Clothing – Camouflage, a Recent History
The use of camouflage in military clothing took
hold in more recent history as the nature of war changed
World War and the impact on military clothing
The two major world wars
had a huge impact on the military and the investment in military technology
and military clothing. Advances in technology
during this time saw the first mass-produced military camouflage material
being made. Initially this was used to cover shelters but it soon became
common in military clothing in World War Two.
Camouflage for military clothing
The Germans used pattern camouflage
for military clothing used by combat units. The types of patterns were
• Palm Pattern
Magician designs military clothing
It wasn’t until 1942 that the
British army used patterned camouflage military clothing, and in America
150,000 jungle camouflage uniforms
were produced for beach and jungle environments. US marines used camouflage
as part of their military uniform. The British has their own research
unit that featured the magician Jasper Maskelyne who was famed for his
work with camouflage for military clothing.
How military clothing evolved
America perhaps is the leading force in
changing military clothing – they
changed their uniform in every military campaign since the Revolutionary
War until World War One. By then the use of camouflage in military clothing
changed the idea of the military uniform. The shift was from being visible
and bold to becoming ‘unseen’.
Vietnam and jungle warfare
Vietnam shifted the uniform as practicality
and the environment demanded changes in military clothing. Jungle combat
meant various new camouflage
patterns emerged, including the tiger stripe pattern that was used for
the Green Berets but became standard by the end of the war.
The dangers of Velcro
By 1980, although military clothing and designs
had advanced, there were still major concerns. The use of Velcro on the
pockets of American
uniforms was a concern for soldiers who felt the ripping noise would
give away their position.
Military clothing in the desert
The ACU uniform in America was produced
in response to the Gulf War and another environmental change and shift
in the nature of warfare.
This military clothing was designed to improve comfort and practicality.
Pockets were shifted from the chest to the bicep area to accommodate
other protective military clothing, namely the Interceptor Body Armour
Outer Tactical Vest. The covering was designed into the military clothing
to protect soldiers from the more recent threat of homemade antipersonnel
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