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Camo-Craft: Effective Camo and Sensory Defeat

By May 24, 2022Articles
Urban camouflage: you're doing it wrong.

Effective camo-craft is all about sensory defeat. It is not just a visual endeavor, though the visual aspect is the one most often considered. All of your opponent’s senses must be considered, as must your operational environment.

That is why Greenside Training conducts its CAMO CRAFT classes across the country.

If you look at the word camouflage in the dictionary you’ll find it is both a noun and a verb. In its real-life application, camouflage is something you do, not just something you wear…though what you wear may certainly be a part of it.

A camouflage pattern, so often worn as uniform cammies, is not by itself effective camouflage. Almost anything can be camo if you wear it in the right place – just as a broken analog watch is right twice per day. As you can see in the subway image above, the trick is knowing when and where to wear it – and how to defeat the enemy’s other four senses.

“The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.” Rudyard Kipling

Camo-craft is a vital skill, but not the only one. Nor is it one that can be utilized unsupported by other tradecraft, particularly in a tactical environment.

“Only man has the God-like power to make his surroundings change to fit him. His environment will change as he changes. Man’s environment is a merciless mirror of him as a human being.” Earl Nightingale

The SS American Victory, a cargo ship of the WWII and Korean War era, is painted in old school Navy “Dazzle Camouflage”. So-called dazzle painting geometric camo was not intended to “hide” sea-going vessels from submarines, merchant raiders, and aircraft so much as it was used to deceive such enemies as to the vessel’s speed and bearing. This would, in theory, make ships painted this way harder to hit with torpedoes and other munitions. This principle is often referred to as disruptive patterning. It is intended to as much or more to confuse than it is to conceal.
Camouflage in action: Ronin carrying a basket containing Oboshi Yuranosuke Yoshio, leader of the famed 47 Ronin, to keep him out of sight. Like a Trojan Horse, but with Samurai.
Reportedly an unknown Ukrainian SOF soldier with a ghillie hoodover to break up his outline.
Various simple camouflage pullover options for hasty application. As you can see below, it’s rarely possible (or even practical) to ghillie up into full “walking bush” mode.
Effective camo is about sensory defeat
Unknown Swiss soldier rocking the “walking tree” look.

Vehicle Camouflage: Tanks, AFVs, Etc.

The following images depict camouflaged Russian military vehicles operating in Ukraine.