Laos

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Lao People's Democratic Republic

During the 19th century, Laos became part of French Indochina with Vientiane as its capital. The nation was granted full independence as a constitutional monarchy in 1954, but became involved in the Vietnam War in part due to agitation and sympathy from the communist Pathet Lao who were sympathetic to the cause of the Viet Cong. The Laotian Civil War lasted from 1953 until 1975, with the United States, South Vietnam and Thailand supporting the Royal Laotian Army and North Vietnam (with Soviet support) assisting the Pathet Lao. Shortly after the USA departed from Southeast Asia, however, King Savang Vatthana agreed to abdicate, and by December 1975 the Lao People's Democratic Republic was born.

The Laotian People's Armed Forces have only recently adopted a camouflage pattern.

Camouflage Patterns of Laotian Forces

  • Airborne units of the Armée Nationale de Laos and the Forces Armées du Royaume were both issued French tenue de leópard lizard camouflage uniforms, including the TAP Mle 1947/51, TAP Mle 1947/52 and TAP Mle 1947/53. The French uniforms were in service from 1954 until 1975.

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  • Some elements of the Royal Laotian 2e Bataillon de Parachutistes wore the British brushstroke pattern Denison smocks, obtained through French sources, from at least 1954.

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  • The 2e Bataillon de Parachutistes also wore British M1942 windproof pattern brushstroke camouflage uniforms during the sasme period, also obtained through France.

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  • From the mid-1960s until 1975, pro-government SGU guerilla units (particularly Commando Raiders) were provided with civilian duck hunter pattern camouflage utilities through US government sources.

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  • The same SGU Commando Raider units were also provided with South Vietnamese Beo Gam (leopard) pattern camouflage fatigues, also through the US government.

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  • Additionally, the South Vietnamese "Airborne leaf" pattern camouflage could also be found in significant numbers among members of the SGU units.

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  • A particular style of tiger stripe camouflage, known among many collectors as Laotian "rubber" (also ARVN & Thai "rubber" pattern) was also to be found among the SGU Commando Raider units from the mid-1960s until 1975. The pattern is distinctive among the subset of tiger stripe designs, and seems to have been produced in both South Vietnam and Thailand. Although very similar to the later Thai "shadowtiger" camouflage design, the pattern does not appear to be printed using the same set of drawings.

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  • The Laotian People's Army currrently issue a camouflage pattern that is a hybrid of the leaf and woodland designs. This has has been in service since 2009 or so.

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