How are sniper kills confirmed?

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British army sniper
British Army Sniper at undisclosed location (Photo: Pinterest)

In the world of war, there are no confirmed or unconfirmed kills. The whole thing is a misconception, a hoax, and a myth and it’s my opinion. You can accept it or not, but here is an explanation.

The only way to confirm your kills is to ask your enemy how many guys they have lost at a certain place and at a certain time. This, of course, is impossible. Additionally, even the most serious military organizations tend to completely overestimate the damage they have caused in battle. Here are some examples:

  • During the NATO air campaign in Kosovo, NATO originally claimed that they had destroyed 120 enemy tanks. After the war was over, however, they had to (rather quietly) admit that this number was far too high and that they didn’t destroy more than 14 tanks and 18 armored vehicles.
  • The German Air Force in World War II, the Luftwaffe, constantly gave false kill claims. This was so bad that the German Army’s propaganda detachment complained about these bogus numbers. In reality, Luftwaffe confirmed kills were 50% lower than originally claimed.
  • Germany’s highest decorated soldier in WWII, Stuka ace Hans Ullrich Rudel, was despised by his own comrades for claiming kills that couldn’t be confirmed. As he was a hardcore Nazi, the German government loved him and accepted his claims. The same is true for many “success stories” of the Waffen-SS. Most of it was exaggerated.
  • During the Battle of Kursk, the Russian military claimed to have destroyed at least 200 tanks at a certain village. German military high command compared this number with their own statistics and stated that the real number was “one or two German tanks”. The Soviet military had a 250:1 ratio regarding pretended kills to real ones.
chris kyle american sniper - How are sniper kills confirmed?
Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, a recipient of a secret Silver Star (Photo: Wiki)

Chris Kyle, America’s most famous sniper, wrote some controversies in his book about many facts. He even wrote false claims about his military record regarding which medals he had received. His confirmed kills are most probably not exactly clear.

The same goes for modern conflicts. During the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo, most of the fighters observed that their kills could never be clearly established. If you shoot someone, you can hardly go there and check the enemy’s soldier’s pulse. Therefore, a typical confirmed kills account of a soldier sounded more like “between one or two and fifty”.

This is especially true for modern wars waged by global powers and its soldiers. To claim that a certain sniper has an exact number of kills is nonsense.