The Evolution of Military Camouflage Printing

At Pincroft, we commission print a wide range of camouflage patterns.

Working closely with our customers from around the world to design and develop new camouflage patterns and IRR wavelengths for future solider systems to be worn by their armed forces thanks to our extensive technical knowledge and experience that covers 130 years.

That’s why we’re taking a look at the impressive and varied history of military camouflage that has lead to the production of hundreds of unique styles, colours and designs of camouflage printed fabrics.

The first known military uniforms date back to the mid-18th century and rifle units who were  issued with green, brown and other earth-toned uniforms to help them blend into their environment. 

Before this time, militaries would often clothe their soldiers and officers in brightly coloured uniforms, for example the vibrant red coats traditionally worn by British troops which earned them their iconic name ‘the Redcoats.’ With the invention of the rifle, members of the armed forces needed to find a way of staying concealed while fighting their targets and therefore the first camouflage patterns were created. 

While these items first took form in grey or green outfits, the first specifically designed khaki pieces (which comes from the Persian word for dust) came to use in the early 19th century. 

As the first World War began, French armed forces employed units of camoufleurs to blend weapons and vehicles into their surroundings and protect from aerial attacks. 

As these methods developed and became more commonly used, military equipment would be painted and hidden under fabric or fake greenery to provide further coverage from enemy eyes.

The iconic battles at D-Day and El Alamein were partly won by using a variety of camouflage tactics, even going as far as hiding the entire Suez Canal from view! 

WWII gave rise to more advanced methods of camouflage and was the first time that specifically designed and printed fabrics allowed soldiers to easily wear their disguise. Countries began developing unique patterns and colours for their armed forces as well as creating different versions depending on the surrounding environment such as deserts, snow and forests.

Since then military camouflage has come a long way, with many nations now opting for patterns that not only disrupt the vision in daylight such as pixelated or tonal designs, but also at night with advances in IRR (infrared) wavelength manipulation, to alter the night vision signature to evade detection and completely blend into the environment.

When you choose Pincroft, you can rest assured that you are working with leaders in printing and dyeing. As one of Europe’s largest commission textile finishers, we want our customers to be confident in knowing that they will receive products of the highest quality that are lab-tested to meet the most rigorous standards and last in the most challenging conditions. 

Want to find out more about our camouflage production?

 Get in touch with one of our specialist team members, we’re here to help however we can.