The German Sniper
1914-1945
By Peter R. Senich

1998
By Scott Powers

If you are a collector of German military firearms or militaria, have a love for history and wish to follow the development of sniping from infancy to maturity, this big volume is for you. I was hooked by page xiii where I found a breakdown of all German Production Marks as found on the equipment chronicled in this expansive work. The German Sniper was, I believe, the first in Mr. Senich's long series of sniper related material. In my mind it was his best, with One-Round War a close second.

The German Sniper is literally stuffed to the gills with hard to find information on the early years of European sniping activity, sniper deployment in World Wars One and Two, and the equipment fielded. While the work primarily details Germany's efforts, it also covers Great Britain's early trials with sniper/counter-sniper deployment. Some of the ploys utilized by the opposing forces were hilarious yet effective. Life size model heads complete with realistic expressions, stuffed "dead" horses, steel observation platforms in the shape of trees. Senich documents it all in text and photographs.

If you are a serious collector of militaria you must have this book. It is an excellent reference for checking the originality of a sniper related firearm, scope, or leather product. Today's level of reproductive manufacturing cried out for a guide you could trust. This book seems to fit the bill. I passed on a so-called "Sniper Rifle" purchase back in the mid-80s due to a discrepancy I found when comparing it to the material in the book. This book gives a prospective buyer the knowledge to critique the originality of a historical piece against fraud. It is one of the most informative "history" books I have read. As the adage goes, buyer beware.

Senich gives the reader a huge collection of valuable and detailed photographs. You will find details and photos on almost every conceivable type of official and unofficial camouflage, firearm, and sighting system. When you consider the research necessary to cover it all, the mind boggles.

The Germans, historically never adept at making logistical sense, fielded a bewildering variety of firearms and scopes during the two "wars to end all wars." Trying to keep these systems operational must have made more than one head swim! That Senich managed to detail them ALL says a lot about the level of his research. He didn't miss a trick.

So, by now you've got the impression that I really liked this work and would recommend it highly. Well, you'd be right! It was worth every penny. I will give you one caveat; make no mistake, this is a serious history book. While the layout is excellent and the reading very interesting, it may not be for everyone. If you consider smart dialog, detailed history, and accurate information as exciting as a Tom Clancy novel, you will want this work. If you are a student of the "Dukes of Hazzard" school of adrenal addiction, you might save your money for something else. I give this book a 10-X.



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