From parachutist to bricklayer
The origins of the described pattern can be traced to the so-called Denison jacket. Let's take a closer look at it later by discussing the history of today's topic. It is worth emphasizing, however, that it was a prototypical camouflage pattern used rather by special forces, such as paratroopers. The British still use a variant of this uniform called MTP, which was introduced into service in 2010.
We can assume that the popularity of the DPM camouflage comes from the same reasons as in the case of the Woodland described on the Gunfire blog. This is the pattern used by the army of a world power. We had the opportunity to see him in many theatres of war and during various wars. This is definitely a very important reason. Especially for all kinds of reenactors and fans of real airsoft styling. However, I myself believe that this is not the only reason for DPM's popularity.
Your humble author was no stranger to British gear back in a day.
As in many other armies, in the British Army we are dealing with a system of selling unnecessary equipment. Very little used uniforms and pieces of equipment were often placed in surplus. These, in turn, gained a new life in civilian life. I heard from people interested in airsoft from Great Britain that at one time DPM trousers were the most popular item of clothing for local construction workers. This is due to its durability, low cost and availability of various sizes. If you are able to confirm this theory, let me know in a message on Instagram. Easy access to surplus uniforms is also an argument for airsoft players, so the popularity is fully justified.
Where did DPM camouflage come from?
Disruptive Pattern Material, as we develop the acronym DPM, has its origins dating back to the Second World War. Certainly, during this conflict, more and more attention began to be paid to the camouflaging properties of uniforms. The British did no differently and introduced the so-called Denison jacket. It was a military jacket in 44 Pattern camouflage. The shape of the spots used on it, when we squint, is somewhat reminiscent of the one also used in modern DPM. However, it was a specialized uniform intended only for certain military formations.
Denison Jacket, source: Wikipedia
The use of DPM camouflage on a larger scale date back to the 1960s. The introduction of the 60 Pattern uniform in 1961 marked the transition to the pattern described today, although in a slightly different form than the more modern ones. British camouflage evolved with the introduction of new uniform models. What changed mainly was the colour of the shades used, but the pattern of the stains was also slightly modified. However, they have always been similar.
Variants of British camouflage
Apart from the main version in shades of green, we also have other variants of uniforms under the DPM system. First of all, we find the desert version. Its importance, of course, increased as the British became involved in the conflict in the Persian Gulf. Desert uniforms appeared alongside the main ones. We call them DDPM for Desert Disruptive Pattern Material.
A somewhat well-known anecdote among DPM fans is that soldiers stationed in Afghanistan dyed their desert-coloured uniforms green. This was to help adapt them to local conditions, where, contrary to initial assumptions, there was a lot of greenery. Apparently, this practice contributed to the introduction of MTP, i.e. Multi Terrain Pattern. Simply put, it is Multicam but in the British version. The colours of this camouflage are similar to the Crye Precision product, but the shape of the spots characteristic of DPM has been preserved.
You can also come across the DPM hybrid pattern. It was a combination of colours from the desert variant with green accents. And while I have seen all the above-mentioned variants, if not in real life, at least in photos, I only know the hybrid DPM from articles on the Internet.
Characteristics of Disruptive Pattern Material
When I started playing airsoft, many people used DPM camouflage. It works quite well in European forests, and that's no coincidence. There are four main colours here: green, beige, brown and very, very dark brown, which can even look black in new, unwashed uniforms. Of course, depending on the specific model, there are some differences, but usually beige is the base on which further stains in increasingly darker colours are applied.
DPM has a characteristic shape of colour spots. They are quite sharp or even elongated. The darker the colour, the smaller the patterns. We often see characteristic dots or rips on the edges of individual spots, which make the uniforms even more diverse.
As in the case of other camouflages described, here, apart from uniforms, we can also see DPM on equipment. The characteristic belts used by British soldiers also gained this camouflage over time. We will also see it on vests, camo sheets and tilts. With the introduction of MTP, it also appears on modular ballistic vest systems.
One of my first airsof games. Rocking a DPM uniform already.
DPM always in the heart
The British DPM is the first uniform I used in airsoft. It has great sentimental significance for me. I think many players who started at a similar time feel the same way. But let's not kid ourselves. Just as it was replaced on British construction sites by other, more specialized types of workwear, we see it less and less often in airsoft. Mainly because it doesn't offer many options for more modern designs. It is true that there are variants of combat uniforms in DPM. Their history, by the way, also apparently comes from the creativity of ordinary soldiers. Today, however, it is easier to buy a uniform with built-in protectors from one of the airsoft brands than to look for surplus equipment.
In times when we do not have to choose the cheapest shooting equipment and we are not limited to the offer of used army uniforms, it is easier for us to find something that suits us better. DPM is not used on a large scale by commercial manufacturers. Apart from uniforms, it was used on equipment, but also to a limited extent. We will probably not buy a modern plate carrier in this design. And even if it is, it will be much more difficult to obtain than a similar one in a different, commercial camouflage. For this reason, DPM's popularity is decreasing. However, it is worth remembering about it. Who knows, maybe one day he will return from the depths of our closest to the airsoft battlefield.
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