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Tigerstripe Camouflage Patterns
- Jul 18, 2018 -

Tigerstripe is the name of a group of camouflage patterns developed for close-range use in dense jungle during jungle 

warfare by the South Vietnamese Armed Forces and adopted by US Special Forces during the Vietnam War. During and 

following the Vietnam war the pattern was adopted by several other Asian countries. It derives its name from its resemblance to 

tiger's stripes and were simply called "tigers." It features narrow stripes that look like brush-strokes of green and brown, and 

broader brush-strokes of black printed over a lighter shade of olive or khaki. The brush-strokes interlock rather than overlap, as 

in French Lizard pattern (TAP47) from which it apparently derives. There are many variations; R.D. Johnson counted at least 19 

different versions in early drafts of Tiger Patterns, his definitive work on the subject, although it is unclear if these are all 

different print patterns, or if they include color variations of a few different print patterns.


Members of the Philippine Naval Special Warfare Group

It is unclear who developed the first tigerstripe pattern, consisting of sixty-four (64) stripes. The French used a similar pattern (Lizard) in their war in Vietnam.[1] After the French left Vietnam, the Republic of Vietnam Marine Corps continued using the 

pattern, a variant of which was later adopted by Vietnamese Rangers (Biệt Động Quân) and Special Forces (Lực Lượng Đặc 

Biệt). When the United States began sending advisors to South Vietnam, USMAAG advisors attached to the ARVN were 

authorized to wear their Vietnamese unit's combat uniform with US insignia. Soon, many American special operations forces in 

the Vietnamese theater of operations wore the pattern, despite not always being attached to ARVN units: it became the visible 

trademark of Green Berets, LRRPsSEALs, and other elite forces.

Tigerstripe was never an official US-issue item. Personnel permitted to wear it at first had their camo fatigues custom-made by 

local tailors, ARVN uniforms being too small for most Americans; for this reason there were many variations of the basic 

tigerstripe pattern. From 1964 5th Special Forces Group contracted with Vietnamese and other Southeast Asian producers to 

make fatigues and other items such as boonie hats using tigerstripe fabric. Being manufactured by different producers, there 

were a wide variety of patterns and color shade variations. They were made in both Asian and US sizes. During the latter stages 

of the war, tigerstripe was gradually replaced in American reconnaissance units by the-then-new ERDL[2] pattern, a 

predecessor of the woodland BDU pattern. The Special Forces-advised Civilian Irregular Defense Group (CIDG) used 

tigerstripes from 1964 until disbanded in 1971. Special Forces personnel wore tigerstripes when conducting operations with the 

CIDG.[citation needed]