Australian AUSCAM Camouflage Patterns

Australian AUSCAM Camouflage Patterns

Although Australia did field some airborne and commando units during the Second World War, there is no evidence suggesting they were issued with any type of camouflage uniform. Whereas most Commonwealth units fighting in the European theater wore the British-made Denison smock, this was probably deemed too heavy and hot for use by units operating in the Pacific.

Australia became involved in the Vietnam War in part because of its membership in SEATO (South East Asia Treaty Organization), sending in advisors to the ARVN in 1962. By 1967, Australian forces included a detachment of the Special Air Service Regiment (SASR). Largely tasked with reconnaissance and intelligence gathering, the junglecraft of the Australian SAS was so highly developed that the enemy credited them with being able to appear out of nowhere, thus earning the unit the nickname Ma Rūńg (Phantoms of the Jungle). Althoguh the standard combat uniform of the Australian soldier at this time was jungle green, most SAS preferred to wear the US manufactured M1968 ERDL jungle uniform, or locally-produced tiger stripe jungle fatigues. Australia did produce a thin waterproofed camouflage smock and hat, however, which were issued to most military personnel serving in Vietnam; this can be considered the first truly Australian-designed camouflage pattern.

Olive green remained the standard uniform of the soldier for several years after the war. However, in 1982-83, the Australian MOD began testing camouflage designs suitable to the local geography with an eye towards adopting a standard issue combat uniform for the entire Australian Defence Force. The pattern approved in 1984, Australian Disruptive Pattern Camouflage, has been standard issue ever since. Several desert variations of the pattern have also been issued, as well as a unique reddish-coloration that has been reserved for Australian soldiers acting as enemy troops during military exercises. Recently a colorway for the Australian Navy was also adopted.

First tested in 1982-83, the original colors of the Australian Disruptive Camouflage Pattern (DCP) were slightly different from those finally released in 1984. Uniforms are known officially as DPCU (Disruptive Pattern, Combat Uniform), and for this reason the term is also often applied to the pattern. Although there are some slight color differences depending on the manufacturer and the fabric, in general the pattern features orange, brown, dark olive & lime green spots on a khaki background. Several nicknames have also been applied to the pattern, including AUSCAM, "bunny cam" (as some of the shapes in the design look like rabbit caricatures), and OzCam.

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