- "I see the shooter up in the tower!"
- ―Anonymous Senate Commando
A sniper, sharpshooter, or marksman, was an individual trained to shoot an opponent from a distance, often hundreds to a thousand meters away, and often from a concealed location. Patience, steady aim, and cunning were some of the attributes that were needed for a sniper. Stealth was a sniper's greatest asset.
Snipers could be soldiers who remove important opposition personnel and targets of opportunity in times of war, mercenary assassins who kill unwitting marks from a distance, or part of a security force trained as counter-snipers to protect important social or political figures.
Snipers were employed as combat units during numerous galactic conflicts such as the Great Galactic War, the Cold War, the Clone Wars, and the Galactic Civil War. These units included specialized Sith Imperial agents, clone sharpshooters, assassin droids, Rebel Marksmans, and Galactic Imperial scout troopers. Some of these snipers were equipped with recon droids for scouting and calling down orbital bombardment. The Rebel SpecForce also hired snipers such as Myn Donos, who went on to become a member of Wraith Squadron, and referred to their snipers as "TK"s, short for "telekinesis," because of their ability to invisibly "touch" their target from great distances.
Great Galactic War and Cold War
During the years of the Great Galactic War and the Cold War that followed it circa 3653 BBY, the term "sniper" was used to refer to a specific breed of Imperial Agent. These operatives served the resurgent Sith Empire and were combat capable. They were known for wielding blaster rifles fitted with long-range scopes. Imperial Intelligence had an entire training program dedicated to the art of shooting.
The army branch of the Sith Empire also had several larger military units which specialized sniper combat. The Imperial sniper corps was responsible for training these army units. Among these was the battalion-sized the 403rd and one of it's sub-unit named Company E.
Senate Hostage Crisis
During the Senate hostage crisis on Coruscant, when the members of Cad Bane's posse arrived at the Republic Executive Building, Cad Bane was confronted by a squad of Senate Commandos. Aurra Sing demonstrated her skills as a sniper by single handedly eliminating almost the entire commando squad from an adjacent high-rise building.
Battle droid assassin
The Battle droid assassin was a variation of the B1-Series battle droid used by the Trade Federation and the Confederacy of Independent Systems during the Clone Wars. Programming for incredible accuracy, proved lethal to the Galactic Republic's clone troopers. The droids were equipped with a BAW E-5s sniper rifle as well as a standard blaster pistol, thermal detonators, and an autoturret.
During the first half of the Clone Wars, battle droid assassins wore either no markings, like the standard infantry droids, or red markings, like the security droids. Assassin droid were used more frequently during the second half of the war, during which they were painted with camouflage patterns.These sniper units were used mostly for eliminating special targets such as enemy commanders or other highly dangerous foes. Droid assassins were deployed at the First Battle of Geonosis in defense of the most important units waiting to be loaded onto transports, the Battle of Muunilinst against Advanced Recon Commandos, and at the defense of the Separatist stronghold on Yavin 4.
The CIS also used a variation of droideka, known as sniper droideka during the Clone Wars. These droids were equipped with a cannon mounted on their heads. Two such droids was used during the Battle of Kiros.
This variant trooper of the Neimoidian Gunnery Battalion focused upon using Sniper rifles to target enemies from afar. These CIS troopers wore the same armor as that of the Neimoidian Warriors, but the uniform was colored a bottle-green. The units were assigned near Neimoidian leaders for protection, such as Nute Gunray on his fatal occupation on Mustafar. The Neimoidian Snipers were all killed by Darth Vader on Mustafar.
Clone snipers, also known as Clone sharpshooters, were a specialized variant of Clone troopers that served in the Grand Army of the Republic. They carried specialized DC-15x sniper rifles, DC-15A blaster rifles, autoturrets, thermal detonators, and R-1 recon droids while in the field. Clone sharpshooters wore camouflage suits at the Battle of Kashyyyk.
Their main mission on the battle field was to eliminate the Separatist B2 super battle droids from a distance, but they could also use their recon droids to carry out short-range reconnaissance. Clone snipers were chosen from only the most accurate and alert Clone troops, and may have received specialized training from clone assassins. The Clone sharpshooters later reformed into the scout troopers.
Galactic Civil War
Rebel marksmen were chosen from only the most accurate of soldiers that joined the Alliance to Restore the Republic, and were used in long-range engagements, typically to knock out enemy commanders and create confusion among the troops. Many marksman were used in the Battle of Hoth to slow the enemy advance. It was said that a good rebel sniper could make an advancing group of stormtroopers into two fleeing ones.
The primary weapon used was a sniper rifle. Rebel marksmen were also equipped with blaster pistols for close-quarters fighting, a thermal detonator and either an auto turret or recon droid. Auto turrets were used to create a fortified position.
The imperial military employed several different types sharpshooter. A shooter would typically be equipped with a sniper rifle like the DLT-20A blaster rifle or the E-11s sniper rifle and a personal sidearm like the Scout pistol.
The imperial stormtrooper corps used stormtrooper snipers on various worlds and even super star destroyer like the Executor. Some of them were equipped with heavy blaster rifle like the RT-97C heavy blaster rifle. While others was armed the long barrered T-28 repeating sniper rifle.
Scout troopers was another type of highly accurate specialist in the stormtrooper corps. These troops were also trained as survivalists. And to ride 74-Z speeder bikes. They carried imperial scout armor, which was lighter and more practical for their field of operations. Five scout troopers would make up a Scout (lance) squad.
Special forces and sharpshooter squad
The Imperial Army Special Missions trooper was not a sharpshooter specialist per se. But instead highly trained special forces. These troops could be organized into platoon, company and battalion level units. With the special missions platoon having two sharpshooter squads of special missions trooper equipped with sniper rifles and unofficially a light repeating blaster rifle each.
Behind the scenes
The sniper is an advanced class for the Imperial Agent class in Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO video game. This advanced class specializes in sniper rifles, the use of cover to execute ambushes, the ability to call down orbital strikes, and dealing high amounts of damage in battle. The Republic counterpart for this archetype is the gunslinger.
Notes and references
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Hostage Crisis"
- Star Wars: The Old Republic | News & Updates, News - "Fan Friday"
- The Old Republic: Deceived
- Star Wars: Battlefront
- The Clone Wars 1
- Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (video game)
- Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided
- Star Wars: Assault Team
- Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary
- Imperial Sourcebook, Second Edition