Sniper Fire Reaction: Ukrainian Paramilitary Unit Comes Under Direct Fire

first published on June 8, 2018 by

Members of the Shakhtarsk Battalion, a now disbanded Ukrainian Paramilitary Unit which fought excellently near Ilovaisk, take contact from an accurate enemy sniper. The video at the bottom of this article shows the unit conducting a near perfect reaction to sniper fire, and it is all recorded on a small action camera that is mounted to one of their shoulders. If you’ve ever wondered what a proper immediate action drill for sniper fire looks like, here is your example.

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An immediate action drill is any small unit drill that is designed to allow a small group of troops to react to a situation instantly with minimal communication. These drills are often practiced in peace-time scenarios as canned reactions to situation that arose in past conflicts, and are taught all the way down to the lowest level of professional soldiers in any actual military force. Often, these drills are repeated over and over until it is impossible for even the weakest Private in any unit to get the procedure wrong. These drills allow small units to move into contested areas prepared for whatever situation they may face, and they are often fluid in order to allow leadership to tweak the maneuvers for the situation they find themselves in.

In response to sniper fire, the immediate action drill is broken into an acronym known as SAMK. Suppress, Assess, Move, Kill. Upon receiving contact from the sniper, the unit immediately turns in the direction of the sniper fire and lays down an overwhelming base of fire to regain the initiative. This is known as gaining fire superiority, and is dependent on the number of shooters the unit is taking contact from. This base of fire also allows members of the unit to maneuver into cover where they can begin to assess the situation, and locate the sniper. Once the sniper is located, the unit continues to keep up a rate of fire that will allow them to move to the sniper’s location and kill or capture him.

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The men seen in this video are members of the now disbanded paramilitary organization known as the Shakhtarsk Special Operations Traffic Police Battalion. The 700-man unit was an all volunteer organization used in the earlier stages of the Ukrainian conflict to help defeat Russian Separatist logistical lines in the Shakhtarsk region of Ukraine. In October of 2014, the unit was disbanded by the Ukrainian Interior Ministry after several serious instances of looting occurred with smaller units inside of the Battalion, with some civilians even reporting that the group was conducting even harsher crimes against civilians in the regions that they were operating in such as rape and murder.

“The Shakhtarsk battalion, which fought excellently near Ilovaisk, was disbanded on orders issued by the minister because it was involved in repeated instances of looting in Volnovakha and in other situations,” Avakov was quoted as saying on October 17, 2014 on Radio Liberty. “Regrettably, a mere 50 soldiers had brought dishonor upon the entire 700-strong battalion,” he said. Measures were later taken to improve discipline in other special operations battalions to ensure that the offenses of the Shakhtarsk Special Operations Traffic Police Battalion would not happen again with other paramilitary units operating in the on-going Ukrainian conflict, and no other reports have been uncovered.

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