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.
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.