Friday, November 29, 2013

The franc-tireur, or "sniper"

According to [a source I just discovered]: "Translated from the French as literally 'free shooter' and originating from the 1870-71 Franco-Prussian War, 'franc-tireur' was the term used to describe civilians who took up arms against an enemy power contrary to the usual rules of war.

"During the First World War the term was most commonly attributed to Belgian citizenry who took to sniping in opposition to the neutral country's occupying German force." What upset the Germans so much about the sniping is that they were not at all used to "guerilla warfare" tactics involving uncoordinated, impromptu shooting by civilians from apartment house windows and similar opportunistic vantage points. They were literally shocked by this!

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