CAMOUFLAGE

By Tim Bishop

Oakleaf
This camo began life in Germany in the late 1930s in it's original reversable form (both sides had the brown base color and both used the same camo pattern but one side had light and dark green colors over the brown for use in spring/summer and the reverse side had orange/yellow colors over the brown for use in the fall/winter). This pattern works best in woodland areas, but is effective in other areas as well. It's a highly tested pattern that produced on average a 15% reduction in casualties in the Waffen SS units who wore it in WW2 as opposed to the units who did not wear camo. The actual camo in the picture is a non reversable copy made for paintball by Renegade in England.
 

44 Dot (aka "44 Peas")
This is also a German camo pattern developed by the Waffen SS during WW2. It was used in 1943, 44 and 45. There were two main versions of it. Both were non reversable or sometimes reversed to white for use in snow. The main differences in the versions were the over all lightness or darkness of the pattern. The earlier version (43 Dot) was lighter and the later 44 version (shown) was darker over all. Both versions work very well in grassy areas but will also work in woodlands (the later darker version probably adapts to more different conditions better). Renegade made a version of this camo for paintball use (slightly darker than even the 44 version, though). They no longer produce it as far as I know. Reproductions of the original versions can still be bought from dealers in WW2 militaria, but it is quite expensive in comparison to most current paintball camos (don't even bother thinking about the price of actual original non-reproduction camo in this pattern... it's waaay too high to wear in a paintball game).
 

The hat on the left is German 43 Dot (mentioned above). The hat on the right is yet another of the several reversable camo patterns made in Germany during and immediately prior to WW2. This one is commonly called "Plane Tree" pattern in several english language books on militaria I’ve read over the course of the last 20 years or so. At first I had no idea why anyone would call the patten by that name, as it makes no sense. In the last several months however, I’ve spoken to a couple of guys from Germany who tell me that the name is incorrect and might be a corruption of the german word “Platane”. Looking in my trusty german-english dictionary, I see that Platane is a tree, so it would make good sense for it to be used in a name for this type of camouflage. With that being said, my guess is that some early researcher of camouflage development (who spoke no german) must have seen a note or something written somewhere that said “platane - tree”, and thought it said “Plane tree”, then proceeded to publish it as the proper name in their books. So there you have it… my guess as to the proper name of this camo: “Platane”. So…. In this photo the "fall" orange side is showing. You’ll notice that this pattern is very similar to the "oakleaf" pattern (eichenlaub auf deutsch). According to the sources I’ve seen, it is slightly older than the typical oakleaf pattern, but I’ve seen pictures of certain smocks that appear to be a mixture of the two patterns, so your guess is as good as mine as to when and if the original name changed. The bottom line is that most books on the subject of WW2 German camouflage (written in english) identify this more rounded pattern as the earlier version, and state that it was the very first of the WW2 German patterns. It was used (along with the other later patterns) all the way through the war. There were several minor variations of this pattern; one of which included the very first use of "carbon black" in the pattern in order to defeat early night vision devices. This is best used as a woodland pattern, but can be used in grassy areas as well.
Thanks to everyone who’s helped with correcting names, etc.
 
 
 

Danish
This is a Danish version (left) of the current German army (Bundeswehr) camo. This version has more green in it than the German version (right). The German version is much more common and has more browns/reds in it. I don't know what the Danes call this camo, but the Germans call the original version "Flectarn" which just means "dot camos". You'll see a lot of this sold by surplus dealers who tend to incorrectly call it "flectar" pattern. It (the german version) can be bought for very reasonable prices these days. It's a good pattern for a wide variety of areas. There is a lighter version with tans and browns that is intended for desert use. Renegade of England makes paintball specific camos in the brown/red German colors of this pattern. For some reason they call it "Belgium". As far as I know, the Belgian air force bought some of it from the germans, but decided to use a verison of the British "DPM" pattern instead. They said that the german pattern looked "too aggressive". Hmm... imagine that... an army that doesn't want to be too agressive. No wonder they get overrun in every major war.  ;-)
 
 

Italian "San Marcos"
This pattern is very rare and expensive when you can find it at all. Great pattern for woodlands. Maybe someone will make a paintball version some day.
 
 
 


 
 

Syrian
Could make an interesting paintball camo..
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tiger Stripe
Everyone knows this pattern. It was made popular by US Special Forces during the Vietnam war. It was made for use in rain forrest areas. Several companies produce it specifically for paintball, but there are also several surplus versions available in both the "light" and "dark" styles.
 
 
 


 

Bushlan Spring
Bushlan camo of Camp Verde, Texas, began marketing this camo to paintball players in the early 1990's. It is very efective woods camo, especially in areas with lots of  green foliage. It also comes in brown.
 
 
 
 

US Woodland
This is by far the most common camo used in paintball in the usa since it is so widely available and inexpensive in surplus and new forms. Several companies make camos specifically for paintball in this pattern. The pattern was chosen by the US armed forces as a compromise camo. It is not the best camo in any given situation, but is reasonably good in several situations. The story goes that the army wanted to cut costs so rather than supply several different patterns for changing terrain, they chose the best "all around" camo and went with that. Obviously, it can't be used in desert terrain very effectively though, which is why the army went (or attempted to go, since they didn't have enough to go around) with a couple of other patterns during the persian gulf war. Woodland pattern is a decent pattern none the less. Especially for the money.
 
 

British DPM
British DPM (Disruptive Pattern Material) camo has become easily available the last few years in surplus stores. It's a good pattern that seems to be Britains answer to the US Woodland camo. I believe it was first issued to British troops in the '80's (maybe late 70's?).
 
 
 
 
 

Urban (grey)
I've always thought that they would make good winter/snow patterns. For the actual use as urban camo, I'm not too sure how effective they could be in reality, other than the fact that there's a lot of grey/black pavement. I'd tend to believe that a larger "splinter" type pattern would probably work best for that sort of thing since there would be little possibility of hiding from something very close, but decent chances of not being seen from a distance.
 
 
 

Bundewehr
This is 1950's Bundewehr (west german) splinter pattern that is quite similar to the WW2 Heer (Wehrmacht) pattern. Used as an all around camo, similar in theory to the US woodland pattern except for the sharper edges. The WW2 version was usually reversible from a lighter greenish side to a darker brownish side, or to white for snow use.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Trebark
These are two of the commercially available patterns produced by Trebark. They work well in areas with lots of pine trees and seem to simulate that sort of bark.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

ChineeseReversible