Main Article: Democratic Imperium of Nepleslia
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Main Article: Democratic Imperium of Nepleslia
“What’s the matter Pork? Don’t like me yelling at you? Hard to concentrate, right? How the fuck are you going to take that same shot when the hill you’re hiding on is being peppered with rockets fired by some very angry Mercenaries? Eh?”
-Warrick Earp, Sniping Instructor based out of Uesureyan Fields (Nepleslia), circa YE 39
The Nepleslian stock as a whole are generally a rather brash people always ready to throw hands at the first opportunity, in large this is something embraced and made use of by the Nepleslian Space Marine Corps though even among the angry green hordes there are individuals with the mental, physical and ballistic potential to be moulded into a rare dart of the Imperium rather than the much more commonly found mallet.
These needles are generally considered the elite of the NSMC, they still sit leagues beneath anyone in the ranks of the Intelligence and Pacification Group but an observant mind and steady trigger finger can sometimes lead to a future career shrouded in red and black secrecy.
Each generation of Nepleslia’s snipers are trained by the last and taken to the most convenient pocket of remote wilderness available. Where they are trained in the various arts of tracking, ballistic calculation, navigation, camouflage and other arts that go into making the hunters of the Imperium’s enemies so fierce.
Having grown up around firearms is a very Nepleslian thing, though those who have the makings of an NSMC Sniper and are able to tough it out generally have had a more intimate knowledge of their personal guns prior to enlistment than even your average Nepper.
The NSMC sniper training course is taken subsequent to the completion of Basic and rounds up total training time to roughly one full year before completion. On top of a rather high percentage of participants dropping out before the course’s completion1), application does not always ensure participation, simply not having the right kind of personality2) can be enough to disqualify an individual.
It is heavily recommended though not mandatory that those wishing to pursue this career complete a few related courses prior and have some experience behind a precision rifle, as it can’t exactly hurt one’s chances.
The first phase consists of mastery over the fundamentals of marksmanship, including but not limited to how various factors effect a projectile’s travel in different situations, intelligence gathering and fieldcraft. Where the students are trained on how to blend into their backdrop, use the available topography to their advantage, how to read their surroundings and how to best move through them to get the job done in any given situation.
During this phase each student is paired up with a partner, each take turns acting as the spotter and shooter at various ranges as they test their aim on various targets with rifles, spotter scopes and laser designators. Towards the end of this phase students are given a specific area or building to recreate in the form of a sketch, which is graded on accuracy and included detail.
Phase 2 relies more heavily on how well each student can adapt and react to evolving situations, including a process that can most easily be boiled down to finding and shooting a target placed by their instructor twice as their instructor simultaneously tries to narrow down the shooter’s position over the course of 3-4 hours.
The third phase’s specifics vary heavily depending on circumstances and from instructor to instructor though it usually consists of adding additional relevant skills to one’s repertoire prior to graduation and preparing the students for their inevitable first deployment.
After graduation a NSMC Marine Sniper can go on to further hone their skills through more refined courses focused around specific nuances such as urban sniping, high-angle (mountainous) sniping and even becoming a sniper team leader.
Upon graduation each Marine Sniper is presented with a very distinct, coveted badge3) and a 7.8x74mm Magnum round. Which is the primary round used by Marine Snipers, this is all done in accordance with military tradition and superstition dating back further than anyone can trace.
Supposedly there is ultimately one round destined to end the life of each person, “the bullet with your name on it.” Until that round is fired the person it is intended for is deemed invincible, so if the sniper carries the round with them at all times then it cannot be fired and therefore the sniper is untouchable.
Until a Sniper has killed an enemy Sniper in combat and taken a round from his chamber, the round with “their name on it” and symbolizing taking a tooth from a real hunted hog, they are deemed a “PIG” or “Professionally Instructed Gunman”. Invoking the rite of Hog’s Tooth graduates them into a “HOG” or “Hunter of Gunmen”, and wearing this trophy round on a necklace is common practice to express their new status.
For this reason, Marine Snipers can often be found referring to each other by the unofficial Moniker of “Pork”.
The following is a general overview of the skillset an NSMC Sniper is given upon completion of their training.
Fighting: To even qualify for the training process of an NSMC Sniper one must first show that they are an exceptional Space Marine, as such Snipers are already fully trained in the Imperium’s hand-to-hand and firearms-related combat techniques before they begin their specialized training. Each individual bearing the coveted title is an exceptionally skilled marksman and more often than not a more lethal individual when it comes to hand-to-hand combat thanks to their above average hand-eye co-ordination and spatial awareness.
Physical: Breathing and stamina management are at the core of the NSMC Sniper training regiment, which focuses more heavily on cardio than what marines are put through in basic and as such most NSMC Snipers end up being more lean than hulking mountains of Nepleslian muscle. They are capable of running or even swimming for miles in full gear and managing to still place an accurate shot immediately afterwards thanks to their breath-control techniques. Additionally NSMC Snipers are trained to stay awake as long as is possible if their situation demands it, capable of ignoring the detrimental effects of fatigue and eye-strain for days at a time, occasionally with the use of NSMC-compliant stimulants when needed in order to keep their blood-shot eyes wide open.
Survival: In addition to what they have learned in basic it is not uncommon for NSMC snipers to have had an interest in hunting prior to enlistment, as such their ability to both track through and remain concealed in their environments no matter the circumstances is usually nigh-mythical. This can include constructing hidden positions to fire from, covering up their tracks and generally making themselves as difficult to find as possible to the point of making an animal they hunted for food look like it was ravaged by local carnivores.
Repair and Maintenance: NSMC Snipers have an understandably more intimate relationship with their service weapons than most Marines, exception being a Kuznyetski with their hand-crafted firearms. NSMC Snipers spend a lot of time fine-tuning their rifles and often hand-load ammunition to fulfill specific grain and velocity requirements when they know the exact conditions of their shot prior.
Knowledge: NSMC Snipers are trained to know exactly how any given bullet will perform based on a wide variety of factors including but not limited to caliber, velocity, grain, twist rate, barrel length, material, design, atmospheric conditions and so forth. The calculations they make to ensure a round hits its intended target are an almost sub-conscious process most Marine Snipers sometimes catch themselves conducting unintentionally in their down-time. Psychology also plays a key role in the art of Sniping, with the individual behind the scope needing to make decisions about the ramifications of what happens when they pull the trigger and what targets to engage first, even where the enemies might first start looking for the shooter’s position.
When embedded within a unit or squad NSMC Snipers will usually wear the uniform and gear of that unit or squad to better blend in and appear as less of a high-value target to enemies, with the only indication of their occupation being their long-range rifle. They have access to all the same equipment as any other grunt though have priority over others when replacement parts and attachments for their rifle of choice are requested.
When working in the field solo or in a sniper/spotter duo they often supplement their armour with camouflage as needed, often times removing sections of armour from a Golem Assault Armor or abandoning entirely in favour of a vest such as the NAM Hard Ballistics Vest or NAM Soft Ballistics Vest.
In addition to the Nepleslian Standard Issue Equipment Marine Snipers also have access to the following: