The story of American sniper Chris Kyle in Clint Eastwood’s Oscar nominated movie of the same name has attracted a huge amount of commentary in recent weeks. The sniper has been lauded as a hero by some and condemned as a coward by others, with left-wing movie maker Michael Moore and First Lady Michelle Obama the latest of those drawn into the controversy. It seems however that Kyle, with 160 confirmed kills is not the world’s deadliest sniper after all.
According to today’s Independent, that “honour” belongs to a British Royal Marine who has at least 173 confirmed kills. That figure is believed to be conservative. The Royal Marine has been a member of the Royal Navy’s elite fighting unit for over a decade and the majority of his 173 kills were recorded in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007.
The Express reports that the unnamed Corporal is married and lives in southern England. A source told the Sun that, at one point the Royal Marine sniper killed a man every ten minutes, and he once gunned down more than 90 Taliban fighters in just one day.
The source said, “he’s a legend, a unique breed. He is one of a unique band of marksmen who have done extraordinary things.”
“He’s not the sort of man to brag. He’s very professional and humble, but with a gun in his hands this bloke is deadlier than the plague.”
The military source also told the newspaper that young recruits were “in awe” of the man. Reports in the Mail indicate that the Royal Marine sniper has a very different approach to publicity than Chris Kyle, whose exploits have sparked controversy, especially after he detailed his approach to the job in his book 2009 American Sniper.
Kyle said “there’s another question people ask a lot: ‘Did it bother you killing so many people in Iraq?’ I tell them, ‘No.’ … I loved what I did. … I’m not lying or exaggerating to say it was fun.”
Speaking about the Royal Marine sniper the military source told The Sun “He is not interested in scores or kill counts. He took no satisfaction in the job he had to do.”
“Because he saw the enemy as humans he has not struggled emotionally or psychologically with what has happened.”
“He had a unique job at a unique time. He must be the most lethal sniper in the world. But that is not a title he would seek out or revel in.”
During his tours of Afghanistan the sniper would have been armed with a L115 A3 Alpha capable of firing.338 calibre bullets with great accuracy over ranges of more than a kilometre. The longest ever recorded sniper kill was recorded by a British Army sniper, at 2,475 meters, using a L115 A3.
The Marine, who has not been named for security reasons, is said to have completed more than five tours of duty, including in Northern Ireland, but not all have been as a sniper. The Royal Marine Sniper may well have been a member of the elite Special Boat Squadron, a highly secretive arm of the UK Special Forces who are amongst the most highly trained troops in the world.