Research, Technology

What is military camouflage and how does it work?

The military uniform of soldiers of all countries has camouflagecoloring, which helps to disguise itself as the environment and become invisible to the enemy. But the military is far from the first to start wearing camouflage clothing, because before them it was mainly popular among hunters and scouts. It is believed that until the 19th century, soldiers, on the contrary, dressed in bright clothes in order to more easily distinguish their own from enemies on the battlefield. And all because in those distant times they usually went to battles in formation and there was no need to disguise themselves. In general, military camouflage has a very rich history and has been constantly changing, so let's talk about all this in more detail.

Camouflage is different and it has a very long history


  • 1 The first camouflage in the world
  • 2 Who invented the camouflage uniform?
  • 3 How does camouflage camouflage people?
  • 4 Common types of camouflage
    • 4.1 Pixel camouflage
    • 4.2 Dazzling camouflage
    • 4.3 3D camouflage
    • 4.4 Urban camouflage
  • 5 Military camouflage

The first camouflage in the world

It is believed that the first who resorted tocamouflage clothing, were the British. During the uprising of the Indian military against the colonial policy of the British in 1857-1859, the British uniform was painted white. There was no snow in the places of armed clashes, so the British were very clearly visible from afar. To become less flamboyant, they began to dress in khaki, which is characterized by a brownish-yellow tint.

White military uniform of the British

Who invented the camouflage uniform?

At first, the military uniform was one-color, but thenthe usual spots began to appear on it. It all started with the fact that in 1908 the American artist Abbot Thayer outlined the essence of the concept of countershading. He noticed that the color of many animals in well-lit places is darker, and lighter in the shade. Because of this contrast, they look flatter against the background of nature and are hard to see. By adding dark elements to the khaki fabric, the military was able to make the contours of a person less visible. Thus, camouflage became truly camouflage.

Abbott Thayer is credited with pioneering the principles of camouflage.

How does camouflage camouflage people?

It turns out that modern camouflage hastwo functions at once. First, it imitates the surrounding space. Secondly, camouflage deforms the object, blurring its outlines. Thanks to these two properties, soldiers can remain invisible to enemies.

Camouflage allows you to disguise yourself well under the surrounding space

The color of the camouflage is chosen depending on theWhere is the hostilities taking place? For example, if the soldiers are forced to walk in the forest, the green color predominates in the uniform. For desert areas, a yellow tint is used, for snowy areas, white, and so on. An important rule when choosing a color is that bright shades should be avoided. The fact is that human vision is arranged in such a way that bright things catch the eye first. But we do not immediately pay attention to dim objects.

Desert Camouflage

Spots and stripes are necessarily applied over a fabric of a dull shade. The fact is that the alternation of spots of different colors and sizes destroys the real shape of objects in visual terms.

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Common types of camouflage

It should be noted that camouflage is not alwaysspotty coloration. There are different types of masking patterns, and each has its own purpose. Let's look at the most common and interesting of them.

Pixel camouflage

In modern military clothing, more and more oftenpixel art is used, and this is no accident. Experimentally, it was found that if you simply draw the outlines of leaves and grass on clothes, such camouflage will work well at close range, but very badly at a long distance. But the pixel art, which is also known as digital, masks well both near and at a distance. This can be explained by the fact that the edges of such figures are always sharp.

An example of pixel camouflage

blinding camouflage

This type of disguise is also known as"distorting camouflage". It was very popular during the First World War for covering the hull of ships. Such coloring did not hide the ship - on the contrary, it became more visible. However, due to the abundance of black lines on a white background, the outlines of the craft were greatly distorted. As a result, it was more difficult for enemies to determine the route and speed of the ship. But today this disguise has completely lost its relevance.

Ship "Kildangan" with blinding camouflage

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3d camouflage

At the beginning of the 21st century, some clothing began topainted with a three-dimensional pattern. The 3D effect is achieved through the use of clear contours of a dark shade and blurry contours of a light one. Due to the contrast, the dark elements seem to be closer, while the light ones are farther away. It is believed that this effect also provides stealth.

An example of a 3D camouflage

Urban camouflage

Urban camouflage deserves special attention.Most of the current hostilities take place not in the forest and desert, but in the urban environment. Consequently, green and yellow shades of clothing cannot camouflage the soldiers well. Because of this, the uniform of the military is painted in the colors of dust, concrete and rusty metal - it is believed that such a palette is best suited for urban conditions.

One example of urban camouflage

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Camouflage of military equipment

From the point about dazzling camouflage, you couldunderstand that camouflage colors are also used in military equipment. Many tanks and planes can indeed be painted khaki and have a texture of stripes and spots. However, today this type of camouflage is not particularly relevant, because military equipment is easily detected using radars and other devices. Therefore, many tanks today are painted in one color - for example, the American Abrams tank is painted in the color of dirt. And the planes have a neutral gray color, which only helps to hide in the clouds.

American tank Abrams

Interesting fact: during the Second World War camouflageused to issue one plane after another. For example, sometimes Il-2 attack aircraft were painted so that they looked like fighters. In fact, it was one of the varieties of a psychological attack on the enemy - we talked about it here.

In general, today many people believe thatcamouflage has already lost its usefulness. Indeed, in the armament of all countries there are radars that help to quickly and accurately see the location of the enemy. What do you think - do the military need camouflage, or no longer? Write in the comments or our Telegram chat.