Swedish Army Camouflage

Vehicle Patterns

A Swedish army bus in an early "woodland" camouflage.
A Swedish army bus in an early ”woodland” camouflage.

The earliest Swedish army patterns appeared soon after the First World War as vehicle camouflage. The Swedes used a variety of “woodland” type of patterns with different colour schemes and designs. Some with edge colouring to the blobs of colour and some without. Later designs tended to follow a green, black, brown woodland patterns.

 

 

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A Swedish army Terrängbil m/42 KP in a ”woodland” camouflage.

 

 

 

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A truck in a ”woodland” camouflage.

As we reach the 1970, the Swedish army standardised on a splinter pattern of medium green, dark green, brown and black. Somewhat unusual to use a splinter patter as such patterns used in other countries, such as Germany, never really worked that well. However, the Swedish pattern works reasonable well in the forest environment of Scandinavia (and the uniform pattern extremely well). Swedish soldiers paint the splinter pattern on their vehicles as they arrive at their unit. In the 1990s the Swedes dropped the brown colour as it faded too quickly so modern vehicles tend to have just three colours of medium green, dark green, and black as standard but they have use grey instead of medium green on the odd vehicle.

During winter, the soldiers paint over most of the colours to produce a winter version of the splinter pattern.

 

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An Infanterikanonvagn 91 tank destroyer in winter splinter camouflage.

 

Some vehicles also use a tarpaulin, which uses one of two other camouflage patterns that the Swedes have used at least from the 1980s.

 

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Terrängbil 20 painted in the early version of the splinter pattern and using the Barracuda camouflage coverings.

 

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Barracuda camouflage.

The first pattern often gets called “Barracuda” after the company that made it. It consists of medium green, dark green, brown and black polygons like the splinter patterns but in a different configuration overlaid with a dot pattern. The dots come in a few different sizes and of the same colours as the background.

The second pattern looks like a digital pattern of medium green, dark green and black. The Americans tested DualTex against the Swedish vehicle splinter pattern in 1977 and concluded DualTex worked better. I sometimes wonder if that work led the Swedes to develop their own digital pattern. Although, I don’t think the Swedish pattern works well. The colours blend too easily so you don’t get a good effect at distance.

 

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The Swedish army digital pattern.

 

None of these (splinter, Barracuda and digital) have an official name. They just get specified when ordering material; size, colours and how long before repetition.

Uniforms

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The quarter shelter camouflage pattern.

Until the later 1980s, Swedish uniforms did not have a camouflage pattern. However, the Swedish army did produce camouflaged quarter shelters similar to the German WWII quarter shelters in a triangular design. They had a “woodland” type camouflage pattern of grey, brown and blueish-grey colours. Soldiers could wear the shelter as a sort of poncho, which gave them some degree of camouflage. The Swedes phased out the quarter shelters from the 1960s.

In the 1980s the Swedish army produced a camouflage uniform using the Barracuda dot pattern found on vehicles. The uniform had the same cut as the M/59 green uniform that the Swedes then used. They used the uniforms for experimental purposes and never issued them as general issue.

 

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The M90 splinter pattern.

 

In the 1980s, Sweden developed the M90 camouflage. Another splinter pattern similar to the vehicle splinter pattern but with different shapes to the polygons. Early versions had brown in them and printed on M/59 uniform. However, the version currently in use uses light grey, medium green, dark green and dark navy blue. The Swedes began using it as part of the M90 uniform, which replaced the M/59 uniform, in the late 1980s, hence the name, but Swedes sometimes refer to it as “leaf pile” (lövhög). The exact shade of colour has changed since introduction and the jungle pattern also uses slightly different shades compared to the standard version.

 

 

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M90 desert splinter pattern.

When Sweden began operations in Afghanistan, they modified the standard green M90 to produce a khaki desert version in 2004. Same pattern but using brown, light green, grey and beige.

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