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German Soldatin, on field exercises

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German Flecktarn is characterised by small coloured dots, rather than the more common patches of colour. These dots produce a dithering effect, which effectively eliminates the boundaries between separate colours. [Image: Bundeswehr.]

Bundeswehr Flecktarn
Federal Republic of Germany

During the second half of 1976, the Bundeswehr conducted a series of 'troop trials' (German: Truppenversuch) in co-operation with the French army. The aim of these trials was to gauge the effectiveness of five newly developed camouflage patterns: Sägezahnmuster; Punktmuster; Flecktarn A (klein); Flecktarn B (groß); and Flecktarn C.

Of these, the first four camouflage designs were five-colour patterns, comprising black, dark green, light-green, olive grey and earth brown elements; the main differences between them were the shapes and sizes of the elements. Those used in Sägezahnmuster (German: 'saw-tooth pattern') were reminiscent of blades for a circular saw, but the other three patterns were composed of coloured clumps and dots: Punktmuster (German: 'point pattern') featured large clumps and small dots; Flecktarn A (klein) (German: 'dot camouflage A, small') featured larger dots and the clumps had a more open, lacy appearance; and Flecktarn B (groß) (German: 'dot camouflage B, large') displayed even larger dots.

The last camouflage pattern, officially labelled Flecktarn C (German: 'dot camouflage C') but also dubbed Schattentarn (German: 'shadow camouflage;), was definitely the odd-man-out at the trials. It was a three-colour camouflage pattern of dark green, light green and olive grey, and comprised the outlines of the shapes used in Flecktarn A (klein). The contrast between the colours used is extremely low, and it seems unlikely that this design could ever offer much in the way of a camouflage effect.

Of the five patterns trialled during Truppenversuch, Flecktarn B was adjudged to be the most effective. However, the issue of this camouflage pattern was delayed until after Erprobung 1988 (German: 'Proofing 1988') and the successful conclusion of the 1989 Truppenversuch “Kampfanzug 90” (German: 'Troop Trials, "Battle Suit 90"').

This reasons for this lengthy delay are unclear. One possibility is that the decision was taken so that the Bundeswehr should remain dressed like its NATO partners, who — with the notable exceptions of France and the United Kingdom — wore olive drab uniforms.

Whatever the reasons might actually have been, uniforms camouflaged in Flecktarn B — better known as Bundeswehr-Flecktarnmuster (below) — were not issued to soldiers of the Bundeswehr until 1990.

kamouflage.net is grateful to Dan Feldkamp for his invaluable contributions to this article. Please visit Dan's Web site, Truppenversuche der Bundeswehr 1976–1994.

camouflage data

1cm grid

Bundeswehr Flecktarn
1991–present

Specimen of Bundeswehr Flecktarn

Specimen kindly supplied by Dan Feldkamp/Truppenversuche der Bundeswehr 1976–1994

Actual size: not known

also known as:
  • Fleck
  • Flecktar
  • Flecktarn
  • Flecktarnmuster
  • Flectar
country of origin:

Bundesrepublik Deutschland

National flag: Federal Republic of Germany

Federal Republic of Germany

influences:
used by:
  • Heer ('army')
  • Luftwaffe (air force)
  • Sanitätsdienst ('medical service')
also used by:
  • Georgia
    • Georgian peacekeeping troops on NATO KFOR mission (2005)
  • Kingdom of the Netherlands
    • Koninklijke Landmacht ('Royal Land Defence') note: discontinued in the late 1980s
  • Republic of Austria
    • Österreichs Bundesheer ('Federal Army of Austria')
  • Republic of Belarus
    • Комитет государственной безопасности Республики Беларусь ('Committee of State Security of the Republic of Belarus')
  • Republic of Kosova
    • Kosovo Liberation Army or KLA (Albanian: Ushtria Çlirimtare e Kosovës or UÇK) (1998–1999).

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