A thick fog slowly crept across the green foliage covering Hohenfels Training Area. The sounds of birds chirping rose with the sun. One would never guess that hidden in the Bavarian mountains were snipers from 14 different countries, all competing to be the best. 7th Army Training Command and the Joint Multinational Readiness Center hosted this year’s European Best Sniper Team Competition at Hohenfels Training Area, Germany, Aug. 5-14, 2021, with competitors from around the European theater. Twenty-seven sniper teams competed against each other in a grueling test of sniper skill, speed, and knowledge. Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, and the United States Army all competed to prove they were the best, Aug. 5-14, 2021.
For the first time since its inception, the competition was held at Hohenfels Training Area. It was also the first U.S. Army-hosted sniper competition to allow multinational participation since the start of the pandemic in 2020. The European Best Sniper Team Competition provides an arena for professional development and for NATO Allies and Partners to share tactics, techniques and procedures. Being able to cross-integrate TTP’s with exercises like the European Best Sniper Team Competition promotes interoperability to the highest degree. According to Mirabella, the best part of the competition was being able to work with so many other countries. Watching sniper teams handle each lane and overcome their obstacles gave him a new perspective.
7th ATC modeled the competition’s lanes to each represent a specific period of time honoring events from World War I to more recent conflicts. As an example, the Mogadishu event of the competition was inspired by Master Sgt. Gary Gordon and Sgt. 1st Class Randy Shughart, two Delta Force snipers who provided cover fire to a crew of men who were critically injured after their helicopter went down during Operation Gothic Serpent. They provided fire from their helicopter, and eventually dismounted the aircraft so that they could get closer to help the injured crew. In the end, after depleting their ammo, they were killed by Somali gunfire but are historically credited with killing 25 Somali enemies, and wounding many more.
From day one, each competitor showed anticipation and excitement. As soon as they arrived they were given the opportunity to zero their weapons, check their optics and make sure they were ready to go for the competition. With the details of the competition kept under close hold throughout the week, the competitors had to rely on their experience and skill as a sniper team during each event to be named this year’s winner. The competitors were expected to use various abilities you’d expect from a sniper, such as using maps, conducting reconnaissance, firing their weapons systems, conducting physical fitness, having knowledge on various sniper tasks, and utilizing their abilities to adapt to new situations. The Slovenian sniper team, named Lynx 01, finished first place for the European Best Sniper Team Competition 2021. Team Vuruskan from Turkey took second, and team S1 from Latvia placed 3rd in this years competition.