British Sniper Takes Two Taliban Out With One Bullet: The Quigley Manoeuvre
Within 40 days, the two marksmen from 4 Rifles, part of the Welsh Guards Battle group, had achieved 75 confirmed kills with 31 attributed to Potter and 44 to Osmond… Potter had notched up seven confirmed kills in Bara in 2007 and 2008 while Osmond’s total was 23. Both were members of the Green Jackets team that won the 2006 British Army Sniper Championships…
Osmond takes aim – he’s aware of the lack of equipment and will make best use of all weaponry:
Osmond fired warning shots with his pistol and then picked up his L96, the same weapon – serial number 0166 – he had used in Iraq and on the butt of which he had written, ‘I love u 0166’. Taking deliberate aim, he fired a single shot. The bike tumbled and both men fell onto the road and lay there motionless. When the British patrol returned, they checked the men and confirmed they were both dead, with large holes through their heads.
The 7.62 mm bullet Osmond had fired had passed through the heads of both men. He had achieved the rare feat of ‘one shot, two kills’ known in the sniping business as ‘a Quigley’. The term comes from the 1990 film Quigley Down Under in which the hero, played by Tom Selleck, uses an old Sharps rifle to devastating effect…
The dead men talk:
Often, Potter would take one side of a compound and Osmond the other. Any insurgent moving from one side to the other was liable to be shot by the second sniper if the first had not already got him. Each used the scopes on the rifles to spot for the other man, identifying targets with nicknames to do with their appearance.
A fighter wearing light blue was dubbed ‘the Virgin Mary’ and one clad in what looked like sackcloth was referred to as ‘Hesco man’, after the colour of the base’s Hesco barriers. Both the Virgin Mary and Hesco man were killed…
“Everybody you hit they drop in a different way,’ says Potter. ‘We did a co-ord shoot on to the one bloke and he just looked like he just fell through a trap door. So we called him Trapdoor Man.”
Major Mark Gidlow-Jackson, their company commander, describes Potter and Osmond as the “epitome of the thinking riflemen” that his regiment sought to produce. “They know the consequences of what they’re doing and they are very measured men. They are both highly dedicated to the art of sniping. They’re both quiet, softly spoken, utterly charming, two of the nicest men in the company, if the most dangerous.”
Why do they do it?
On one occasion they killed eight Taliban in two hours, ‘I wasn’t comfortable with it at first,’ said Osmond, ‘you start wondering is it really necessary?’ But the reaction of the locals soon persuaded him. ‘We had people coming up to us afterwards, not scared to talk to us. They felt they were being protected’.
A war is going on. You might read about it in the papers, occasionally…