Deadlier than American sniper Chris Kyle: With 173 kills, Marine is revealed as the world’s deadliest
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 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.
Most of the hits took place during one six-month tour in Afghanistan – with 90 militants taken out in just one day.
At his most deadly, the sniper, who cannot be named for security reasons, was said to have killed a Taliban gunman every ten minutes.
Kyle reportedly accumulated 160 confirmed kills (of 255 probable kills) during his 10 years with the U.S. Navy SEALs, according to his book. After four Iraq tours, Kyle earned multiple accolades, which included the Bronze and Silver stars.
But the British corporal in question, who is still serving, could have a kill count that is higher. A source close to the British marksman, a married father from the south of England, described him as ‘deadlier than the plague’.
“He is one of a unique band of marksman 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. He’s a legend, a unique breed.”
‘Only people inside the community know about his incredible contribution – but young recruits are in awe of him,’ the source said.
He added that the 173 count was ‘conservative’ and unconfirmed kills would take the figure much higher.
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.
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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: “He is not interested in scores or kill counts. He took no satisfaction in the job he had to do,” a military source said.
“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.”
A SNIPER’S DEADLY WEAPON OF CHOICE: THE L115 A3
Used by British snipers on the battlefield, the L115 A3 rifle is a long-range, large-calibre weapon, nicknamed The Silent Assassin, or The Long.
In 2008, the version used by the deadly sniper during Herrick V was replaced with a newer improved model which has twice the magnifying power of the old rifle.
It provides state-of-the art telescopic views, both day and night, to give the sniper the best possible range in any weathers.
The rifle, which weighs is designed to achieve a first-round hit at 600 metres, but has a range of up to 1,100metres, and fires an 8.59mm bullet.
It is also fixed with a silencer, and an adjustable stand so the sniper can be sure of a stable base while firing.
In November 2009, a British Army sniper set the current record for longest recorded sniper kill by killing two Taliban machine gunners south of Musa Qala in Helmand Province in Afghanistan at a range of 2,475 metres using a L115A3.
THE MAN BEHIND THE MOVIE: AMERICAN SNIPER CHRIS KYLE
Born in April 1974 and raised in rural Texas, Chris Kyle had worked as a cowboy before joining the elite Navy SEALS unit in 1999.
After making it through the notoriously tough selection process, Kyle was deployed to Iraq in 2003 where he made his first long-distance kills even though he had not been trained as sniper.
Spotting his obvious talent, the military sent him to SEAL sniper school, where he was taught how to perform warfare’s loneliest and most controversial job.
In 2004, Kyle was posted to Fallujah, west of Baghdad and a major battleground of Iraqi insurgency, and it was during the battle for that city where he first made his mark.
However, it was in 2006 in Ramadi, a city in central Iraq, that Mr Kyle gained his nickname as ‘The Legend’ from his fellow SEALS.
One day, while positioned on a roof, Kyle watched a moped coming down a street.
Riding it were two men, one of whom dropped a backpack into a pothole.
Realising that it contained an improvised explosive, Kyle took a shot at the speeding moped from a range of 150 yards. The bullet hit one of the riders, passed through him, and hit the other.
Kyle has been credited with saving hundreds of American lives by making 160 confirmed kills, which is the most in American military history. He claimed to have shot down 255.
In 2009, after four tours of Iraq, Kyle retired and moved to Midlothian, Texas, with his wife, Taya, and two children.
He had not only shot more of the enemy than any other American sniper but had also gained himself a chestful of medals, including three Silver Stars for gallantry.
But on February 2, 2013 he and a friend, Chad Littlefield, took 25-year old Eddie Ray Routh to a remote shooting range in Glen Rose, Texas.
Before they reached the range Routh, 25, shot both men dead and stole Kyle’s customised pick up truck.
Routh’s family claimed he was suffering from PTSD and had mental issues. His trial on two murder charges begins on February 11.
American Sniper, the movie based on Kyle’s book of the same name, has been a box office hit, but has also divided opinion, with some criticising the film’s jingoistic stance.
The Clint Eastwood directed film, which was produced by and stars Bradley Cooper, has been accused of glorifying murder and serving as war propaganda, most notably by director Michael Moore.
On the same day the film hit U.S. cinemas, Moore – director of Fahrenheit 9/11 – courted controversy by slamming snipers as ‘cowards’ who ‘shoot you in the back’ Taking to Twitter in rage, Moore seethed: ‘My uncle killed by sniper in WW2.
We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren’t heroes. And invaders r worse.’
Actor Seth Rogen also caused controversy after tweeting: ‘American Sniper kind of reminds me of the movie that’s showing in the third act of Inglorious Basterds.’
However, US First Lady Michelle Obama said the film ‘touches on the emotions and experiences’ of many military families.