Tag Archives: sniper rifle

Book Review: Sniper’s Honor

Image result for Sniper's Honor

Written by the same man who wrote the story that became Shooter, Sniper’s Honor tells the next adventure in the life of the now older Bob Lee Swagger, a Vietnam veteran sniper who is now sixty-odd and retired. And hating it.

So when a journalist friend of his sends him a photo of a female Russian sniper named Ludmilla Petrovna, Swagger decides to travel with his friend to Eastern Europe to learn more about her.

Petrovna – known as “Mili” to her friends – was a top Russian sniper during WWII. The Nazi soldiers she did not kill called her “the White Witch” for her blonde hair and striking beauty. But somewhere just before the end of World War II, Mili disappeared from Russia. She was then subsequently erased from Russian propaganda history. No one knows what happened to her.

Now, Swagger and his friend are hunting down leads on an eighty year old cold case. Unfortunately for them, someone else does not want Mili’s history uncovered. And they are willing to kill to keep her last mission a mystery. What Swagger and his friend want to know as they dodge the shadowy operatives trying to kill them is why.

Swagger’s determined to find out what happened to Mili. It is not just her beauty that has ensnared him but the fact that, like him, she was a sniper. Every warrior has a code, and Swagger’s particular sense of Sniper’s Honor will not let him allow some invisible bigwig or batch of bureaucrats to bury Mili’s history.

It has been a while since I read Sniper’s Honor, so unfortunately this post is rather flimsy and dim when it comes to describing the story. I hate to leave you hanging like this, readers, (I have often been infuriated when reading such simple notes of praise myself).  Sadly, this post is the best I can manage at the moment regarding Sniper’s Honor. The book deserved better than this.

That being said, I really enjoyed this book. I think I read it in my free time in around two or three days, maybe less. This is especially true since I know very little about Communist Russia. Most of what I know does not refer to Russian snipers, and what I know of Soviet agents is basically filtered through Marvel Comics and the Black Widow. Not a super-great source, I know, but hey. You work with what you have.

Sniper’s Honor opened up a whole new chapter of history for me. I knew that the Soviets were quite willing to send women into combat (especially as spies, it seems) but I had not heard of female snipers. Not even Russian female snipers.

The book is fast paced and bursting with historic detail. The characters – Swagger, Mili, and all the others – are drawn very well. I love stories from WWII, and this one is no exception. Although, I must warn you, it is not a book for younger readers. There is a lot of language and adult material in the story.

Still, Sniper’s Honor is definitely worth the read. And remember – you can learn as much from fiction as from a textbook. Sometimes, you can even learn more!

Until next time!

The Mithril Guardian

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Spotlight: Zoids – The Command Wolf

Irvine's Command Wolf in full

Glad to “see you on the battlefield” today, readers! This particular Spotlight! post is to showcase another zoid from the various Japanese animated series. This zoid is the Command Wolf.

The Command Wolf is a light, agile, fast zoid which is primarily used by the Helic Republic as an infantry zoid. The Command Wolf’s cockpit is positioned in its head, underneath the obvious orange canopy.

Command Wolves are versatile zoids, which means they can be equipped with almost any type of weapon – a couple of Wolves in Zoids: Chaotic Century were even given Gojulas armaments! These weapons, as you know from my first Spotlight! post, pack a punch. But they are also heavy and limit the Command Wolf’s speed and agility. To quote Chaotic Century, “Only the very best pilots [can] handle the zoid under those conditions!”

As a rule, though, Command Wolves are often outfitted with lighter arms. These include a double barrel laser rifle that has a seat in the back, as well as the ability to detach from the Command Wolf and become a separate fighting module. I have never seen the rifle used in this way in any zoids TV series, however. I think this is because of an obvious handicap in the design: the gun can become a mobile firing unit, but its pilot has no protection. There is no canopy on the gun – one good shot, and the pilot is either thrown from the rifle, possibly dying on impact with the ground – or they are killed outright when they are shot.

Another gun which Command Wolves regularly bear is also double barreled. The barrels on this rifle, however, are longer, wider, and sturdier in comparison to that previously mentioned. It has no seat for a pilot; instead, the rifle is fired from the cockpit of the Wolf. I find this gun to be much better than the one with the seat. It has more range and more power.

Irvine's Command Wolf 2

But for my money, the best armament for a Command Wolf is a sniper rifle. The character in Zoids: Chaotic Century, Irvine, piloted a black Command Wolf throughout a good portion of the series. His Wolf initially had the lower powered, double barrel rifle with the pilot’s seat at the back. But after about twelve or fourteen episodes, Irvine somehow upgraded to a sniper rifle.

He later proved to be a very capable sniper, and his Wolf’s gun is shown to be the most capable at neutralizing an enemy zoid. (Irvine was once able to shoot through two enemy zoids at once using this rifle!) The sniper rifle may not appeal to every pilot; but of the three, it is the best and most powerful gun in the Command Wolf’s arsenal. The Gojulas’ weapons are the only things that can outmatch the Wolf’s arms, but the rifle accents the Wolf’s speed and maneuverability more than these weapons do.

Like a real wolf, the Command Wolf’s claws are basically useless in a battle. But, similar to an actual wolf, the Command Wolf’s teeth are dangerous. A Command Wolf would be hard pressed to bite through the larger and more durable armor of stronger zoids. But zoids with armor of medium to light thickness had better hope a Wolf’s pilot does not have the nerve to jump on them and bite through the armor to rip out the vital circuits and wires beneath it.

If a Wolf rips out key circuits in an enemy zoid’s body, then the zoid will either have a Combat System Freeze (something like getting stunned; the zoid’s ability to fight is shut off by ‘shock’ as it were) or suffering a Command System Freeze (the equivalent of a real animal or person getting knocked unconscious). Some Command Wolves are also equipped with smoke grenade launchers on their rear legs, which supposedly act somewhat like the Shadow Fox’s smoke vents. I have never seen a Command Wolf actually use these grenade launchers in a fight; but they are part of the Wolf’s armament and therefore deserve a mention.

All in all, the Command Wolf is not the biggest, baddest zoid on the battlefield by a long shot. But for close combat and sniper combat, the Wolf has very nearly no equal in all of Zi. The only limits on the Wolf’s capabilities are what the pilot thinks it cannot manage. It is not the size or strength of the Wolf in the fight, but the size of the fight in the Command Wolf and its pilot. If I could get a real Command Wolf, I would. They are amazing zoids!

See you on the battlefield, readers!

The Mithril Guardian

Irvine's Command Wolf