So Diz and I had the chance to spend a Sat. out in the bush. Decided to get some patrolling practice in while playing with some camo. What you see below is Pencott Greenzone and some Digital Woodland/ Woodland MARPAT. We also were trying using matched gear, as well as solid coyote gear and some AOR2 gear.
Red Dot sights offer a good advantage in urban/suburban, CQB, and other close to mid-range semi open engagement environments. In thick heavy woodlands, that advantage is almost nill. Iron sights will pretty much cover things without the extra weight/bulk of an RDS (not that they weigh much). The catch here is, you'll want to be up on your basic iron sight marksmanship skills. Same for a white light. It will not be of much use in heavy wooded terrain. Tailor your weapon for the mission AND environment of which you'll be using it in.
Don't believe everything you read in regards to clothing, in both materials and colors/patterns. Get out in the area you plan to use it in, and USE IT. Use a still camera, video camera, AND friends to see how it really and truly works. The friends part is very important, as a lot of times camera's wont capture things quite the same way the human eye does. Find what works for you and run with it, regardless of what someone else says.
Get your gear on, with the things in it you plan to carry, and get out and work with it. Move in and out of various positions, quietly, etc...
Get out in the heat/cold/rain, etc... with your gear and clothes. How does it all work in those different elements? Can you handle the heat for example? How about the bugs? Ever tried to move quietly through and area while being a walking buffet for a few hundred thousand flying miniature vampires?
We found some very noticeable differences in how different materials, even of the same kind but in different weights, handled the heat in this case. Some were FAR more comfortable to work in than others temperature wise.
That's just a few. I'll let Diz chime in with anything I missed, and will add more as I think of them.
In regards to camo, patrol in your AO to see what is effective. We found that a 2D pattern works from about 10 yds out to about 50-75 yds. This is with good line of sight, such as a trail in daylight in bright sun. Any farther out and you cannot see camo just human outline. Any further in and you see so many distinguishing features (face, hands, rifle, etc) that camo is only important for your report to the intel guys!
Beyond camo, it's movement technique where you make your money. Notice how when you're motionless, you're very hard to pick up, even on a trail. But as soon as you move, you can be seen. Can't stress this enough. The guys that make more frequent security halts will usually see (or hear) the other guys first.
With this in mind, think in terms of line of sight, even at low light. Look at where you're moving and from what angles someone can see you from. Every little finger or draw or wrinkle in the land should be used to keep you from silhouetting on the skyline. Notice how the hardpack trail also made our outlines stand out.
Then look at being seen- vs- being heard. Think about when which one may be more critical. Sometimes you want to stay hidden from sight, even if it's slightly noisier, other times silence is more important, even if you may be more visible. It's a balancing act; you have the weigh the threats, make your decision, and accept the risks.
Weight. Critical to a grunt. All this Gucci gear you see is just extra weight to carry in the bush. Strip down to bare essentials. Especially on your rifle. Every extra ounce in your hands makes a difference on a long patrol. If you think you may need it, think in terms of QD mounts, so you can pouch it up and attach later.
And closing on camos, think in terms of light weight, breathable, -vs- durability. I think light weight is the way to go, even though you give up some durability. In our AO, we get semi-tropical weather. You can't be mission-effective on the verge of being a heat casualty. There was a noticeable difference in comfort level between the different materials.
Well, here's the deal. The Pencott pattern is probably one of the most effective I've ever seen in our AO, and I'm sure works well in similar areas. Visually (Mk 1 Mod 0 eyeball) it's one of the most effective patterns for semi-tropical areas, in bright sunlight. Unfortunately it's not widely available as this time.
The ATACS FG is also effective in this area. Visually it blends in well under the same conditions, however, it's highly blended pattern (which works well here) is not as effective in low light and NIR. But it is widely available, so depending on your METT-TC, might be a choice for you.
Yeah I think this can be a key point in the future. Even in an active U/W area, I think history has shown that the vast majority of your time is usually spent patrolling, not in firefights. If you cannot move without being seen, and without getting lost, you are at a major disadvantage to say the least.
I think Diz hit on most of it. I would encourage getting use to paroling with your mouth open when possible. It increases your hearing by 20% or more.
Sorry for this long winded reply but C&C is priority for me since I'm up here alone, for the most part..
I'm also big on using multiple camo patterns on your body to help break up your shape better.
The Germans noticed the problem of camouflage morphing into a solid color at distance early on. In fact they were onto this in the 1930 and adopted Splinter camouflage from the Swiss to use on their tent section and later used this camouflage in their Army uniforms. They stuck to this principle somewhat through out the war changing very little with their army camouflage other then softening the hard splinter lines to softer "marsh" splinter camo patterns..The Waffen SS went in totally other direction with their camouflage.
Towards the end of the war they were fielding a camouflage deliberately designed to cover all armed forced of the German military in all European sectors of combat. Which is to say any terrain you would find through out Europe and thats pretty much the same terrain you will find on the East Coast and many places in the USA. It was called Liebermuster or you might know it today as Swiss Alpenflage. Its designed to keep the pattern and not morph to the blob at great distance. I think this is why in the post war years they chose it to serve in the mountainous terrain of Switzerland.
Ive dabbled with Alpenflage but i find the current version unreliable unless its modified with dye...But blobbing at distance is a big concern for me in Alaska since some places are vast open areas..
(Note, I was cold so I wore the mask, and for no ****** reason)
Nicely done. Your setup looks pretty effective. Yeah, the Germans were definitely on the front edge of camouflage development. The Swiss Alpenflage has long been very interesting to me. Biggest problem with it, as with other foreign patterns, is lack of consistent availability and sizing.
Looking good Bergmann. You bring up several good points. The current crop of digitals and the like can be traced back to pioneering work by the Germans 80+ years ago! Guess it's not PC to credit the then-Nazis for anything. As an aside, the SAS windproof smock, that Max, Hawkeye, me, and others rock out owes it's genesis to the same period. The German Alpine troops had a kick-ass mountaineering smock, that was copied by everyone from the Russians to the Brits. In it's current form (soldier 95) it is still one of the best L5 "softshell" options out there.
Surplus kit is cheap and available. Been banging on that one a lot lately, 'nuff said.
With your terrain, many patterns will work. I too am big on mix and matching, especially one pattern for ground, and one for foliage. Very effective in "transitional" areas, where scrub brush is about 3' or so. I generally don't go to matching trou and jacket until I'm completely in dense woodland.