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EXCEPTIONAL JOBS: ELITE MARKSMEN | RMC Story | Grands Documents

“One shot, one kill”, in other words “one bullet, one dead man”. That is the motto of elite marksmen, otherwise known as snipers. Able to shoot somebody down from 300 to 2,500 metres when ordered. Normally, we only see them on screen: “Stalingrad”, “Shooter” or Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper”. Over recent years, snipers have provided inspiration for Hollywood movies. The reality is that this is a truly exceptional profession often carried out by exceptional men. For the first time, marksmen have agreed to drop the mask and “break cover” to face RMC’s cameras. The first surprise: the sniper never works alone. He works as a team with a spotter, who calculates the ballistics, the wind strength, atmospheric pressure. Because, on a long-distance shot, that is from 1,000 up to 3,000 metres (the equivalent of 10 Eiffel Towers laid end to end), the least hitch can send the bullet off trajectory by more than a metre. It was in 1992, during the war in Sarajevo that France realised, to its cost, the strategic importance of snipers. Today, the number of marksmen in the French army is slightly over one thousand. Naturally, they are part of the special forces. However, the Foreign Legion and the Air Force are not lagging behind. Every regiment now has highly-trained snipers available. They are sent all over the world: to fight Daesh in the Sahel, in Afghanistan, Syria, etc. Even the CRS has been included since 2015. Ever since the attacks at the Bataclan and the Stade de France. People don’t know it, but no soccer match or concert takes place without the presence of those guardian angels and their rifles with telescopic sights. Because, faced with current threats¾terrorism, modern conflicts, urban guerrilla warfare¾their skill, cool heads in any emergency, their ability to embed themselves solo in enemy territory with 85 kilos of equipment on their backs and operate independently for several days without being seen, render snipers indispensable. And now armies all around the world are training their own elite marksmen. Their missions? To observe, report, protect units on the move and, naturally, “neutralise targets” with absolute discretion. But what is their real role in the field? What motivates them? How do you become a marksman? And what goes through their heads when they squeeze the trigger with a person in their sights? To get the answers, we followed the abnormal training of these men, who spend whole days firing thousands of rounds. On the ground, but also in the air aboard an army helicopter. We filmed formidable techniques such as synchronised firing or how to eliminate several individuals in the same split second. And also, one of the most complicated training processes: that required to become a marine commando sniper. A ruthless training: the least mistake means you’re out. Elite marksmen, an exceptional job. And, above all, exceptional men…