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View Full Version : Camo vs green in actual effectiveness


sara20
08-08-2014, 07:49 PM
I am wondering if there have ever been any studies testing the actual effectiveness of olive drab green vs different types of camo like the "traditional" woodland camouflage that was used by the US army for many years, or the new MARPAT camo. The Israeli and Russian army still use regular olive drab green for their uniforms which makes me wonder if modern camo is any more effective or if most army's just use it becasue it "seems" more hi tech and modern.

running coach
08-08-2014, 07:58 PM
Yes. (http://hyperstealth.com/digital-design/test-results-3.jpg)

JKilez
08-08-2014, 08:20 PM
See doorhinge's comments in this previous thread on the even newer patterns: New Scorpion Pattern Uniforms (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=724264)

OldGuy
08-08-2014, 08:21 PM
The NATO doesn't look like it's to the correct scale at all.

dropzone
08-08-2014, 10:11 PM
I am but a civilian, but I can "see" the value in MARPAT because it really breaks up the wearer's silhouette, even in the pharmacy where I first saw someone wearing it. It was uncanny. However, up close it still looks like the bastard child of Call of Duty and Tetris, and I'm sick of how slack our generals look giving press conferences while wearing it. Do enlisted people even get issued a proper, you can tell that it's been ironed, uniform for more formal occasions, like being seen by the public? Everybody seems to be wearing the same earthtone pajamas, from raw recruits to top generals.

Chronos
08-08-2014, 10:19 PM
Another relevant image (http://www.joe-ks.com/archives_may2007/CamouflageCouch.jpg)

Flyer
08-09-2014, 02:12 AM
Everybody seems to be wearing the same earthtone pajamas, from raw recruits to top generals.

That's still way better than the utterly bizarre blue abomination that the Navy has come up with.

Ranger Jeff
08-09-2014, 09:33 AM
That's still way better than the utterly bizarre blue abomination that the Navy has come up with.

I've read that the only sensible explanation for the Navy's current work uniform is that grease spots don't show up on it. That was the ONLY flaw with every Coasties's favourite work uniform, Dungarees*.

Back in the day, I dug into my own pocket, went out on the local economy, and bought fatigues in tiger stripe. There was a study going around in Stars & Stripes that said tiger stripe was better than solid green (this was before the days of woodland camouflage) in the jungle, but black was the best of all. It figured, Charlie already had claimed black.

*Dungarees = Blue denim bell-bottom pants with 4 patch pockets and a zipper fly. Short sleeved light blue chambray shirt. It was comfortable and at the time, could pass for civilian clothing. Except for the crow stenciled or ironed on your left sleeve and your name stenciled over the right breast pocket.

bunyupp
08-09-2014, 03:28 PM
That's still way better than the utterly bizarre blue abomination that the Navy has come up with.

Article (http://www.duffelblog.com/2012/08/navy-praises-blue-digital-uniforms-after-two-sailors-lost-at-sea/#!bz0EjZ) from the best military blogsite "Duffelblog".

thelurkinghorror
08-09-2014, 04:21 PM
Deer are colorblind. Blaze orange might be indistinguishable from certain shades of green even though it stands out for us (don't wear blue though). But a solid orange vest is going to be visible to deer compared to an orange that is broken up with a black leaf or branch pattern as it's a big solid field.

That MARPAT picture about seems to be very specifically setting the scale of the pattern vs. the background, but point is made. The NATO pattern at that scale and distance would be on like a 30 foot soldier.

Do enlisted people even get issued a proper, you can tell that it's been ironed, uniform for more formal occasions, like being seen by the public? Everybody seems to be wearing the same earthtone pajamas, from raw recruits to top generals.
There's all kinds of formal dress, but it's cheaper to create a uniform pattern instead of having to stock a bunch of different ones. Because if the military is about anything, it is about frugality. :D I do find it odd that the brass is looking like one of the men. That has its uses in not getting sniped, but still seems like someone's dad trying and failing to be cool to the kids.

bump
08-09-2014, 04:23 PM
There are really 2 components to camo- having the same color and brightness as the background, and having the pattern break up your shape.

OD green fatigues or khaki uniforms cover the vast, vast majority of situations that soldiers find themselves in, as far as the first is concerned. But neither do anything at all for breaking up your shape.

Breaking up your shape with a pattern is totally dependent on distance and background By that, I mean that at 300 yards, your spiffy MARPAT uniform is just going to blur together into a single color anyway. You'd really need 6'-8' pattern elements to be effective at that distance.

Similarly, a big pattern like that would stand out like crazy up close- it would break up your shape, but it would stand out in its own right. Most patterns are aimed at some sort of middle-ground distance where you're far enough away to not immediately just stand out as a man, but not so far that you're hard to spot regardless. Supposedly the digital patterns are intended to kind of trick your eyes and brain a bit by basically dithering the pattern edges, making the pattern itself harder to identify as a pattern. The actual square pattern is a historical relic- the first digital patterns were generated in the 1970s by hardware that could only render square pixels. Since then, they've just taken it and run with it, but there's nothing inherently better about square pixels. MARPAT is pretty similar to the old Woodland pattern, except with a different pattern and about the same color. German Flecktarn accomplishes the same dithering action, only without digital patterning, and does a better job of having micro/macro patterns- MARPAT's pattern is too tight and apparently tends to blur together at a closer range than is really useful.

Patterns like MultiCam/OCP/Scorpion W2 are NOT digital patterns; they rely on color gradients and a disruptive pattern to make you blend in.

sara20
08-09-2014, 10:36 PM
Yes. (http://hyperstealth.com/digital-design/test-results-3.jpg)

I meant more are there any "formal" studies done by the army or other groups testing camo vs olive drab green. For example having 10 people wearing people olive drab green and other camo uniforms standing at different distances away from a observer group of 30 people and seeing how many people can see the different uniforms better at different distances.

sara20
08-10-2014, 11:13 PM
Another relevant image (http://www.joe-ks.com/archives_may2007/CamouflageCouch.jpg)

That link doesn't work.

Urbanredneck
08-11-2014, 07:50 AM
Since most fighting nowadays is going to be done in urban locations I fail to see the sense in green or even camo anymore.

AK84
08-11-2014, 08:04 AM
Problem with camo is that what is useful in one terrain, yells "shoot me" in another. If you are in a theater with varied terrain (like say Afghanistan) then I do really wonder about the effectiveness of camo over Khaki and Olive green drab, which are useful in most places.

yellowjacketcoder
08-11-2014, 08:11 AM
That link doesn't work.

That site doesn't like hotlinking. If you refresh afterwards, you'll get the image.

Alessan
08-11-2014, 09:01 AM
You know what the best cammo is? Dirt. Roll around on the ground a few times, rub some mud on your face, and you'll be as invisible as you'll ever be.

Shakester
08-11-2014, 09:04 AM
Problem with camo is that what is useful in one terrain, yells "shoot me" in another. If you are in a theater with varied terrain (like say Afghanistan) then I do really wonder about the effectiveness of camo over Khaki and Olive green drab, which are useful in most places.

Which is the reasoning behind MultiCam (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MultiCam).

Hypno-Toad
08-11-2014, 09:31 AM
That link doesn't work.

Or maybe you just can't see it!

doorhinge
08-11-2014, 10:06 AM
Article (http://www.duffelblog.com/2012/08/navy-praises-blue-digital-uniforms-after-two-sailors-lost-at-sea/#!bz0EjZ) from the best military blogsite "Duffelblog".

FYI

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We are in no way, shape, or form, a real news outlet. Everything on this website is satirical and the content of this site is a parody of a news organization. No composition should be regarded as truthful, and no reference of an individual, company, or military unit seeks to inflict malice or emotional harm.

All characters, groups, and military units appearing in these works are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, or actual military units and companies is purely coincidental.

Read more: http://www.duffelblog.com/disclaimer/#ixzz3A5lfeOcX

bump
08-11-2014, 03:33 PM
You know what the best cammo is? Dirt. Roll around on the ground a few times, rub some mud on your face, and you'll be as invisible as you'll ever be.

ISTR that there was some camo pattern (UCP?) where the dirtying of the pattern was used as an excuse as to why it wasn't so effective when clean.

Little Nemo
08-11-2014, 07:44 PM
Everybody seems to be wearing the same earthtone pajamas, from raw recruits to top generals.I think the problem is nobody wants to look like a REMF so everyone wears camo including those who are never going to be seen by an enemy soldier.

dropzone
08-11-2014, 07:46 PM
I think it was on Hardcore History that I heard the story of a journalist in Belgium in 1914. He had thought, like many, that the German's feldgrau uniforms would make for poor camouflage, but they kicked up so much dust that they seemed to vanish. The same could not be said of the French uniforms of the time. (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_4QlVRfDC7rs/R1R4YqZZieI/AAAAAAAAAaI/VzLIbAtNemY/s1600-R/125er10fy2.jpg) They got over their fixation with red trousers and hats eventually, (http://www.patriotfiles.com/forum/imgcacheA/23309.png) but blue--that picture is faded and the real color was a pale grayish-blue, lived on.

Chronos
08-12-2014, 09:53 AM
Well, of course camo is worn by those who will never be seen by an enemy soldier. That's kind of the point, isn't it? :)

Sterling Archer
08-12-2014, 11:29 AM
Has the military ever considered dressing soldiers exactly like the native population for urban warfare? I suppose friendly fire would become a risk then, but maybe they could mitigate that by wearing a particular type of boot or scarf. Seems like it'd be pretty effective camouflage against the enemy, at least.

MichaelEmouse
08-12-2014, 11:52 AM
Guerillas/terrorists commonly do this. Intelligence agents and special forces in some situations do. Conventional military forces seldom do, because it's against the laws of war not to wear a uniform that identifies you as a combatant and is a great way to be summarily executed if you get caught. Also, you might rightfully get blamed if the enemy mistakes civilians for you and kills them.

Any boot or scarf that identifies you to friendlies would identify you to the enemy.

Shakester
08-12-2014, 11:55 AM
Has the military ever considered dressing soldiers exactly like the native population for urban warfare? I suppose friendly fire would become a risk then, but maybe they could mitigate that by wearing a particular type of boot or scarf. Seems like it'd be pretty effective camouflage against the enemy, at least.

It would also contravene the laws of war.

ETA: Nijaed, of course.

Spiny Norman
08-12-2014, 12:13 PM
You know what the best cammo is? Dirt. Roll around on the ground a few times, rub some mud on your face, and you'll be as invisible as you'll ever be.

Heh - my old field manual for urban combat dealt with the challenge presented by the different colors in built-up terrain by dryly stating that "after a minimum of time in an urban combat setting, the uniform will be covered in dust and grime that mimics the local environment" or words to that effect.

Spiny Norman
08-12-2014, 12:22 PM
I think the problem is nobody wants to look like a REMF so everyone wears camo including those who are never going to be seen by an enemy soldier.

Still - one can do a bit with fit. We had 2 flecktarn uniforms issued - one for combat with loose-fitting pants with deep pockets and suspenders, and the jacket worn loose at the waist and hem. The one for garrison duty and travel came with fitted pants - same model jacket, but worn adjusted to show off one's soldierly figure, with metal insignia instead of cloth ones, no bulging pockets, etc.

Sterling Archer
08-13-2014, 03:08 PM
It would also contravene the laws of war.

ETA: Nijaed, of course.

Kinda bizarre deciding what to include and not include in the laws of war. Nuking a major metropolitan area is fine and dandy, but dressing like the locals is right out!

Chronos
08-13-2014, 09:45 PM
Yes, because you can tell that the people nuking your cities are the enemy.

thelurkinghorror
08-13-2014, 10:13 PM
You know what the best cammo is? Dirt. Roll around on the ground a few times, rub some mud on your face, and you'll be as invisible as you'll ever be.
Can't find a clip, but from the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly:

They come across a bunch of soldiers in gray uniforms.

Tuco: Hurrah! Hurrah for the Confederacy! HURRAH! Down with General Grant! Hurrah for General... What's his name? Lee! LEE! Ha ha. God is with us because he hates the Yanks too. HURRAH!

The general wipes the dust off of his blue uniform...

Blondie: God is not on our side because he hates idiots also.

Kinda bizarre deciding what to include and not include in the laws of war. Nuking a major metropolitan area is fine and dandy, but dressing like the locals is right out!
Correct me if I'm wrong, wasn't that codified in the Fourth Geneva Convention? Which was 4 years after they dropped da bomb YVAN EHT NIOJ.

Or was something said earlier?