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Impression of a Red Army sniper, circa 1941–45

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Impression of a Red Army sniper, circa 1941–45. During World War 2, Russian snipers were one of the select few types of soldier who were issued MKK camouflage suits patterned in amoeba pattern camouflage. [Image: V. Voskoboynikov/Raboche-Krest'yaskaya Krasnaya Armiya.]

1938 amoeba pattern, green base
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

The late 1930s saw the Soviets' first attempt to use artificially patterned overgarments to conceal troops in the field.

Two types of camouflaged garment were issued in 1937–1938: a one-piece camouflaged coverall, usually called 'deceptive coveralls' (Russian: маскировочный комбинезон, trans. maskirovochnyy kombinezon, MK); and a two-piece camouflaged suit, commonly called 'deceptive camouflage suit' (Russian: маскировочный камуфлированный костюм, trans. maskirovochnyy kamuflirovannyy kostyum, MKK). Combat engineers, snipers, airborne forces (Russian: Воздушно-десантные войска, trans. Vozdushno-desantnyye voyska, VDV) and reconnaissance units of the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (Russian: Народный комиссариат внутренних дел, trans. Narodnyy komissariat vnutrennikh del, NKVD) were the most common recipients of these camouflage garments.

This most common pre-war Soviet camouflage pattern comprises large brown blobs on a pale green background and, for reasons that should be obvious, is known by collectors as 'amoeba pattern' camouflage. Two other major colour variants are known, the first of which has a khaki background colour and the second of which has a deep yellow background colour. Allegedly there was also a double-sided version of the 1938 MK overgarment, which had a reverse side that featured sand-coloured blobs on a grey background.

Although both the 1938 MK and the 1938 MKK were withdrawn from general service not long after World War 2, there is some evidence to suggest that the 1938 MKK is still in use today, by reservists and trainees. The 'amoeba pattern' was an integral part of the 1948 hybrid 'amoeba–stair step' camouflage pattern, and was also the inspiration for the DDR-Russisches Tarnmuster, which was used by the Kasernierte Volkspolizei (German: 'Barracked people's police', KVP) and its successor, the Nationale Volksarmee (German: 'National People's Army', NVA).

camouflage data

1cm grid

1938 amoeba pattern, green base
1938–present

Specimen of 1938 amoeba pattern, green base

Specimen kindly supplied by Dennis Desmond/Schiffer Publishing Ltd

Actual size: not known

also known as:
  • ameba
  • amoeba (Russian: амеба, trans. ameba)
  • green ameba
  • green amoeba
  • summer camouflage (Russian: летний камуфляж, trans. letniy kamuflyazh)
country of origin:

Союз Советских Социалистических Республик

National flag: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

used by:
  • reconnaissance units of the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (Russian: Народный комиссариат внутренних дел, trans. Narodnyy komissariat vnutrennikh del, NKVD) (WW2)
  • reservists and trainees (post-war)
  • Soviet airborne forces (Russian: Воздушно-десантные войска, trans. Vozdushno-desantnyye voyska, VDV) (WW2)
  • Soviet combat engineers (WW2)
  • Soviet snipers (WW2)
also used by:

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