Military Vehicle Camouflage Patterns

Military Vehicle camouflage patterns consist of an arrangement of different colored painted areas, designed to break up the lines of specific vehicles in a specific environment. The pattern is part of a scientifically developed method of camouflage that is applied uniformly to all equipment of a military force at a given time. The number of colors, their arrangement on the vehicle and the actual colors used are determined by the system in use and each unit is responsible to apply the pattern and colors to each vehicle in their command.

M-151A2 jeep painted in four color camouflage pattern. Camp Robinson, Little Rock, AK, January 1983.  Photo: Olive-Drab.
M-151A2 jeep painted in four color camouflage pattern. Camp Robinson, Little Rock, AK, January 1983. Photo:

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Camouflage Pattern Designs for Military Vehicles

Camouflage patterns, when painted on a military vehicle, are a guide for a design developed for the specific item of equipment. The design is an outline drawing of the item on which wavy lines give the boundaries of the color areas. Within each such area is a number that stands for the color to be used in that area, except that areas which are to be black are shown as solid black. As can be seen from the chart on the TC 5-200 page, the color represented by the number varies according to the seasonal or terrain color combination being used. An individual design drawing is given for each of the five views of the vehicle: front, back, left side, top, and right side.

With the cooperation of Pasquale Lombardi (MVPA #151C) here are the four-color patterns for the M-151, the M-715 and the M-114. These files were created from scanned faxes; not the best method, but usable. Click on the pattern name to open a full size copy of the pattern page from TB 43-0209:

Camouflage pattern for the right side of the M-715 truck
Camouflage pattern for the right side of the M-715 truck.

For three-color (NATO) patterns, here is a set of patterns from TB 43-0209 sent by "Buzz" in Adobe pdf format. The files are large and you need an Acrobat Reader to display them (reader available for free download from Adobe). The pdf files have the advantage of much higher resolution, but each one takes longer to load.

And here is the set of four-color patterns for the popular M-416 trailer, in JPEG format:

When the information in the TC 5-200 color tables is combined with the pattern design for a particular item of equipment or vehicle, any camouflage pattern can be quickly determined. If the actual pattern design is not available, or never was produced, another pattern can be adapted. For example, the M-151 pattern can be adapted for use with any jeep, the M-715 for any pick-up or similar vehicle, and the M-114 for any APC.

Mike Norona sent in the tip that Army Motors #83 (Spring 1998) has a long article on the WC ambulance family markings, including camo patterns.

Find More Information on the Internet

There are many fine websites that have additional information on this topic, too many to list here and too many to keep up with as they come and go. Use this Google web search form to get an up to date report of what's out there.

For good results, try entering this: patterns camo or camouflage. Then click the Search button.

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