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The Operational Dangers of Specialized Camouflage Patterns

I’ve been on record as opposing the adoption of specialized, area specific camouflage patterns. Basically, I’ve got two arguments against the concept. First off, is logistical. It’s extremely difficult to ensure that the right Soldier has the right pattern in the right environment. Shorten the timeline (as in contingency ops) and it’s all but impossible. And that issue leads to my second concern, operational effectiveness. Perhaps our friend Cal the Chameleon from the cartoon “Unnatural History” can best demonstrate what happens when you don’t have the right pattern for the environment you’re entering.

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22 Responses to “The Operational Dangers of Specialized Camouflage Patterns”

  1. ruan says:

    Camouflage color and patterns is not a problem if you fight in your own country…

  2. steveb says:

    I agree a good transitional pattern (like Multicam for one example) should be general issue for most conventional forces. HOWEVER, MC is not that effective in several environments. It easily stands out in moist, green temperate and tropical cropland/woodland environments and in open, light colored deserts.

    IMO, they really need to have a true desert and woodland type pattern available; maybe not at a moments notice (except for ‘tier one dudes’), but available none-the-less.

    • Raven Blackferal says:

      Hello Steveb. I’m interested how MC “easily stands out in moist, green temperate and tropical cropland/woodland environments and in open, light colored deserts”?

      For objectivity’s sake, appreciate if you could justify this with photographs.

      • SteveB says:

        There are plenty of photos on the web showcasing the environments where Multicam is weak. Don’t get me wrong, MC is light-years better than UCP, but like I said, true desert and woodland patterns are really needed for Extended ops in those areas.

  3. CAVstrong says:

    I remember that cartoon from when I was a kid.

  4. Sal says:

    Isn’t this why phase IV specified a transitional pattern though?

  5. Stefan S. says:

    Stop with the cammo articles! You writers can’t stop beating that LONG dead horse! Long before the Army decides on it’s next flop, Obama will have turned the military into blue helmet wearing girly men!

    • SSD says:

      Tinfoil is so 2012

      • orly? says:

        Tinfoil is so much in fashion nowadays, they wanted a camo pattern for it.

        Made those who wore it easier to see and get shot at.

        UCP was the closest they could get.

  6. Sgt E says:

    Sure, I agree for a initial deployment, but if you’re going to be operating in a specific environment for years (like Afghanistan) how much more expensive would it be? Now clearly I’ve moved the goal posts of my previous postings and will not claim to be in the know about this sort of thing, but I would think that it would either not be much more expensive, if at all.

    That is based on seeing the use of flight suits for massive conventional units (I think they’re expensive, that’s not being sarcastic, I don’t know their unit price), and we’ve seen the rise in what we call FROG gear (to include transitioning into making both desert and woodland in MARPAT now). I think, personally, it’d be worth the investment, but maybe I’m wrong.

  7. JRoss says:

    So basically you are advocating one universal-ish camouflage. I.E. Multicam (From Georgia to Afghanistan, stuff works, not being theoritical or looking at test points, but from actual eyes on squads outfitted and maneuvering in the stuff). The army has all but officially announced they are moving to Multicam for FY15. They have also mentioned, out of the corner of their mouths it seems, that they may have access to different color variations of that same pattern. I.E. the woodland and desert versions Crye submitted for trials. They have also made it clear those variations would only be for deploying troops to certain regions, and would only be for uniforms, not gear. So, everyone gets issued everything in the universal-ish camo pattern that you seem to be advocating. As an added bonus, troops with functioning supply lines that are deploying to say, Syria maybe, would recieve desert-ish multicam uniforms for the deployment. Not gear, because its to expensive to replace. So, worst case scenario your supply lines are faulty, and you have either have some or all people in all unversal-ish camo, which you advocate anyway, and/or some in desert-ish camo uniforms with universal-ish camo gear, which should blend even better. Even in a worst case scenario, seems like a pretty damn good way to go. Especially seeing as it should cost next to nothing more. Every deployment I have gone on so far I have recieved 4 new uniforms anyway, and they were completely wore out by the time I got back, so I got more new ones when I was back stateside. So I needed the new uniforms anyway, why not make every effort to have a regionally sound color pallete when people are trying to kill me. Not sure what your arguing, but this seems best case scenario for a soldier like me, who just wants the best camo I can get without wasting much more money (no comment on past money wasted).

  8. Chris says:

    I think the Marines have a very credible setup, run coyote for your web gear and use various patterns that fit the mission. I think the army should follow suit and have multicam as the main but have woodland and dcu for very specific teams or missions. The coyote will work with it all.

    • SSD says:

      That solid color makes a great silhouette.

    • Bob says:

      I believe the Marines were looking for a compromise to avoid purchasing gear in two seperate patterns, and relied on the older concept of OD kit, but substitutied Coyote in place of OD, for its utility in both desert and woodland. It works, in much the same way OD did for years with various patterns, but is antiquated and has some flaws. For instance, pouches and a suspender system don’t cover much, so do not distract the eye from the camoflage uniform or break up the profile too much. However, when they went to full body armor all the time, and using coyote, it became much more noticable, covering up a considerable amount of their (excellent) camo, and drawing the eye. On top of this, that large block of solid color creates an index point for the enemy to more easily aim at said Marine. I am fairly certain when funds are available, the Marine Corps will field a transitional variant of their own for large items. Whether that is MARPAT 2.0 or Multicam/Crye transitional is yet to be seen.

      • JRoss says:

        Am I crazy or didnt I already see a transitional variant of MARPAT somewhere. Not sure where or when I saw it, and cant even remember what it looked like exactly so I couldnt say whether or not itd be a step up from coyote or not, but just occured to me when you mentioned their setup.

        • JRoss says:

          Nevermind, found it. It was on Hyperstealths “Why not use MARPAT”, and it was a “Universal AOR”, not a variant of MARPAT

      • SSD says:

        I believe you are correct.

  9. hodge175 says:

    I have one simple question is the current OCP (multicam) going to be the same as the new OCP that will be issued to troops approx. 2014 as the army stated. If I read it correct the OCP the troops will be issued in 2014 will have the colors tweaked.

    If that is the case and the current multicam is now what is going to be issued what are the Army’s plans with those uniforms and equipment?

    If they tweak the colors then we have a different pattern and the uniforms that most combat arms unit now have (sitting in bags stateside or on ebay) will not be authorized for use.