During the Civil War, sharpshooters brought marksmanship skills to bear, dispatching generals and influencing battles.
After the American Civil War, repeating rifles and smokeless powder revolutionized shooting. Accurate rifles that didn’t give away a sniper’s position, combined with optical sights, made the stalemate of the Great War’s trenches ideal conditions for the sniper’s work.
After the Great War, Soviet Russia sought to upgrade its military capability—especially when it came to sniping rifles. The result was the scope-sighted, bolt-action Mosin-Nagant, used with deadly effect against the Nazis on the Eastern Front.
Without a suitable sniping rifle, and with no training organization in place, the Allies struggled against German snipers early during the Great War. That changed—and then the Americans arrived.