Flecktarn (German pronunciation: [ˈflɛktaʁn]; "mottled camouflage"; also known as Flecktarnmuster or Fleckentarn) is a family of 3-, 4-, 5- or 6-color disruptive camouflage patterns, the most common being the five-color pattern, consisting of dark green, light green, black, red brown and green brown or tan depending on the manufacturer. The original German 5-color pattern was designed for use in European temperate woodland terrain. A 3-color variation called Tropentarn (formerly Wüstentarn) is intended for arid and desert conditions; the German Bundeswehr wore it in Afghanistan.

Flecktarn pattern.jpg
Flecktarn camouflage woodland fabric swatch
TypeMilitary camouflage patterns
Place of originGermany
Service history
In service1990–present
Used bySee Users
WarsBosnian War
Kosovo War
War in Afghanistan
Iraq War
Russo-Ukrainian War
Production history
VariantsSee Variants

The original German 5-color flecktarn has been adopted, copied and modified by many countries for their own camouflage patterns.


The German Army started experimenting with camouflage patterns before World War II, and some army units used Splittermuster ("splinter pattern") camouflage, first issued in 1931.[1] Waffen-SS combat units used various patterns from 1935 onwards. Many SS camouflage patterns were designed by Prof. Johann Georg Otto Schick.[2]

Modern patternsEdit

German Flecktarn uniform in 2015

In 1976, the Bundeswehr in Germany developed a number of prototype camouflage patterns, to be trialled as replacements for the solid olive-grey "moleskin" combat uniform. At least four distinct camouflage patterns were tested during Bundeswehr Truppenversuch 76 ("Bundeswehr Troop Trial 76"). These were based on patterns in nature:[1] one was called "Dots" or "Points"; another was called "Ragged Leaf" or "Saw Tooth Edge"; another was based on pine needles in winter.[1]

Designed by the German company Marquardt & Schulz, several patterns were developed and tested by the German military. The pattern named "Flecktarn B" was chosen as the final pattern for use.[3] The word flecktarn is a composite formed from the German words Fleck (spot, blot(ch), mark or mottle) and Tarnung (camouflage). The Bundeswehr kept its green combat dress throughout the 1980s, however, while trials were conducted. Flecktarn was only widely introduced in 1990 in a newly reunited Germany.[1]

The Dutch government considered Flecktarn, but it was dropped due to financial and political reasons.[3]

In Germany, the Flecktarn camouflage pattern is used by all Bundeswehr service branches, the Heer (army), the Luftwaffe (air force), some Marine (navy) units and even the Sanitätsdienst (medical service). Its official name is 5 Farben-Tarndruck der Bundeswehr (5-color camouflage print of the Bundeswehr).[4] This temperate Flecktarn 5-color scheme consists of 15% light green, 20% light olive, 35% dark green, 20% brown and 10% black.[4] The Dutch military tested the pattern and rejected it, allegedly because it was "too aggressive".[1] Flecktarn was seen as controversial because of its resemblance to the Waffen-SS "peas" and "oak leaves" patterns, which also used dots in various colors.[1]

In 2016, there were tests being conducted by the Research Institute of materials and property of the Bundeswehr (Wehrwissenschaftliche Institut für Werk- und Betriebsstoffe – WIWeB) on a new pattern called Multitarn as a potential replacement for Flecktarn.[citation needed]


Flecktarn is the basis for the Bundeswehr's Tropentarn desert camouflage,[5] the Danish military's T/78 and M/84 camouflage, including a desert variation of the Danish pattern. Several variations of the Flecktarn camouflage are also used by the Russian military, one is called Sever ("north"), sometimes also referred as Flectarn-D while another variant is called Tochka-4. Other country's variations include Japan's Type II Camouflage;[6] Type 03 Plateau camouflage, used by the Chinese military in Tibet[6] (and some Russian Special Forces); and an urban variation used by some police units in Poland.[7] A digitized version of the original German 5-color pattern, designated M-18, was adopted by the Bulgarian army in 2018.[8]

In 2013, the German company Mil-Tec introduced a new version of Flecktarn, called the Arid Flecktarn. It retains the 5-color pattern but with the colour scheme resembling that of MultiCam.[9] It remains a commercial variant and is not in use by any world military.


  •   Austria: Used by EKO Cobra as helmet covers for their Ulbrirchts AM-95 helmets.[10]
  •   Belgium: Flecktarn used by Belgian airbase security forces and was dropped in 2000.[3]
  •   China: Clones made as for PLA soldiers conducting training and for PLA soldiers on border defense duties.[11]
  •   Germany: Used by Bundeswehr.[5]
  •   Georgia: Some used with Georgian troops in KFOR.[12]
  •   Kyrgyzstan: Asian clones used by Kyrgyz troops.[13]
  •   Ukraine: Used by the Azov Regiment[14]

Non-State ActorsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f Newark, Tim (2007). Camouflage. Thames and Hudson. pp. 133–134, 157. ISBN 978-0-500-51347-7.
  2. ^ Dougherty (2017), p. 45-47.
  3. ^ a b c "The evolution of Flecktarn camouflage pattern | UF PRO".
  4. ^ a b TL 8305-0290: 5 Farben-Tarndruck der Bundeswehr (PDF; 242 kB) (in German)
  5. ^ a b "Uniformen der Bundeswehr" (in German). Bundeswehr. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  6. ^ a b Dougherty (2017), p. 74.
  7. ^ SZOŁUCHA, BARTOSZ. "New Uniforms for Metro PD". special-ops.pl (in Polish). MEDIUM Group. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  8. ^ "M18 Bulgarian Army Temperate Pattern". 5 November 2020.
  9. ^ "M/84 udgave af "Multicam" kunne se sådan ud" [M/84 Camouflage Version of “MultiCam” Could Have Looked Like This]. Krigeren.dk (in Danish). 10 February 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  10. ^ Neville (2017), p. 10.
  11. ^ Larson (2021), pp. 213.
  12. ^ a b "Archived copy". www.kamouflage.net. Archived from the original on 22 March 2014. Retrieved 15 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ Larson (2021), p. 268.
  14. ^ Galeotti (2019), p. 56.
  15. ^ Beckhusen, Robert (24 August 2017). "Advocates of Neo-Nazi 'Lone Wolf' Terror Are Aiming to Exploit Charlottesville". War Is Boring. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  16. ^ "The Óglaigh na hÉireann Propaganda Demonstration in Derry". 10 August 2016.


  • Dougherty, Martin (2017). Camouflage at War: An Illustrated Guide from 1914 to the Present Day. London, UK: Amber Books. ISBN 978-1782744986.
  • Galeotti, Mark (2019). Armies Of Russia's War In Ukraine. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1472833440.
  • Larson, Eric H. (2021). Camouflage: International Ground Force Patterns, 1946–2017. Barnsley: Pen & Sword. ISBN 9781526739537.
  • Neville, Leigh (2017). European Counter-Terrorist Units 1972–2017. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1472825278.