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ERDL pattern is a camouflage pattern developed by the United States Army at its Engineer Research & Development Laboratories (ERDL) in 1948. It was not issued to elite reconnaissance and special operations units until early 1967,[1] during the Vietnam War.[2][3][4]

The pattern consists of 4 colors printed in an interlocking pattern.[5]

ERDL Pattern

ERDL Pattern

It was initially produced in a lime-dominant colorway, consisting of large organic shapes in mid green and brown, black ‘branches’, and light green ‘leaf highlights’. Shortly thereafter a brown-dominant scheme (with the light green replaced by light tan) was manufactured. The two patterns are also known as "Lowland" and "Highland" ERDL respectively.[6] The brown ‘Highland’ version was adopted as standard issue by the United States Marine Corps (USMC) from 1968, and later introduced on a wide scale in Southeast Asia by the U.S. Army. A third variation, known as 'Delta' from an alleged use in the Mekong Delta area of South Vietnam was issued in the early 1970s. By the end of the Vietnam War, American troops wearing camouflage combat dress had become the norm.[7] 'Delta' ERDL is the same as 'Highland' pattern, but the black 'branches' appear thicker and less detailed. The ERDL-pattern combat uniform was identical in cut to the Olive Drab (OD) jungle fatigues; it was issued alongside.[8]

Following the withdrawal of the US military from Vietnam in 1973, camouflage clothing was no longer routinely issued by the Army. However, the 1st Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment wore the ERDL-leaf pattern as an experiment in the early 1970s in Baumholder, Germany. The USMC continued wearing the transitional ‘Delta’ ERDL pattern, which became general issue in the mid 1970s. It was to be used to equip the Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) whilst on tropical missions. It was not until 1981 that the Army approved another camouflaged uniform. In October it officially introduced the battle dress uniform (BDU) in M81 Woodland pattern,[9] an enlarged and slightly altered version of ERDL Leaf, to supply all arms of the US Forces.[10] The last batches of the ERDL fatigues saw service during Operation Eagle Claw, Beirut and the Grenada Invasion.


  •  Australia - The SASR used ERDL during Jungle operations.
  •  Myanmar
  •  Hong Kong - Hong Kong Police Force's Quick Reaction Force.
  •  New Zealand - SAS used ERDL in Vietnam.
  •  Nicaragua - National Guard (Nicaragua) EEBI 'commando' troops in 1968-1979.
  •  Philippines - Armed Forces of the Philippines.
  •  Singapore
  •  South Vietnam - Various ARVN units acquired ERDL fatigues.
  •  Spain
  •  Taiwan
  •  Thailand - Various Thai units used ERDL and also manufactured batches for US Forces.
  •  Tonga
  •  United States
    • US Air Force - Used by ground troops and by various USAF Pilots underneath G-Suits instead of flight overalls as they became useful in the Jungle environment when downed.
    • US Army - ERDL was the replacement of Tigerstripe for US Special Forces but eventually was issued widespread.
    • US Marines - ERDL was issued to USMC Force Reconnaissance units.
    • US Navy - ERDL was mostly issued to the US Navy SEALS and Master-at-Arms rates and it is still used today by Construction Battalions.

See also


  1. Blechman/Newman, Hardy/Alex (2004). DPM: Disruptive Pattern Material. Department of Publications, Maharishi. ISBN 0-9543404-0-X. 
  2. Camouflage Facts, Delta Gear, Inc.
  3. > North America > United States of America > 'lime' ERDL pattern
  4. Tom Vanderbilt, "The Army's new camouflage", Slate Magazine
  5. > North America > United States of America > 'lime' ERDL pattern
  6. Mark's Asian Camo Uniforms
  7. Newark, Tim (2007). Camouflage. Thames & Hudson. ISBN 978-0-500-51347-7. 
  8. Vietnam - Equipment and Uniform
  9. {{cite book| title = Department of the Army Historical Summary FY 1981| chapterurl = | chapter = Chapter 7: Support Services| url = editor = Christine O. Hardyman| publisher = [[United States Army Center of Military History| year = 1988}}
  10. > North America > United States of America > 'lime' ERDL pattern

Stanton, Shelby. (1989). US Army Uniforms of the Vietnam War. Stackpole Books; Harrisburg PA. Comparison between ERDL and M81 Woodland.

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