Republic of Estonia
The Republic of Estonia (Eesti Vabariik) was known as the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic between 1940 and 1991, when it was a part of the Soviet Union. Since achieving its independence, Estonia has joined NATO and become a member of the European Union. The Estonian Defence Forces (Kaitsevägi) consist of the Ground Forces (Army), Navy, Air Force, and the Defence League, a paramilitary national guard type organization. The nation has been quite active in peacekeeping efforts in recent years, having deployed small contingents to Kosovo, Afghanistan (as part of ISAF), Iraq, and Lebanon.
The nations's initial adoption of a national camouflage pattern reflected its long association with the Soviet Union, but in recent years Estonia has moved into the "digital age" and embraced pixelated camouflage designs of its own.
Estonian Camouflage Patterns
- Estonian green tricolour amoeba pattern. Introduced during the 1980s. The shapes of the pattern is quite similar to those of the Soviet 3-TsV pattern.
- A tan variation of the same period has violet & ochre amoebic shapes on a sandy background. This was reputedly tested as a desert pattern circa 1990, although some evidence suggests it was also worn by units operating in and around sandy beaches. At least two variations have been noted, the more common one with muted colors and another with very strong colors.
- Between 1993 and 1998, members of the Border Guard (Eesti Piirivalve) were issued a unique camouflage design consisting of purple and tan shapes (forming the outline of Estonia) on a bright green background.
- The desert version of the green tricolour amoeba pattern was introduced between 2001 and 2004. It has been worn by Estonian military personnel serving in Iraq (OIF) & Afghanistan (OEF). Early versions of this pattern were printed on the same thick cotton fabric of the first style uniforms, whilst later production runs were printed on ripstop fabric. Some slight variations in color have been documented.
- In 2006 Estonia introduced a pixelated pattern of black, olive green & rust on moss green background, developed by Andres Lüll. The uniform is designated Estonian Digital Combat Uniforms or ESTDCU, and is gradually replacing the older design. The design has remarkably strong similarities to the Canadian Armed Forces CADPAT Temperate design.
- Also in 2006, a pixelated pattern of sparse brown & grey on sandy background was introduced for deployments to desert regions. This has replaced earlier desert versions as the standard deployment design for arid and desert regions.
Other Camouflage Patterns worn by Estonia
- The Kaitseliit or Estonian Defence League, a paramilitary national defence organization operating much like some national guard units, was supplied with surplus East German Army strichtarn pattern camouflage uniforms during the early part of the 1990s.
- For a brief period during the 1990s, elements of the Estonian Border Guard (Eesti Piirivalve) wore surplus US military issue m81 woodland pattern camouflage uniforms with matching USMS style 8-point covers.
- The Estonian contingent to Bosnia (SFOR) circa 1996-98 wore the Danish m84 pattern camouflage uniform and helmet cover
- Estonian personnel deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan initially wore surplus US-supplied desert camouflage uniforms in both six-color ("chocolate chip") and three color designs. These uniforms were replaced by an Estonian camouflage design introduced in 2004.