A couple of days ago we presented the first English-language news about the new snow and multi-terrain camouflage patterns being adopted by the German Bundeswehr. Today, we are able to bring you some further details about the so-called ‘Multitarn’ multi-terrain pattern.
First, it appears that the pattern is being called ‘Multitarn’ – thereby connecting the ‘multi’-terrain colours of the pattern with the legacy ‘tarn’ (camouflage) of the ‘Flecktarn’ pattern geometry it is based on.
The development of the Multitarn pattern was initially driven by a request from the German special forces, and the new pattern will be made available to them first. In the longer term, other units will also receive the new pattern. Equipping all in-theatre soldiers with a common camouflage uniform pattern makes obvious sense, as it is then more difficult for the enemy to specifically target special forces troops due to their different uniform.
Its not yet clear if the the new Multitarn pattern will completely replace the existing 5-color (temperate woodland) and 3-color (scrub desert) Flecktarn patterns in Bundeswehr service, as the British did with MTP. However, Multitarn was created as a truly multi-terrain camouflage for any geographies, in the same way as MTP, and is therefore not limited to either temperate woodland or scrub desert environments like the current Flecktarn variants. The Multitarn design was also designed with an overall ‘average’ brightness in tone, so it should also work in regions with a high proportion of forest, such as Europe, where the 5-color Flecktarn pattern has traditionally been worn.
A significant feature of the Multitarn pattern is its better camouflage effect in the so-called near-infrared range of 700 to 1200 nanometers visible in commonly available individual night vision devices. This distinguishes the German ‘Multitarn’ pattern from the very commonly used MultiCam pattern which does not perform as well under such conditions.
Infra-red photo of ‘Multitarn’ on the right, 5-color Flecktarn on the left.
The Technical Specifications for the new Multitarn pattern are being written up and documented so that orders to manufacturers may be issued. However, in contrast to previous patterns, the Bundeswehr has registered this design as protected and will closely control of the distribution of the Multitarn camouflage pattern – in much the same way that the British did with MTP. This will prevent, or delay, counterfeiters from producing substandard or non-spec items of equipment that might find their way into the supply chain or open market and endanger soldiers’ lives. Unfortunately, it will also severely limit the market for custom or commercial gear and clothing manufacturers to produce private- or unit-purchase professional items this camouflage pattern either.
Photo of patterns under test in Afghanistan: 3-color Flecktarn on far left, MultiCam second from left, selected variant of ‘Multitarn’ on the far right.
The developers are also allegedly working a further camouflage pattern for equipment such as protective vests or backpacks – so that soldiers can be issued with one set of gear with a ‘universal’ camouflage pattern rather than needing to change their gear when they deploy to a different environment, or ending up with a mix-match assortment of different patterns on different pieces of gear. This sounds just like one of the things the US Army tried to do with its Camouflage Improvement Initiative, and I doubt that the Germans will have any better luck with it frankly. They should probably just stick with the Multitarn pattern and make it the standard for gear.
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