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Camo Stories No.2 - DPM (Disruptive Pattern Material)

September 18, 2018

Growing up in the UK in the 1970s and 1980s the camo that I was most familiar with, both through films and TV such as the Wild Geese and Doctor Who; and also in news reports during the Falkland War, was the camo worn by the British Army.

 

The camo in question was  a 'woodland' pattern called Disruptive Pattern Material (DPM). Although first developed in the early 1960s, by the Army Personnel Research Establishment, with the help of civil servants of an artistic background, the first general issue of the DPM uniform didn't happen until 1969. The standard DPM pattern was developed for temperate climates, and consists of black, brown, and green shapes on a khaki or tan background, in the 1970s a tropical uniform was issued consisting of a shirt, trousers, and a bush hat. This uniform featured DPM in a richer color scheme suitable for jungle environments. DPM was updated and changed slightly in 1984, 1994 and 2000 leading to colour differences as the various manufacturers contracted to produce DPM rarely used exactly the same dyes.

 

A desert variant was first issued on a limited basis in the late 1980s. This appeared very similar, but consisted of subdued sand and khaki hues. This was replaced by a two-colour version by 1990 because four-colour versions had been adopted by some Middle Eastern countries - particularly Iraq!

 

Some version of DPM has been worn by many countries around the world either due to their connection with the United Kingdom or simply because of the universal effectiveness of the pattern.

 

DPM was phased out by the British military after 2010, making it one of the longest serving camo's in history.  It was replaced by the Multi-Terrain Pattern (MTP), a six-colour camouflage pattern that replaced both the four colour woodland DPM  and the two colour desert pattern.

 

Compared to some other camo patterns DPM hasn't made a major dent into the fashion world - however it's always been popular with those buying surplus military clothing in the UK.

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