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Friday, 30 August 2013

The Colours of War: Military Camouflage

Camouflage is a type of clothing, fabric covering, or painted pattern used by militaries and armies to make it harder to see soldiers and weapons such as artillery guns and military vehicles. Camouflage clothes, fabric coverings, and paint use a coloured pattern of several colours that is designed to blend in with the surroundings. Camouflage patterns are also used for hunting clothes.
Camouflage became an important part of modern military tactics when the accuracy of rifles and cannons improved at the end of the 1800s. But armies continued to use bright colours and designs until the 20th century. During World War II camouflage became a common feature in military uniforms. As well, many military vehicles such as planes and trucks were painted with camouflage patterns.
Different countries use different types of military camouflage patterns.

Types of camouflage patterns

Camouflage patterns used in desert areas, are beige and light brown. Camouflage patterns used in forested areas, mix different green and brown colours. Camouflage patterns used in urban areas mix grey, white, and black colours. Camouflage for snowy areas use white colors to blend in with the snow. There is also night camouflage, which includes different shades of black and dark tones of greys.

Military Colours: Khaki and Olive Drab

Khaki is a dull yellowish-brown colour used especially for military uniforms. The word khaki originated in 1857, from the Urdu word khaki, which literally means "dusty," from khak "dust," from Persian. It was first introduced in uniforms of British cavalry in India (the Guide Corps, 1846) and widely adopted for camouflage purposes in the Boer Wars (1899-1902).
Olive Drab refers to any of various shades of greenish brown, much used as a camouflage colour in the armed forces. The word drab was first used in 1686, meaning "colour of natural, undyed cloth," from Middle French drap. Apparently it is not related to the earlier word meaning "a dirty, untidy woman" (c.1515), which seems to be connected with Irish drabog, Gaelic drabag "dirty woman," and perhaps with Low German drabbe meaning "dirt."

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