British Army DPM - time for a change?

I've noticed with some (just a little, not a lot!) interest in the way quite a few of the armed forces around the world have adopted new patterns of DPM for their military in the last 5-10 years.  As far as I can make out, this is due to their research blokes suggesting that the new stuff is a better basic camo pattern than that it replaced.  Apart from minor changes in colouring and contrast, Brit DPM has remained unchanged since the early 1970's.  Is this because:
1.  Ours was right first time and needs unchanged?
2.  It probably needs updated, but the bean-counters won't countenance spending on a new uniform?

Also, am I not right in thinking the pattern of our DPM was designed specifically around its use in temperate Northern Europe?  Now that we're fighting in constantly changing environments, is it time for an updated pattern that can take into account different, though similar environments?
Not interested in the purely aesthetic value of our DPM, it's hard to remain fashion concious at 3am in the same smelly combats you've had on for the last week!  I'm just curious should anyone with a more enlightend view, or superior knowledge on the subject wish to enlighten me.


DPM is pretty good and was one of the first.  Indeed, if you look at the Yank (army) woodland cammo, it has adapted since the 1960s to the point where it is very similar to ours (albeit with better quality control on the dyes), and their cammo is probably the most widely used in the world (Chinese cammo, for example is virtually identical, which could be confusing!).  DPM was developed by artists rather than computers, and is probably quite temperate Europe-centric, but it is more applicable worldwide than some of the central European patterns (German Flecktarn "Fourth Reich" Cammo, for example, which is really designed for dappled birch woods).

When we get the dyes right it also has the useful feature of forming bigger disruptive shapes in poor light, as in black and white vision the green and khaki and the black and brown colours have the same tone so look like single blocks of light or dark shadow.  The desert version has been the real success story, though.  Lashed-up at the last minute though it was it is the most effective I've seen (far better than the Yanks, who keep changing theirs but still look like painters and decorators) while still maintaining a recognisable UK DPM image.  :D :D :D

A lot of the people coming up with new patterns have political or national agendas rather than really needing better cam.   The Canadian and Australian armies both needed a boost to reassure them they were being taken seriously, and neither country wanted to be seen as following the Brits. Hence Auscam (which works nowhere except the Northern Territory) and Cadpat (good cam, crap name).  New Zealand, on the other hand, who have less colonial baggage (and no Frogs in charge) are quite happy with DPM.  The US Marines have just adopted their new MARPAT cammo, mainly to make it harder to mistake them for the US Army (and who can blame them? ;D).  There are also plenty of civvi hunting type patterns, which tend to be too environment specific (some firms will even print photos of your favourite hunting area onto combats for you!).  I reckon UK DPM is still one of the best even after 30 years.  If only we could get the dyes right...  :-/


Top spotter site!  I think the guy is reading a bit too much into the different DPM patterns though.  Although we've certainly changed our combats 3 or 4 times since 1969, I'm pretty sure we've never consciously changed DPM itself.  The colours have changed (the last lot of combats before CS95 did look like they'd been Tangoed!) and we lost the "droplets" or "drips" around the edges of the patterns for a while, but I'm pretty sure this has more to do with poor quality control than MoD experimentation.
Isn't the colour of your combats academic when you step on a land mine?


War Hero
Kit Reviewer
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I was about to comment how sad it was that somebody had devoted a web-page to different types of cam but then realised that I was equally sad by visiting it...

Did a foreign course in 97 as the only Brit in DPM in a sea of plain green combats - made for a cracking syndicate photo !  If I had taken loads of buckshee kit with me, I could have opened a Silvermans with the amount of kit I was being offered in swaps !

Did another foreign course a couple of years ago - different country but again green combats, although the there was only one host nation officer in their new combat kit, which had apparently been designed by computer (although unfortunately let down by being made by the lowest bidder).

Many years ago I remember watching a video highlighting the difference between Brit DPM and the old green combats we had (not that I ever wore them myself !)

It did show that with a modicum of concealment, plain green is only marginally less effective than DPM and that difference in performance disappears after about 100 yards anyway.

I believe it is a matter of mentality - if the blokes think they look the part, they will do the job.  Perhaps this explains why so many TA people buy gash kit from SASS, Silvermans et al (although I personally think the issue stuff is OK the vast majority of the time).
Just had a lecture from the counter surveillance boys who talked about camouflage.  One of the best features of our ’95 gear is that it is infra-red reflective – even the waterproofs.  He showed infra-red pictures of someone in ’95 who didn’t stand out much and someone in the old Gore-Tex (with chest pockets) who stood out like the abominable snowman.  Civvy-bought assault vests were the same ie glow bright white through IR kit.
Also, the next generation of combat kit (crusader 21?) might have a computer redesigned camouflage pattern.  Just as long as we don’t look like the Canadians!
I probably had the same lecture. Was in Warminster and given a presentation from the ISTAR wing on cam and concealment. I was amazed by the effects of non IR treated clothing - softy kackets were like bloody neon lights.

The brit DPM is good and the next generation looks better. The Yanks new cam clothing is excellent - all the gear no idea!
I'm in Kosovo at the minute, and get to see many different nations DPM. Can honestly say that I haven't seen any that looks as effective as ours. The Czech Republics is quite good in so much as they have plenty of pockets and its good quality.
You actually need to wear sunglasses for some of them (Belgium/Hungary). Its amazing how anybody can think that it blends into anything.
I realise that someone with a bigger brain than me must have looked at this subject but can't seem to see anything wrong with our pattern.
And I too was amazed at how much people glow at night, when not in IR kit. Especially as I was wearing a woolie hat at the time that looked like it was covered in cyelume when looked at through a night scope.
It's a really good message to get across - if you don't wear pusser's kit with the proper IRR properties you light up like a christmas tree.  Now you know why some of those gucci assault vests in Soldier mag are half the price of the as-issue version - it's because they could get you killed.  :-X

Having said that, it's thanks to the first batch of green PLCE not having IRR reflective properties that we got the DPM stuff, against the wishes of the MoD.  ;D ;D ;D

Mr Happy

Spotter Alert:

Paoli et al,
Agreed 99% of all points, just like to add comments:

The purpose of cam is to break up shape, silhouette and all those other Ss right, not make you invisible.  If we take that as given then the new US Marines pattern (which is actually lots of little computer gnerated 5mm squares!) and the 4th Reichs Flecktarn are both guilty of being next to useless.  They achieve the blocking effect of rather than breaking up the shape of a man at 300m but actually bring it together.

There was a development 15 years ago of something called; I think - ASAT or All Season All Terrain Cam, this followed the "break the shape" principal and in theory would allow a soldier to move through the marshes of Southern Iraq, into the capital out and up into the snowy mountains with a cam that allowed reasonable breaking of shape without being too specific to the environment in the way that Dessies will stand out in Trafalger Sq. or DPM Temperate will stand out in a snowy mountain.  The nearest Ive seen to it is the new US Desert cam (LARGE clumps of colours of neutral shades), (though ASAT had strings of black to contrast and "break the shape" up, something the yanks appear to have missed out completely, I can only assume their trials proved this the correct way forward.  

Ive worked with most if not all nations in NATO and most friendly nations in the world (never seen a Kiwi though  ;) arent they all in Britfor?) and have seen many pretty cams, (Omanis or SADF anyone?) And am pretty damn happy with DPM temperate.  However, exercises with the yanks have shown me that there might be a slight edge on the US pattern, or it could be I pick it out less easily due to it being (albeit subtly) unfamiliar?

Ref. IR/PNV two points, (1) Civi kit that shows is bad. (2), Ive washed my gear for years (except MBLU where I have no input) in 40c water only, thats because of all those phosphates that make your wash brighter  8) and bring out the colours in Daz/Ariel etc make you become a brighter spec through certain night gear I am told and over time the IR proof goes).  RN guys get issued fire retardant gear and immediately boil wash the kit for days in order to get rid of it all (to prove they'd rather be comfortable before getting burnt I guess :D ).  I believe our DPM stuff over time with detergents will go the same (not fit for purpose) way.  Anyone have any comments?  I've been told it, I believe it, but I've never seen it.

To answer foggy_balla&s original question though, I reckon our desert cam could do with improvement, our temperate is fine and our urban gear of desert boots, blue jeans and white t-shirts is among the most recognised and respected in the world.

Respect to all, even the stackers

Mr H.
Mr H - as you have never seen a Kiwi can we presume their camo kit is doing its job? Seriously though -  it is very similar to the Brit stuff.

It may be sad but have a look at

for all the variations of DPM you will ever want to see 
Spotter Alert:

I believe our DPM stuff over time with detergents will go the same (not fit for purpose) way.  Anyone have any comments?  I've been told it, I believe it, but I've never seen it.
Apparently that is true but I have it on good authority that kit can be re-treated. Either with special spray or wash.
I was once informed by a RAF shiny arrse that he was instructed not to iron his combats for exactly the same reason, ie. it will ruin the IRR proofing. I politely told him to re-think his ways over an ironing board (you cant shout or swear at the RAF).
But does he have a point? - hes not the first RAF bloke I've heard use this argument (usually proves to be futile), but it makes you wonder - is the Armys passion for sharp creases taking over common sense, it is a combat uniform after all. Don't get me wrong, I dont want to see any more slippage of the already low standards that seem to be upheld these days, but surely a pair of combats without creases down the front is better than a sucking chest wound.
Chaps, I'm pretty certain that IR Reflective properties of the dyes in issued DPM clothing are not affected by washing or ironing or anything else.  I've come across the myths you mention above before and usually they have their origins in the fact that by washing combat kit you remove its proofing for water repellence (ever notice how a nice new jacket takes ages to soak through and gets those beads of water on the outside, whereas your old favourite smock sucks like a sponge ;D).

What is true is that excessive washing / ironing / starching (God help us) of DPM kit can make the dyes fade in the visible spectrum.  In the dark days of the 1980s pattern combat kit (the "dash, down, disintegrate" ones with pointy pocket corners) everyone hung onto their old stuff as long as possible, and I have seen with the naked eye a combat jacket glow white in the dark just because it had faded so much.  I am reliably informed that no such fading of the IRR properties takes place in the IR spectrum though - anyone from ISTAR Wing care to back me up on this?
 ta  probably brought lots of kit before issuse of 95
which is now  adquate  i dont know about others but
i dont feel need to buy windproof  now i have 95 smock
but that 80? pattern crap the one with the field dressing
pocket  must have been sponsered by silvermans as it
drove so many people  to buy  smocks . I dont wear as
much non issuse kit as I used to  because the 95 pattern is good  . and  i think dpm works as well as any other .

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