This section consists of two paraphrased reports, one
dealing with camouflage problems on the Italian front
and the other concerning jungle concealment in the
Burma theater. Both reports stress the importance of
individual as well as group camouflage and the strong
relation of troop discipline to the maintenance of concealment
and secrecy during movement of small units.
2. ON THE ITALIAN FRONT
The following "Camouflage Notes" were prepared
mainly from observations made during the Sicilian
campaign and during training exercises back of the
It is apparent that many [British] units in Tunisia and
Italy, especially those with training and experience in desert
warfare, have not appreciated the necessity for employing
camouflage techniques and disciplinary measures radically different
from those used in desert areas. For example, it was
found that some units were still relying on dispersal alone for
protection against air attacks. This practice in Tunisia and
Sicily led to disclosure of headquarters locations and other
strategic spots to the enemy.
The conduct of offensive operations over terrain covered by
woods or undergrowth, or broken by hills, calls for new emphasis
on certain aspects of camouflage. Complete concealment
in the desert was impossible, but in such country as that
described above excellent opportunities are offered. If these
opportunities are not utilized, they will be turned into blatant
advertisements of the arrival and presence of untrained and
poorly disciplined units.
This change in terrain also means that greater attention
must be paid to concealment from ground observation. Operations
are now taking place where the enemy frequently has the
advantage of high ground; and, with the use of field glasses,
his powers of observation are great.
It should be the aim of each unit to reach such a standard
of camouflage discipline that the whole business of elementary
camouflage becomes a drill. To achieve this, it is essential that
junior commanders possess a quick appreciation of natural
features, background, and shadows, and that the men under
them have an intelligent appreciation of the instruction they
Therefore, it is essential that camouflage training be an
integral part of day-to-day training and tactical exercises.
In training, particular attention must be paid to the use of
cover provided by trees, hedges, and buildings. Every possible
use must be made of the concealment afforded by the terrain.
Most important of all, track discipline must be strongly enforced.
Figure 21 illustrates the need for stressing individual concealment
down to the smallest detail. Note (1) the unbroken
outline of the helmet and (2) the shining magazine. A few
blades of grass and twigs placed in the helmet net will break
the outline. Remember that it is necessary always to keep all
shiny metal a dull color.
|Figure 21. Individual Camouflage.|
The use of camouflage nets must be encouraged, and care
must be taken to insure that their full value is obtained in
relation to the ground. However, it must be emphasized that
concealment can often be gained from natural means afforded
by the terrain--without artificial material, which is often
unavailable in mobile operations.
The quickest way by which a unit can advertise its arrival
and presence on what was previously undisturbed and peaceful
ground is to allow its vehicles to move "anywhere and anyhow." The
simple remedy is a track plan.
It is desirable that headquarters and units should detail an
officer to be responsible in any reconnaissance party (for halting
places and staging areas, and so on) for laying down a
track plan. This track plan must then be followed carefully
by all vehicles.
3. IN THE BURMA THEATER
Presented below is a paraphrase of a British camouflage
officer's report dealing with concealment in the
Burma theater. The report deals primarily with problems
of concealment which face a patrol operating in jungle country.
The report emphasized at the beginning that it is
impossible to take any camouflage equipment on such
patrols, and that troops, therefore, must learn to conceal
themselves without it.
The paraphrased report:
It has been established in maneuvers that discipline--ordinary
soldierly discipline--rather than equipment is the basis
of good concealment in the jungle. In one instance, the
"enemy" was able to follow a column for two days because
of the refuse and other terrain "scars" left behind by the
The following points regarding concealment discipline should
a. No talking above a whisper by any one.
b. Don't use trails or paths. If their use is necessary, have
the patrol move 20 yards inside the jungle on either side and
permit only the leading man (navigator) to use the path. This
prevents clouds of dust and footprints.
c. Conceal all refuse and footprints. This must be impressed
on every officer and man. This applies particularly to ration
wrappings, empty cigarette packs, cigarette butts, pieces of
cellophane, human excreta, burned-out fires from old bivouac
sites, and so on. It is an officer's job to see that such things
do not happen where the enemy can pick up a trail.
d. Fires are nearly always a matter for tactical handling by
the commander. He will generally know if enemy patrols are
likely to be near him. If they are--no fires and no coffee or
tea. During the early morning, fires from a patrol occupying
200 square yards of jungle create a fog of smoke, even among
thick trees, and are very obvious from a point of vantage
overlooking the area. Surprisingly enough, fires in thick jungle
or in hollows cannot be seen for more than 70 yards during
darkness, but in all cases at night no fire should be lighted
unless authorized by an officer.
One of the most encouraging lessons from a particular exercise
was the fact that two or three large patrols often bivouacked
or rested within 300 yards of each other but were
never aware of the presence of one another because of good