U.S. Woodland

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A digitized rendition of the U.S. Woodland camouflage pattern

The Woodland Pattern, also known unofficially as M81,[1][2] was the default camouflage pattern issued to United States Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, and Sailors from 1981, with the issue of the Battle Dress Uniform, until its replacement around 2006.[3][4][5] It is a four color, high contrast disruptive pattern with irregular markings in sand, brown, green and black.

Development and history

A closeup vectorized detail view of the pattern.

Woodland pattern is identical to ERDL, but is printed from an enlargement of the original.[4] The Woodland pattern was enlarged and the borders of the splotches were re-drawn to make them less regular. Part of the earlier pattern was left off the later pattern because the enlargement made them no longer fit on the width of the bolt of cloth. The pattern does not repeat horizontally across the width of the bolt, but only vertically along its length.

The effect of enlarging the pattern was to make the pattern more visible at a distance, avoiding "blobbing", where smaller areas of color seem to blend into larger blobs. This also gave the pattern a higher contrast, making it stand out more sharply at close distances and defeating the camouflage effect at closer range. Digital and Flecktarn camouflage patterns resolve this problem by using a range of blob sizes to give a similar effect whatever the distance.

These changes reflected a shift in the tactical focus of the United States military from an extremely close-range war in Vietnam to a longer-range battlespace on the fields of Europe.[6]


U.S. Army National Guardsmen on an exercise in 2000 while wearing Woodland BDUs and PASGT helmets

MOPP suits still feature the woodland pattern.[7][8]

U.S. Army

In the U.S. Army, the Woodland Pattern BDU was replaced by the digital Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP) found on the Army Combat Uniform, which was invented in 2004 and introduced in 2005. UCP itself will be replaced by Scorpion W2 (OCP) in 2019.

U.S. Navy

The U.S. Navy retains the Woodland Pattern for specific units and organizations, such as the U.S. Navy SEALs and SWCC, who are currently the primary U.S. users of this uniform. Sailors have otherwise transitioned to the Navy Working Uniform.

U.S. Marines

The Woodland Pattern BDU was phased out by the Marine Corps with the introduction of the digital MARPAT Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform in 2002, although it was reintroduced for the United States Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command in 2011[9] and was also worn by MARSOC forces in the War in Afghanistan. Regular Marines competing in Exercise Combined Resolve II at Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, in May 2014 also wore it.[citation needed]

U.S. Air Force

The Air Force dropped the Woodland Pattern BDU in 2011 when they went to the Airman Battle Uniform which uses a pixelated incarnation of the Tigerstripe pattern. The USAF's civilian auxiliary (Civil Air Patrol) retains the Woodland Pattern BDU as a utility uniform along with ABU, but will be scheduled to be phased out by ABU in 2021.[10]

State defense forces

Several state defense forces use the Woodland Pattern on their BDUs.[11][12][13]


Russian Internal Troops wearing LES, a Russian camouflage pattern similar to the BDU's camouflage

See also


  1. ^ "M81 Woodland". Camopedia. 
  2. ^ "Woodland Back". Soldier Systems. November 2014. 
  3. ^ Battle Dress Uniform (Bdu)
  4. ^ a b "Woodland - Camopedia". camopedia.org. Retrieved 2016-11-10. 
  5. ^ Christine O. Hardyman, ed. (1988). "Chapter 7: Support Services". Department of the Army Historical Summary FY 1981. United States Army Center of Military History. 
  6. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gIFG5XKFow
  7. ^ http://www.navy.mil/view_image.asp?id=237040
  8. ^ http://www.navy.mil/view_image.asp?id=237039
  9. ^ http://kitup.military.com/2011/08/marsoc-adopts-woodland-crye-precision-uniform.html
  10. ^ CAP Transition to ABUs
  11. ^ "Questions & Answers about the Tennessee State Guard". Third Regiment of the Tennessee State Guard Official Website. Retrieved 22 February 2017. 
  12. ^ "VDF Regulation 670-1" (PDF). vdf.virginia.gov. Retrieved 22 February 2017. 
  13. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Ohio Military Reserve. Retrieved 22 February 2017. 
  14. ^ "Georgia - Camopedia". camopedia.org. 
  15. ^ "isayeret.com - The Israeli Special Forces Database". www.isayeret.com. 
  16. ^ "Russia - Camopedia". Retrieved 15 August 2016. 
  17. ^ Camouflage Uniforms of the Soviet Union and Russia: 1937-to the Present by Dennis Desmond, Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. (December 1, 1997) ISBN 978-0764304620
  18. ^ https://www.bellingcat.com/news/mena/2015/02/19/from-russia-with-love-syrias-ak-74ms/
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