2009/08/14

Modern basic individual camouflage

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Clothes and equipment in standard camouflage pattern/colour are being issued to all land forces troops, and soldiers develop attitudes towards them. Some see their distinct uniform with pride, some (dis)like it aesthetically and some (dis)like its effectiveness.

The steps were from coloured uniforms (to easily identify units by regimental colours) to grey or brown uniforms (light infantry got less suspicious uniforms long ago) to camouflage colours (green), simple camouflage patterns and finally to 'digital' camouflage patterns.
The digital ones shall in theory distort a man's shape at all viewing distances.

It's difficult to come up with a universal camouflage pattern that works everywhere well, so it's probably better to think of a basic camouflage pattern instead; to be augmented to meet local/temporary conditions.


The most intense discussion about camouflage patterns today seems to be about the U.S. ACU pattern that doesn't do its job in vegetated terrain.
This discussion is - as all previous ones seem to have been - about the pattern.

I think that a bit (actually just a tiny bit) of creative thinking should be applied. It's not just about the pattern. Patterns are 2D, and therefore rarely able to really meet the expectations.

Look at the Israeli helmet cover ("mitznefet"). It wins no beauty contest and honestly, I am among those who would simply hate to wear it. Nevertheless, it breaks up the typical line of a helmet. It makes it much harder to recognize the helmet as what it is: An object that belongs to a soldier.


That 3D element of individual basic camouflage is hugely important.

Let's check for another example, the ghillie suit. It's too hot and clumsy and won't be worn by every soldier (although infantrymen should really think about a partial ghillie suit). It doesn't work based on a pattern, but by covering the shape of a man with a more natural shape of (almost) chaotic elements in colours that match the environment.

Modern camouflage patterns rarely hide in plain sight - the German Flecktarn can do so, but only at long distances or in shadowy places.
It's really about time to go forward, to improve upon existing individual basic camouflage.

My own idea of such advanced individual basic camouflage was to use ghillie-like elements on head and arms, the most often exposed body parts.

The adaption to local and temporary environment could include spray colours (already in use for tuning the colour of ghillie suits and to camouflage weapons and other equipment).
The classic use of vegetation and nets for additional camouflage is almost indispensable in most environments, but we all know about the serious restrictions of d(r)ying vegetation and (usually stationary or vehicle-bound) nets.

There's an apparently more practical approach:

It's possible to use two layers of cloth, and to cut the upper one in an irregular shape to make it stand up and distort the shape. This cutting could even be reserved for just one suit, leaving all else in the soldier's inventory in a more 'attractive' and 'orderly' shape.





Here are examples:

A winter suit application

A close-up of the principle

Better demonstration of the effect

A hat application of the principle





Previous posts on individual camouflage
(and its importance):


Camouflage patterns and the Bundeswehr

Thermal camouflage

Infantry survivability

Future war: The infantry perspective


I suggest not to just discuss a new pattern, but a new individual basic camouflage concept.
One that includes the third dimension.


Sven Ortmann
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5 comments:

  1. that's pretty cool =)

    what do you think of the idea of active camouflage for vehicles?

    ReplyDelete
  2. sorry but what does KISS mean?

    ReplyDelete
  3. http://preview.tinyurl.com/6rweam

    ReplyDelete
  4. that my friend is why the A-10 is my favorite warplane =)

    ReplyDelete

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