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"The 'logic' behind modern camouflage" Topic

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1,688 hits since 22 Jan 2013
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28mm Fanatik22 Jan 2013 11:53 a.m. PST

Interesting discussion on contemporary US camouflage patterns. It's more about looking 'cool' and marketing/recruiting than actual field effectiveness, but then you probably already knew that:


Rhysius Cambrensis Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member22 Jan 2013 12:42 p.m. PST

Blimey! Can't believe the USMC are soon protective of their campaign pattern – that's insane!

Personal logo elsyrsyn Supporting Member of TMP22 Jan 2013 12:45 p.m. PST

As soon as I saw navy personnel in digital blue camo (the only purpose of which could be to make SURE that anybody who goes overboard is never seen again), it was obvious that camo was about looking cool rather than practical function.


vojvoda Inactive Member22 Jan 2013 12:46 p.m. PST

Old news just rehashed.

James Mattes

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP22 Jan 2013 12:48 p.m. PST

Then there is the Syrian "red lizard" camo


Personal logo David Manley Supporting Member of TMP22 Jan 2013 12:50 p.m. PST

Other armed forces have a more enlightened (and cost effective view. I shared a coffee with the leader of the UK team who developed the new British army camo scheme. Got together ateam of subject matter experts and artists, came up with a dozen prospective schemes, trialled a few and conducted focus group exercises and came up with something that is the envy of NATO, and all for a fraction of the cost quoted to "research" a digital scheme.

28mm Fanatik22 Jan 2013 12:50 p.m. PST

As much as the USAF 'Tiger stripes' doesn't make sense functionally speaking, I have to say I like it because it's such a cool Vietnam 'jungle' pattern.

Milites Inactive Member22 Jan 2013 12:58 p.m. PST

Wasn't the old DPM created by an artist and a broad brush? Once you use computers and eschew artists you are in for trouble as a good artist has a very good idea of how colour and patterns impact on the human eye. After all it's essential for their job (unless you are Damian Hirst).

Legion 422 Jan 2013 1:07 p.m. PST

Well I know part of the reason each of the US branches have different camo patterns is so they can be ID'd properly by the media. Plus appropriate camo pattern with good fieldcraft works … Back when I was on active duty,'79-'90, generally everbody wore the same camo uniform – the BDU. I think a gray pattern or some colors that would help the sailor blend in with his ship might be a better idea. As already mentioned that digi-blue would make it even harder to see if you went overboard. And that blue pattern would not be very useful for ground deployment. Of course, I've got no problem with uniforms "looking cool" as long as it is functional …

Happy Little Trees Inactive Member22 Jan 2013 1:12 p.m. PST

Just go back to Khaki green or whatever worked in WWII.
Heck, bring back the neckties. After all, the military went corporate decades ago.

Legion 422 Jan 2013 1:15 p.m. PST

Neck ties are not functional for combat operations … wink

Cyclops Inactive Member22 Jan 2013 1:47 p.m. PST

I was on the Israeli/Egyptian border in '97 and the Egyptian border guards were all in what looked like British DPM but in shades of blue. It did look cool but you could have seen them from space.

Milites Inactive Member22 Jan 2013 1:50 p.m. PST

Better than the all black evil empire uniforms they used to wear guarding Cairos important buildings. 40+ degrees and the poor sods had to wear a black uniform, no wonder they rioted!

Lion in the Stars22 Jan 2013 1:54 p.m. PST

Actually, the current Navy digiflage is matched to the most common paints used aboard ship. Makes it harder to see where you found the unmarked wet paint.

@Agent Brown: I thought to purpose of border guards was to be seen?

Failure16 Inactive Member22 Jan 2013 1:55 p.m. PST

L4, that's why they made clip-ons…now if you had said bowties, that I could get behind. Those never should have been invented for use other than in conjunction with a tuxedo.

DeanMoto Inactive Member22 Jan 2013 2:01 p.m. PST

They should just spend more time developing a cloaking device.

Cherno22 Jan 2013 2:57 p.m. PST

The ACU pattern is a crime against humanity, but the Navy and USMC camo patterns (besides Multicam of course) are actually reasonable. The Navy doesn't need camouflage in the traditional sense for personell on ships, the color scheme is more for hiding fluid spots (snicker) than deceiving the enemy. The worst offender is currently the Air Force with their semi-pixelated Tiger Stripe in ACU color, I wonder what they were thinking.

Rubber Suit Theatre Inactive Member22 Jan 2013 3:10 p.m. PST

The sharpest and most practical uniform that I saw in Iraq was worn by the Ugandans. They wore Khaki.

Deadone Inactive Member22 Jan 2013 3:31 p.m. PST

Bizarre stuff! Thanks for sharing.

I've always wondered why naval staff on ships are issued camouflaged uniforms though. Makes no sense at all.

Zephyr122 Jan 2013 3:41 p.m. PST

"Neck ties are not functional for combat operations …"

Properly designed, they could be used to throw slingstones in a pinch…. ;-)

Urban camouflage patterns should be adapted to the terrain it will be most used in:


Milites Inactive Member22 Jan 2013 3:42 p.m. PST

I wonder, did anyone ask captured Iraqi and Afghan insurgents if they found it hard to spot US troops in ACU?

How effective was/is the USMC Desert Marpat?

Personal logo Jlundberg Supporting Member of TMP22 Jan 2013 4:00 p.m. PST

We had this discussion with vehicle camo. With people it is more pronounced. I was a geeky USAF weather guy assigned to work with the 10th Mountain. This meant that my troops needed to be able to do the Army Soldiers handbook.
I actually took my guys out to do ftxs with miles gear. We taught individual camouflage with foliage and skin paint.
A properly camoed guy hidden in bushes is next to invisible if they stay still.
Yahoo news is a pretty controversial news source and this kind of snarky reporting is right in their wheelhouse.

darthfozzywig Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member22 Jan 2013 4:14 p.m. PST

the only purpose of which could be to make SURE that anybody who goes overboard is never seen again


And dang, Zephyr, that picture hurts to look at it. :D

Meiczyslaw Inactive Member22 Jan 2013 4:35 p.m. PST

Yahoo news is a pretty controversial news source and this kind of snarky reporting is right in their wheelhouse.

The Strategy Page has been covering the Army's camouflage debacle for a while. Their take on it has always been that the Army didn't want to use the Marine's stuff -- not that the patent was actually defended.

The Marine camo is supposed to be good, and the reason why the Army is doing Multicam now is that it was the stuff used by SOCOM (who has a higher budget per soldier).

Personal logo javelin98 Supporting Member of TMP22 Jan 2013 4:35 p.m. PST

I'm sure that anyone forced to wear dungarees would jump at the chance for some BDUs.

28mm Fanatik22 Jan 2013 4:40 p.m. PST

Well, if nothing else Rihanna looks pretty good in it.


Legion 422 Jan 2013 5:36 p.m. PST

I refuse to wear a bow tie unless it is a formal declaration of war …

Personal logo gamertom Supporting Member of TMP22 Jan 2013 5:39 p.m. PST

After all, the military went corporate decades ago.

An excellent take on this, including camo and its civilian market, is given in William Gibson's latest novel "Zero History."

BrotherSevej22 Jan 2013 6:33 p.m. PST

I think that works. I can't see the mounds on Rihanna's chest.

Milites Inactive Member22 Jan 2013 7:59 p.m. PST

She's wearing a cloaking bra, silly!

Lion in the Stars22 Jan 2013 10:17 p.m. PST

I'm sure that anyone forced to wear dungarees would jump at the chance for some BDUs.

It's a toss up. BDUs are more comfortable, real (denim) dungarees are tougher. The Utility uniform (dungaree replacement) sucked. Made a Sailor look like a prisoner, and was uncomfortable as all hell.

I'm just irked that they got rid of the coveralls for shipboard uniform. You needed to buy a couple sizes too big, but that was the toughest uniform I've owned. Survived at least 5 NorPac patrols.

vojvoda Inactive Member23 Jan 2013 6:28 a.m. PST

I think the whole idea jumped the shark when the Navy got on board.

Can someone explain WHY you need blue cammo on a 200 foot or larger ship?

Didn't think so.

The Woodland camo was based on the European Warsaw pack threat. Chocolate Chips were the first step in something for arid climates and the 2nd generation was a step up. Everything after that is just another example of some full Col getting his name assocated with a uniform change to make BG. Same with weapons systems.

As for bow ties yes I have two, one white and one blue that I can wear with my mess blues as formal and black tie affairs. Marine Corps birthdays are always an occassion.

James Mattes

James Mattes

Altius Inactive Member23 Jan 2013 8:26 a.m. PST

I saw some photos of US marines in Afghanistan wearing pink BDUs. I don't know if it was because someone threw some red shorts into the laundry, but about half of them, including the captain, were seriously pink.

I wish I could find the pictures. It was from a magazine article.

GeoffQRF Inactive Member23 Jan 2013 8:49 a.m. PST

The problem that strikes me with a lot of the more modern designs is that they lose their disruptive effect at any distance, instead blending into a fairly bright, light beige/grey blob, which seems to defeast the concept of breaking up the distinctive outline of a human form.

I'm still leaning towards the opinion that the digital patterns are simply designed to be more recogniseable to the newer recruits, who grew up on digital games systems and are used to seeing pixelated images, vis-a-vis anything not pixelated can be shot at :-)

John D Salt Inactive Member23 Jan 2013 8:57 a.m. PST

Milites wrote:

a good artist has a very good idea of how colour and patterns impact on the human eye. After all it's essential for their job (unless you are Damian Hirst).

Made oi larrf.

All the best,


Lion in the Stars23 Jan 2013 9:09 a.m. PST

@Vojvoda: Thought I just did explain the color choices of the navy cammies: the better to hide paint splatters, because no ship ever issues tyvek coveralls to the poor saps that got stuck chipping and painting!

Legion 423 Jan 2013 9:26 a.m. PST

I agree James, and yes I still have a bow tie for my Mess Blues … of course that's the only piece of that uniform that fits these days ! huh?

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