An American Sniper, ready to fire
|Role||Stealthy scout and surgical anti-infantry unit|
|Men per Squad||1|
|Upkeep per Minute||-9.6|
|Produced By||Weapons Support Center|
|Cost to Reinforce||N/A|
|Health per Man||75|
|Basic Weapon||Scoped M1903A4 Springfield Rifle|
|Open Weapon Slots||0|
|Max. Speed||~4 m/s|
The Sniper is a one-man infantry scout unit fielded by the American army in Company of Heroes. Armed with an extremely accurate rifle, the Sniper can kill a single enemy infantryman with each shot he makes. He has the ability to camouflage himself, becoming invisible to enemy units, which allows him to scout deep into enemy territory and look for exposed targets. Unfortunately, as a single man, he is quite easily lost if not used carefully.
The American army is known for its wide variety of infantry units, spanning the entire spectrum of infantry tactical purposes. On one end of that spectrum, are the Riflemen Squads with their straightforward, brute-force tactics: they are expected to charge in in large numbers, make contact with the enemy, and just keep firing until the enemy is subdued. At the very opposite end is the Sniper: stealthy and calculated. Instead of brute force, the Sniper works by avoiding contact with the enemy, collecting intelligence, and finally taking that one shot when it counts the most.
Snipers are produced by the Weapons Support Center, for the hefty cost of 340. The Sniper is a single infantryman, armed with a scoped rifle, working alone. He consumes 4 - the most expensive infantryman in the game. When used properly though, he can be worth this price and much more.
The Sniper's chief ability is his camouflage. Snipers can enter a camouflaged state, in which they are invisible to enemy units. Unless the Sniper reveals himself (by turning off the camouflage, entering a building, or firing his gun), enemy units can only detect him by coming very close to his position (~8 meters or so). This allows the Sniper to maneuver easily through enemy territory, avoiding patrols and defensive positions. This makes the Sniper an excellent scout unit - gathering intelligence about enemy positions and units, and acquiring line-of-sight for the use of Command Abilities like off-map artillery etc.
The Sniper's attack is his secondary (but equally important) ability. Each shot from the Sniper's Scoped Springfield M1903A4 will kill most infantrymen on the spot - and it is 100% accurate against almost any target at a range of up to 50 meters away. On the downside, the weapon is very slow to fire, and shooting exposes the Sniper to enemy units for a few seconds. Therefore, the primary concern is to make every shot count - whether to kill an enemy officer or other high-value infantryman, or to thin down the opposition during combat.
As a lone infantryman, the Sniper is very vulnerable. While he is physically tougher than any other American infantryman ( 75), this won't protect him for long, especially under heavy fire. The loss of a Sniper is a serious blow due to his high cost. It is not possible to reinforce a one-man unit - it must be replaced! So again, this stresses the point of keeping this unit as safe as possible, revealing him only to make that crucial shot.
The Sniper is armed with a Scoped Springfield M1903A4 Bolt-Action Rifle. This is an extremely accurate weapon, which can potentially kill an infantryman with each shot. Unfortunately, it has a very low firing rate, and does little or no damage to vehicles.
Scoped Springfield M1903A4 Bolt-Action Rifle Edit
The Scoped Springfield M1903A4 is a Bolt-Action, clip-loaded rifle, and one of the best anti-infantry weapons in the game - thanks both to its high damage output and its amazing accuracy.
This weapon has a range of 50 meters; 15 meters beyond the Sniper's own sight-range. It is amazingly accurate within this range, having a 100% base chance-to-hit against any infantry target - even those behind Light Cover and Heavy Cover. Targets inside Structural Cover are a little harder to hit, but not significantly enough to protect them.
Each shot delivers 65 points of damage - easily enough to kill any but the toughest infantry units with a single hit. Note however that the enemy will be informed if any of his infantrymen are killed by this weapon - which gives him a chance to react and hunt down the Sniper.
The only real drawback to this weapon is its speed. Each shot is followed by a cooldown period of between 6.5 to 9 seconds - enough time for an enemy unit to close the distance, if it reacts in time. For this reason, it's unlikely for a Sniper to win a face-to-face engagement with an enemy squad. Still, as explained below, there are many ways to work with and around this caveat.
Note that the M1903A4 will do virtually no damage to vehicles. However, it can kill a tank's gunner, or even cause some engine damage to lighter vehicles (if they are already somewhat damaged).
Finally, be aware that the weapon only has 75% accuracy when firing at targets closer than 12 meters. This is yet another reason to keep the Sniper as far away from enemy units as possible, even when attacking.
The Sniper possesses two abilities, around which his entire usefulness revolves. He can Camouflage himself to become invisible to enemy units, and can then Hold Fire to avoid revealing himself too early. These two abilities are used in unison.
- Costs nothing.
- Activation: Immediate
- Duration: Permanent until deactivated.
- Cooldown: None.
When the Camouflage ability is activated, the Sniper immediately becomes invisible to enemy troops. This allows him to move past enemy units without being detected, slip through enemy defenses, and explore the enemy's territory unimpeded.
If the Sniper fires his weapon, his position will be revealed to the enemy for a few seconds (plus, the enemy will be notified that his units are being sniped). If the Sniper enters a building, Camouflage will turn itself off and will stay off until the Sniper exits that building.
Furthermore, enemy units can detect the Sniper if they move close enough to his position - about 8 meters or so. Some units, like the Motorcycle, have an extended camouflage-detection radius, and can spot camouflaged Snipers from a much greater distance. These units should be avoided at all costs, for obvious reasons.
While active, the Camouflage ability slows down the Sniper's movement. Originally he has a movement speed of about 4 m/s. With Camouflage active, his speed drops to about 2.5 m/s (the actual figures are open to interpretation - they don't seem to match the game data for some reason). This speed reduction ceases to apply when the Sniper reaches Veterancy level 3.
Also, the Sniper's ability to capture Strategic Points is disabled while Camouflaged. Nonetheless, if the Sniper manages to find an unprotected sector while snooping around enemy territory, he can drop camouflage and try to capture or at least neutralize that point - though he needs to be ready to bug out if enemy units respond. Remember that Snipers move slowly - especially when camouflaged - so this may be a very risky move.
Hold Fire Edit
- Requires the unit to be Camouflaged.
- Costs nothing.
- Duration: permanent until deactivated.
- Cooldown: None
While the Sniper is camouflaged, he gains the ability to Hold Fire. When this ability is activated, the Sniper will not automatically fire at enemy targets within his firing range. He will only fire if explicitly told to do so (by targeting an enemy unit manually).
Use this ability to maintain secrecy. Remember that the Sniper's position is revealed when he fires his weapon, so Holding Fire will prevent the Sniper from giving himself away too soon.
Note that the Hold Fire command is automatically turned off when Camouflage is disabled, and needs to be reactivated if the Sniper enters Camouflage mode again. Also, Snipers garrisoned inside buildings will never Hold Fire - the garrison action automatically makes them visible.
To reactivate automatic targeting, simply press the ability button a second time.
Upgrade to Barracks Edit
- Costs 260
- Requires the Sniper to garrison a neutral structure.
- Requires the garrisoned structure to be inside captured and connected territory.
- Activation: Through the Garrisoned Structure's menu.
- Takes 30 seconds to complete
When a Sniper enters a neutral structure that's inside captured and connected territory, this ability appears in that structure's menu.
Activating this ability begins a 30-second upgrade period, at the end of which the building will be converted into a Forward Barracks.
A Forward Barracks has two functions: reinforcing infantry, and constructing new units.
Reinforcement here works the same as it does at the American Headquarters: any infantry units which have lost one or more men can move to within 25 meters of the Forward Barracks, and will be able to replace any lost men for a nominal cost.
Unit production is possible here as well. Initially, the Forward Barracks can only produce new Engineer Squads. As more American base structures are constructed back at the HQ Territory, new production options will become enabled at the Forward Barracks:
|Existing Base Structure||Unit Production Unlocked|
|American Headquarters||Engineer Squad|
|Weapons Support Center||Mortar Team|
|Heavy Machine Gun Team|
|Motor Pool||M1 57mm Anti Tank Gun|
These units cost the same amount of resources as they do when produced from their appropriate base structures. They will appear next to the Forward Barracks when production is completed.
Note that all unit production at a Forward Barracks is suspended if the sector it's in ever falls into enemy hands. You must recapture the sector to re-enable unit production.
Also note that converting a structure into a Forward Barracks changes its ownership to American. The enemy cannot Garrison this structure with infantry. In fact, enemy infantry will be able to "un-convert" the structure back to a neutral structure, given time and opportunity, so you will need to protect your Forward Barracks from this possibility.
Like all other American units, the Sniper obtains Veterancy points by killing enemy units. He receives 100% of the experience value of each unit he kills. Once he has accumulated a sufficient number of Veterancy points, he will automatically advance to the next level, gaining the related bonuses immediately.
American units do not share Veterancy points with one another. To receive points, the Sniper must personally kill an enemy unit.
At each Veterancy level, the Sniper gains a specific set of bonuses as listed below. These bonuses are cumulative with each other.
|Level 1 Veterancy:
|Level 2 Veterancy:
|Level 3 Veterancy:
The Sniper is one of the most interesting units available to the American Army. Its use is so radically different from that of other units, that at times it may feel like he belongs in another army. Nonetheless, the Sniper can serve an extremely important function within American strategy.
Inexperienced players tend to make the mistake of assuming that a Sniper is just an excellent anti-infantry hunting unit. They'll camouflage the Sniper, find some enemy infantry unit, and then attempt to snipe it to death. This will invariably get the Sniper himself killed.
Experienced players, on the other hand, will quickly realize that the Sniper is in fact not an actual combat unit, but rather a scout - meant to remain undetected for as long as possible, and only attacking when the odds are absolutely in his favour. These tactics will keep the Sniper alive, and will generally be a great benefit to all other American operations.
Sniper use tends to change based not upon the current stage of the battle, but rather upon the Sniper's own Veterancy level. The Sniper needs to survive long enough to reach that second or third level if he is to be able to take more serious duties. Until then, he must remain close to your own territory, possibly in a defensive role. Once level 3 is reached, the Sniper can undertake some seriously dangerous missions - such as spotting for strategic artillery strikes or even trying to kill enemy infantry deep inside their own territory.
The Sniper can be a very effective counter to the Pak 38 50mm Anti-tank Gun. The Sniper can kill the crew (one at a time), which will disable the gun without causing any damage, leaving it available for capture by your own infantry.
Sniper Level 0 Edit
Early on, the Sniper only has limited use. Unable to engage enemies at beyond their sight-range, and moving slowly while camouflaged, the Sniper is a very vulnerable unit. If he is to become useful, he's going to have to kill enemy infantry from positions of extreme advantage, possibly supported by other units to ensure his survival.
The best way to do so is to set the Sniper on defensive tasks. He can stick close to a Machine Gun Emplacement (not too close though, watch out for artillery), killing enemy units as they attempt to invade your territory. Camouflage should be used purely for safety purposes, and it's a good idea to switch positions every once in a while to protect the Sniper from mortar attacks and enemy Snipers.
If you require a forward spotter for your other long-range units, like the M1 57mm Anti Tank Gun, a level 0 Sniper can do the trick - but don't try putting him too deep into enemy territory. Keep him Camouflaged just forward enough of your lines so that in an emergency he can quickly get back to safe territory. Hold Fire should be used at all times except when you have a very decisive moment to take a shot and kill an enemy infantryman without fear of retaliation.
Remember, you're trying to get some experience for your Sniper, so don't risk him!
If you can acquire a Sniper early enough, he might be able to go forward and snipe out enemy Pioneer Squads or Panzer Grenadiers, as these units are too small and unsupported to hunt him down during the early stages of the battle. As time goes on however, exposing your level 0 sniper to enemies inside their own territory will usually get your sniper hunted down and killed in no time.
Sniper Level 1 Edit
At Veterancy level 1, the Sniper gets his first important bonus: an increase to sight-range, allowing him to see 42 meters away. This translates to an increase in standard attack range to 42 meters as well, because this is still within the Springfield Rifle's maximum range.
With this range bonus, the Sniper can engage enemy units beyond their own attack range. In other words, a Sniper spotting an enemy infantry unit at the edges of his vision can attack those units without fear of retaliation - though he would still need to get out of there quickly before they start chasing him down. Relocate and fire again, if the opportunity presents itself.
Level 1 Snipers can already begin to make more effective scouting runs thanks to the increased sight range as well. Use them to scout out enemy forward positions or targets for artillery strikes. Again, the Sniper is not yet good enough to go deep into enemy territory without risking himself, so keep him in a position where he can retreat quickly behind your defensive lines.
Placing a Sniper on defensive patrol is still a better idea, especially since the increased sight-range allows him to stay a little further back from the battle, or alternatively provide better early-warning against enemy attacks.
Sniper Level 2 Edit
At Veterancy level 2, the Sniper becomes significantly more survivable, thanks to damage reduction, Suppression resistance, and slightly better Camouflage. Snipers can now make scouting incursions into enemy territory.
Note that the Sniper is not yet at his best, and should be kept completely Camouflaged while inside enemy territory at all times. Remember to avoid enemy units as best as possible, stay out of buildings, and do not open fire unless you are absolutely sure that you won't be hunted down by enemy patrols afterwards.
Use the Sniper to spot for artillery and other Command Abilities requiring line of sight to the target. If you do well, you may be able to get your Sniper all the way to the enemy base, making it a good target for an Off-Map Artillery strike, or a Bombing Run. Remember that line-of-sight also increases accuracy for field artillery units like the M2 105mm Howitzer or Sherman Calliope. Just make sure the Sniper is not too close to the target, or he may be hit by the bombardment.
Sniper Level 3 Edit
At the epitome of his Veterancy levels, the Sniper gains several extremely important abilities, and becomes much more useful than he was before.
For one, his weapon range is increased to 57 meters, which allows the Sniper to kill enemy units at a huge range - though he cannot actually see that far. He can be used very effectively with another sniper (working as a spotter, as explained below) to kill entire enemy infantry squads, by opening fire at them from almost twice their own weapon range. It is now also possible to kill any infantry unit with one shot, which includes very tough enemy soldiers like the Wehrmacht Officer, Knight's Cross Holders or Panzer Elite weapon emplacement crews, which otherwise require two shots to kill.
More importantly though, this Veterancy level removes the movement speed penalty from the Sniper while in Camouflage mode. This allows the Sniper to quickly retreat from any infantry unit that tries to hunt it down, and rapidly move around the enemy's territory, avoiding patrols and other nuisances.
As a result, the Sniper can now conduct more serious search-and-destroy missions. Look for high-value targets like Weapon Teams and other lone infantry units, snipe them all from maximum range, and move away if they get too close (30 meters or so). Once camouflaged, the Sniper can simply run from any infantry unit giving chase, as they move at the same speed and cannot see where he is going.
Another very important potential tactic for a fast-moving camouflaged sniper is surprise land-grabs. Locate a Strategic Point that the enemy is not protecting, get close, drop camouflage, and neutralize or capture that point. Once you're satisfied (or the enemy unit appear on the horizon), switch Camouflage back on and get the heck out of there. A skilled player can keep the enemy confused with this type of tactic, tying up his units into chasing your phantom Sniper around the battlefield. Naturally, if the enemy sends infantry units after you, you can try leading them on a chase around enemy territory or even snipe them to death when they become exposed. There are many devious tactics you can use.
Sniper-Spotter Teams Edit
The range of the M1903 Springfield rifle carried by a Sniper is 50 meters. However, the Sniper himself can only see up to 35 meters away, like all infantry units. This means that unless some other unit is providing line-of-sight, the Sniper's normal engagement range is only 35 meters.
This is increased to 42 meters with the first Veterancy level, allowing Snipers to engage enemy units from beyond their own retaliation range, as explained above. However, the weapon's maximum range is still not fully exploited, especially when the Sniper reaches Veterancy level 3, where weapon range is increased to 57 meters but sight-range remains at 42.
Therefore, one of the best tactics you can try is to use a pair of Snipers working together: one doing the shooting, the other providing line-of-sight. This is a Sniper-Spotter team, and when used properly, can eradicate enemy infantry even with low-level Snipers.
In this setup, one Sniper becomes a dedicated spotter. Usually, it's better to use the higher-level Sniper for this task, thanks to his improved camouflage. His only duty is to locate enemy units - he does not fire, and remains Camouflaged at all times to protect himself. The other Sniper is the shooter, who engages enemy units from as far away as he can to avoid retaliation.
The enemy will only be savvy to the existence of one of your Snipers (the shooter), who will be chased down if you're not careful. The shooter gets good protection simply by being further away - allowing him time to re-camouflage himself if the enemy decide to come after him. It could take a few seconds for an enemy unit to close the distance sufficiently, by which time the shooter is already re-camouflaged and hopefully far away. The other Sniper will remain safe, assuming you keep him far enough away to avoid being detected by passing enemy troops.
This requires meticulous micro-management, but will often allow two Snipers to destroy enemy infantry units very easily - or at least kill infantrymen, requiring their squads to retreat for reinforcement and waste Manpower. You don't have to be too picky about your targets either - any target you can get a bead on will do fine.
Note that if the enemy target is sufficiently weak (like a Pioneer Squad, a Weapon Team, or some other infantry squad with few men remaining), you can attack it with both Snipers simultaneously, to simply kill the entire unit with a few shots. Again, this puts the Spotter at risk, and reveals your use of two Snipers to the enemy, though the knowledge will do him little good if you use this carefully.
The Sniper is your most valuable and most vulnerable infantryman. This is one of the reasons why stealth and cunning are pretty much required for using this unit.
As an infantryman, the Sniper is vulnerable to pretty much any type of fire - especially Suppression fire from enemy Machine Guns. Small-arms will take out a Sniper quickly as well, if enemy troops are allowed to come close enough. Always keep your Sniper away from enemy units - any units - at all times.
Due to the slow firing rate of his weapon, it is sometimes tempting to leave a Sniper to fire repeatedly at an enemy infantry squad in an attempt to wipe it out. This is a mistake, as it leaves the Sniper open to flanking attacks - not to mention Mortar and Artillery attacks, which are deadly to him. Keep your Sniper moving, and never take more than two shots without relocating in between them.
Remember that the Sniper is a single-man infantry unit. If you lose him, you cannot "reinforce" his squad, but have to buy a whole new one. He is worth a whole 340, making him one of the most expensive infantry units (and in fact one of the more expensive units of any kind) in the game.
Therefore, always keep your Sniper in full health. If he is injured, retreat to base and heal him at the Triage Center. The last thing you want is a lucky mortar shot - or worse, a lucky enemy sniper shot - to kill your injured man.
When selected:When issued with attack order: When killing a soldier in battle:
When issued with attack order, without camouflage:
When obtaining second level of veterancy in battle:
When obtaining third level of veterancy:
When activating camouflage:When under attack:
When issued with move order:
When issued with move order in battle: