• Sniping in France 1914-18 (by Major H. Hesketh-Prichard DSO, MC.)

    Sniping in France 1914-18
    Author: Major H. Hesketh-Prichard DSO, MC.
    Publisher: London, Hutchinson & Co.
    ISBN: 1874622477 (Hard Cover Edition)
    Format: 348 pages plus plates (Electronic Version)


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    Note: Original PDF file of complete book located by MILSURPS.COM member Alan De Enfield (click here).

    Observations: by Badger

    I have the hard copy and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, which was reviewed in our Book and Video Review Corner.

    For anyone wanting to get a sense of what it was like to train and operate as a sniper during the Great War 1914-1918, this book Sniping in France 1914-18 by Major H. Hesketh-Prichard DSO, MC. ISBN: 1874622477 that Alan located on-line is a must read.

    This is a highly interesting read and discusses the use of tactics, equipment, training methods and the creating of the first official sniper training school for British forces. To realize that their engagement ranges for early SMILE and Pattern sniper rifles with Winchester A5, Aldis and Periscopic Prism scopes was between 200 and 400 meters (average distance between trenches) is fascinating, when we think about modern military sniper engagements today starting at 600 meters and going out to 2,000 meters with heavy caliber rifles.

    There are two rifles of the kind Prichard talks about being used, in the United Kingdom - Milsurp Knowledge Library (click here)

    1916 ShtLE (Short Lee-Enfield) No.1 MkIII* Sniper Rifle (click here) .....

    No3 MkI* (T) Rifle - (Pattern 1914 Mk1* W (T) Sniper Rifle) (click here) .....

    This book is out of print, so I'd suggest you use a "Google" search on the title to see if you can find a hard copy from one of the rare used book sources on the Internet, or save yourself $70 plus dollars and download the electronic version here, located by Alan de Enfield. I personally like hard copies for my paper based research library, so I found it as a reprint on Amazon.com.

    SNIPING IN FRANCE 1914-18: With Notes on the Scientific Training of Scouts, Observers, and Snipers (Click here for Amazon.com)
    Hardcover: 176 pages
    Publisher: Helion and Company Ltd.; Newly-typset Ed edition (August 2004)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 1874622477
    ISBN-13: 978-1874622475
    Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
    Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces



    Collector's Comments and Feedback:

    1. Book Review of Hard Cover Edition from Hellfire Corner - Great War Web Pages

    This is a very well-made book - an excellent product. It's the first in a new series from Helion, to be called "The Helion Library of the Great War." They have chosen a much sought-after title to begin with.

    The magnificently-named Hesketh Vernon Hesketh-Pritchard was very much an action man. A big-game hunter, considered by many to be the best rifle shot in the world, he was a much-travelled and essentially practical man. He loved sport - especially cricket - and in some ways he was the stuff of the "boys' own" type of all-action stories which were so popular at the time, and even wrote some examples of the genre himself!

    When the great War began he secured a commission in the army and before long he was being looked upon as the army's own "Sniping Expert." His expertise and enthusiasm for his subject, were beyond doubt. He was also (to use one of his own phrases) a "man of push and go" and these qualities must have made him a considerable force when he set about the task of convincing his superiors of the need to organise the army's sniping activities by means of a scientific approach and proper training. Before long, Hesketh-Pritchard was in charge of the First Army School of Sniping, Observing and Scouting in which he was able to put into effect his theories - not just about snipers as effective shots, but also about how to make use of the attendant skills which sniping entailed. For example, his experience as a hunter had taught him the importance of becoming extremely familiar with the habitat of his quarry, and it was an easy step for him to transfer these skills to No-Man's Land. He saw how a sniper, patiently watching a section of enemy trench, and familiar with every detail of it, would notice slight changes, movements and signs which a less interested observer might miss - information which could have a significant Intelligence value.

    "Sniping in France" is Hesketh-Pritchard's own account of how he went about the job of developing his ideas. It's an engaging read and the written style is wonderful! It's almost an object-lesson in how to write a war memoir, 1920-style. If Hesketh-Pritchard had a sergeant who was in charge of correcting telescopic sights, then you can be sure that he was the best man in the world at this job. The Army commanders he came into contact with were "without equal" in all aspects of leadership. All private soldiers talk with a mixtures of dropped aspirates and unlikely sentence-construction - wonderful stuff.

    Behind this modern-day amusement though, there is a serious side. Hesketh-Pritchard doesn't mention big, set-piece battles. There are no Sommes or Passchendaeles in his book. His focus - like the view through his telescopes - was very narrow. He was concerned with the solitary task of lying concealed and watching. While other branches of the army looked for ways of killing the enemy en masse amid great uproar and drama, he was concerned with killing Germans quietly, personally and one at a time.

    As students of the Great War, it does us good to leave off looking at the "big picture" now and then, and look in detail at a very small part of the whole thing, just as the snipers and observers did. There is a lot of important and absorbing detail in this book. For example - we all know that British snipers used telescopic sights, but how many of us knew that the sights were actually fixed to the side of the rifle, not on the top? One wonders why. So did Hesketh Pritchard!

    A really welcome addition to the current Great War library. Congratulations to Helion on launching their new series so well.



    2. As per the Copyright Act, copyright in a work exists for the life of the author/creator, the remainder of the calendar year in which he is deceased, plus fifty years after the end of that calendar year.

    For Crown copyrighted works, there is a slight difference. Section 12 of the Copyright Act stipulates:

    “12. Without prejudice to any rights or privileges of the Crown, where any work is, or has been, prepared or published by or under the direction or control of Her Majesty or any government department, the copyright in the work shall, subject to any agreement with the author, belong to Her Majesty and in that case shall continue for the remainder of the calendar year of the first publication of the work and for a period of fifty years following the end of that calendar year. [S.C. 1993, c. 44, s. 60(1)]”
    ...... (Feedback by "Badger")
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Sniping in France 1914-18 (by Major H. Hesketh-Prichard DSO, MC.) started by Badger View original post
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. smle303br's Avatar
      I am very pleased with the member who so kindly uploaded this book. Thank You.
      I previously downloaded A Riflemen Went To War. This was also a great book and as such I decided that the least I could do was to become a member of Milsurps.com. Thank you all for the info that all you ladies/gentlemen have posted. This is a great site and I often refer to it just for the shear enjoyment of reading every thing that this site contains. By the way I really became interested in this site when I seen it on the home page of Canadian Reload Radio. Once again thank you all very much.
      smle (Bill)
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