During the First World War, France experimented with hand-painted camouflage designs for some of her troops fighting in Europe. Produced by the Army's Section de Camouflage, under Eugene Corbin, several styles were tested, including uneven blotches, spots and stripes. These hand-made uniforms were most often worn by snipers and reconnaissance elements operating on the front lines, and were never adopted or mass produced to any degree.
During the Second World War, airborne and commando elements of Free French Forces frequently donned the hand-painted "brushstroke" camouflage Denison paratrooper smocks common with the British and other Allied Airborne Forces. With the rise of nationalist movements immediately following the end of WW2, vastly under-equipped French forces found themselves quickly re-engaged in a different kind of conflict in the First Indochina War (1946-1954). Heavily supplied by her former wartime Allies, many elite French units serving in Indochina wore surplus American M1942 spot pattern jungle uniforms or British m42 windproof camouflage uniforms, often custom-modified or locally tailored to French standards from original cloth. By 1951, however, France began implementing her own brand of camouflage, the tenue de leópard (leopard uniform), influenced by the WW2 era British brushstroke design. This pattern would become a symbol of French airborne and commando troops (and, indeed, of the French Army as a whole) for the remainder of the century, despite the fact that widescale French use of the pattern was discontinued at the end of the Algerian War.
Throughout the period ranging from the 1960s into the early 1990s, French military forces, like many of her European counterparts, were officially clad in plain olive green. Periods of development by private companies, particularly in the early 1980s, led to a handful of experimental patterns such as those produced by Texunion in 1981 and 1983, but it was not until the events leading up to Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm in 1990-91 that the French government once again embraced the idea of clothing military personnel in camouflage uniforms. Since the early 1990s, French forces have retained camouflage clothing as their standard operational uniform.