Chapter 6: Chapter 1, Episode 6: Legion Etranger
The following were estimates for shooting with the naked eye.
Capable of recognizing facial features at 100 meters.
Capable of recognizing an epaulet and buttons at 200 meters.
Capable of recognizing limbs and other body parts at 300 meters.
Capable of recognizing limb movements at 400-1000 meters.
Capable of differentiating between humans and animals at 1000-2000 meters.
Unable to see people beyond 2000 meters.
Differentiate windows at 200 meters.
Differentiate building materials and types at 500 meters.
Differentiate foliage at 850 meters.
Differentiate street lamps at 1 kilometer.
Differentiate building shapes at 2 kilometers.
Differentiate individual buildings at 3 kilometers.
Differentiate buildings at 8-11 kilometers.
Differentiate objects as large as windmills at 18 kilometers.
Differentiate factories at 21 kilometers.
Of course, this did not apply to Mu Ssang.
He could discern human features 1-kilometer away. His sight was eight times better than the average humans sight, so he didnt need a scope.
The target set at 300 meters, perfect for a Famas, expanded before him. He could see each circle as if it was right in front of his face.
It was a technique he had practiced at Mt. Chung Saeng.
He had undergone training that allowed him to see lice in someones hair. A 100-millimeter target set at 300 meters away was like the full moon to him. That skill that would make him the strongest sniper.
“Au batons!” the firing trainers order rang out.
In an instant, his senses and concentration were at their peak. His consciousness fell away, his sub-consciousness pressed down his right thumb, and the muscles contracted at a steady pace.
Actin made his muscles slide and contract smoothly. He pulled the trigger straight back without a single tremble in his finger. Air pressed on the mercury in the bottom of the cartridge case.
The bullet received the full blow of the pressure within its casing and shot forward at a speed three times faster than the speed of sound.
The 5.56-millimeter NATO bullet flew forward at a power of 1700J and took 0.4 seconds to reach its target. After shooting three times, he looked up and checked his shots. The target backboard at 300 meters looked like a tin can to the average eye and the target, a piece of candy. They couldnt see the 100-millimeter central circle.
Mu Ssangs eagle eyes confirmed that two bullets had drifted 25mm away from the center ring. It was a fundamental problem with the gun. He nodded once more to the training officer who then ran towards the target to check his score.
This was his first time doing a 300-meter shoot. After checking his third click to the right, he shot three times once more. This time, it landed in the 25-millimeter circle. He zeroed in on the 300-meter target. The training officer went between the platform and target continuously. Mu Ssang didnt need to confirm his shots by retrieving the target, but he didnt want to look too outstanding. His master always warned him to hide a fifth of his strengths.
He was given 30 bullets, and he entered a continuous shoot.
The slightly obtuse sound of the Famas continuously rang out.
He was instructed to fire 30 bullets in six rounds at five targets.
After firing two rounds at the third pointer, he moved to the next target, and once he had shot two rounds on the next targets third pointer, he moved once more, like flowing water.
Piefs expression crumpled. “Is it because he is inexperienced” he wondered.
The excited Koreans shooting grated on his nerves. Nothing could be done about the machines recoil especially with the Famas extreme side-to-side vibrations that took a toll on the upper body.
Firing at the three-pointer with two rounds was disappointing. Even if he was exceptionally talented, some things were simply impossible. He didnt know what this Korean was thinking.
It took him 8.7 seconds to move from the first target to the next. His barrage was clocked at 1.2 seconds, and it took him 1.5 seconds to fix his sight on the next target. But 1.5 seconds wasnt enough time to recover from the Famas recoil. This was not something that could be overcome by training as it was a machinery issue, but Pief was disappointed by this timing.
“Oh, mon Dieu!” (Oh my god!) a small exclamation rippled amongst the officers of the training range.
The speed of the barrage increased.
The machine-gun-like sound suddenly stopped. In a blink of an eye, 30 rounds had been spent. A silence spread over the grounds.
It took him 35 seconds to fire 30 shots at 5 targets.
He had fired the gun like a machine gun. The sergeant who had been watching the timer looked at the seconds as if he could not believe it. Pief, who also received the report, widened his eyes. The shooting was, aside from the accurate, incredibly quick. The counters who verified the targets suddenly erupted into shouts.
“Oh mon Dieu!”
Only two of the 30 shots had missed the 100-millimeter circle. It was the 1st target that had been zeroed. The other 28 bullets had landed inside the 25-millimeter ring. It was perfect.
“What the hell”
Pief doubted his eyes. A shiver ran down his spine.
It was a fixed target, but the distance was still 300 meters. He had managed to put bullets through a 100-millimeter ring at a 100-percent rate without using a dot sight or scope. On top of that, he had changed targets and still finished in 35 seconds. This wasnt just special, it was the birth of a sniper.
Legion Etranger had a sniping team in its regiment in Corsica, in the concentrated Deuxieme Rep. Their talents were astounding. But there was a limit to the human body, and the machinery itself.
“Then how did he manage to control the recoil” It was a riddle that Pief was never going to solve. He would also never know that this Korean had hidden around a fifth of his capability.
Normally, an average firing range had targets placed at around 250 meters. It was the point determined by taking the bullet and its trajectory into consideration. A distance beyond 250 meters was irrelevant if the shooter was firing a rifle.
But at 300 meters, the were other factors for the shooter to consider. 300 meters didnt just mean an extra 50 meters, it also meant a shooters accuracy dropped by 80 percent.
But despite all that, the results were as perfect as a continuous firing. He had used a rifle, which was a ground assault weapon, as a snipers tool. Not even the best snipers could ignore the bodys limits and machinerys faults in such a manner.
Pief, who had plenty of experience under his belt, felt his neck tingle. If an enemy was to stumble across this Korean in the middle of a battle, it meant that a small unit was going to be wiped out in one to two minutes.
Pief analyzed Park in his immobile state. He had a surprisingly well-trained body but looked like the average Asian.
“If you used the Famas for a 300-meter shoot, how many shots would you be able to get in”
The sergeant hesitated.
“There is no 300-meter shooting in the training plan, but I am capable of shooting a target 250 meters away with a 90-percent accuracy.”
“...” The sergeant couldnt think of a reply.
Continuous shooting was considered an area shoot rather than a target shoot. He wished to point that out, but his rank didnt allow it.
“Cest mauvais!” (Thats bad!)
A vein bulged in sergeant Himlets forehead. He had become a trainer because of his first-class sniping. But, because of one Asian, he had become someone unimportant.
Pief was someone who had battled in both the Congo and Guinéa.
He also knew that the skills Park had shown were amazing beyond words. It was the birth of a perfect sniper, the sole one in existence. Without any obstacles, he could remove a high-ranking officer instantly.
Pief assessed Mu Ssang as if he was dissecting him. He was tall, considering his Asian roots. His hands and feet were large, and his arms and legs were long. His muscles were well-built, even in detail, and his stance was upright and proportional. It was the peak of human fitness that a sportsman or competitor would seek.
He was perfect.
He was currently standing immobile, without a single twitch of a muscle. He was capable of controlling his entire body completely.
“Soldier Park, have you ever served in the military”
An officer translated for their conversation.
“Do all Koreans shoot as well as you do”
Mu Ssang hadnt been anywhere near the Korean military. He didnt know whether the Korean militarys sniping skills were good or bad.
“They can shoot a hummingbirds head at 300 meters.”
He didnt have even an ounce of affection left towards his motherland, but he didnt want his country to be looked down upon.
“What Shoot a hummingbirds head at 300 meters!”
Pief and the surrounding officers shouted in disbelief.
It was a lie. But they werent going to check if the Korean military was capable of shooting a hummingbirds head even if they went there themselves. Mu Ssang had no idea that Pief had decided to create a special force consisting of Koreans.
Pief instinctively felt as if this was his big chance.
After World War II, English colonies in Africa managed to claim independence. The newly independent countries were rife with battles, civil wars, and fights over borders. This was the same for the French colonies: Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Guinea, and Mali. Even Algeria and Chad didnt have a single day of peace. France, in typical fashion, interfered with these battles for independence.
Having something special put a commander on the fast track to a promotion. Piefs animal instincts immediately thought of offering the Korean to the French International dispatched forces. Of course, he was the one that would benefit.
Piefs mood immediately shot up.
He told the sergeant to bring a snipers gun.
“Whats the precision range of the Famas” Pief asked William, the machinery officer.
“Quatre MOA.” (4 MOA.)
One MOA referred to a perfect shot fired from 100 meters and hitting a 25-millimeter circle. So, a 4 MOA Famas was capable of making a perfect shot in a 120-millimeter circle from a distance of 100 meters. Of course, this was a mechanical calculation with the most perfect conditions applied.
Mu Ssang fired with 4 MOA precision without using a dot sight or a scope, shooting a 100-millimeter circle at a range of 300 meters. He had surpassed the guns limits.
Pief found it hard to hide his excitement. In Legion Etranger, those snipers who were able to surpass the machinerys limits were called “god snipers.” This was the first time since World War II that a god sniper had emerged.
All sorts of people from around the world applied at Legion Etranger. And sometimes a human with special abilities enlisted. Mu Ssang was someone who had surpassed human ability, and many doubted that he was human.
If the test results were revealed, higher commanders would go after him like flies on dead meat. He was a trainee, and whoever got to him first would have an advantage.
Piefs original legion was the Deuxieme Rep. After losing his battalion at Algeria because of a risky strategy, he was relocated to Castelnau Bridge. Trainee Park was someone who could return him to Deuxieme Rep and also give him wings. Commander Pief searched intently for the person who was going to help him move beyond his previous position.
The first person on his list was Lieutenant Colonel Blanco at the retirement village. Blanco had been Piefs colonel. In Guinea, his foot was caught by a guerrillas booby trap and was ultimately amputated. He had retired, but no one in the legion could ignore his advice.
Pief always used to visit Blanco whenever he visited Aubagne. Blanco respected the warriors and had good connections. He was someone who would be excited by the idea of a person like Mu Ssang. Pief had already played with the newbies for over a year. His time of repentance was over and he was going to ask Blanco to help him get reinstated into the Deuxieme Rep.
A soldier, with a Dragunov in his hands, woke Pief from his musings.
A Dragunov was a Russian semi-automatic sniper rifle, but it had poor accuracy for a sniper rifle. On the other side, its durability was amazing as was its use against moving targets.
It had been 20 years since the first one was produced, but it was still loved by the world. Its official name was Снайперская винтовка Драгунова. Of course, no one remembers that, and there was no reason to remember it.
The Dragunov used a 7.62-millimeter bullet. Its longest range was 1300 meters, but the average range was 800 meters. Compared to the other high-quality sniper rifles, its precision was 3 MOA less and its range comparably smaller. Up against the fixed 4, proportionally balanced PSO-1M2, the Dragunovs precision and surrounding scope sight was lacking.
The Dragunov also had its positive aspects. It had a better firing rate, power, and accuracy than the other weapons since it had been designed for catching a swiftly moving object. That construction and durability made it perfect for real situations and is what made it a consistently sold gun.
The GIATs FR-F1, nicknamed “Epal,” was the French militarys most-ordered sniper rifle, but it didnt gain the favor of Legion Etranger, mostly because it was heavy and bolt-action oriented.
When selecting a weapon, the snipers of Deuxieme Rep valued the weight, firing rate, power, and range the most, and many returned the Epal that had been issued to them and bought their own Dragunov.
Pief threw the Dragunov to Mu Ssang. He was confused. “What am I supposed to do with it”
“Park, have you used a Dragunov before”
“Its my first time.”
“Can you try using it”
“What Hahaha!” Pief laughed at Mu Ssangs reply.
He was someone with a sense of humor and amazing abilities. Pief liked him even more.
“No problem” was a phrase that had a lot of history within Legion Etranger.
When thinking about the Vietnam war, most people recall the United States involvement. But there was a painful moment in history where the French army was massacred in a Vietnamese jungle. It was considered separate from the Vietnam War, however, and was called the Indo-China war.
In 1954, France suffered a painful defeat in the war at Dien Bien Phu. In this battle, most of the soldiers in the Legion Etranger battalion died. Because they were lacking in funds, the best the French military could come up with was to send in reinforcements from the infantry regiment for a combined attack.
Many enlistees appeared, but the soldiers were new and inexperienced. And many of the newbies that jumped out of the plane said, “no problem.” No one knew the reason, but this was a phrase that became legendary within the Legion for its sincerity and fearlessness. Since then, the term “no problem” was used to say, “I have no experience but will try my best.”
The Dragunov weighed about 4.3 kilograms. Considering its purpose, it was on the lighter side. In reality, the Dragunov was used as a squads automatic rifle, more than a snipers rifle.
This time, it was bipod stationary shooting. It was the first time he held a rifle. For now, he chose to shoot 15 rounds, zeroing at 250 meters. He got into position.
A sniper was expected to hit a target beyond the guns range and within a specified time. During a recorded shooting at the Ecole, they allowed for a 4-second interval between shots fired at a target that was 100 meters away, and 10 seconds for one 250 meters away. A person typically could regain their concentration within those limitations.
When given a target at 400 meters, the interval was extended into 40 seconds. A normal soldier was incapable of recovering from nerves and controlling their breath within this time. This why the need for specially-trained soldiers emerged.
A sniper had to be capable of hitting a target perfectly at over 400 meters. Of course, they had to undergo special training to increase their concentration and sight. But Mu Ssang was only a normal EV who hadnt received any sniper training.
The target, due to the limitations of the grounds, was placed at 600 meters. It was also the limit at which a sniper could target a limb using the Dragunov.
Mu Ssang placed the target in the scopes crosshairs and concentrated.
He placed the target within the lines, and he placed the line within himself. Mu Ssang was someone who had the sight to discern the gender of a person standing 4 kilometers across the Aubagnes plains.
The moment he sensed his body becoming one with the rifle, his finger moved, but he didnt even sense that he had pulled the trigger.
Clang— clang— clang—
It was Mu Ssangs specialty, a rapid series of shots.
After confirming the hits on the recovered target, he fell back in place adjusting his stance. It took 20 seconds to shoot a series of 10 bullets. Even though this was his first time, he finished it with amazing speed.
Piefs reaction, after confirming the results on the target, turned into excitement. Eight bullets had hit the 100-millimeter circle, and two had gone slightly off the 50-millimeter one. He had surpassed the guns limits, once again. The Korean, along with showing precision, had conquered the test with the continuous rounds and range. It was, as one might say, a free jewel he had found in the province.
Pief, as soon as he returned to the Ecole, gave Mu Ssang a special treat: letting him choose his sniping rifle.
“Park, choose your lover. I will give it to you.”