Indonesia

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Republic of Indonesia

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Indonesia has a long and varied history of military camouflage use that can be traced as far back as the Second World War, at which time the country was still a colonial possession of the Netherlands. Immediately following the war, the Dutch Army received surplus stocks of USA reversible M1942 spot pattern camouflage fabric and uniforms. Many of these surplus stocks ended up in the hands of the new Indonesian Armed Forces when they established their independence in 1949. Since the 1960s, however, Indonesia has built a thriving textile and garment industry, and produced some of the worlds most interesting camouflage patterns. Many of these patterns have seen service with elite units of the Indonesian Armed Forces, but a number of them are also associated with paramilitary political groups that arose in the mid-1990s to support the Suharto regime.

The Indonesian term for camouflage is Loreng, so you will usually find that word accompanying the description of most camouflage patterns in any references you find.

Indonesian Military Camouflage Patterns

  • Much of the surplus US M1942 reversible HBT camouflage fabric originally given to the Dutch after WW2 ended up being turned over to the newly independent Indonesian government in 1950. This original fabric was manufactured into jumpsuits worn by the Air Force Pasukan Gerak Tjepat (PGT), as well as the Army's Resimen Parakomando Angkatan Darat (RPKAD) or Special Forces, and airborne elements. These uniforms saw service between 1954 and 1960 and were worn almost exclusively with the green side out.[1]

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  • Beginning in 1960, locally-made copies of the original M1942 camouflage fabric had begun to emerge. The fabrics were generally lighter weight than the American-made version, and printed using slightly different dyes. In service with special units such as the PGT and RPKAD through the mid-1960s, the uniforms also were worn by some Infantry units into the 1970s. Shown below are two different fabric types, a lightweight HBT and a thinner cotton poplin.

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  • In 1962, visiting freefall parachute instructors from Yugoslavia presented the graduating class of Indonesian students with specially-made two-piece camouflage freefall uniforms made from the standard Yugoslavian "mountain suit" camouflage pattern fabric.

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  • Introduced in 1964, the Loreng Darah Mangalir ("flowing blood") pattern was originally intended to be a copy of the WW2 era British Denison brushstroke camouflage for issue to the RPKAD (Army Special Forces). However, an error at the original manufacturing plant resulted in the vertical, vine-like stripes that characterize this unique pattern.[2] The original version illustrated below, with some variation in color and type of fabric, saw service between 1964 and 1986 (at which time the entire Armed Forces were outfitted in a copy of British DPM). The second pattern shown was revived for issue to KOPASSUS (Army Special Forces) in 1995 but in a slightly varied design. This is currently worn for ceremonial & training purposes only.

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  • Crude copies of the British brushstroke Denison smock were worn for a brief period by the Indonesian Army Special Forces (RPKAD) from around 1962 until 1964. These were produced in Hong Kong, and were apparently labeled "Depison" smocks. The dyes used to print the pattern were very dark, making it difficult to differentiate the brushstroke design except at close view. [3]

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  • The Combined Airborne Training Command (KOGABDIKPARA) briefly wore a locally-produced copy of the French lizard pattern from 1964 to 1966.

photo needed

  • Also worn briefly by the Combined Airborne Training Command (KOGABDIKPARA) - concurrent with the French lizard pattern, was a one-piece tiger stripe camouflage pattern coverall, made in Thailand.

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  • The 454 Airborne Brigade wore an Indian-made copy of the British Denison smock from 1964 until the 1970s. It was also worn by the 18 Airborne Brigade from 1968 onwards.

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  • A brushstroke camouflage pattern, reminiscent of the British Denison pattern of WW2, was introduced for use by the KKO (Korps Komando Angkatan Laut) or Marine Commando Corps in 1965 and continued in service variously through the 1970s. It was later revived for use ceremonially and in training in the 1990s and continues to be worn today. The photographs below illustrate an early (1970s) and current (2004-present) version of the pattern:

Indo17.jpg Indo18.jpg

  • Illustrated below is an example of the Army Jakarta Military Region (KODAM Jaya) Raider Battalion "lime brushstroke" pattern from the 1970s. This pattern was only printed on shirts and wide-brimmed jungle hats. Circa 2012, the pattern was re-introduced for members of this unit, updated on modern fabrics and issued as a two-piece uniform.

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  • The Army Siliwangi Division (KODAM Siliwangi) were also issued their own distinctive camouflage design, issued only as a shirt. Incorporating dark green, brick red and brown shapes with brushstroke-like trails on a khaki background, the pattern also features the outline of a large kujang (native weapon of West Java region) in ochre incorporated into the design.

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  • A geometrical camouflage pattern was introduced for the Air Force KOPASGAT (Komando Pasukan Gerak Cepat) special operations unit beginning in 1967. The unique pattern consists of jagged spots of reddish-brown, pinkish-brown, ochre and green on a sea-green background and was worn by this unit until around 1976.[4] As with many of the Indonesian camouflage designs from this period, the pattern was retired and never revived

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  • Also introduced for wear by KOPASGAT in 1969 (initially only as airborne parachutist smock) is the vertical stripe pattern seen here. This pattern saw service with the unit through the 1970s, was dropped in 1980 but again revived for service with KOPASGAT between 1983 and 1984. [5] Although the unit has been obligated to adopt the standard DPM pattern for operational purposes (as the rest of the Armed Forces) since 1984, a revised version of the old vertical stripe pattern has been worn ceremonially since the 1990s (and officially since 2000).

Indo20.jpg Indo6.jpg Indo21.jpg

  • Cavalry units of the Strategic Reserve for a short period in the late 1960s wore an interesting splinter camouflage pattern, derivative of the original WW2 German design.

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  • A version of the USMC Standard or "wine leaf" pattern was introduced for use by the Airborne elements of the Army's KOSTRAD (Komando Cadangan Strategis Angkatan Darat) in 1975 and worn for several years. It appears the pattern was reintroduced during 1990s for ceremonial purposes only, albeit in a darker color scheme.

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  • A "vertical stripe" pattern was designed by Colonel M. Sanif (former commander of 17 Airborne Brigade) and submitted in 1976 for consideration as a camouflage pattern for KOSTRAD. Initially rejected, a few years later uniforms in this pattern were issued to all qualified graduates of the Raider Course from 1980-1983.[6] Illustrated below are a couple different color variations of this pattern, which was quickly discontinued and has never been revived.

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  • Between 1977 and 1979 the Tanjungpura Military Region (covering West Kalimantan) issued a unique vertical stripe pattern in brown and green with spotty details.

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  • A spot camouflage pattern, influenced by the WW2 era USA M1942 jungle camouflage, was introduced for service with the Korps Marinir (Marine Corps) and worn between 1983 and 1984. The pattern, known locally as Macan Tutul (leopard), is actually similar to that developed by the Dutch Army in the 1950s, although the spots are somewhat larger in size. This was recently (2011) re-adopted for use by some units of the Korps Marinir.

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  • In 1984, Indonesian Army General Benny Moerdani ordered the entire Armed Forces to standardize to a British style DPM pattern camouflage[7], rendering all previous military patterns obsolete. The TNI-AD (Indonesian Army) DPM pattern seen here in the first photograph, remains the standard operational camouflage uniform. A version worn by the Air Force (TNI-AU) is seen to the right.

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  • The Anti-Riot Troops of the Indonesian Army, Pasukan anti huru-hara (PHH), wear a two color camouflage patterned smock as part of their riot uniform. The pattern is essentially large black blotches on a field of medium brown.

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  • The ten graduating Raider Battalions in December 2003 were issued a pixelated version of the standard DPM camouflage pattern. A second print run of this pattern had the Raider logo embedded into the design. It was never re-issued.

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  • Since 2006, the Navy Komando Pasukan Katak or KOPASKA (Special Operations) have been wearing their own pixelated camouflage design, seen below. A second version has also appeared, utilizing lighter colors. As seen in the supplemental tile below, the second version has a harpoon being grasped by a frog incorporated into the pixelation design.`

Indo33.jpg Indo35.jpg Indo35b.jpg

  • Circa 2010, the DPM camouflage pattern seen here has been issued to Indonesian military personnel serving in United Nations deployments, such as UNIFIL. Careful examination reveals the silhouette of a mosquito embedded into the design!

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  • Around the middle of 2011, the Indonesian Navy adopted a new camouflage design for ship crews. The design is known locally as Doreng Layar, or "sailing camouflage." It is interesting to note that the design incorporates the silhouette of a naval vessel into the pattern.

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  • A second series of the Macan Tutul Marinir (Marine Corps Leopard) pattern camouflage was adopted in 2011, incorporating a color change.

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  • In 2012, the Brigif Lintas Udara 17 (17th Airborne Infantry Brigade) adopted its own pixelated design. Known as Loreng Linud (Airborne Camouflage), the pattern incorporates black, mud brown, foliage green and lichen green colors. The design incorporates a small image of an airborne wing into the pattern.

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  • Plans are currently (2012) underway to replace the long-standing DPM pattern general issue camouflage with a pixelated design for the Army. The pattern will be similar to that briefly issued to the Raider Battalions, but with some changes both to the pattern and the style of uniform. Currently this uniform is being trialed and is only being worn by officers.

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Indonesian Police Camouflage Patterns

  • From 1967-69, the 32 Airborne Battalion - part of the BRIMOB or (Police Mobile Brigade) - wore its own brushstroke pattern variation jacket.

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  • Also a part of the BRIMOB, the Resimen Pelopor (Ranger Regiment) during this time period wore an entirely different brushstroke-style pattern jacket.

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  • BRIMOB (Police Mobile Brigade) spot pattern. Versions of this pattern have been worn ceremonially since the 1990s.

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  • The National Police Resimen Pelopor (MENPOR) - a Special Operations/Ranger unit - was initially issued a vertical stripe camouflage pattern of their own in 1966. [8] The version of this pattern show here is a recent one, worn ceremonially since 2000.

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Indonesian Civilian Organizations and Political Parties

  • The Indonesian national scouting organization is known as the Gerakan Pramuka (Pramuka is from praja muda karana, meaning "young people willing to work"). They wear a unique camouflage pattern incorporating the coconut bud into the design, this being the symbol of this organization.

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  • Angkatan Muda Partai Golkar (AMPG) Yellow-Green Pools

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  • Angkatan Muda Pembaharuan Indonesia (AMPI) Blue Purple DPM

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  • Angkatan Muda Pembaharuan Indonesia (AMPI) Blue Yellow DPM

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  • Baladhika Karya red/black stripe pattern

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  • Forum Komunikasi Putra-Putri Purnawirawan (FKPPI) - Old Pattern

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  • Forum Komunikasi Putra-Putri Purnawirawan (FKPPI) - current Pattern

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  • Gerakan Pemudah KaBah (GPK)

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  • Partai Demokrasi Indonesia (PDI)

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  • Partai Persatuan Pembangunan (PPP) - old version

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  • Partai Persatuan Pembangunan (PPP) - current version

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  • Pemuda Panca Marga - old version

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  • Pemuda Panca Marga - current version

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  • Permuda Pancasila

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  • Warga Jaya

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  • The Muslim Youth organization known as KOKAM (Komando Kesiapsiagaan Angkatan Muda Muhammadiyah) wear a variation of DPM pattern camouflage with reddish overtones, seen below.

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Notes

  1. Ken Conboy, Elite: the Special Forces of Indonesia 1950-2008 (Equinox Pub, Jakarta, 2008), p 6
  2. Ibid
  3. Conboy, p 12
  4. Conboy, p 33
  5. Ibid
  6. Conboy, p 20, 24
  7. Conboy, p 6
  8. Conboy, p 57

We wish to gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Mr. Beni Antares for his assistance with this article.

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