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What was the most common camouflage for each side in the cold war timeline ?


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The most common Soviet camouflage of that era would be their version of OD ("protective coloring"). Their belief is that unless it's a special situation and you take care to select the perfect camouflage for the situation, you won't be doing worse, or perhaps even better if you just go with something drab.





Protective coloring

Protective painting is designed to reduce the visibility of single soldiers, weapons, equipment and other objects, structures by painting the surfaces of protected objects in one color, which makes it difficult to visually distinguish objects against the background of the terrain. The camouflage color does not have to match the background color. There are a number of colors that are universal, i.e. making it difficult to visually highlight masked objects on almost any terrain (except snowy). These colors are: khaki, drab, yellow-grayish, gray-greenish, greenish-gray, bluish-gray, grayish-blue, olive. The main rules in the selection of protective colors are: the impossibility of unambiguously naming this color, the dullness of the color,

Protective coloring is in most cases preferable to so-called camouflage. When using it, the visibility of the object does not change when it moves, with seasonal changes in the color of the area, when objects move from one type of location to another. Thus, studies have shown that the monochromatic color of Russian field uniforms (yellow-grayish) is the least noticeable both against a vegetative background and against mountain, desert, urban, and bare ground backgrounds.

However, the color of the German uniforms of the Second World War, the so-called "feldgrau" (dirty greenish-gray) in masking properties is unlikely to be inferior to Russian, except for the desert-sandy terrain and the background of burnt grass in the summer.

Protective coloration in the Russian Army is used as a factory color for military equipment (olive or dark green) and as one of the main colors of field uniforms (khaki or dirty gray)

Protective paint is also usually used as the main one when painting equipment and objects in other types of camouflage paint.

Small arms, as a rule, are not subject to camouflage painting, tk. due to its small size, it practically does not affect the visibility of a fighter. It is only necessary to exclude the reflection of optics, unpainted metal parts.

In all cases, the surfaces to be protected must not reflect, shine, or have a gloss. If in the coloring of uniforms the dullness of the coloring is achieved by the very texture of the fabric, then when dyeing equipment, the use of varnishes, solvents that give a smooth surface, enamel paints should be avoided. It is useful to add chalk, sand, sawdust, etc. to the paint (or apply it to a fresh, dry layer of paint).







Deforming paint ("Camouflage")

This type of camouflage coloration has acquired the character of a military fashion in recent years. It is believed that spotted uniforms, equipment decorated with multi-colored spots give soldiers and vehicles a very militant look with a touch of mystery, chosenness, belonging to a special caste. Not only young soldiers, young lieutenants, but also gray-haired generals turned out to be subject to this fashion. It got to the point that the policemen, who didn’t need it at all (if necessary, you can and should use army camouflage), invented gray-black-white-blue camouflage for themselves. It has become fashionable to go out at parades not in dress uniform, but in spotted overalls, decorated with gold shoulder straps, aiguillettes,

But if in peaceful conditions this fashion can be treated with condescension, then in combat conditions the illiterate, thoughtless use of this type of camouflage coloring can (and does!) Do great harm instead of good. Instead of hiding, hiding a fighter, turning him into something indefinite for the enemy, camouflage can distinguish him from the background of the terrain, help to recognize him among other people, turn him into a clearly visible target.

Deforming coloring reduces the visibility of masked objects by color somewhat less than protective coloring. However, it has a number of advantages. Its main advantage lies in the fact that it is psychologically easier for a person to distinguish objects on the ground that are familiar by their external outlines and the pattern of internal details, and the deforming coloring distorts the external contours and makes it difficult to identify the detected object by its internal details. For example, an observer noticed the presence of an armored object on the ground, but its deforming coloring will prevent the observer from determining the presence and placement of doors, hatches, loopholes, boxes, canisters on the object's projection. Therefore, he cannot unambiguously recognize the object as a tank, tractor,

The disadvantage of deforming staining is greater dependence on the surrounding background than for protective coloring. For example, an object that is well hidden against the background of a summer vegetative background will become very noticeable against the background of an autumn vegetative background; an object painted with contrasting spots and invisible on a sunny day as a multi-colored bright spot will stand out against the background of a foggy morning.

Thus, if protective coloring is sufficiently universal, then the use of deforming coloring requires the commander to have a clear and precise idea of the camouflage task being solved, taking into account many factors (changes in background color depending on the time of day, weather, season, the effect of enemy fire on the color of the area, etc.). .d.). It requires an assortment of paints, time for repainting, which is difficult in front-line conditions, and often simply impossible.

"Camouflage" is not an invention of today. It was used back in the 1st World War. However, the long experience of this and many subsequent wars did not reveal any obvious advantages of deforming coloration in its mass application, while it requires significant material and labor costs.

The main types of deforming color are: small-spotted, otherwise called crushing and large-spotted, otherwise called distorting. The edges of color spots can be sharply defined or blurry. With finely spotted staining, sharply defined spots are more often used.

(some examples and comments follow)



Written by an engineering officer in the Soviet Army.

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For the US, what you see in-game is what you get. 'MERDC' (Mobility' Equipment Research and Design Command) federal standard 595 camou colors and patterns. It was in use from the mid-70s to 1993, when the US switched over to NATO standard camouflage. MERDC camou was designed to mix-and-match differing colors depending on the theater of operations and seasons. Some units were more zealous than others in painting and US M60s could often be seen missing one of the camou colors - usually tan.


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Just collected from different german wikipedia pages and translated with DeepL:


Strichtarn is the name for a camouflage pattern introduced around 1960 for the combat suits and personal equipment of several armies.

The Strichtarn pattern was developed for use in all seasons in Central Europe from the 1931 Buntfarbenaufdruck (splinter camouflage) of the Reichswehr. Visually, the Strichtarn appears as a two-color camouflage pattern that resumes the tradition of the Buntfarbenaufdruck and copies its unidirectional dotted lines in a reduced form.

In 1956, a splinter camouflage pattern was introduced in Poland, the overall appearance of which was completely based on the 1931 Reichswehr color overprint. However, it was already withdrawn from service around 1960. At that time, the Polish pattern (wz58 "Deszczyk" - rain) appeared as its successor, of which there are several variants. Poland is considered to be the "inventor" of the simplified Strichtarn pattern.

The Czechoslovak People's Army introduced a camouflage pattern based on the swamp camouflage pattern of the German Wehrmacht in 1953. In 1963, this was replaced by a simple strichtarn pattern ("jehliči" - needle)

In the GDR, the National People's Army (NVA) and the Ministry of the Interior (MdI) used Flächentarnmuster a reinterpreted patch camouflage pattern that had been derived from a spot camouflage pattern of the Waffen-SS, the oak leaf pattern. 
Flächentarn camouflage with the colloquial designation "flower camouflage" was introduced in 1958, produced as a fabric pattern until 1967, processed until 1971 and used until the end of the 1970s.

It was slowly replaced from 1965 by the Strichtarn pattern based on the Polish model. Strichtarn was introduced to the NVA together with a new field suit, the "Kampfanzug 64", and other equipment (assault packs, tent sheets, steel helmet camouflage covers, field flasks, garment bags, equipment bags, etc.). The pattern resumes a tradition of the splinter camouflage and copies in a radically simplified form its dashed lines pointing in one direction.

The DDR-Strichtarn was produced in two variants, variant 1 with thinner brown lines on a sandy-yellow background (produced from about 1965 to 1966/67) and variant 2 with somewhat thicker brown lines on an olive-brownish background (produced from about 1967 to 1990).

From the end of the 1960s, various camouflage patterns were introduced in Bulgaria, based on the splinter camouflage pattern. Among them was a simplified variant similar to the Strichtarns of the other Warsaw Treaty countries.


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