Camouflage clothing

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Soldiers of the Bundeswehr in camouflage clothing with the flecktarn pattern
Sycamore pattern autumn of the Waffen SS
US Marine Corps MARPAT Woodland digital camouflage pattern

Camouflage clothing is clothing that, through its pattern and color, "blurs" the contours of the wearer in front of the appropriate background, that is, camouflages it and is intended to make optical clarification more difficult. Camouflage clothing is mostly worn by soldiers or hunters . Special camouflage clothing for the winter are snow camouflage suits, for snipers the ghillie camouflage suit .

Usually camouflage clothing is adapted to a specific environment. However, camouflage patterns for universal use are also being developed, such as the Universal Camouflage Pattern or Multicam .

historical development

Until the 19th century, European soldiers went into the field in colorful and eye-catching uniforms. The colors were based at the time in many cases still to the Middle Ages arisen crest colors of the country gentlemen. The Grande Armée Napoleon, which was called from 1808 onwards , was dressed in the colors of the national flag. Due to the individual national appearance of their uniforms, it was possible for the soldiers to clearly differentiate between friend and foe in the battle.

Military camouflage clothing was only necessary in rare cases. In the Prussian army of Frederick II in 1740, a hunter corps was formed from the tribe of forest personnel for patrol duty and individual actions, which wore a siskin green skirt, yellow leather trousers and brown leather cartridge satchels. In practice, however, on special occasions one limited oneself to covering bare pieces of equipment with leaves or grass etc.

After the introduction of the low-smoke powder , the battlefield was no longer covered by clouds of smoke and it had become much easier not to accidentally shoot your own comrade. The development of long-range and fast-firing weapons , particularly the machine gun , also resulted in a change in tactics.

Late 19th century

At the end of the 19th century, experiments were started with uniforms camouflaging in one color. The colonial and international conflicts that prevailed at the time took place mostly in tropical, dry climates. The prevailing natural conditions there often made approaching soldiers in traditional uniforms an easy target. In both Great Britain and the USA, after some experience in 1902, the traditional uniforms that had previously prevailed were replaced by new, khaki or sand-colored items of equipment.

Parts of the equipment or of colonial troops had already been equipped with opaque colors in many cases. At the same time, most modern field armies began to do without white horses as riding horses. Around 1900 the East Asian expedition corps of the imperial army received a tropical uniform in "earth-colored field gray". In 1907, field-gray uniforms with brown leather gear were introduced throughout the German army . During the First World War , most of the participating armies had changed their uniforms to camouflage colors .

After the First World War

German paratrooper in World War II

Camouflage patterns were first used for uniforms after the First World War . The best known was the splinter camouflage pattern 31, which was introduced to the Reichswehr in 1931 , was imitated internationally and since then has been used in many variants to this day. The parachute troops of the Wehrmacht were outfitted with camouflage clothing, just as Italy equipped its paratroopers with camouflage clothing as early as 1937.

The German plane tree pattern - autumn color was specially developed for the camouflage clothing of the Waffen-SS from 1937 to 1945, and was the oldest flecktarn in the world that was produced in large series and consistently used in combat operations.

In 1942, the US Army began to study captured equipment from the Waffen-SS to determine its camouflage effect. Already in the summer of the same year, units of the US Army and Marine Infantry that were deployed in the Pacific were equipped with an American variant of the German Flecktarn . In order to avoid confusion, this was not used on the European theater of war.

After the Second World War

One of the best-known camouflage patterns is certainly the USA's woodland pattern, an enlarged version of the ERDL (Engineer Research & Development Laboratory) pattern from 1948, which was already used in Vietnam. Nowadays, practically every army in the world has its own camouflage pattern, which is again a recognition value.

At the beginning of the 21st century, new digital camouflage patterns created with the help of computer-generated fractals appeared, such as the CADPAT of the Canadian Army, the Type 07 of the Chinese People's Liberation Army or the MARPAT of the United States Marine Corps .

Structure camouflage

Sniper in Ghillie camouflage suit

Another form of camouflage clothing in which the structure is less important than the color is the so-called structure camouflage. In addition to the color camouflage, materials are also used to change the silhouette. The best-known representative and therefore often a synonym for this is the so-called Ghillie camouflage suit.

A ghillie suit is a camouflage suit primarily used by snipers . It hides the shape of the human body and allows it to "merge" with its surroundings. As a rule, a ghillie suit consists of a mesh material, either in the form of a throw or as a two-piece design. In addition, existing camouflage clothing can be transformed into a ghillie suit with the help of colored jute strips up to 80 cm long. The strips are knotted or sewn on and, depending on the material, also shredded in order to achieve the desired camouflage effect.

Camouflage pattern types

Countries where civilians are prohibited from wearing camouflage clothing


  • Laurent Mirouze: Infantrymen of the First World War (=  Europa-Militaria . No. 3 ). Dissberger, Düsseldorf 1990, ISBN 3-924753-28-8 .
  • Laurent Mirouze: Infantrymen of the Second World War (=  Europa-Militaria . No. 2 ). Dissberger, Düsseldorf 1990, ISBN 3-924753-27-X .
  • Andrew Steven, Peter Amodio: Uniforms of the Waffen SS. In color (=  Europa-Militaria . No. 6 ). 2nd corrected edition. Dissberger, Düsseldorf 1992, ISBN 3-924753-44-X .
  • Cristian Della Giovampaola, Nader Engheta: Digital Metamaterials . In: Nature Materials . September 2014, doi : 10.1038 / nmat4082 .

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: camouflage  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Camouflage clothing  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. No unauthorized use of camouflage clothing, authorities warn , The Daily Observer Ltd .. July 23, 2013. Accessed June 21, 2016. 
  2. a b c Unusual laws British travelers fall foul of , The Telegraph . June 17, 2015. Accessed June 21, 2016. 
  3. ^ DOJ warns civilians vs wearing military, police uniforms (en-US) . In: GMA News Online . 
  4. You are being redirected ... .
  6. ^ House Bill 368 .
  7. ^ No camouflage should be worn in public - police reiterates , St. Lucia News Online. November 9, 2015. Accessed June 21, 2016. 
  8. Camouflage Notice . Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Retrieved June 21, 2016.
  9. ^ Alan Murphy, Nana Luckham, Nicola Simmonds: Zambia & Malawi . Lonely Planet, 2010, ISBN 978-1-74179-433-5 , pp. 187 ff . ( [accessed December 7, 2018]).
  10. 'DJ Squila', sustained serious head injuries . The Zimbabwean. October 30, 2008. Archived from the original on November 8, 2014. Retrieved November 8, 2014.
  11. Ayomide O. Tayo: Nigerian Army: The silliness of the Nigerian constitution on civilians wearing camouflage (en-US) .