Flecktarn (German: "spotted camouflage"; also known as Flecktarnmuster or Fleckentarn) is a 3-, 4-, 5- or 6-color disruptive camouflage pattern, the most common being the five-color pattern, consisting of dark green, light green, black, red brown and green brown or tan depending on the manufacturer. The use of spots creates a "dithering" effect, which eliminates hard boundaries between the different colors in much the same way the squares in the newest digital camouflage patterns do. The pattern is designed for use in temperate woodland terrain. It has been adapted as desert camouflage by varying the colors.
The German Army started experimenting with camouflage patterns before World War II, and some army units used "splinter" pattern camouflage. Waffen-SS combat units used various patterns from 1935 onwards. Many SS camouflages were designed by Prof. Johann Georg Otto Schick.
- Platanenmuster ("Plane tree pattern"; 1937–1942): spring/summer and autumn/winter variations
- Rauchtarnmuster ("smoke pattern"; 1939–1944): spring/summer and autumn/winter variations
- Palmenmuster ("palm pattern"; circa 1941–?): spring/autumn variations
- Beringtes Eichenlaubmuster ("oak leaf B"; 1942–1945)
- Eichenlaubmuster ("oak leaf A"; 1943–1945): spring/summer and autumn/winter variations
- Erbsenmuster ("44 dot"; 1944–1945): Originally meant to replace all other SS camouflage patterns
- Leibermuster (1945)
None of the names of the German camouflage patterns are authentic, with the exception of Leibermuster.
In 1976, the Bundeswehr in Germany developed a number of prototype camouflage patterns, to be trialled as replacements for the solid olive-grey "moleskin" combat uniform. At least four distinct camouflage patterns were tested during Bundeswehr Truppenversuch 76 ("Bundeswehr Troop Trial 76"). One was called "Dots" or "Points", and one was called "Ragged Leaf" or "Saw Tooth Edge".
Of the patterns tested, that which is today known as Flecktarn was selected for adoption. The word is a composite formed from the German words Fleck (spot, blot, patch or pattern) and Tarnung (camouflage). The Bundeswehr kept its green combat dress throughout the 1980s, however. Flecktarn was only widely introduced in 1990, after trials beginning in 1988.
In Germany, the Flecktarn camouflage pattern is used by all Bundeswehr service branches, the Heer (army), the Luftwaffe (air force), some Marine (navy) units and even the Sanitätsdienst (medical service). It is also used by snipers of the Österreichisches Bundesheer (Federal Army of Austria) and Belgian Air Force ground personnel and airborne infantry. France tested Flecktarn for use, but rejected it; the Dutch army also tested and rejected it, allegedly because it was "too aggressive". Flecktarn was seen as controversial because of its (vague) resemblance to the Waffen-SS "peas" and "oak leaves" patterns, which also used dots in various colors.
Flecktarn is the basis for Bundeswehr Wüstentarn (desert camouflage), Danish T/78 camouflage and Danish M/84 camouflage, including a desert variation of the Danish pattern. A variation of the Flecktarn camouflage is also used by the Russian Army and is called Sever (Russian for "north"), sometimes also referred as Flectar-d. Other variations include Japan's Type II Camouflage; Type 03 Plateau camouflage, used by the Chinese military in Tibet; and an urban variation used by some police units in Poland.
- Denmark—A three-color variant of the pattern, with dark green replacing tan
- Japan—A four-color variant with black, earth brown, and medium green on a tan background
- Images of German Flecktarn patterns: comparison of different types
- kamouflage.net > Europe > Germany, Federal Republic of > Bundeswehr Flecktarn
- kamouflage.net > Europe > Austria, Republic of > Fleckerlteppich
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