Anyone knows what camouflage is, but fewer people have seen a ghillie suit. And unless you are looking very carefully, you may not see it period. Landlords would hire guys to go around their property and repel illegal hunters in the beginnings of the ghillie suit. They were called ghillies and would make suits from old rags and frayed textiles to hide themselves in the brush and wait for poachers.
Today a variety of operations, from combat sharpshooting to paintballing are performed in the ghillie suit. The technology remains the same even though the textiles have changed over time. The modern ghillie suit wearer looks like a pile of sticks when they are being still and can remain undetected even when the opposition or target comes within a very close range to them.
Ghillie suits have been associated with sniping because of their simple concept and high efficiency. The act of sharpshooting started around the time of the end of the eighteenth century. Guerillas would shoot at opposing armies from far-away areas to destroy and break the spirits of the enemy. Sharpshooters came about when rifles became more accurate and sharpshooter could be more than 100 meters from their mark.
The implementation of shooters in military engagements changed the the technique in which battles were fought. Officers would stand with battalions and give orders during battle before the deployment of snipers. As more and more commanders were assassinated, troop combat went from direct encounters to more sheltered, flanking techniques. Commanders had to attempt to blend in with the common soldiers to avoid being shot. covered areas such as woods and mountains became the choice area over open areas as shooting tactics became more prevalent. As more ferocious and far-away tactics were used in combat, the rules of engagement that troops before stood by was abandoned.
To pick off top officers and to break the spirits of enemy troops during World War I, all sides had ghillie suits and sharpshooter tactics. The skill to remain hidden for shooters lies within the ghillie suit; textiles hang down and give the shooter unbelievable camouflage protection. There are several different styles of the suit so that the wearer can blend in with surroundings no matter what terrain they are in. A desert ghillie suit, for example, would appear a lot different than a woodlands ghillie suit.
Modern day snipers still continue to use the ghillie suit for protection and security while on decisive missions. Since a shooter often operates alone or with one other man the ability to stay hidden is crucial for a shooter’s safety. A well-made suit to hide the sniper is the most important asset besides the rifle. A sniper’s life would be extremely compromised if they didn’t have the ability to stay hidden until it was time to shoot. To an sniper, the escape is just as important as the actual shot. Many times during the escape the shooter will use the camouflage of the suit to get him out without harm.
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