Digitized swatch of the U.S. woodland pattern
|Type||Military camouflage pattern|
|Place of origin||United States|
|Used by||USMC Forces Special Operations Command|
U.S. Navy SWCCs and SEALs
See Users (for other non-U.S. users)
|Wars||Invasion of Grenada |
United States invasion of Panama
Somali Civil War
Persian Gulf War
Operation Uphold Democracy
War in Afghanistan
2008 Cambodian-Thai stand-off
Syrian Civil War
The woodland pattern is a camouflage pattern that was used as the default camouflage pattern issued to the United States Armed Forces from 1981, with the issue of the Battle Dress Uniform, until its replacement in the mid 2000s. It is a four color, high contrast disruptive pattern with irregular markings in sand, brown, green and black. It is also known unofficially by its colloquial moniker of "M81", though this term was not officially used by the U.S. military.
Development and history
The woodland pattern is nearly identical to highland ERDL, only differing in that is printed from an enlargement of the original. The woodland pattern was enlarged and the borders of the splotches were re-drawn to make them less regular. Part of the earlier pattern was left off the later pattern because the enlargement made them no longer fit on the width of the bolt of cloth. The pattern does not repeat horizontally across the width of the bolt, but only vertically along its length.
The effect of enlarging the pattern was to make the pattern more visible at a distance, avoiding "blobbing", where smaller areas of color seem to blend into larger blobs. This also gave the pattern a higher contrast, making it stand out more sharply at close distances and defeating the camouflage effect at closer range. Digital and Flecktarn camouflage patterns resolve this problem by using a range of blob sizes to give a similar effect whatever the distance.
These changes reflected a shift in the tactical focus of the United States military from fighting an extremely close-range war such as the one in South Vietnam to a longer-range one such as on the fields of Europe.
In the U.S. Army, the woodland-patterned Battle Dress Uniform was replaced by the digital Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP) found on the Army Combat Uniform, introduced in 2004. UCP itself was replaced by the Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP) in 2019. The pattern is still used on MOPP suits and some older models of body armor yet to be retired, such as PASGT.[better source needed][better source needed][better source needed]
The U.S. Navy retains the Woodland Pattern for specific units and organizations, such as the U.S. Navy SEALs and SWCC, who are currently the primary U.S. users of this uniform. Sailors have otherwise transitioned to the Navy Working Uniform. Otherwise, the pattern is still used today on personal body armor (such as the IBA and PASGT) aboard warships.
The Woodland Pattern BDU was phased out by the Marine Corps with the introduction of the digital MARPAT Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform in 2002, although it was reintroduced for the United States Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command in 2011 and was also worn by MARSOC forces in the War in Afghanistan.
U.S. Air Force
The Air Force phased out the woodland pattern battle dress uniform in 2011 when they went to the Airman Battle Uniform (ABU) which uses a pixelated incarnation of the Tigerstripe pattern, which in turn will be replaced by the Army's OCP by 2021. Also the Civil Air Patrol (the U.S. Air Force's civilian auxiliary) used it on BDUs, which were then replaced by the ABU.
State defense forces
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- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Republic of the Congo
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Costa Rica
- Côte d'Ivoire
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- Georgia: Former standard issue camouflage pattern of the Georgian Armed Forces, was replaced by MARPAT, which was then replaced by MultiCam.
- Haiti: Known to be used by the Haitian National Police.
- Hong Kong – Used by the Hong Kong Police tactical unit (SDU)
- Iraq: Formerly used by reformed post-2003 Iraqi military.
- Israel: Used by Israeli special forces only during OPFOR training exercises.
- Kosovo – Worn by the Kosovar security forces.
- Latvia – Worn by the Latvian Land Forces c. 1992–2007, still worn by Latvian National Guard
- Lebanon - Replaced in 2017 by the Operational Camouflage Pattern
- Moldova – Worn by Army of the Republic of Moldova.
- Montenegro: Used by the Montenegrin Special Anti-Terrorist Unit.
- Netherlands: Worn by the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps, most of the Woodland camos being replaced by Dutch-made fractal camo.
- North Korea: Reported to be used by North Korean soldiers stationed in the DMZ from 2018.
- Russia: Russia uses near-copies (Komplekt kamuflirovannogo obmundirovannogo [KKO]) and copies (Лес or Les [forest]) worn by MVD Agencies such as the Internal Troops and Spetsnaz GRU units.
- Saudi Arabia – Used by the Royal Saudi Air Force.
- Syria: Copies made for the Syrian military.
- Turkey – Worn by all branches of Turkish Armed Forces until 2008.
- United States: At the federal level, it is used on MOPP suits, IBA vests, and PASGT vests as of 2018.[better source needed] At the state-level, several state defense forces use it.
- Ukraine: Known to be used by Bohdan Company and Chernihiv Company with local variant made to resemble Croatian-made Woodland camos.
- Uruguay – Worn by Army and Air Force
- Christine O. Hardyman, ed. (1988). "Chapter 7: Support Services". Department of the Army Historical Summary FY 1981. United States Army Center of Military History.
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