Saturday, 23 September 2006

Unrip Camouflage

Unrip Camouflage

This is shot of roadside lights which has overhanging trees. The title decribes the light being camouflage among the leaves but as it shines, it has reveal its identity and ripping itself apart from the other objects around it.

Camouflage is the method which allows an otherwise visible organism or object to remain indiscernible from the surrounding environment. Examples include a tiger's stripes and the battledress of a modern soldier. Camouflage is a form of deception. The word camouflage comes from the French word 'camoufler' meaning 'to disguise'.

Camouflage was not in wide use in early warfare. 19th century armies tended to use bright colors and bold, impressive designs. These were intended to daunt the enemy, attract recruits, foster unit cohesion, or allow easier identification of units in the fog of war.

Smaller, irregular units of scouts in the 18th century were the first to adopt colors in drab shades of brown and green. Major armies retained their color until convinced otherwise. The British in India in 1857 were forced by casualties to dye their red tunics to neutral tones, initially a muddy tan called khaki (from the Urdu word for 'dusty'). This was only a temporary measure. It became standard in Indian service in the 1880s, but it was not until the Second Boer War that, in 1902, the uniforms of the entire British army were standardised on this dun tone for battledress.

The United States was quick to follow the British, going khaki in the same year. Russia followed, partially, in 1908. The Italian army used grigio-verde ("grey-green") in the Alps from 1906 and across the army from 1909. The Germans adopted feldgrau ("field grey") in 1910.

Other armies retained brighter colors. At the beginning of World War I the French experienced heavy losses because the troops wore red (garance) trousers as part of their uniform. This was changed in early 1915, partly due to casualties and partly because the red dye was manufactured in Germany. The French army also adopted a new "horizon blue" jacket. The Belgian army started using khaki uniforms in 1915.

Camouflage added to helmets was unofficially popular, but these were not mass-produced until the Germans began in 1916 to issue stahlhelme (steel helmets) in green, brown, or ochre. Mass-produced patterned, reversible, cloth covers were also issued shortly before the end of the war, although hand-made examples were in use from late 1914. Net covering was also examined, either fitted with natural vegetation or with colored fabric strips called scrim.

Specialist troops, notably snipers, could be supplied with various items of camouflage, including patterned veils for the head and gun, hand-painted overalls and scrim covered netting or sacking - an adaptation of the rag camouflage used in Scotland by anti-poaching wardens, gillies, the first ghillie suits.


No comments: