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Thread: All about Camouflage & BCU (inc cartoons)

  1. #21
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Black is indeed quite rare in nature, but that's not the problem.

    It's indeed helpful to create contrast, but it simply fits into very few environments and a large share of darkness in patterns stands out even at long range if the background is light.

    One key problem with dark/black camouflage (even if only partial) is that it's relatively easy to see in low light vision because it doesn't reflect the low light as other surfaces.


    Overall, there are good reasons for and against black, and two cases when it's right and when not:

    * Black is right if soldiers can best (only) really hide themselves in shadows.
    This is true in very closed terrain where short range (up to 100m) camouflage is important and long-range camouflage less important. This has also an impact on the size of the pattern.

    * Black is completely wrong in, well, the opposite case. Long lines of sight, long range combat, camouflage possible even outside of shadows.
    Black is also wrong if the vegetation allows for effective hiding on open terrain, like on high grass.

    I wouldn't just change the pattern to improve camouflage anyway; we need to go to 3D camouflaging.
    Examples:
    "Camouflage system"
    http://www.pri.uk.com/html/clothingthumbs.html#systems2
    and this
    http://soldiersystems.net/2009/06/11/boonie/

    It could even look orderly in garrison - and be sliced up along marked lines for deployment (and field training).

    I would use such camo on arms, shoulders and chest.

  2. #22
    Council Member Van's Avatar
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    Let's not scamper toward irrelevancies (any more than usual). Black in a camo pattern and solid black are completely different beasts. Solid black is dramatic and easy to make uniform, but is much worse than a solid khaki as a field uniform.

    The important issue is not whether or not their are black animals in nature, but how black or other dark speckling effects the quality of a camo pattern. Camo is about deception and illusion. Easy but poorly thought out positions about 'black in nature' are secondary to the need to deceive the observer's eye and create the illusion that the uniform is consistent with the back ground.

    It seems to me that there are so many camo patterns in the world, we could do brute force, competitive testing of all of them, and, if needed, make minor adjustments to the winner to circumvent copyright/patent/trademark problems. Compare Multicam (tm) to WW II German infantry patterns, or the current German Flecktarn.

  3. #23
    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    Default I'm not sure Congress is on the right track

    Take a peek at this paper
    Simons, D. J., & Chabris, C. F. (1999). Gorillas in our midst: Sustained inattentional blindness for dynamic events. Perception, 28, 1059-1074
    and thisvideo to consider the ramifications of inattentinal blindness.
    Here's the instructions on the video:
    This link takes you to the basketball video from an experiment by Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris. When viewing the video, try to count the total number of times that the people wearing white pass the basketball. Do not count the passes made by the people wearing black. When you're done, visit the main lab web site for more information. Please note that this video is copyrighted and is available on this web site for viewing purposes only -- it may not be downloaded, copied, saved or used for any other purpose. If you are interested in using this video in any other context, it is available on DVD from Viscog Productions, Inc. Please see the link below. (Note that the University of Illinois is not in any way affiliated with Viscog Productions and this link does not represent an endorsement of Viscog Productions or its products by the University.)

    I suspect that has more to do with what folks can and can't see on the battlefield (and elsewhere) than what camo pattern one chooses to cut into a set of utilities.
    Last edited by wm; 07-02-2009 at 05:46 PM.
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  4. #24
    Council Member J Wolfsberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wm View Post
    and thisvideo to consider the ramifications of inattentinal blindness.
    Wow.
    John Wolfsberger, Jr.

    An unruffled person with some useful skills.

  5. #25
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Anyone who's been an Infantryman or a Tanker

    or close to those trades who missed that should seek another field of endeavor...

  6. #26
    Council Member Van's Avatar
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    WM, et al,
    The gorilla video is great! And it should be part of any curriculum on observation. But...the key to that video and the associated Jedi mind trick is that the viewers are directed to count the basket ball passes. Misdirection that any stage magician or sleight of hand artist would be proud of.

    Re: Camo

    -Any edge when our soldiers' lives are on the line. Better camo is an easy edge. Simple, verifiable, quantifiable testing can rank order camo patterns (as HyperStealth shows on their website). And getting the better product to the soldiers is relatively easy (compared to providing materials and training for improvised camo, developing and implementing new training on concealment and deception, etc). (I have no vested interest in HyperStealth or their camo patterns, but they do lay out the science behind their patterns very clearly.)

    -Camo is about the bullet that is marked "To Whom It May Concern". Camo (competently designed camo...) helps keep soldiers from standing out, and helps keep them from being selected as a "target of opportunity".

    -Camo help enhance shock effect by assisting soldiers in getting closer to the enemy before pulling the trigger. Again, any edge.

    A secondary consideration (to me) is "branding". Part of the reasoning for the new uniform was to make Soldiers distinctive, to make them stand out psychologically. This is at odds with combat effectiveness, and puts me in mind of General Vladimir Sukhomlinov 's observation about uniforms.

    I guess my biggest frustration is that the Army and DoD certainly have the in-house capability to do competent camo design, but we're so bogged down in petty fiefdoms, ego-cases, and turfwars that we've castrated ourselves. An NCO with an average computer could design an competent camo pattern, anyone with a proper college education (one that includes scientific method) could develop testing, and the students and faculty of recon courses would be excellent participents for the "rank ordering" study of the resulting patterns. Everything would go beautifully until a contractor hints that retirement jobs may come open...

    Sorry, the coffee was a little strong this morning

  7. #27
    Groundskeeping Dept. SWCAdmin's Avatar
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    In the zero sum game of the defense budget, I would rather see new [almost anything] than new ACUs. They were an irrational compromise as noted earlier herein, carry on.

    If we scatter enough spinach dip around the theater, they Army will blend right in. Bigger challenge with the Air Force pattern.

  8. #28
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default We resisted camo for years because we had large

    armed forces and that many bodies in camo would've doubled the clothing cost,plus and importantly, OG 107 would blend in most anywhere to an acceptable degree. Camo does provide an edge but it is awfully expensive if done right and even the good stuff like HyperStealth, MultiCam and a few others is not universal. Most will do one AO well but won't work elsewhere -- ACU for example was a disaster in the Jungle (Woodland isn't much better particularly after a few washings). Woodland doesn't do well in mountains or the desert...

    The current ACU pattern (cut and form) is good, though they should slant the upper pockets outward instead of inward and just do 'em in plain old AF or Jungle Uniform sage. That's about the closest to being universal. It would sure be a lot cheaper. Makes little sense to pay big bucks for uniforms that will get ripped, torn and replaced every couple of weeks in hard combat.

  9. #29
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    Default Marines

    Somewhere along the line I remember hearing that the Marines offered to share their new camo, but the Army declined bc they wanted something unique, and multi-purpose for all environments, to save on the number of uniforms (just like badges save money on patches and sewing, even though they wear out and have to be replaced). The Army said no, the Marines said, your loss, patented it, and now its theirs. Who knows if that is true, but RUMINT is sometimes right.

    My first field training experience as a cadet, wearing BDU's, we conducted STX lanes. When we halted, we took up positions and pulled security. I couldn't see the guy 10 ft from me in the woods. When we arrived in Kuwait for the mandatory trainup, we went to a range in our DCUs. Guys blended in with the desert and sand. Couple range pax wore ACUs and stood out clearly in the sand. That new stuff on the website looks really good, but our old stuff wasn't that bad.

    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    I always wondered what the rationale was for not just copying the Marine camo, rather than wasting money on our own R&D. Once again, the Army does not let me down. I expected nothing any more logical.
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  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    Worked and worked well. Nothing wrong with OG's. The IDF has thought about Camo clothing and always rejected it, because it reality, it never works, once its out of its intended environment!
    Interestingly, it's common to see tiger stripes on SF troops from B-52 Delta, mobile guerrilla forces, and mobile strike forces in photos taken in the mid '60s.

    In photos of MACVSOG recon teams taken later in the war they are almost always wearing OGs, both SF and the indigs.

    The story I've heard is that tigers were great if the wearer was still but their boldness seemed to "jump" out at an observer if the wearer moved but that OGs appeared a little more blurry. I've even read accounts of SF having their tigers embroidered with patches and insignia and saving them for garrison wear. They called them "profile suits." So there's at least one case when it was camo for garrison and OGs for the field!

    I don't know if the blurry v. bold appearance holds true with all dull solids or solids in other environments but I've also read that troops in the ETO found the German field grey quite effective.
    Last edited by Rifleman; 07-03-2009 at 04:31 AM.
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  11. #31
    Council Member Xenophon's Avatar
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    You mean the ACUs don't work in Afghanistan? You mean it's not a nation full of gravel driveways? I'm shocked. SHOCKED.

    Anyone else think that the only way the ACU makes sense is if the Confederacy won the Civil War and had updated their uniforms?

  12. #32
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xenophon View Post
    Anyone else think that the only way the ACU makes sense is if the Confederacy won the Civil War and had updated their uniforms?

    What do ya mean IF we won

  13. #33
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van View Post
    Black in a camo pattern and solid black are completely different beasts...

    The important issue is not whether or not their are black animals in nature, but how black or other dark speckling effects the quality of a camo pattern.
    Here's one that uses black... 5 million years in development and known to be effective...



    And another...

    Last edited by Dayuhan; 07-04-2009 at 02:27 AM.

  14. #34
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    What do ya mean IF we won
    The white South won the insurgency against Reconstruction, no doubt, but you all definitely lost the war.

    I always thought ACU meant that Afghanistan was full of fuchsia.

    Everyone's favorite ACU photo:


  15. #35
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rifleman View Post

    In photos of MACVSOG recon teams taken later in the war they are almost always wearing OGs, both SF and the indigs.

    The story I've heard is that tigers were great if the wearer was still but their boldness seemed to "jump" out at an observer if the wearer moved but that OGs appeared a little more blurry. I've even read accounts of SF having their tigers embroidered with patches and insignia and saving them for garrison wear. They called them "profile suits." So there's at least one case when it was camo for garrison and OGs for the field!
    All true. I have named attributed and recorded accounts from SOG Recon team members from 1965-72. OGs and web gear were often sprayed with black paint.
    Some teams also wore "Half-black", having completely black trousers or tops, blended with an OG top or bottom.

    In 1982, the IDF in Beirut, used dust and ashes to modify the colour of their OG's, so just like putting on camouflage cream, then dusted up their Gear before patrols. Personally, I believe something similar is the way forwards, be it, tape, cloth strips or some powder or washable paint type compounds.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

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  16. #36
    Council Member Van's Avatar
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    Dayuhan,
    Good examples, but note that the tiger's pattern is vertically oriented. It always annoyed me that the tigerstripe uniforms were more horizantal. If course, the real point is that orientation of the pattern may matter.

    Re: Rifleman's
    The story I've heard is that tigers were great if the wearer was still but their boldness seemed to "jump" out at an observer if the wearer moved
    -Motion attracts the eye naturally, did the camo exaggerate this aspect of perception?

    Consider the mountain lion as a baseline for a camo pattern. Their natural pattern is extremely subtle, blending tan, black, brown, and a ginger shade at an almost strand by strand level. Much like an extreme high resolution pixelated pattern. Look at their natural range, including mountains, jungles, temperate forests, deserts, and historically plains. If this efficient predator has a pattern that has worked for close to a million years in diverse environments, it is doing something right. And it is distinctively American.

    The down side is that the puma's pattern had depth, using different colored topcoat and undercoat to create a shifting pattern every time it moves. The depth is essential to a good pattern, but it may be either too difficult to duplicate in mass production, or result in a fabric that is to thick for hot climates.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  17. #37
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    - with the combat load most are humping these days, what the hell does it matter? they stand out like a rhino on a sheet of bare ice - how about some old timey herring bone OD and after a few days in the environment they blend in as best can be

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by goesh View Post
    - with the combat load most are humping these days, what the hell does it matter? they stand out like a rhino on a sheet of bare ice
    For those of you trying to visualize this, courtesy of World of Warcraft:



    Damned if I can see him.
    They mostly come at night. Mostly.


  19. #39
    Council Member reed11b's Avatar
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    Rex..you should really put your inner nerd on time-out.
    For the why does it matter argument, Infantry does not just assault. We are also key info finders. In order for infantry to do this well, he has to be able to blend in, the base uniform matters. Ghillie suits are great for there intended role, but there intended role does not cover all situations were infantry need to blend in. Ghillie suits snag and can leave a traceble trail when worn on movement. They also reduce movement.
    Quote Originally Posted by sapperfitz82 View Post
    This truly is the bike helmet generation.

  20. #40
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    We are predatory, walking upright, frontal vision, opposable thumbs, large brain, canine teeth, its all in that visual cone of movement in front of us whether its Kraut gray or USA herring bone OD the man is wearing. Let SOG fancy themselves up, there are occasions for it, but quit wasting tax dollars across the boards when for every man snoopin and poopin the bush there are hundreds who don't need to be looking fancy. just my opinion.

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