engine block) the tires must be run flats and reserve fuel bladders added.  If the engine or tires get disabled, or you run out of gas at a critical juncture, you are no longer mobile and have no egress options available; you are dead in the water, literally.

car

As far as the two concepts go, the Mobile Sniper Hide is a much more effective tool for the lone or small unit of of Guerilla fighters who live in a civilian population that is not controlled by military forces. Less attention is drawn to the vehicle as a whole, making it easier to hit and run (in reference to the One Shot Sniper Method discussed in the book Fry the Brain by John West.)

If history is studied, armored vans (or improvised fighting vehicles) work well in WAR zones, where both the VOLUME of fire coming OUT of the vehicle and the expectation of SUPPORT (from other vehicles and infantry) can be expected to be large. The downside of course is ANTITank and Vehicle weapons such as Mines, IED’s, RPG’s, Javelins and Grenade Launchers. The evolution of the IFV is an interesting study for the CO. Although I typically steer away from Wiki-Pedia, their entry on this subject is quite extensive and for the most part, correct. Read it HERE.

ATF

Another element of the insurgents use of vehicles to achieve a desired aim can be seen currently with the situation in Iraq where a large number of American Humvees that had been given to the Iraqi Security Forces were stolen by ISIS and turned into VBIED’s (Vehicle Born Improvised Explosive Devices). Read that story HERE

VBIED’s (or car bombs) have been a technique that has seen widespread use by insurgents and terrorist alike. Some of the worst attacks (as far a total number killed) have occurred on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. However, if you ask any American with a sense of history, they will tell you by far, the two attacks that are seared into their memory are The 1993 World Trade Center Bombing and the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing, both car bomb attacks.

In 2010, a car bomb was detected and diffused in New York’s Times Square, thanks to some street vendors who were paying attention. Just another example of why AWARENESS is our first and primary weapon in self-defense.

 

Bibliography and Suggested Reading

  • Fry the Brain by John West

  • Buda’s Wagon by Mike Davis

  • Bandit Country by Toby Harnden

  • Days of Rage by Bryan Burrough

 

Stay Alert, Stay Armed and Stay Dangerous!

Why the Average Civilian Should Study Asymmetrical Warfare

From the Archives, 2015.

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I got asked this question the other day by a close friend and it occurred to me that I had never really plainly answered that question on this blog, even though I talk about the subject frequently. I think the best way to approach this subject is through historical precedent. It is no coincidence that in the study of Asymmetrical warfare, that the historical study and analysis is often the first step in understanding how to apply the principles of GW (Guerilla Warfare) in a practical and concise manner. So it is fitting that this same historical analysis be the very thing that quantifies it and makes it relevant to the “Average Joe”.

Since the beginning of time, man has sought to have power over other men. Before Democracy was birthed, we can read in volume after volume of history books about the terrible political experiments that were carried out through the ages to try to satisfy this thirst for control and power. No matter what people called them: Dictatorships, Totalitarianism or Communism, all of them eventually failed. And though it can be argued by historians and political scientist alikeWHY  exactly each of these experiments failed, whether it be Atheism or political corruption or both. The layman can piece together a fairly good explanation without a Phd to back it up. In a simple word:  Tyranny.

Websters defines Tyranny as:

“Cruel and unfair treatment by people with power over others;  a government in which all power belongs to one person; the rule or authority of a tyrant.”

The Free Dictionary defines it as:

Unjust or oppressive governmental power: A government in which a single ruleris vested with absolute power.”

No matter how you define it, or which definition you prefer, one thing is for certain from the historical record: Tyranny will only be tolerated for a season. Good people will only take abuse for so long before they FIGHT back and if history is an indicator, in most cases, PREVAIL. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at a couple of examples from History and see if this notion does not hold water, so to speak.

The first example comes from America’s very own beginnings. That’s right. The nation you live in and love and cherish (I Hope) was birthed out of REBELLION TO TYRANNY. See, way back in the 18th century there was this thing called the 13 Colonies and this really power-hungry country called England…Stop me if you have heard this one before. One thing led to another and there was this thing called The Boston Tea Party and then the “Shot heard round the World” and finally this document called the Declaration of Independence. Yeah, you get the picture. Well,  something you may not know is that besides the Colonial Army, which George Washington was the General of, there was also these things called Colonial Militias.

Now these militias were composed of every day civilian joes like you and me. They would meet up regularly to train with their RIFLES and work on their battlefield tactics. Well, long story short it was these militias that often dealt the British the most grief during the Revolutionary War. And by “grief” I mean these militias not only frustrated the British Army brass by their tactics, but also Killed a great number of their soldiers. Answering the “how” of this is quite simple: The militias very often did not fight like the British Army fought. The European battlefield standard in the 18th century was for two armies to ceremoniously march their armies out into a field, line up across from one another, aim their rifles and upon command, fire. You do not have to be a brilliant military strategist to realize that this method was about as stupid as pissing in the wind and wondering why you are getting wet.

Well, the militias also shared this opinion. So they employed different tactics, what the British back then called “Indian Fighting”; something the English army were painfully familiar with from the French and Indian War. During that period, Indian tribes allied with the French (like the Delaware, Huron and Shawnee) would often decimate entire British companies in the field using a combination of speed, knowledge of the terrain, surprise (ambush) and extreme violence of action (very often vicious hand-to-hand fighting with tomahawks, knives and clubs.) Instead of standing out in the open, the indian would hide behind a tree. Instead of fighting in an open field, the indian would attack in the thick woods, choosing the time and place of the engagement, thereby controlling it and ultimately winning. The militias,  took notice of these skill-sets and tactics and applied them accordingly. Not exactly what you would call “conventional military tactics” for that time period.

French-Indian-War

The Colonial militias utilized every aspect of this so-called “Indian fighting” (later to be termed Guerilla Warfare) to harass and decimate the British up and down the colonies. But nowhere were these tactics more evident and successful than in South Carolina, by a man named General Francis Marion, aka “The Swamp Fox.” To this day, Marion is credited with being one of the “fathers” of modern Guerilla Warfare methodology and is credited in the lineage of the US Army Rangers. Consequently, it was the US Army Rangers namesake, Robert Rogers and The Rogers Rangers who were credited with first adopting many of these “indian style” guerilla tactics and adapting them to light infantry reconnaissance while fighting with the British during the French and Indian War.

Moving across the globe to South Africa and ahead in time to right around the turn of the 20th century, we can find another great example of your average “joe” civilian forming militias and using “unconventional” tactics to fight a tyrannical invader. The Second Boer War  was yet another example of British Colonialism gone awry. You would think by now after getting their asses kicked out of America they would get the hint, but that is the curious thing about the English; their hubris sometimes blinds them to the obvious.

Before we get into the meat of this story, it will help you tremendously if you first understand who the Boer people were. THIS is one of the best descriptions I think.  One of the qualities of the Boers that I think is VERY important to understand for the modern-day armed civilian is that they were a people who were very COMFORTABLE with firearms and their use, most particularly the Rifle. Living in rural Africa during that time period (and even now) you had to be handy with a gun, not only for hunting but for PROTECTION from predators such as lions.

Boer Guerillas

Boer Guerillas

It is this “Familiarity” with Firearms that Boer parents encouraged with their children at a very young age that eventually created a nation of RIFLEMAN. It would be these rifleman, who in small squads, and using guerilla “hit-and-run” tactics would harass and at times, decimate the British Army by making “every round count” and using the terrain to their advantage to make the larger numbers of the British count for nothing.

Another important element of why the civilian should study Asymmetrical warfare, most importantly, the historic aspect, has to do with learning about the successes and mistakes of past counter-insurgency campaigns. Why? You may ask. Because by learning about these past successes or failures, you can better exploit, as a future guerilla (or insurgent) the mistakes of your enemy in future conflicts as it relates mostly to PUBLIC OPINION and SENTIMENT. Let me give you an example.

In the latter years of the War, the British in response to the successes of the Boers Guerilla Campaign by their “Kommandoes” (or Mounted Infantry Unit or Regiment)  instituted what would now be coined a “Scorched Earth” Policy. Any civilians who were thought to have aided the guerillas had their farms and houses burned, their livestock slaughtered and were typically sent off to “concentration camps”. As you can imagine these tactics were resented by the civilian populace; the Boer Kommando exploited that resentment and hate against the British to build consensus with the civilian population, whereby gaining a strong ally, both in the field and politically.

It can be said then that the Boers were successful in their Guerilla Campaign because of three Primary things:

  1. They tapped into NATIONALIST Sentiment.When a man or woman has PRIDE in what they are fighting for, they will often fight harder than they would otherwise.

  2. The Boers got the MAJORITY of the Population behind them. Public sentiment (both locally and globally) swings a big stick in Counter-Insurgency; it basically either makes you legit or not. Without public support, the British did not stand a chance. Look at any modern COIN example, like Afghanistan and you see the parallel.

  3. The Boer Kommando continuously sought to agitate the British to STRIKE out at the civilian populace;  because the more the British pissed off the public, Two things happened: the more the Boer’s Guerilla ranks would grow with new recruits and the LESS popular support the British would get. You see the cycle forming? That’s the essence of Guerilla Warfare right there.

So with just these two examples I just presented of everyday civilians having to take up the burden of becoming Guerilla Fighters in order that tyrannical government no longer rides rough-tread over their liberties and lives, I ask you, do you still wonder why an everyday civilian such as yourself should study Asymmetrical Warfare? Yeah, that is what I thought!

cyber-warfare-03

But alas, my story is not finished yet. Because even though these two stories were relevant and inspiring, they both happened quite a long time ago, and like all things that pass with time, warfare has modernized also. And oh yeah, there were these things called the personal computer the internet and social media invented somewhere in between all of this, so where does all that fit in? The simple answer to that is it fits in EVERYWHERE. Technology is King. The US Department of Defense announced that cyber-warfare is now the “fifth dimension” of warfare (To join Sea, Air, Land and Space.)

Here is a quote from their website concerning the new “cyber-mission” force:

“State and non-state actors threaten disruptive and destructive attacks against the United States and conduct cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property to undercut the United States’ technological and military advantage. DoD must develop its cyber forces and strengthen its cyber defense and cyber deterrence posture.”

Used too to be to rob a bank you needed a mask, a gun and a big set of nuts. Now, all you need is a good DSL connection and the cyber black hat skill-set’s that a large portion of teenagers across the globe possess. Used too to steal state secrets you needed really talented spies, now, yeah you guessed it, all you need is a good DSL connection and the cyber black hat skill-sets that most teenagers across the globe possess. Point being, technology is a weapon; and like any weapon it is inherently not good or evil, it just is. The good or evil comes from HOW it is used.

So where does this leave the 2015 modern guerilla? Where on the one hand you can look at how terrorist groups like ISIS exploit social media and the web for their own benefit; since guerilla warfare is essentially about “Controlling the Narrative” and gaining popular support to make their cause legitimate, there is no better place to do that than social media. One the other hand, the modern guerilla can look at how DEPENDENT not only modern armies but ENTIRE developed nations are on technology and see that as a definite weakness to be exploited..and they have been exploited BIG TIME. Consider the latest US Government OPM (Office of Personnel Management) Hack; called by one cyber-analyst our  “Cyber Pearl Harbor.” To put it simply: EVERY Federal Employee’s and Retiree’s information and up to a Million former federal employees personal information was compromised.

So, ultimately it can be said, that regardless of modernization and technology, there are definitely”Baseline” skill-sets that should NEVER change for the Guerilla, regardless of the time period. The Guerilla, to maintain his edge,  can never “depend”on technology to the degree a modern military (and the World) does. Example, the infantry officer that skips his compass and map reading training because he things he will always have his Garmin GPS unit…or the Artillery officer that never learned how to compute his firing solutions manually because of being spoiled to a computer, or worse of all, a Government agency that leaves senstive date unsecured. In all these cases, they are one EMP blast or one black hat hack away from being put back in the stone age and then what? What about the American civilian without their cell phone? Yeah, one word: Lost. These sheep have become so spoiled to “modern” conveniences they have become totally useless in the real sense of survival.

So in closing, the Modern Guerilla must know how to exploit and use technology, but never get too dependent on it to function. and survive. The guerilla must accept that the forthcoming battlefield will have a cyber element to it, without a doubt, but using the modern insurgencies of the time as a harbinger; the real battles will ultimately be one one bullet at a time and one bad PR news story (or Facebook Post) at a time, just like in our previous two examples showed. As I said, the Weapons (including technology) may change over time, but the Fundamentals of Guerilla Warfare never do.

Stay Alert, Armed and Dangerous!

Bibliography and Suggested Reading:

 

Future Crimes by Marc Goodman

Invisible Armies by Max Boot

The Savage Wars of Peace by Max Boot

War on the Run by John F. Ross

The Boer War by Thomas Parkenham

Special Operations in the American Revolution by Robert Tonsetic

Memoirs of a Rifleman Scout(Ebook) by Major F.M. Crum (British sniper whose career spans from the Boer War to WW1.)