The enemy will usually see vehicles at an angle. At least two adjoining
surfaces will be visible to him at once. For example, from
close-range ground observation he might see a side and the front; from
the air, or on an aerial photograph, he might see the top, a side, and
the front. For this reason, vehicle patterns are designed to disrupt
the cube shape of vehicles from all angles, to disrupt shadows cast
by tarpaulin bows, to tie in with the shadow at the rear of a vehicle
when it is faced into the sun, to tie in with the large dark shadow
areas of windows, mudguards, wheels, and undercarriage, and to be
bold enough to be effective at a distance.
Patterns are composed of a light color and a dark color. Black or
olive drab have proved satisfactory dark colors in several theaters of
operations. The light color is selected to match a light color typical
of and predominant in the terrain in which the vehicle operates.
White or light gray paint is applied to the undersurfaces of vehicles
to cause them to reflect light, thus lightening the dark shadows of the
undercarriage. This is called countershading.
Camouflage painting is not a cure-all. Alone, it cannot be relied on
to do more than render a vehicle obscure, making it hard for an
enemy gunner to locate the vehicle and confusing him as to the
location of vulnerable areas. Nor can it conceal a moving vehicle, because
other sight factors, such as dust, reflections, and motion itself, will
betray its presence. However, camouflage painting is a valuable
supplement to other camouflage measures. Added to good siting,
dispersion, camouflage discipline, and the use of nets and drapes, it
increases the benefits to be derived from these measures. Together,
and intelligently used, they will provide a high degree of
concealment for any vehicle.
In the following illustrations the national symbol has been left off
the vehicles in order to show the pattern-painting method more
clearly. This is not to be construed as authority for leaving off this
symbol on all occasions. Paragraph 10a(3), AR 850-5, as changed,
provides that the decision to obliterate the national symbol
completely rests with the theater commander; the decision to obscure the
national symbol, for reasons of tactical expediency, rests with the
lower commanders concerned.