Camo and Camouflage
|In common terms, to camouflage something is to alter
it's appearance to the point that the object in
question is indistinguishable from it's environment.
The purpose of camouflage is to remain undetected, for
either the purpose of stalking or hiding. The term
"camouflage" is based on the root word "Camoufler"
which is a french term which means "to disguise". Camo
is a commonly used slang word for camouflage.|
Some animals display natural camouflage. The examples
that come to mind are numerous. The flounder, for
instance, blends in perfectly with the ocean floor.
Another way animals employ natural camouflage is to
appear to be something dangerous or poisonous, such as
the way the nonpoisonous scarlet king snake mimics the
coloration and mannerisms of the poisonous coral
The idea of using camouflage in military uniforms
occurred to british military forces after observing
the way irish gamekeepers used ghillie suits in the late seventeenth
century disguised themselves in order to locate and
stalk game. It is, however, more than likely that
other earlier civilizations employed camouflage for
the purpose of hunting long before it occurred to the
few groups of irish scouts that were utilizing it at
the end of the seventeenth century.
Oddly enough, camouflage has not always been employed
by western military units. Up until the nineteenth
century, armies commonly utilized bright colors and
flashy uniforms. Their thinking was that impressive
garb would not only boost morale, but would also
reduce the instances of friendly fire, due to the
easily identified uniforms. The increased range and
accuracy of weapons that came about at the end of the
nineteenth century made camouflage a necessity.
Today it is commonly employed by military and
paramilitary units, as well as hunters.