Camouflage or cryptic coloration is a tactic used by the military to disguise soldiers from perception. While many camouflage styles are popular as clothing, designers originally intended the material to hide soldiers, keeping them safe from enemy surveillance and fire. The years have seen many camouflage patterns, but the concept and purpose remain steadfast as a stealth operations tool.
At close range, camouflage does not seem like it would fool anyone, but the uniforms can create confusion at a distance and in the right environment, making it hard to find a target. To understand camouflage, you need to understand its four variations:
Concealing coloration: When a color is chosen to match the surrounding area, allowing the target to blend into its surroundings, making it more challenging to see, that is concealment. Military typically use this method of camouflage.
Disruptive coloration: This form of camouflage uses patterns to disrupt boundaries or outlines, making it hard to discern the tail from the head. Consider zebras or cheetahs in the wild.
Mimicry: A form of disruptive coloration, mimicry is when a species or object mimics the model. For example, butterflies often have wing designs that mimic larger predators to keep actual predators away.
Disguise: Camouflage used to make an individual or animal look like an object in the environment is a disguise. Think of stick bugs.
The military will use all four variations to make the most effective camouflage. When deciding what a soldier will wear, higher-ups must consider the environment, enemy, and distance from combat.
Most people think that camouflage only comes in green, gray, or white, not realizing that the colors, designs, and textures play a critical role in the material’s effectiveness. If a soldier is fighting in a desert but wears green camo, the suit does little to hide their position. The design must match the terrain to be effective as a life-saving device.
Urban camouflage typically uses gray, black, and white abstract patterns and is most useful in more developed areas. These patterns are better in cities and industrial areas with buildings and facilities. Because of the coloration, this type of camo is helpful in areas with lots of concrete and less greenery.
US Woodland Camouflage
US woodland camouflage is often used for training purposes in the states. It is an abstract blend of greens and browns meant to blend in with forest surroundings. Despite the name, the camouflage is helpful for any forest or woodland tactical need.
Many people know what desert camouflage looks like; It is browns and beiges, meant to blend with the sandy textures and colors of the desert landscape. This camo style became popular during middle east conflicts and wars.
Snow Terrain Camouflage
Similar to urban camouflage, snow camo uses whites and grays to blend in with snowy landscapes. Some forms of this style will also use blacks, depending on the specifics of the area — trees, brush, etc.
Camouflage is an effective and necessary military tool. While it has become a fashion statement, there is no denying the importance of these materials in keeping soldiers safe. Do you know of any other popular camo styles? Leave a comment below.