Uruguay

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Oriental Republic of Uruguay

The official name of Uruguay is República Oriental del Uruguay (the Oriental Republic of Uruguay). The fierce resistance of the nation's indigenous people to colonization in the 16th century prevented widespread European settlement until the 17th century, by which time claims to the region were contested by both Spain and Portugal. The nation's capital of Montevideo was founded by the Spanish in the early 18th century as a military fortification, part of the effort to stave off Portuguese interest. During the 19th century, the British Empire joined in the contentious battle for control over the region, and in fact British troops occupied Montevideo in 1807 until the middle of the Napoleonic Wars. Independence was finally achieved in 1811, when José Gervasio Artigas led a successful rebellion against the Spanish. In 1814 he formed the Liga Federal (Federal League) which consisted of the territories known today as Uruguay and Argentina.

Portuguese interest in the lands of the Federal League were not to be easily discouraged, however, and in 1817 Brazilian forces invaded and occupied Montevideo, later (in 1821) annexing what was known as the Eastern Province (modern Uruguay). Brazil subsequently became independent of the Portuguese Empire, but in August 1825 a resistance movement known as Treinta y Tres Orientales (Thirty-three Orientals) revolted against Brazilian control and were supported by the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata (present day Argentina). The result was the Argentina-Brazil War, lasting from December 1825 to August 1828, and ending with the 1828 Treaty of Montevideo that established and recognized the Eastern Republic of Uruguay.

Between 1864 and 1870, the War of the Triple Alliance was waged between Paraguay on one side, and the alliance of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay on the other. The war is considered the bloodiest in South American history, and it is conjectured that as many as 90% of the male population of Paraguay died over its course.

The Armed Forces of Uruguay (Fuerzas armadas del Uruguay) consist of three primary branches: the Army (Ejercito Nacional), Navy (Armada Nacional) and the Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Uruguaya), with approximately 24,000 active duty personnel. Uruguay has been a participant in the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) mission in the Sinai, and is a very active participant in United Nations peacekeeping missions around the world.

Uruguayan Camouflage Patterns

  • The M-1973 (or M73) camouflage pattern was the first indigenous design produced for Uruguay. First used by FUSNA (Fusileros Navales - the Uruguayan Marines), it was later adopted into general service between 1973 and the mid-1980s. There are two colour variations - a dark and a light, but several sub-variations have been documented.

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  • A copy of the US wine-leaf (USMC Standard pattern) was produced for Uruguay and worn by the Bn. Infranteria Paracaidista No 14 (14th Airborne Infantry Battalion) during the 1970s and 1980s. The pattern was also worn by the Air Force Batallòn de Seguridad Terrestre (Security Battalion).

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  • Introduced in the 1970s and still worn today, the Fusileros Navales (FUSNA) pattern of the Uruguayan Marines features curious-shapes in dark green, purplish-brown & sea green on a khaki background. As with the M-73, the pattern has been printed on a variety of fabric types and by several manufacturers, thus a few color variations have been documented.

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  • The Special Unit of the Coast Guard (UNAPO) were issued a unique camouflage design in the 1970s consisting of brown spots with dark brown "shadows" on a field of mottled grey & orange-tan. As with some early camouflage, it may have been printed in Brazil.

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  • Presumably of foreign design and construction, the Police Special Forces unit during the 1980s wore a brushstroke-type design with a blue or purple tint to it, bearing strong similarities to the Belgian brushstroke pattern of their armed forces.

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  • Since the mid-1980s both the Army and Coast Guard have adopted copies of the US Woodland pattern for the standard combat uniform. These have been produced by a variety of manufacturers, and even recently large quantities of cloth were purchased from other South American nations that have since discarded the woodland design. Woodland camouflage has also been worn by special operations elements of the Uruguay Police.

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  • The Policía Aeronáutica and Batallòn de Seguridad Terrestre (Security Battalion) of the Uruguayan Air Force wear a variation of the woodland camouflage design with a blue/grey colorway. In use since the 1990s, two variations are known, having slightly different colors.

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  • The Grupos Operaciones Especiales (GEO) unit of the National Police wear a locally-produced blue leaf pattern camouflage pattern, seen here.

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  • In 2015, it was announced the Armada would adopt a new pixelated camouflage design having light grey, light brown, and dark blue shapes on a grey background.

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  • Additionally, the Guardia Republicana of the National Police has adopted its own pixelated camouflage design, incorporating brown, olive green and grey colors.

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  • The Metropolitan Guard (Guardia Metropolitana), also part of the National Republican Guard, have adopted the Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP) as their operational uniform since 2015.

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Acknowledgements

I would like to express my sincere thanks to Mr. Jorge Panuncio for his generous assistance in helping create this page.