Multitarn - The new German Flecktarn

The Federal Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) recently received a new camouflage pattern for its operational combat clothing. This unique fabric has a so-called universal camouflage pattern, allowing the soldiers to merge with the surrounding nature in barren areas such as Mali, Iraq, or Afghanistan.
Around 4,000 German soldiers are deployed in several war zones (*Nov. 2020). Specially equipped with Multitarn combat suits, protective vests, and other tactical equipment, soldiers' protection has therefore increased. Of course, the new Multitarn ACU also has vector protection.

#Multitarn #Bundeswehr #Fleckarn #Concamo
Unfortunately, I found no video. The closest thing to the new Multitarn is Concamo by Leo Köhler:

The features of the new Multitarn camo

 Since 2016, some 180,000 Federal Armed Forces soldiers are equipped with the new Multitarn ACUs.
This clothing was developed by the Military Science Institute in Erding. The new BDU has six colors, and these are brighter than the well-known Flecktarn stain of the previous clothing. In addition to the colors dark and light green and brown, large grey and beige areas are now added as splashes of color.

The institute's textile technicians have been working on this new camouflage pattern combination for a total of three years. The result is the Multitarn pattern, allowing the soldier to merge with nature, especially during missions abroad, including personal combat equipment.
The tactical equipment is equipped with the classic Molle-Strap-like IDZ version to attach bags & co. For the protective vests, 38-millimeter wide straps for the loop system are used to connect additional equipment.

The straps are equipped with a special signature suppression. Now, when a night vision device detects the wearer, this equipment attenuates the signature and thus protects even when fighting in limited visibility.
The soldier does not become completely invisible but is much harder to detect. These characteristics can save lives in combat in any case.

The Federal Armed Forces have already invested heavily in this advanced clothing. As a result, total expenditure in the budget in 2018 has been increased to EUR 480 million (clothing, equipment per se).

Multitarn in northern Germany

In recent decades, the term Flecktarn has continued to assert itself for the camouflage patterns on the BDU of the Federal Armed Forces. Now a new design is added, which is worn by the soldiers in different missions abroad. At first, the new design will be commissioned to special forces like the KSK. In the long term, however, other parts of the army will also be equipped to make it difficult to identify members of the special forces. In connection with the new Multitarn pattern, the Military Science Institute also developed a novel snow camouflage suit for the Gebirgsjäger.

Multitarn

The new Multitarn pattern has been created as a camouflage pattern for many natural environments. It is therefore not limited to missions "only" in Europe or "only" in desert areas such as Afghanistan, as is the usual Flecktarn. This camouflage pattern is based on the average brightness of most vegetation. However, using the previously common Flecktarn camouflage pattern is still appropriate for continuous use in regions with a high forest content.

An essential innovation of the Multitarn pattern is the optimal camouflage effect, which goes beyond the area visible to the human eye. It is the so-called infrared range in the range of 700 to 1200 nanometers, in which the residual light amplifiers and night vision devices also work. This distinguishes the new development from the Multicam pattern, which is widely used worldwide and is also used by special forces in Germany. The visibility in the near-infrared range is not specified further. However, this was part of the specification by the Bundeswehr.

Nightvision view Multitarn vs Flecktarn

The development of the Multitarn design

New deployments in the Federal Armed Forces combat mission also call for new equipment. That is why the Bundeswehr has been delivering this new camouflage pattern since 2016. Especially the KSK and other specialized forces get the first set as a replacement for the old tropical camouflage the Tropentarn. In this way, all soldiers will gradually replace the old Flecktarn uniform and be equipped with the new ACU trousers, field jackets, and other garments in the Multitarn look.

The necessity of this new camouflage pattern arose from the partially impractical camouflage in combat. Although the Flecktarn used in daily service is nevertheless very suitable for Central European forests, it is out of place in countries such as Afghanistan or Mali. That is why the BMVg commissioned a new camouflage pattern a few years ago.

Although the 3-color Flecktarn / Tropentarn still exists today, this is useful for only sparsely overgrown regions. When soldiers are in urban terrain, the "desert camouflage" is not very effective.

Thus, the Multitarn pattern can close the existing gap between arid and tropical camouflage and is the right mix that works excellently. This aspect has been demonstrated by the first field trials in Afghanistan.

Following the well-known example of camouflage patterns such as the Multicam as a multi-terrain pattern, the Bundeswehr has for the first time also secured the Multitarn in terms of design law.

ACU - UCP Multicam Multitarn

 That is to prevent tactical equipment from circulating unchecked in the private sector or foreign armies in the form of combat suits, backpacks, and plate carriers.

Historical Background

After soldiers were uniformly dressed as early as the 14th century, it was also claimed in the following centuries that the state power was represented by unique uniforms and represented a unity with the respective nature. Even the German Imperial Army used different camouflage patterns during the First World War. Shapes and colors were arranged so that they were suitable for making it difficult to recognize the troops and the equipment visually. This was a turnaround of the previous view that camouflage would reduce the morale of the force.

Buntfarbtarnung NATO-Olive

 

Before the camouflage patterns had found their way into the armed forces' ranks, bright colors were once used (before World War I). One reason was that soldiers fought each other at short distances and were also better able to recognize each other under black powder vapor on the battlefield. Here it was necessary to distinguish friend and foe. Especially with black powder muskets, the troops were often shrouded by a powder smoke, which required an optical emphasis on affiliations.

As the troops increasingly fought each other from a greater distance, because the technological advances increased the focus of distance weapons, especially the machine gun, such camouflage clothing became vital. In World War I, the troops gradually separated from their colorful operational clothing. However, the colorful fitting and the color of the equipment could not be immediately replaced. For example, there was a temporary attempt to disguise troops and vehicles with leaves from the forest or process troops moving into the night. However, it did not fail to regret high losses due to the eye-catching color schemes.

While from 1918 onwards, personal gear and large equipment were primarily camouflaged with the colored paint, the uniforms were to be overhauled soon after. The objects were characterized by angular rust-colored stains. The ongoing process of developing tactical clothing in camouflage colors has been steadily stalled due to financial hardship and lack of material. The original camouflage clothing was made in a uniform grey, later in olive green, which was also called NATO olive.

In the meantime, the soldier's outfit's design depends on the location of the mission and is correspondingly multi-colored.

Already the Reichswehr developed the so-called Splittertarn in 1931, and in 1938 the first units of the SS were equipped with their legendary camouflage clothing in various designs. These were plane trees, block camouflage, palm pattern, smoke camouflage patterns, or oak leaves.

After the Bundeswehr was founded in 1955 and the treaties of the Defence Community of Europe (EVG) were not concluded, which provided for a united uniform of the participating countries, Germany had to develop its own uniform for the soldiers within a short time. For the time being, tried-and-tested camouflage clothing has been used here. For a short time, a version of the Splinter-Tarn was carried by the troops. However, since this was associated with the SS, as similarities with the pattern were recognized, the left-political movements of the post-war period in particular increased the pressure to break away from history. This pressure increased to the point where alternative camouflage clothing was used between 1956 and 1970.

In the 1970s, new camouflage motifs were developed. These were Flecktarn A, B, and C. Flecktarn B was used to achieve the best results in the troop test 76. However, left-wing political movements and financial barriers did not allow this color scheme to be commissioned before the 1990s.

Flecktarn-A Flecktarn-B

After a new test phase in the period from 1987 to 1990, the Bundeswehr introduced the Flecktarn B camouflage pattern of five colors in February 1991. This Flecktarn pattern in the colors brown, black, and three shades of green and in different shades was developed based on the color spectrum of the mixed forest in Europe in the well-known color composition. The surfaces were now of different sizes and were located in several layers on top of each other or next to each other. Older sets were provided with a reddish-brown, newer ones with a brown. In contrast to many camouflage patterns of NATO partners, the Flecktarn has proven itself in the past in the camouflage effect in the forest areas. Even in the near-infrared range, the Flecktarn B impresses with its good camouflage effect.

At the moment, Flecktarn is not only used by the armed forces in Germany but is also used at the international level in various forms.

Due to the extended range of action of the armed forces, the 5-color spot camouflage used had to be adapted to tropical areas. The technical implementation was carried out with the tropical camouflage. The tropical camouflage is also known as a 3-color / Tropentarn and is a camouflage pattern developed in the early 1990s and also used by the Luftwaffe for low-vegetation regions. This pattern corresponds to the well-known Flecktarn, and the differences can only be found in the color scheme. The lighter combination in a predominantly sand-colored base shade with round, small ochre and olive green spots merges the silhouette of a man on sandy ground and in desert areas with nature.

Tropentarn

The difference between Multitarn and Tropentarn

The new pattern "Tarndruck Bundeswehr" consists of a total of six colors and is considerably brighter than the previous Flecktarn and, at the same time, darker than the Tropentarn. Dark and light green, as well as brown, are supplemented by larger areas of beige and grey and some lighter splashes of color. The clothing, therefore, fits particularly well with the appearance of the landscapes in the current areas of operation of the Bundeswehr. From which also came the requirements. When the new camouflage pattern was developed, it was intended to increase soldiers' protection by merging with the environment, so the developers began analyzing photos from the areas to determine the dominant colors.

The team compiled the most common colors into novel patterns that the test subjects should assess in a simulated nature on the computer.

Later, prototypes of the uniforms were cut, which were tested on military training grounds in Afghanistan and Germany.

However, the choice of colors remained a compromise. The camouflage is achieved not only because the colors are similar to those of the area. Besides, the pattern is intended to mimic the contours. Due to the larger grey and beige areas, the camouflage suit should appear brighter for the viewer in a brighter environment and darker in a darker background. Multitarn is more flexible than the five- and three-color Flecktarn camouflage.

Multitarn (right) vs Multicam (middle) vs Tropentarn (left)

A soldier should not carry several clothing sets in his mission, e.B. Flecktarn, for the monsoon season in Afghanistan, when the steppe greens and tropical Tropentarn for the rest of the year. The camouflage effect is also maintained when using night vision devices due to the special dyes. Developing the pattern also took some time. The specialists created these primarily by hand on the computer. The spots should be evenly distributed in order to be able to camouflage all areas optimally (macro camouflage). But should be irregular enough (micro camouflage) to prevent a single pattern. This is similar to a carpet pattern. When the human eye recognizes a geometric shape, it is recognizable again and again.

But why did a new pattern have to be developed in the first place? There was no optimal pattern that could be adopted. The American "Multicam" is one of the first real universal camouflage patterns (UCP) or different application scenarios. Still, on the one hand, it is protected by trademark law, and on the other hand, this was not desired. In addition to camouflage, the uniform is also intended to indicate to which forces the soldier belongs.

Under current international law, soldiers must wear visible national signs on their uniforms, but these are usually national flags that are thumb-sized and can only be recognized up close. In the struggle with unclear fronts, for example, in urban combat, these are not enough to quickly distinguish the enemy and friend.

The advantages of the Multitarn design

Multitarn design has two significant advantages. On the one hand, the sand-colored proportion here is more extensive, particularly useful for combat missions in desert areas. Also, the WIWeB developers have succeeded in significantly optimizing the camouflage effect in the near-infrared range. The residual light amplifiers work in such an area.

The current camouflage of the Bundeswehr combat suits is primarily green and was focused towards regions with a high forest content, such as in Germany or Europe. However, the tasks of the Bundeswehr have changed for a long time. In 2011, the field suit had to be redesigned and designed, as specifications for "safety clothing" have to be taken into account (vector protection, flame retardant, ergonomics). Therefore, the clothing has been adapted to the requirements. The developers have also dealt with photos from desert landscapes and edited them with the computer to create the rounded spots that are common in the camouflage pattern of the Bundeswehr. Angular and pixelated shapes were also tested but discarded. It turned out that the mean brightness should be increased in contrast to the five-color Tropentarn camouflage. In addition, the soldiers had to be disguised as best as possible at night. The researchers believe that the Bundeswehr is one of the best in the near-infrared segment of the pattern.

The cut and material of the Multitarn clothing

 The new field suit will differ in color from the old print and get a new cut. The design should be better and more modern adapted to the needs of the troops. In addition, other equipment such as backpacks or protective vests in the Multitarn pattern may also be produced in a further step. However, it is not yet clear how long it would take until when and if the Multitarn will prevail throughout the Bundeswehr (*2020). Primarily it is a cost issue. The Military Science Institute takes care that the soldiers are offered the best possible clothing that works well, but is not responsible for the commissioning.

A functional combat jacket should have a modern ergonomic pattern with large pockets and buttons that can also be opened diagonally over the body with gloves. Many pockets and a hood, as well as numerous ventilation openings with lockable zippers, are a matter of course.

Numerous straps and Velcro surfaces for patches complete the modern design of the clothing.

Comparison Of Multitarn with Concamo

Multitarn Concamo

Finally, the question arises as to why each country within NATO will develop its own suits and whether there will eventually be uniform equipment. Efforts to do so were already in place after the Second World War in connection with the "European Defense Forces" envisaged at that time. But this idea was quickly rejected, and each country had its own philosophy of camouflage, and each camouflage print also had a specific recognition value. It is easy to distinguish whether it is a German or a British soldier, which is what is desired.

Concamo on amazon

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