As regular readers may know, my favourite camouflage pattern is the Australian Auscam design. Although hard to find in the UK, I have slowly been building up a little collection of these over the last few years. The most common variation to find is the standard Auscam in shades of green. Far harder is the desert pattern and until recently I had a lone pair of shorts, that we covered here. Recently however I have found a shirt in the desert Auscam pattern and quickly snapped it up for my collection:Officially this pattern of camouflage is called Disruptive Pattern Desert Uniform of DPDU and this pattern and the uniform it went with have gone through a myriad of changes during a short service life. The first version, from 2001, was printed in 3 colours (brown and grey on a tan background) with 1/3 of the normal pattern missing and rushed into issue for the Australian Special Air Service Regiment deployed to Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). A second version from a year later used 5 colours: brown, lime green, grey, and a very light blue on a tan background. This was again issued to SASR in Afghanistan after the first version was found to be too light in colour for the terrain. This was followed by a third issue in: brown, grey, very light blue and purple on a yellow background. The cut was changed in the shirt with the bottom pockets being omitted and placed on the sleeves.This was replaced in 2006 by the current-issue DPDU. The colours remain the same as the previous DPDU. Changes to the uniform include repositioning of shoulder straps to the chest, the changes of the chest pockets and cargo pockets from the button-fastened flap of the pocket to zips and minor changes to the sleeve pockets. This shirt is one of this production run, as can be seen by the front of the shirt which has the centrally mounted rank slide and two large pockets:The shirt secures up the front with plastic buttons:And each sleeve has a large pocket on the upper arm:Note the large Velcro patches to allow insignia to be added and removed. Here we see the uniform being worn and some of the insignias that is attached to the sleeves:At some point I would like to get hold of these to complete the shirt. The lower sleeves have a second layer of fabric added to provide some reinforcement for when a soldier goes prone with his rifle:
The cuff secures with a fabric tab and Velcro. A standard Australian Army contract label is sewn into the shirt:As with most items of Australian Army clothing this shirt was made in Victoria and has the /|\ mark, still in use to this day in the country.