Jump to content

Camouflage


Recommended Posts

Just looking at the modelling contest and some of the Russian tanks we will get to play with in CM:BB. It seems to me that the only nation that went for camouflage in a big way were the Germans. Was this just because they were on the defence i.e. the allies need for friendly unit recognition is more important than the need for concealment. Did any of the nations of WWII do studies into camo technique? Is there a modern “Science” of camouflage?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 54
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

The Americans experimented with camo in Normandy, and found it simply drew attention to soldiers wearing it, as well as looked too similar to Waffen SS stuff.

Canadian and British soldiers had camouflaged gas capes, as well as the Denison smock worn not just by airborne, but as standard issue to Snipers. Every soldier got a camouflaged face veil as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

AS far as infantry camouflage goes, I think it was mainly an expense thing. Pattern printing processes and dye quality of the day were not what they are now. It would have been prohibitive to issue individual uniforms with woven cammo patterns to all and sundry.

For vehicles, it's a different story. The Germans were, for example, brilliant at aircraft camouflage. But they had to be, because they lost control of the skies early on, and their airfields were subject to bombing. Towards the end of the war, the Americans didn't even bother to camouflage most of their planes, just leaving the bare metal finish. That was because their aircraft were under very little threat from fighter opposition or bombing at home.

The same could be said of German tanks. Ruthlessly hunted by fighter bombers and often used in static ambushes, the need for camouflage was greater than that of the Allies, advancing across the open in mass-produced waves.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bare metal aircraft were a performance issue - the weight of the paint used for camouflage would rob an aircraft of in the neighbourhood of 20 to 30 mph off their top speed; with the demise of the Luftwaffe's ability to reach out and touch Allied airbases, there was no need to paint the planes green as camouflage and it was decided to take advantage of the increase in performance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Going from memory here, and I'm not a plane-grog, but ISTR that the reason for going to naked planes was the weight savings that could be used to either:

a) improve range (to hit more distant targets)

B) improve speed and acceleration (useful for fighters)

c) improve bombload and/or MG ammunition load (to hit closer targets more heavily)

d) improve altitude(?) (to fly above the bad people and flak)

e) some combination of the above.

Also, I would expect a naked plane to be marginally more streamlined (ie slipperier through the air) than one painted matt, giving a double benefit.

The mixed naked/painted groups probably came about due to the difficulty of removing the paint from those already painted.

For mass bomber formations flying above the condensation altitude, camoflage in the air really was a piece of wishful thinking. IIRC, the main purpose was to make them harder to spot on the ground, and as MD pointed out, the Luftwaffe didn't have the means to go airfield raiding.

FWIW

Regards

JonS

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A large airplane, like a B29 could require 2000lbs of paint and primer or more and would add another week to manufacturing time, neither measure being trivial.

Large US Air Force aircraft continued to go paint free for years past Korea until the advent of heat-seeking and radar guided weapons brought a whole new range of IR and radar retentive paint back in vogue.

US Navy and Marine aircraft have always been painted due to the much more corrosive environment they are expected to work in.

US Airliners paint their aircraft for simple marketing reasons.

Gyrene

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Spazman, IRT your final question on the "science of camouflage" you will find that it is in part art but still, to this day, there are numerous serious practioners and developers of camouflage.

There is little doubt that the Germans in WW2 were advanced and influential in this area. The US and GB did adopt suggested vehicle patterns but they were fielded haphazardly based upon local needs and command preferences.

Very recent uniform designs have been implemented by the Canadian forces and the US Marines. The technology is being moved into the direction of combat uniforms made of a garb that will "study" the environment and actively adapt to match it's color and patterns. Science fiction stuff surely but it will be fielded in the next decade.

Vehicle patterns have been studied to death and several different studies and types have evolved over the years. The current US pattern is based upon postwar Budeswehr designs that seem to be working pretty well. Vehicles too will some day adopt active paints and coverings. All this technology comes at a steep price but on today's battlefield, you need to be able to see the other guy before he sees you, if you want to survive.

I hope this goes a little way towards answering your latter question. smile.gif

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...back to tanks and uniforms.

As for tanks, the Germans clearly understood the benefits of camoing their armor. They even embedded such in the design of their tanks. For example, Tiger crews could get innovative with their designs by simply hooking up an issued airbrush to their tank's compressor. Sherman crews, on the other hand, relied on mops or just splashing buckets of paint.

As for uniforms, the German infantry camo designs were very advanced for their day. I think it is more than coincidental that the new U.S. Army digital pattern uniforms very closely resemble the "pea" SS German uniforms that made their appearance towards the end of WWII.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by themaltese:

...back to tanks and uniforms.

As for tanks, the Germans clearly understood the benefits of camoing their armor. They even embedded such in the design of their tanks. For example, Tiger crews could get innovative with their designs by simply hooking up an issued airbrush to their tank's compressor. Sherman crews, on the other hand, relied on mops or just splashing buckets of paint.

As for uniforms, the German infantry camo designs were very advanced for their day. I think it is more than coincidental that the new U.S. Army digital pattern uniforms very closely resemble the "pea" SS German uniforms that made their appearance towards the end of WWII.

The SS "pea" pattern and the modern West German dot pattern it resembles aren't all that effective. I have a West German camouflaged field jacket in the dot pattern that I use to play paintball with, and while it's very well made and cool looking it doesn not work all that well as camouflage, granted that it's not being used in the terrain it was designed for.

The undisputed masters of camouflage in WWII were the Japanese, who made extensive use of the best camouflage material there is: The native vegetation of the area, at all levels down to each invidual soldier.

Like it has been brought up before, the US had camo uniforms fairly early in the war, but the fear of friendly fire kept those uniforms out of Europe, while they were very common in the PTO.

Gyrene

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, the Marines are just getting the new camouflage utilities now. Camp Pendleton and Camp Lejeune got first dibs.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the U.S.Army has no plans anytime soon to change their utilities. If any changes come about it was going to be service or dress uniform changes, something I heard a soldier complain about (instead of moving forward with a field uniform).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by themaltese:

Gyrene, have you seen the new U.S. Army uniforms with the digital camo that should become standard issue within the next couple of years?

I have not seen the new digital camos in person yet.

BTW, the new camos were developed for and by the USMC (With Canadian assistance) and will not be used by the US Army (As far as I know)

They will be issued to all Marines and their attached Navy field personnel, and a significant number of the uniforms are already in use, but still in a late prototype stage, and feeback from the troops is still being used to fine-tune the uniforms.

I'm really pleased at the lenght that the Commandant has gone to insure that the people who will be wearing these new uniforms into combat had a very strong voice in their development.

I'll now have to use my remaining contacts in the USMC to get me a set of these new cammies. ;)

Gyrene

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just happened to catch a glance of them on a T.V. news segment. They look really nice, and as mentioned above, a lot of input from the troops is being utilized. One feature that I find kind of "funny" is the slanted front pocket -- perhaps making it easier to pull stuff out, but defeating the law of gravity as to where the bottom of the pocket is LOL. As for their being issued to U.S. Army, I could have sworn that that was mentioned in the segment, but I could be wrong... I've got an amphib. base just down the street from me. I'll go talk to some of the marines and get the inside scoop on what's going on. smile.gif

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The slanted front pocket was a popular Vietnam-era feature that is making a come back.

I'm pretty sure that the US Army will not be using the new camos, because part of the reason for new uniforms was to give the Marines an unique look when deployed overseas, this is important to the extent that the USMC took out a patent on the pattern.

Gyrene

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That patent will not have much effect if the Army decides to use the pattern. Patents are a property right that is granted to a person (individual or corporate) by the government. Since it is the governments to give, it is the governments to take. In other words, the Federal government cannot be guilty of patent infringement. The only compensation due to a patent holder due to government use of a patent is under 28 USC 1498. This law allows the patent holder to recover some costs associated with the governments use, but would not be all that much. It is much like a taking under eminent domain.

Bottom line, if the Army wants it, and DoD doesn’t interfere, the Marines can’t do much to stop it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My ten penny's worth on the subject. Snipers then and now are/were cammed up to such an extent that in most cases they would not be spotted unless the enemy tripped over them! This does not seem to be modelled in CMBO: the sharpshooter appears merely to be a marksman (or expert if you come from America) with a scoped rifle.

Nowadays, infra red film is used in recce and paints and uniform dyes have been developed to counter this. Scrim formed from ripped sacking shows up black (as I have seen) and has to be mixed with other material.

However, I am not 'current' on all this, having been out a goodly number of years. Can any serving member of this board add to what I have stated?

Regards,

Richard. (Old soldiers never die, they only smell that way.) ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

About the USMC camo... I remember in an issue of the "Marine Corps Times" last year that despite the idea of giving the Marines a more unique look the offer was made to the U.S. Army for fielding the uniform (paraphrasing the Commandant). It however was declined.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I understand that for a large aircraft, paint can add up. It's also why they don't paint the main booster tank of the Space Shuttle any more. There are performance issues, but I don't think that matters as much for something small like a P-51. Surely the weight saved by leaving portions of the fuselage bare metal would be pretty much negated by weight variations in an individual pilot. Since bomb and MG ammo loads were fixed by space and hardpoint strenght anyway, I think leaving off the paint had more to do with time and money than substantial performance increases, at least in the case of single seat fighters.

As for the use of natural vegetation and cammo nets in today's warfare, here's an interesting article I wrote a couple of years ago on the use of LIDAR to see through camouflage.

Light Fantastic

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Affentitten:

I understand that for a large aircraft, paint can add up. It's also why they don't paint the main booster tank of the Space Shuttle any more. There are performance issues, but I don't think that matters as much for something small like a P-51...

True, P-51s are small compared to, say, a B-17 - but they also only have 1/4th the engines ;) Still, as you and Gyrene point out, the time and cost savings in production probably didn't hurt any when it came to getting approval. smile.gif

Edit: bcorz eye sbell juzt lyc Micro$oft Sbellchequer

[ March 05, 2002, 06:25 PM: Message edited by: JonS ]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by JonS:

...P-51s are small compared to, say, a B-17 - but they also only have 1/4th the engines ;) Still, as you and Gyrene point out, the time and cost savings in production probably didn't hurt any when it came to getting approval. smile.gif

[/QB]

I agree. It seems that if there isn't a compelling reason to paint the plane, all you have to lose is the weight, cost and time of painting it. Once the allies had air superiority, there were far fewer reasons to camo the planes unless they were doing lots of low level flights. It seems to me more p47s were painted than p51s. (and I have over 80% of books ever written about WWII ;) ) just my 2c

[ March 05, 2002, 09:02 PM: Message edited by: karch ]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Richard Morgan:

This does not seem to be modelled in CMBO: the sharpshooter appears merely to be a marksman (or expert if you come from America) with a scoped rifle.

That is precisely the case. Properly speaking, there are no snipers in CM though you will often hear the term bandied loosely about. This has been explicitly stated about a thousand times now. Well...maybe not quite a thousand, but still quite a few.

:D

Michael

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share


×
×
  • Create New...