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Egyptian Camouflage Patterns
One of the earliest camouflage patterns produced in Egypt is frequently called the "rocks" pattern (often to discern it from the "sand" pattern), which is believed to have emerged in 1956. The design can be seen to derive from the German WW2 "Planetree" pattern (hence is sometimes called "Egyptian Plane Tree"), although certainly the Egyptian version is much more crude. Variability within production runs is considerable, even more so when factoring in that the pattern remained in production well into the 1990s period. The "rocks" pattern is nearly always printed on one side of a reversible fabric, with a two-color desert "sand" pattern (see below) on the other side. This practice continued into the later years of its production, but comtemporary uniforms were no longer designed to be worn reversibly; they were either sewn together with the "rocks" or the "desert" side out. This pattern is generally associated only with Airborne and Commando units. Egyptian manufacturers have exported this pattern to Sudan, Somalia, Niger, Libya, and Yemen, among others. Seen below are several variations of the pattern, giving a cross-section of tremendous variability between early and late production.
Another very early pattern, also dating to around 1956, is the "oakleaf" camouflage. This design is unquestionably copied from the German WW2 Waffen SS Beringt-Eichenlaubmuster (ringed oakleaf), although again the printing is much more crude than the original. It appears the first design (below, left), reversing to the "sand" pattern, was primarily printed on lightweight canvas tents and heavierweight shelters. A second variation (right), also reversible, was also produced on uniforms in addition to shelters.
The reverse side of both the "rocks" and "oakleaf" patterns is the two-color desert or "sand" camouflage pattern. Incorporating dark brown spots on a sandy background, the variability of this pattern is a bit more consistent than the "rocks" design. This camouflage design is also associated primarily with elite units of the Egyptian Army, and modern variations continue in usage to the present day.
Introduced in the mid-1980s was a completely unique desert pattern, often nicknamed "scrambled eggs." The earliest variation has a much denser concentration of colorful shapes and is therefore generally termed "dense desert" pattern. Due to the limited number of surviving examples, it is theorized this dense version was fairly short-lived.
The Egyptian desert (scrambled eggs) pattern was modified in the later part of the 1990s, giving it a much more sparse concentration of overprinted shapes. For this reason it is generally termed "sparse desert" pattern. As with the previously produced Egyptian camouflage patterns, there seems to be considerable variability both to the dye lots and the basic fabric color (background) employed when printing this design. At least four versions are known, with either sand/tan, pale green, pale blue, or medium grey background colors. Seen below are three of these variations, although it is certainly possible that others exist. Early versions of this camouflage initially appearing during the First Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm), but this continues to be a standard issue pattern for this nation. It has been exported and used by Somalia and Sudan.
Another variation of the above "sparse desert" pattern contains no green elements at all. This version was certainly worn by Egyptian Forces during the First Gulf War, but surviving examples suggest it was a short-lived variation.
Possibly influenced by similar patterns worn in Libya and Syria, the Egyptians introduced a "vertical stripe" pattern in the early 1990s. The design incorporates dense vertical brown and dark green stripes on a pale green background, although several variations have been documented. There seems to be only limited distribution of this design, it being used by the Presidential Guard and Military Police.
Appearing at some point in the 1990s was an Egyptian copy of the USA m81 woodland pattern. The Egyptian version features considerably darker coloration overall, and less definition between the colors employed. Apparently not a general purpose pattern, its use has been documented on Egyptian military personnel serving abroad in temperate regions (as with UN missions) or as visiting foreign students, and in limited service with some personnel at home.
Another pattern produced by Egypt is a variation of the American-designed six-color desert ("chocolate chip") camouflage pattern. The locally-produced version features rather a different color scheme than the original, incorporating orange, dark khaki & russet waves over a sandy background, with black & light tan "spots." Uniforms in this pattern have been worn by Egyptian military personnel serving in Afghanistan and the Western Sahara, as well as elsewhere.
Another variation of the m81 woodland camouflage design has appeared in more recent years, and is employed locally. Featuring much brighter colors than the previous design, this pattern appears to be printed on lighter-weight, ripstop fabric.
A "true" copy of the US-designed m81 woodland camouflage pattern is currently worn by airborne and special operations personnel of the Egyptian Army and Navy. Modern uniform styles predominate.
Circa 2011-12 some Egyptian units began appearing in a locally-produced copy of the US tricolor desert camouflage pattern. As with the locally-made six-color desert, the design seems to be only based on the US pattern, with both specific shapes and coloration differing from the American model.
Some Egyptian Navy personnel wear a woodland-style camouflage pattern with a blue colorway, seen here. This pattern appears very similar to commercially-produced "colorful" designs available in the USA and elsewhere, and may have been copied or influenced by such patterns.
A similarly-colored design, using a more leaf pattern type set of drawings, has also been adopted by personnel of the Egyptian Navy. The two blue designs may be used interchangeably.
Circa 2015, the Egyptian Air Force, or Al-Qūwāt al-Gawwīyä al-Miṣrīyä (القوات الجوية المصرية), adopted a copy of the US Air Force's "grey digital tiger stripe" camouflage pattern. Produced either locally, or from imported sources, the design seems to be a faithful copy of the American version.
Special Police units of the Ministry of the Interior have been observed wearing a DPM pattern camouflage helmet cover, seen here. These items are of undetermined origins.
Members of the 412th Airborne Brigade (and possibly the 117th Special Forces Regiment) have been documented wearing a copy of the Italian Army vegetato camouflage pattern for some operations.
Officers of the Egyptian Army have been documented on several occasions wearing field jackets made from French CE Woodland pattern camouflage fabric. These jackets have been in circulation since at least 2016.
The same two-tone black/grey camouflage pattern worn by Iraqi SWAT Team personnel is also worn by some Egyptian special operations personnel. It is believed the pattern was developed in China for export, and quite possible the Egyptian uniforms are also made in China given recent trends.
Export Camouflage Patterns
Although Egypt has historically been known to export its own camouflage designs to many other countries (some examples include the Yemen Arab Republic, militias in Lebanon, Somalia and Sudan), evidence also suggests that some camouflage not used by Egyptian military or paramilitary units but produced in country has also been exported. In particular, a line of vertical lizard camouflage designs of Egyptian origin can be linked to various paramilitary units in Lebanon and South West Africa. As there is no documentation supporting the use of these patterns by Egyptian forces, we must presently conclude the patterns were only produced for export. Some examples are marked "UAR," suggesting these were produced prior to 1971.
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