Everybody knows what camouflage is, but far fewer people have seen a ghillie suit. And unless you are looking very hard, you may not see it period. Barons would hire guys to go around their lands and hunt poachers in the beginnings of the ghillie suit. They were called ghillies and would make suits from rags and frayed materials to hide themselves in the brush and wait for poachers.
Today ghillie suits are implemented for a variety of activities from the lethal art of sniping to the much less deadly game of paintballing. The materials have changed but the concept behind the covering remains the same. Even when the enemy or target comes within a really close range to them, the modern ghillie suit wearer can stay undetected and look like a pile of brush in the woods.
Ghillie suits have been associated with sharpshooting because of their uncomplicated design and effectiveness. Around the time of the conclusion of the eighteenth century the act of sniping began. To defeat and break the spirits of the opposition, rebels would shoot at enemies from hidden areas. When rifles became more exact and were efficient from more than one-hundred meters, snipers became more prevalent in the battlezone.
The way battles were carried out was changed because of the implementation of shooters. Before sharpshooters were used officers would stand with battalions and give orders during battle. Infantry warfare went from face-to-face encounters to more covered, flanking techniques as more and more commanders were assassinated. Commanders had to attempt to blend in with the common soldiers to keep from being killed. covered spots such as woods and mountains became the preferred area over open areas as sharpshooting techniques became more popular. The rules of engagement that troops in the past held onto was abandoned as more vicious and hidden tactics were implemented to fight.
To pick off high-ranking commanders and to demoralize opposing armies during WWI, all sides had ghillie suits and shooter tactics. The same design used then is basically mimiced today; suits are made from textiles that hang down and give the sharpshooter the uncanny ability to remain hidden. Whatever climate they are in, there are so many different kinds of the suit that the wearer can blend in with their terrain anywhere. A desert ghillie suit, for example, would appear a lot different than a woodlands ghillie suit.
On imperative missions the ghillie suit is still implemented for safety and cover by the modern sharpshooter. Since a shooter often works solo or with one other man the talent to remain unseen is essential for a sharpshooter’s safety. Besides the rifle, a well-crafted ghillie suit to cover the sharpshooter is a sniper’s most critical asset. A sniper’s life would be severly compromised if they didn’t have the ability to stay unseen until it was time to take the shot. The getaway after a shot was taken is just as important to a sharpshooter as the actual shot. Many times during the escape the sniper will use the camouflage of the suit to get him out safely.