In 1972 and 1973 (August through the winter to March), the United States Army Mobility Equipment Research and Development Center (USAMERDC) along with the Mobile Army Sensor Systems Test, Evaluation, and Review project (MASSTER) developed new camouflage guidelines using a variety of drab or earthy colors, replacing the previously used overall FS 24087 semigloss olive drab base color of vehicles. The schemes, suitable for eight different environments, began to be implemented in 1973, being tested on vehicles at Fort Hood. Units overseas (such as the US 7th Army in Germany) at the time that did not have access to these exact paints came up with expedient camouflage schemes until they could receive the proper paints, and sometimes used their own schemes alongside the MERDC ones. On August 28, 1975, Technical Manual 5-200 Camouflage Pattern Painting was released.
The standard camouflage colors listed in TM 5-200.
As a part of this scheme, the white stars and registration numbers, previously readily visible on vehicles, were to be repainted in black or more commonly, left off entirely. A variety of four-color combinations were tested. Colors 1 and 2 each cover about 45 percent of the vehicle, while colors 3 and 4 each cover about 5 percent. Below are illustrations of what the various schemes looked like. Sometimes, the Sand color was left off of the winter verdant scheme, making it easy to confuse with the three-color NATO camouflage adopted in the mid-1980s.
|Condition||Color 1 (45%)||Color 2 (45%)||Color 3 (5%)||Color 4 (5%)|
|Winter US & Europe – verdant1||FG||FD||S3||BL|
|Snow – temperate w/ trees & shrubs2||FG||W||S3||BL|
|Snow – temperate w/ open terrain2||W||FD||S3||BL|
|Summer US & Europe – verdant1||FG||LG||S3||BL|
|Tropics – verdant||FG||DG||LG3||BL|
1: Verdant means generally green–in summer due to trees, shrubs, and grass; in winter due to evergreens.
2: This color combination is for use only in areas that occasionally have snow which does not completely cover the terrain, thus leaving trees or patches of soil bare.
3: This 5% color should be the camouflage color that matches most clearly the color of the soil in the local area. A typical color for such use is sand, but earth red, earth yellow, or one of the others may be closer to the predominant color, and in that case, should be used.
2 .MERDC camouflage.
3. MERDC camouflage illustrations.
4. Standard Catalog of U.S. Military Vehicles, 2nd Edition, by David Doyle.
5. M551 Sheridan: US Airmobile Tanks 1941-2001, by Steven J. Zaloga.
6. M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank 1982-92, by Steven J. Zaloga and Peter Sarson.