Being there . . . . . to learn about and participate in the art of sniping; selecting any one of 13 rifles, its scope, and related equipment; the significant role the long-range gun plays in war; the study of sniping’s prewar and early WWII years; and, above all, pondering death and survival vignettes of both Allied and Axis snipers in Western Europe; and the change of sniper tactics and strategies in the South Pacific and Asian theaters as the Pacific War continued . . . then, to relax after all this, immerse oneself in each of 700 believed destroyed photos from America’s top-secret Studies and Observation Groups files of the Viet Nam War, and other operations . . . .
TWO LAVISHLY ILLUSTRATED BATTLEFIELD CLASSICS FROM CASEMATE PUBLISHERS
. . . each work acknowledged by sniping experts, including secret war and Vietnam military historians, as literature and photos of the highest authoritative class. Those critically impressed, or of effulgent ardor, will value the scholarship within the combined 1,000 pages of the two books researched and written to remain definitive, decade after decade, as long as America has a history . . .
“SOG – A Photo History of the Secret Wars”, by John L. Plaster, A Revised and Updated Edition of John L. Plaster’s “SOG: A Photo History of the Secret War”, Paladin Press, 2000. Casemate Publishers: 407 pages, hc; $49.95.
Reviewed and Highly Recommended by Don DeNevi
Hundreds of thousands of volumes have been published in English about World War II since 1939, but virtually none have paid any serious attention to the sniper, Allied or enemy. Thanks to Gary Yee’s lifelong fascination-turned scholarly and professional, he has drawn from memoirs, government documents, and interviews to gift us with “World War II Snipers” incorporating eyewitness accounts to weave a comprehensive narrative of their actions and importance in WWII. Here, he examines the battlefield role of snipers in each of the major theatres of the war, covering sniper tactics and their weapons in detail.
While certain common traits were shared among belligerents, each had its unique methodology for selecting and training snipers and as casualties were high, their replacements. Drawn from hunters, competitive shooters, natural marksmen, outdoorsmen, farmers, and veterans, they fought to assert local battlefield dominance and instill among their enemy a paralyzing fear.
Yee’s scope is extensive with three chapters each on the major theaters of war supported by a lengthy chapter on the sniper rifles used by the snipers and their equipment. To Gary’s credit,
The San Francisco law enforcement firearms instructor, range master, and armorer devotes his last chapter to overlooked or totally ignored subjects not raised by other researchers. His bibliography is priceless for further reading. In short, Gary advises, “The lessons of the past are as relevant today as they were when learned and practiced in World War II.”
In “SOG – A Photo History of the Secret Wars,” the new edition of Major John L. Plaster’s classic includes a comprehensive, fully illustrated history of MACV – SOG operations during the Vietnam War, including operations, strategies, weaponry, and vehicles used.
In 1972, the US military destroyed all known photos of the top-secret Studies and Observation Group, with the intention that details could never be made public. But unknown to those in charge, SOG veterans had brought back with them hundred of photographs of SOG in action and would keep them secret for more than three decades. Thus, this sensitive, super important, and valuable 456-page text presents for the first time what really happened deep inside enemy territory: Operation Tailwind; the Son Tay raid; SOG’s defense of Khe Sanh; Hatchet Force operations; Bright Light rescues; HALO insertions; sting extractions; SOG’s darkest programs, and much more. For the true “secret war” buff or scholar, this photo essay is an extraordinary addition to one’s personal library.