How does camouflage work?

Soldiers in Camouflage Against Wall - SafeGuard Armour

The basis of camouflage, most frequently deployed by the military, is to hide yourself and your equipment from the enemy. It has played an essential role in military combat, even with technological developments over the years. Camouflage has existed for years, with researchers adapting it from animals’ ability to blend in with their environment.

Colour and pattern are the two essential parts that makeup camouflage. The colour of camouflage depends entirely on the environment where the warfare occurs. Snowy terrains use white and grey colours whereas desert warfare is mainly tan colours. Jungle warfare uses green and brown colours to match the natural earthy surroundings.

Most soldiers also paint their faces to match their surroundings, obscuring every inch of skin. This visual deception helps soldiers hide from their enemies for hours, even days, on end.

The different colours combined with varying patterns assist in hiding the contour of the wearer’s body, helping blur them into nearby terrains. Varying colours and patterns are essential because it helps to separate the person. The blur of colours tricks the brain into separating the wearer’s body parts, letting them hide easily in plain sight.

Camouflage also helps hide equipment from enemy soldiers. Camouflaging equipment was first utilised in World War I when enemy aircraft tried to find each other from the air. Tanks, guns and trucks can all be camouflaged, but the Navy finds it a lot more difficult. With ships constantly moving and floating, they can never blend in.

Most of the time, technology cannot detect things hidden by camouflage. But, with more technological advancements and the fact that camouflage can never perfectly blend in with the environment, means that not everything can be disguised. Thermal sensing technology can easily overcome camouflage by sensing the wearer’s body temperature.

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