Category Archives: Camouflage

MTP Rucksack Cover

Just as it had done with the desert DPM rucksack covers, the British Army introduced MTP pattern rucksack covers when that camouflage became standard issue to allow its DPM patterned bergens to continue in service. Bergens are a relatively expensive item of military kit, whilst a simple cloth cover is comparatively cheap and a simple way to ensure that supply chains were not clogged up waiting for replacement kit to replace serviceable bergens that just happened to be in the old camouflage.

The rucksack cover consists of a large piece of MTP fabric:imageThis has a drawstring around its edges that allow it to be secured over the bergen:imageA plastic slider buckle allows the string to be tensioned to give a secure fit:imageAs usual, a small white label is sewn inside with details of the item’s NSN number and date of manufacture:imageTwo MTP covers can be found, a smaller version designed to cover packs such as the daysack; here modelled by a Ghurkha on exercise:imageAnd a larger bergen cover like the example above, which can be seen here being used by a fusilier:image

Desert DPM Shorts

Following on from last week’s post on DDPM trousers, tonight we are looking at the accompanying pair of shorts:imageShorts were not initially issued to troops going out to Iraq and Afghanistan, however men quickly started cutting down spare pairs of DDPM trousers to create their own pairs for wearing off duty and the army decided to formalise this practice with an issue garment. The shorts are identical to the CS95 trousers, but cut off under the pockets, with a hem at the bottom of the leg:imageThe pockets are bellows design, with a triangular top flap. Note the small flap of fabric that allows the pocket to be completely sealed off when closed to help prevent sand getting in:imageA set of belt loops is provided at the waist:imageA standard white label is sewn into the rear of the shorts:imageOne interesting point is that the fabric used to make British army desert kit was a poly-cotton blend, as was the material used to make temperate clothing. The difference was that the desert kit was 75% Cotton to 25% polyester, the temperate clothing 75% polyester to 25% cotton. This meant that the desert kit was cooler, but more prone to wearing out quickly.

These shorts were only for use away from operations, as this soldier explains:

Shorts are only to be worn in down time and never ‘outside the wire’.
You are also issued sandals for the same situation to air your feet.
Neither of which can be worn around larger camps either (Bastion, Lash, Price etc) other than in your own area, as previously mentioned, at commanders discretion.
I’ve only seen the shorts in desert DPM but lads got their MTP trousers cut down by the tailor in Bastion for the same reasons.
Don’t think you’ll be on patrol in shorts though…our grandfathers may have fought in the desert in shorts but that’s not how we do things now…

As an Engineer, I sometimes allowed the guys to work in shorts and T-shirts if doing work within the confines of a CP.
FOB maintenance etc.
Helmets/Osprey would then go on if working at height above the wall.

Despite this ruling, they can be seen being worn in combat by base troops who went quickly into action such as mortar teams and artillery units, where personnel only had time to don body armour and helmets:105mm_dragon

DDPM CS95 Trousers

Throughout much of the War on Terror British soldiers wore desert DPM uniforms, the two tone sand camouflage coming to represent the standard appearance of soldiers in the press and on television screens. This pattern was to have shortcomings in Afghanistan when troops moved into the ‘green zone’ but in desert conditions it was an excellent choice of colour, especially in Iraq where the majority of the landscape was sand. The cut of the uniforms issued mirrored the CS95 uniforms produced in standard temperate DPM, but in the correct colour palette for the terrain.

Tonight we turn to another of those items that I should really have covered on the blog before, but haven’t for one reason another; the DDPM CS95 trousers:imageThese trousers are made of the standard desert camouflage with a dark brown pattern printed over a lighter coloured sand background. The trousers are generously cut for comfort and sport two large buttoned patch pockets on the thighs:imageA further pair of slash pockets are available at the waist:imageAnd a single buttoned rear pocket over the right buttock:imageThe fly is secured with a zip, whilst the waist is secured with both a drawstring and a button:imageWaist adjustment can also be made through a pair of button tabs on each hip:imageNote also the belt loops to pass a trouser belt through. The bottom of each trouser leg has a drawstring to allow them to be drawn in and bloused over the boot:imageAs is usual a white stores and sizing label is sewn to the trousers:imageThis design and pattern of trouser was ubiquitous for many years and can be seen in numerous photographs of troops deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. The introduction of MTP made them obsolete, but they survive in huge quantities and e collector should have no difficulty in finding a pair for the collection.image

Early Pattern Auscam Shirt

A few years ago the blog covered an Auscam shirt here. Recently I have been kindly given another Auscam shirt by a good friend of mine and I recently compared the two shirts side by side and it was clear that the two shirts were of slightly different patterns. The previous shirt was dated 1994, this example is 1990 dated:imageHaving spoken with various Australian collectors, it seems the patterns changed over around 1990 to 1991 and it was a gradual roll out of the new pattern, with the old design slowly being phased out as shirts became too tatty for service. This earlier pattern shirt was issued to the Australian Army from about 1988 for just a few years and this example has an embroidered badge sewn on the sleeve:imageIt is interesting to place the earlier pattern shirt alongside the later variation to compare the two patterns. On the left is the later pattern, on the right the earlier pattern. The most obvious difference is in the breast pockets, the earlier pattern has far more square pockets, the later pattern has them attached on a slant:imageThe sleeves are also different, the earlier pattern has a reinforcement panel along the forearm, which was deleted on the later pattern. The shape of the cuff securing tab also changed. The earlier design is pointed, the later pattern is cut square on the end:imageThe final difference between the two patterns is that the later pattern has added a pen pocket to the upper left hand sleeve:imageThis early pattern shirt is dated 1990 and the label inside indicates that it was made in Victoria and has an NSN printed on as well as a sizes, 100L:imageWilliam Dytes recalls:

I was in the cadets for a while, we didn’t like the old flat pocket uniforms as they got damaged a lot easier and looked out of place when everyone else had slanted pockets.

Todd Fitzgerald remembers the introduction of the new uniform:

This is the original pattern issued to Land Army circa 1988. First units issued were 1 Bde  (mechanised) in particular the Tattoo Regiment which was drawn from the 1st Brigade, were part of the issue as they toured on the Bicentennial Military Tattoo from Aug – Dec 1988

DPM Three Colour Camouflage Set

We have covered a number of camouflage creams on the blog over the years, most recently a three colour set for the Australian army. Tonight we are looking at a similar three colour set, but for the British Army. The cream is housed in the typical plastic case:imageInside are three colours, green, brown and black; these matching the DPM camouflage used until recent years. A small mirror is fitted under the lid to help the soldier apply his camo:imageThe top of the lid shows that these were manufactured by Camtech:imageCamtech produce a wide range of camouflage for both the British Army and other militaries, their website explains:

Camtech Camo Cream from Caplock is in service with Armed Forces throughout the World

A non-irritant camo cream developed to meet the demands for the modern soldier for a cam-cream that is not messy or greasy and does not cause skin problems.

Camtech camo cream is non-irritant to the skin and contains only 100% active natural products which cannot cause spots or pimples. It is pigment dense and extremely opaque, so a little goes a long way and also contains a natural sunscreen SPF15+ for protection against sun and muzzle flash. Camtech camouflage cream has been proven to be the very best value camo face paint available in the world today – it is fully NATO coded and approved by numerous armed forces throughout the world.

Camtech Camo Cream from Caplock is in service with Armed Forces throughout the World

A non-irritant camo cream developed to meet the demands for the modern soldier for a cam-cream that is not messy or greasy and does not cause skin problems.

Camtech camo cream is non-irritant to the skin and contains only 100% active natural products which cannot cause spots or pimples. It is pigment dense and extremely opaque, so a little goes a long way and also contains a natural sunscreen SPF15+ for protection against sun and muzzle flash. Camtech camouflage cream has been proven to be the very best value camo face paint available in the world today – it is fully NATO coded and approved by numerous armed forces throughout the world.

Camtech camo cream is temperature stable from sub-zero to tropical conditions. Three camo colors are supplied in each lightweight and robust compact which has an integral unbreakable styrene mirror and can be easily carried in a soldier’s uniform pocket.

Most camo creams on the market today are eighty percent Vaseline. They’re messy, greasy concoctions that melt as soon as the sun rises and soldier hate using them!

Developed by a leading Dermatologist, Camtech Camouflage Cream contains no mineral oils, volatiles, emulsifiers or other skin irritants and Camtech has become the soldiers choice Worldwide as it cannot cause spots or pimples. 

Camtech camo cream is not a cosmetic – it is a dedicated military camo face paint (designated by NATO as PAINT, FACE, CAMOUFLAGE) with a natural sunscreen that is temperature stable from subzero to tropical conditions. Furthermore, Camtech camo cream contains no mineral oils, volatiles, emulsifiers or other skin irritants and cannot cause spots or pimples. 

Most importantly, Camtech camouflage cream is 100% active and does contain a natural SPF15+ sunscreen incorporating a balanced ultraviolet (UV) agent to provide protection against sun and muzzle flash and it will not melt in the desert heat, or wash off whilst fording a stream. 

No drying time is required with Camtech Camouflage Cream, the finish is super flat and aroma free. The Camtech camo cream product is pigment dense, so that a little application goes a long way and is extremely opaque. Despite being waterproof, the base formula collapses on contact with soap or detergent, so it is easily removed and does not stain uniforms. Camtech paint face camouflage has also been thoroughly tested and proven under combat conditions by numerous armed forces throughout the World to be non-irritant, “skin safe” and does not craze visors or perish elasticated uniform fastenings.

Camtech Paint, Face, Camouflage is contained in an impact resistant polypropylene compact with a hinged lid incorporating a lightweight mirror of metalized styrene and three camouflage cream colors. The matt dark green compact is devoid of sharp edges, has a simple clip that can be operated with one hand and lends itself to alternate uses when empty.

Customers can choose from our standard Camtech Military cam cream range of Tropical, Center Europe, Snowand Desert camouflage creams, or make any selection of three color paint face camouflage combinations to meet their own specific requirements.

Mk 7 Helmet Cover

We looked at the Mk7 helmet a few weeks ago. Like all other recent British helmets, this design was intended to be used with a camouflaged cloth cover. Although the cover issued for the Mk6 helmet could be used, a specialist cover was developed that better fitted the shape of the Mk7:imageThis was delivered from the factory in a sealed plastic bag:imageA stores label is stuck to the outside of the bag, indicating that like so much modern British military equipment this cover was manufactured in China by the Cooneen Defence Ltd company:imageInside the packet is the MTP cover, laid out the revised shape is visible, designed to fit over the more PASGAT shape of the Mk7. The elastic straps for the scrim are also revised, just having two rings of elastic:imageA tab with a press stud is attached to the rear to help secure helmet mounted equipment such as goggles:imageLike all the other helmet covers issued over the years, this one is adjusted and secured by a drawstring:imageThe inside of the cover has a standard label:imageUnlike other helmet covers, this one includes a small bag of MTP scrim:imageThese are wedge shaped pieces of fabric about eighteen inches long that can be threaded through the elastic straps to break up the outline of the helmet:imageAlthough I have used these strips as they came, looking at service issued examples it seems as though it was common to cut the strips of MTP scrim lengthways to make them narrower and give the soldier more of them to thread through the helmet cover, providing a more scrimmed effect:image

Auscam Trousers

The latest piece of clothing to help with my Auscam obsession is a pair of trousers in the distinctive camouflage pattern. In my experience it is nearly always easier to find jackets than trousers. Army surplus trousers are regularly worn in civilian life in a way jackets are not and trousers are far more susceptible to ripping or wearing through the fabric than jackets. This adds up to a situation where it can be hard to find more unusual trousers for a collection. It was therefore very pleasing to pick this pair up, even if they are a little more worn than I would have liked to match my jacket:imageThe trousers are made of poly-cotton, with the distinctive DPCU pattern printed on it, a little faded but still clear and serviceable. The trousers sport a large pocket on each thigh, secured with concealed buttons:imageA third pocket is sewn over the right buttock:imageNote also the belt loops, each of which fastens with a button on the bottom of the loop. Waist adjustment is by a pair of buttoning tabs on each hip:imageThe flies are secured with a zip and a button tab:imageThe bottom of each trouser leg is elasticated, drawing the leg in tight around the ankle where the trousers meet the wearer’s boots:imageThe Australian Army’s dress regulations indicate that the trousers are to be worn bloused over the boots:imageSadly the interior label is badly degraded from repeated washing so it is not possible to exactly date these trousers, but I suspect they date to the early 1990s. With the matching jacket and the 88 pattern webbing in my collection I have almost completed a full, if basic, set of Australian combat uniform and equipment from the end of the twentieth century, boots and hat are the last two major components now…