Julian Robinson

The world’s deadliest military sniper is a Royal Marine with 173 confirmed kills, including 90 members of the Taliban in just one day.

The Briton, who has not been named, had served in the elite unit for more than a decade and recorded most of his kills during a six-month tour of Afghanistan in 2006-7, having also served in Iraq.

The figure puts the corporal, reportedly married with two children and from southern England, ahead of US Navy SEAL commando Chris Kyle, who had 160 confirmed kills to make him the most lethal US sniper. Kyle’s exploits are the subject of a new film called American Sniper, starring Bradley Cooper.

According to The Sun, the British sniper is said to have hit 90 Taliban fighters in a stronghold in just one day. It is thought his total number of ‘kills’ could be even higher than 173 if unconfirmed strikes were taken into account.

A source told The Sun: ‘He is not interested in scores or kill counts. He took no satisfaction in the job he had to do. ‘Because he saw the enemy as humans he has not struggled emotionally or psychologically with what has happened. ‘He had a unique job at a unique time. He must be the most lethal sniper in the world. But that is not a title he would seek out or revel in.’

The newspaper says most of the hits took place in Afghanistan during Operation Herrick V when he was serving with the Brigade Reconnaissance Forces in Helmand Province.

Early on during the conflict in Afghanistan, service personnel were told they could use lethal force on any enemy.

However, the rules of engagement, known as Guidance Card Alpha, were later toughened up, meaning troops could only open fire if they were in direct contact with the enemy, or to prevent an imminent attack. Some 11 members of the British Armed Forces were killed during Herrick V, while a total of 453 personnel lost their lives in the conflict between 2001 and 2014.

During his tours of Afghanistan the sniper would have been armed with a L115 A3 Alpha capable of firing .338 calibre bullets with great accuracy over ranges of more than a kilometre.

The Marine, who has not been named for security reasons, is said to have completed more than five tours of duty, including in Northern Ireland, but not all have been as a sniper.

It is estimated that most snipers of a similar age and experience level will have made between 20 and 30 kills. Their role is to identify and eliminate ‘high-value’ targets, as well as gather intelligence.

The Hollywood biopic of Kyle, who was killed a year ago today on a shooting range in the US, has been nominated for two Oscars and has been a hit at the US box office, making £166m (249m dollars) in only three weeks of cinema release. But the Clint Eastwood-directed film has faced criticism that the film glorifies murder and serves as war propaganda.–Daily Mail