The Traitors Gate

UAF Hunting Club

British sniper takes out TWO Taliban with a single bullet: Extraordinary images show how crack shot killed insurgents

Two snipers killed 75 Taliban in only 40 days in Helmand Province
In one two-hour session they fatally shot eight Taliban

On a dusty road in Afghanistan, British soldiers inspect the bodies of two dead Taliban soldiers – one a known insurgent commander.

The James Bond-style gun barrel view through a rifle’s crosshairs offers some explanation as to what has just taken place in the notoriously dangerous Helmand Province.

But it does not tell the full amazing story of the moment a crack British sniper, from a distance of 196 metres, needed just one bullet to kill two insurgents fleeing on a motorcycle.

The shot is so rare among snipers that it has its own nickname, the ‘Quigley’, which derived from a cowboy film in which a character played by Tom Selleck manages the ‘trick shot’.

Soldiers from 4 Rifles check the bodies of the two Taliban killed with one bullet fired by Rifleman Mark Osmond while local children look on.

Yet this was not Hollywood special effects or camera trickery. This was the real-life work of Rifleman Mark Osmond.

The stunning feat is revealed in a new book called Dead Men Risen: The Welsh Guards and the Real Story of Britain’s War in Afghanistan.

The book, written by Toby Harnden, reveals the routines of Rifleman Osmond, 25, and his colleague Sergeant Tom Potter, 30.

Osmond and Potter are not the the pair’s real names – they were changed for security reasons – but in a 40-day stretch beginning in August 2009, in a remote patrol base in Shamal Storrai, the duo chalked up an astonishing 75 Taliban kills between them, with Potter killing 31.

And a majority of those kills were at a distance of 1,200metres – the longest-range kill being one of Potter’s 1,430metres away.

In one two-hour patch they managed to kill an astonishing eight Taliban.

But the two-in-one shot, know in sniper jargon as a ‘Quigley’ – after the 1990 film Quigley Down Under in which Tom Selleck’s character blasts his way thought the movie with devastating effects – is the trick shot that the author of the new book describes with particular gusto.

In an extract of the Harnden’s book, serialised in the Telegraph, he wrote: ‘On September 12, a known Taliban commander appeared on the back of a motorcycle with a passenger riding pillion.

‘There was a British patrol in the village of Gorup-e Shesh Kalay and under the rules of engagement, the walkie-talkie the Taliban pair were carrying was designated a hostile act.

‘As they drove off, Osmond fired warning shots with his pistol and then picked up his L96, the same weapon – serial number 0166 – he had used in Iraq and on the butt of which he had written, “I love u 0166”.

‘Taking deliberate aim, he fired a single shot. The bike tumbled and both men fell onto the road and lay there motionless.

‘When the British patrol returned, they checked the men and confirmed they were both dead, with large holes through their heads.

‘The 7.62 mm bullet Osmond had fired had passed through the heads of both men. He had achieved the rare feat of “one shot, two kills”known in the sniping business as “a Quigley”.’

Harden continued: ‘The snipers used suppressors, reducing the sound of the muzzle blast. Although a ballistic crack could be heard, it was almost impossible to work out where the shot was coming from.

‘With the bullet travelling at three times the speed of sound, a victim was unlikely to hear anything before he died.

‘Walkie-talkie messages revealed that the Taliban thought they were being hit from helicopters.

The pair, who competed at the 2006 British Army Sniper Championships, tallied up the deaths by drawing stickmen above their chosen shooting points – and if a stickman had no head, it indicated that that fatality had been caused by a direct hit to the skull.

‘Major Mark Gidlow-Jackson, their company commander, describes Potter and Osmond as the “epitome of the thinking riflemen” that his regiment sought to produce.

‘He said: “They know the consequences of what they’re doing and they are very measured men.

“They are both highly dedicated to the art of sniping. They’re both quiet, softly spoken, utterly charming, two of the nicest men in the company, if the most dangerous.”‘

– Dead Men Risen: The Welsh Guards and the Real Story of Britain’s War in Afghanistan by Toby Harnden has been published by Quercus Publishing and will be available for purchase from March 17

In the sights: Another image shows the view the snipers would have had, as described in detail in a new book

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March 14, 2011 - Posted by | Afghanistan, British Army, Insurgents, Soldiers | ,

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