In the 1950s, West Germany used two versions of the wartime "splinter", a four-colour pattern called BV-Splittermuster
. Thereaft, from 1961 until 1990 they used the so called olive-green battle dress. Following various trials the dots-and-blotches five-colour Flecktarn
pattern was chosen in 1976 and issued from the 1980s.
East Germany's first pattern was the 1956 Russisches Tarnmuster based, as the name suggests, on the Soviet "amoeba" designs. It was soon replaced by the four-colour Fl
chentarnmuster pattern (sometimes called "potato" or "splotch"). In 1965, the dense straight-line two-colour Strichmuster pattern was introduced, sometimes called "ein Strich - kein Strich", it remained in use until reunification.
Flecktarn was made the pattern for the unified country.
The Italian Army used grigio-verde in the Alps from 1906 and across the army from 1909. In 1929, the country was the first to mass-produce camouflage fabric, the three-colour telo mimetico. It was not issued as uniform until 1942.
The pattern remained in use after the war, moving through several colour variations. The marines adopted a complex five-colour "Mediterranean spray" pattern in the 1980s. In 1990, a new army pattern was introduced, a four-colour design inspired by the popular U.S. "woodland" pattern; a desert version was also issued from 1992.
The Japanese tried monochrome green during the 1905 conflict with Russia, but entered World War II with a monochrome mustard khaki uniform. Some were fitted with special loops to aid the attachment of natural vegetation.
The Japan Self-Defense Forces did not issue a pattern until the 1980s, choosing a four-colour green-and-brown design, sometimes called "fang". It was succeeded in 1991 by a dot pattern close to flecktarn, while during the Gulf War a six-colour pattern similar to the U.S. choc-chip was used.
Russia and the Soviet Union
The Imperial Russian Army fought mostly in white or in dark green colours (introduced by Peter the Great in 1700), even if several regiments (Life Guards regiments, Cavalry Guards, Dragoons and Uhlans regiments) dressed in distinctive and colourful attire. Cossack regiments were reported to use basic camouflage patterns and techniques during the Crimean War. Duller colours were used unofficially in the 1880s and again in 1905. The whole army began using khaki from 1908 on.
In the early 1930s, the Soviet Union developed one-piece coveralls and two-piece suits with a disruptive pattern of big amoeba-like spots, which, in conjunction with the baggy shape of the suit itself, were very effective in breaking the outline of the human silhouette. The two-piece suits were made to be worn over the uniform and gear, which could be accessed through the special slots (a design feature later employed by the Germans). The limited use of a two-colour disruptive "amoeba" pattern began in 1938. The "amoeba" remained in use until the 1950s.
The Soviet Union issued all-white winter camouflage in 1938. During World War II, other designs were tried, including "leaf" (1940) and the jagged three-colour "TTsMKK" (1944). Most troops remained in a monochrome brown.
Post-war Soviet camouflage remained a sign of elite units. A two-colour "sun-ray" pattern was used by paratroopers from 1969 and two- or three-colour versions were issued to Spetsnaz, KGB and MVD troops into the 1980s. The KLMK pattern was the first "digital" camouflage and it was issued to Spetsnaz troops and some Border guards units.
After the collapse of the Soviet regime, a new pattern was developed as the standard field uniform. Issued from 1993, the three-colour green-brown-tan design in a vertical orientation was called VSR, or "Schofield" in the West. This was quickly superseded by the same basic pattern in a horizontal orientation, called "flora", in 1998. Other widely used patterns in the 1990s were inspired by Western designs, notably the British DPM and U.S. "woodland" patterns. The elite forces maintain different patterns; MVD troops began using the four-colour "SMK" pattern in 1992 and other units wear a distinctive "reed" pattern. Versions of the "woodland" pattern also remain in use.
From the late 17th century to the late 19th century, most British soldiers (red coats) fought in scarlet tunics. The adoption of scarlet was mainly for economic reasons. When Oliver Cromwell initially started forming the New Model Army, red was the cheapest dye available. Toward the end of the 19th century, however, as the nature of warfare moved away from close formation fighting to more individual fighting, it began to be recognised that this colour stood out too much.
The move towards camouflage began in India, and khaki was used during the Indian Mutiny (or First War of Independence). It became standard in India in 1885, for all foreign postings in 1896, and was adopted throughout the army in 1902 during the Second Boer War.
World War II
Battle Dress (BD) was the official name for the standard working and fighting uniform worn by the British Army and the armies of other Imperial and Commonwealth countries in temperate climes from 1937 to the late 1960s. It was a pair of trousers and a close fitting short jacket Blouse made of khaki-coloured woollen cloth. Blue battledress was worn by the Royal Air Force, and Royal Navy shore parties wore a navy blue version. Camouflage dress was hand-painted for some specialists.
The Battle Dress design at the start of the war was the (19)37 Pattern. In 1940 it was replaced with the simpler made (19)40 Utility Pattern. This omitted finer details such as pleating on pockets. In both cases the blouse came in two forms, the ordinary ranks with closed neck and the officers open neck which exposed their shirt and tie. From 1942, the camouflaged Denison smock, originally issued to the Airborne forces to be worn over the BD, was issued more widely.
In the early campaigns in North Africa and the Mediterranean theatre, British troops wore khaki drill (KD) shorts or slacks with long sleeved Aertex shirts. The paler shade of KD was more suited to desert or semi-desert regions than the dark khaki serge used in Battle dress. When the Allies moved up through Italy, however, two-piece khaki denim battledress overalls where increasingly preferred. By 1943, the KD shirt began to be replaced by a more durable cotton KD bush jacket.
In the Far East, the British found themselves at war with the Japanese while equipped with the impractical KD uniform. Shirts and trousers had to be dyed green as a temporary expedient until more suitable jungle clothing became available. A new tropical uniform in Jungle Green (JG) was quickly developed
a JG Aertex battledress blouse, a JG Aertex bush jacket (as an alternative to the blouse) and battledress trousers in JG cotton drill. In the hot and humid conditions of Southeast Asia, JG darkened with sweat almost immediately.
When the war in Europe was over, a new jungle uniform began to be produced for troops posted to the Far East. It was based on the U.S. Army Pacific theatre field uniform, with Aertex being rejected in favour of cotton drill. Though the jacket was similar to the U.S. design, the trousers maintained the battledress design, but with some features copied from American olive drab (OD) herringbone twill trousers. Newly available synthetic materials were utilised in one version of the new Olive Green (OG) uniform, as it was called.
The khaki Battledress was used until the late 1960s, and various uniform items in KD, JG and OG remained on issue to soldiers serving in the Mediterranean, Middle East or tropics after the war. By the end of the 1940s, however, stocks were becoming depleted, and a new 1950-pattern tropical uniform was made available in both KD and JG. It was poorly designed, with an ill fitting bush jacket in the much-maligned Aertex, and suspender buckles that dug in to the hips when marching in full kit. Eventually the much more practical Gurkha regiments
JG shirt was copied, replacing the 1950-pattern bush jacket. All the same, troops still sought out the older, wartime, issues of the better KD, JG and OG kit.
While serving during the Korean War (1950-53), troops had found the existing combat uniform inadequate: It was too hot in the summertime, and not warm enough during the harsh Korean winters. Soldiers were at first issued JG for hot weather, and battledress in the wintertime, but this had to be augmented with additional warm clothing (often from the U.S. Army) as well as caps with ear flaps and fur linings. A solution was rapidly pursued, and towards the end of the Korean War a windproof and water-repellent gabardine combat uniform was issued. The trousers followed the tried and tested battledress design, while the bush jacket had several pockets inside and out, closing with zips and buttons, a hip length skirt with draw-strings to keep out the wind, and a similar arrangement at the waist. The uniform was produced in a greyish green colour (OG), similar to the U.S. Army OD.
With the end of National Service conscription in 1961, the Army looked for a new uniform: Something that was smarter than battledress, but also more comfortable, while still having a military air about it. Using the Korean War combat clothing as a basis, various new items of field wear were developed for the 1960-pattern Combat Dress, including the so-called Canadian pattern combat jacket, which was well made, with a lining above the waist and reinforced elbows. The 1960s was a period of transition for the Army, and this was reflected in the changes that were taking place in soldier's uniform.
The new, smaller, all-volunteer Army could also now afford to equip every soldier with his own camouflaged uniform, and following work at the Army Personnel Research Establishment (APRE) a four-colour camouflage pattern was designed in 1960. From 1969 it was issued in limited quantities on 1960-pattern jackets and trousers. Known as "Pattern 1960 DPM" (Disruptive Pattern Material), these items were soon superseded by the
68-Pattern, which had a very slightly revised camouflage design on a new uniform, featuring minor changes over the preceding 1960/66-Pattern kit, most notably: a full lining for jacket and trousers. It became official issue only in 1972.
The temperate clothing was followed by a DPM jungle combat uniform which, due to the use of different (i.e. polycotton), material had a slightly different colorway.
The underlying pattern has remained through various different patterns of clothing but has differed in detail of the pattern and the coulourway depending on the material and manufacturer. The most recent major overhall of the combat uniform was the introduction of the Combat Soldier 95 system in the mid 90s this system is still in use (with changes to some items) for Nos 8 and 9 Dress, in 2007 .
Prior to the Gulf War, the stock of uniform in four-colour desert DPM of browns and tans had been sold to Iraq therefore a two-colour DPM version (light brown on tan) was issued to UK forces.
See Battle dress uniform, Airman Battle Uniform, Army combat uniform & Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform.