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"Camouflage in Sicily" from Intelligence Bulletin, February 1944

[Intelligence Bulletin Cover]  
The following U.S. military report on German camouflage measures in Sicily during WWII was originally published in the Intelligence Bulletin, February 1944.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department Intelligence Bulletin publication. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]



An analysis of the camouflage measures employed by the enemy during the Sicilian campaign indicates that the Germans are still improving their methods, and that they can readily adapt basic principles to new terrain conditions. In Sicily they made good use of all available cover. The fieldcraft and camouflage undertaken by the individual German soldier were particularly good. Track discipline was weak, however—perhaps because vehicles so frequently were required to move at night.


The Germans paid special attention to the camouflage of pillboxes designed to repel landing forces. Every effort had been made to blend these pillboxes, most of which were of concrete, with the general terrain patterns. The fact that there were so many small houses, huts, and stone walls on the island made this work simpler for the Germans. It was a relatively easy task to construct pillboxes resembling existing structures.

In the Pachino area there were several instances of pillboxes covered with thatch to look like huts. A pillbox overlooking a road junction between Pachino and Rosolini was actually a small house which had been reinforced with concrete and which had weapon slits just above the level of the ground. In the Palazzolo area a number of pillboxes had been constructed in the vicinity of limestone outcroppings; as a result, the pillboxes blended fairly well with their surroundings. These pillboxes were roofed with straw and had straw "blinds" over the weapon slits. Near Rosolini the Germans had constructed a pillbox beside a wall, and had painted on the pillbox a continuation of the stone pattern of the wall.

However, the locations of many pillboxes were revealed by the careless laying of wire obstacles. Instead of being blended with the ground pattern, wire often was stretched haphazardly across fields, thereby permitting air photographers to identify positions which otherwise had been well camouflaged.

A number of enemy pillboxes were never used.


Of the enemy gun positions selected for study, half were covered with grass-garnished nets of Italian make. The other half lacked overhead concealment, but the guns themselves were covered with branches and other natural garnish. In general, track discipline around gun positions was poor. Occasionally, however, the Germans constructed gun positions which were excellent in every respect. A single gun position near Palazzolo was unusually well planned. Here the pit was dug out of an embankment at the side of a road, and a low overhead cover of nets garnished with boughs and grass gave the location an entirely natural appearance. Near Grammichele an antitank gun had been given an imaginative, yet very simple, camouflage treatment. The gun was sited in a field where cornstalks had recently been cut and stacked. The Germans constructed a similar stack around the shield of their gun.


At least two different types of camouflaged cloth jackets were worn by German snipers in Sicily. One type, with which a matching helmet cover was issued, had a disruptive pattern with a green background on one side, and a pattern with a brown background on the other. The second type was an ordinary twill jacket, dyed a mottled green and brown. Both types blended well with local terrain colors, but had the weakness of revealing characteristic outlines, inasmuch as they fitted the body closely.


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