Snipers are the elite masters of the art of killing somebody from a distance before he or she has any idea what is going on. Of course, shooting from such a long range incurs a wide array of difficulties, leading to situations where making a successful shot is, by all logic and reason, impossible. It is in these situations where the best snipers sniff, wipe the sweat from their eyes and make the shot anyway.
5Matt Hughes Curves the Bullet
Welsh Royal Marine sniper Matt Hughes was participating in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, looking for a perfect occasion to shoot some dudes from really far away. He found it in two Iraqi troops who were holding up the offensive. Hughes was ordered to take them out. And not out to dinner, unless they both ordered a lead steak. A tiny one, shaped like a bullet.
"Sir, I understand you didn't like it, but you've already eaten most of it. I'll have to get a manager."
The problem was that the wind was blowing tremendously. See, this is something that doesn't come up in the movies -- when you're trying to shoot from far away with any kind of wind, you have almost no goddamned idea where the bullet will end up. Sniping isn't just holding the cross hairs steady on the tiny soldier in the scope; it's trying to predict gusts of wind that could push the bullet into some innocent tree trunk 50 feet away. And yes, that's how much of a difference wind can make. You can not only miss the guy, but miss the whole house he's standing in.
So that's what happened to all those road signs in the country!
Oh, and as if his fate were being written by the vengeful spirit of a vaudeville comedian, Hughes discovered that his targets were a little over a half mile away, which, powerful wind notwithstanding, was beyond the range of the rifle he was using. To make matters worse (and yes, there apparently was still room for them to get worse), the enemy soldier he was targeting was covered in a fortified position, with only a small portion of his head and torso exposed. Hughes would have only one chance, because if he took a shot and missed, the Iraqi would simply duck completely behind cover and never come back up. It'd be like if Luke Skywalker had been commanded to park his X-Wing at the beginning of the trench, and to lean out of the cockpit with a grenade wedged in his ass and try to power-shit it into the Death Star's exhaust port.
Cackling in the face of insurmountable odds, Hughes did his best to judge, based on the haze from the heat, how to aim the rifle to hit his target. His judgment led him to aim the shot 56 feet to the left and 38 feet high, which is another way of saying "Hughes pointed his gun in a totally unrelated goddamn direction."
"If I can take out the sun, we'll kill the whole Iraqi army."
Either way, Hughes presumably prayed to the sniper gods and let off his first and only possible shot, not even remotely pointed toward his target, and watched as the arc of the bullet formed the shape of a giant banana and struck the enemy soldier directly in the chest. Needless to say, the Iraqi was killed, though we're fairly certain his last words were the equivalent of "Oh, no fucking way."