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Feb 15, 2022 | 06:48 am 72 0

The history of US Army infantry camouflage


The history of US Army infantry camouflage

"If you want to hide something well, hide it in plain sight" - this motto perfectly characterizes the history of camouflage. Visual deception has become a part of military tactics and even art. Camouflage allows you to dissolve against the background of the landscape and determine the belonging to the country, as the patterns and color schemes of different countries differ. The history of the US Army camouflage is an essential chapter in world history, behind which lies the fate of the peoples of many nations.

US Army camo during WWII.


The first examples of US Army camouflage were used during the invasion of Normandy during World War II. The frog's foot pattern worked well but was similar to the angular pattern and color scheme of the Reich Waffen-SS camouflage. The allies hardly distinguished the subtleties of the pattern at a distance and bombed everyone who wore camouflage. The United States excluded camouflage uniforms from hostilities in Europe to exclude friendly fire.
The US Marines made a more successful attempt at introducing camouflage in 1943. They used camouflage to land on the Pacific Solomon Islands. The Marines wore the reversible M1942 uniform in two colors: sand and olive green, designed for the beach and jungle. Five colors were used for the jungle pattern and three for the beach. The drawing was the same - "frog's paw." The M1942 shape has proven itself well. In addition to the usual coloring, they had small loops on the jacket and trousers to secure the vegetation. The helmet had a mesh for securing elements of the local flora. All together dissolved the fighter against the background of the local landscape.

US Army camo during Korean campaign.


During the Korean campaign, the US Army wore several military uniforms. Warehouses tried to eliminate the surplus of the obsolete OD7 form and shipped it to Korea. After that, in 1952-53. there were supplies of satin OG-107. It was accepted with approval. As a result, the soldiers had two sets and could look somewhat awkward. The troops began to avoid wearing olive-gray trousers and flannel shirts, especially in hot and humid summers.
For the most part, the US Army used a one-color uniform. But they used ww2-era frog's foot suits and tested ERDL leaf and twig camouflage. The latter was declared unsuccessful and was abandoned.
The frigid Korean winters and mountains required warmer uniforms. The troops received the M1950 kit, which consisted of an Ike jacket and trousers, made of wool twill, shade OD33. In addition, there were supplies of OG108 field shirts and trousers, in a wool and nylon blend, to be worn under a field jacket (or parka) and trousers, the M1951 system.
The M1951 system, in its winter version, consisted of an insulated jacket with a hood, with removable lining, matching trousers with removable insulation, warm winter boots, an insulated hat, and mittens with seat belts.
The footwear had several supply options: double-buckle boots, skydiving boots, and arctic cold boots known as "Mickey Mouse boots."
In addition to them, winter uniforms were received, including those left after ww2. It should be noted that the delivery of winter uniforms was late, and the troops did not receive uniforms on time. Older uniforms were often sent first and did not provide the soldiers with the necessary comfort.
Throughout the Korean company, for the needs of the US Army, Army Green uniforms were supplied, in shades OG44 for winter and OG344 for summer. It was adopted in 1954 and gradually introduced during 1956-1961, becoming the mandatory winter uniform in 1960 and the summer uniform in 1964.
A khaki army woolen uniform was also in the supply for the Korean company. In 1959, it was renamed the Army Tan Uniform (shade 61).
In addition to the Korean company, the United States took part in the Vietnam War, with South Korea acting as a partner.
During the Vietnam War, seals, green berets, and other special forces began wearing unofficial camouflage uniforms called the tiger stripe. The colors black, olive, and khaki alternate and form something reminiscent of the tiger stripes. They resemble broad brush strokes going in the same direction. A little later, the «Tiger stripes» pattern was replaced by the official ERDL (leaves) pattern in US intelligence units but did not gain popularity. In addition to the tiger stripe, but the colors were adjusted for the terrain.

US Army camo during Middle East campaign.


 During the Gulf War, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq, the US military wore a Desert Battle Dress Uniform (DBDU), resembling chocolate chip dough. This camouflage was invented in 1962 and was used throughout the war. The shades were washed out, muted, and included brown, sand, and black.
Later in 1992, the DBDU was replaced by the Combat Uniform Desert (DCU), better known as "desert camouflage." It comes in three colors - dark brown, pale olive green, and beige. Although it officially replaced the "chocolate chip," it was often seen on military personnel until 2010. DCU was used in the desert from 1992 to 2004. Soldiers used this camouflage in Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq.
In 2004, the US Army introduced the Army Combat Uniform (ACU), which completely supplanted the BDU. The original version of the ACU used a computer-generated pixel pattern known as Universal Camouflage (UCP). The servicemen called it the "Iraqi uniform" and used it in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The military has developed a "desert night uniform" or "Parka Night Camouflage Desert" for night missions. The drawing resembled grayish-black square pixels. It could be worn over another uniform. The primary purpose of camouflage is to hide the soldier from night vision devices and infrared cameras. The fabric reflected the beams of infrared cameras and night vision devices that did not detect the presence of soldiers dressed in Parka Night Camouflage Desert.
The Marine Corps wished to have its uniform and developed the MCCUU pattern. Since 2002 eastbound, the MARPAT Desert Combat Utility Uniform (MCCUU) was used for the Marine Corps.
After ten years, the Army changed from ACU to Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP) as UCP was considered inadequate in many environments. During Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, the MultiCam variant was used as one of the versions of the OCP. Due to funding depletion, the Army reverted to an earlier version of the "Scorpion" and created its modification W2, which is still in use today.

Camouflage uniforms have evolved rapidly, adapting to new landscapes and temperature conditions. But not only the pattern and color have changed, but the comfort of use has also increased. Every year, the products became more comfortable to wear and better adapted to the unique uniforms of the military. In addition, the water-repellent, windproof, and steam-removing properties were improved. A layering system has been developed to adapt quickly to changing conditions. The military uniform minimized weight and made the individual elements more versatile. In addition, revolutionary materials began to appear that allows you to hide from night vision devices. Camouflage fulfilled a somewhat controversial task: on the one hand, it perfectly disguises a fighter, and on the other hand, it allows you to separate your colleague from the enemy. We can say that the advent of camouflage military uniforms changed the history and course of hostilities everywhere.


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