Telo Mimetico M1929

Grandfather of all military camouflages, the M 1929 is most notable by its longevity.

Two italian soldiers in the 80s, take note of the Breda Folgore 80mm recoiless rifle

Photo credit Breda, you can learn more on aresdifesa , a brilliant article on italia's anti tank capabilities.

First industrial camouflage

The Telo Mimetico, literally "camouflaged fabric" in english, is born in fascist Italia in 1929 that wanted a modern and efficient military.

First machine printed camouflage, it is first issued to italian soldiers as poncho/tent worn against bad weather and as a makeshift shelter.

Makeshift shelter against italian vehicles, North Africa campaign, 1941

Picture from Erwin Rommel, seen on the most excellent ww2colorfarbe

Mark of the elite

Despite being issued to regular troops, M 1929 uniforms quickly become the sign of one's being in the elite of the armed forces.

Issued to paratroopers and special units, it gains a powerful aura.

Italian paratroopers from III/185e battaglione "Nembo", Sicily 1943

Picture from ECPAD colorised by Doug, as seen on ww2live

Xe Flottiglia Mas -or Decima Mas- combat divers, legendary unit lead by the Borghese prince

It's difficult to find info on this picture but it can be seen on steamcommunity

German military takeover

After fascist Italy's capitulation, nazi Germany took over the pattern after the production machinery is sent to Czechoslovakia during 1943.

Again, this camo is used by elite units.
Rapidly coveted, it becomes a sign of status, mainly in the Fallschrimjägers and SS units that start using it as soon as 1941.

German Panzertruppen taking a break during manoeuvre, year unknown

Picture from military-history

Obersturmbannführer of the SS Panzerdivision hitlerjungen wearing an M 1943 version of Telo Mimetico

Picture coming again from the excellent ww2colorfarbe

A long heritage

After world war 2, the Telo Mimetico does not disappear, on the contrary.

With the machinery still in the country, the Czech start using the pattern, eventually being used by the soviets, but that's not easily verified.
In Italia, it will stay as the battle dress uniform until another pattern is adopted in the early 1990s.

Italian Alpini in the 80s, posing with a US soldier from 1/509th ABCT

Picture posted on pinterest

Italian paratroopers from 1e Carabinieri Paracadutisti "Tuscania" in Beirut, Lebanon in 1982

Picture from the italian site praesidiummilitum

Many versions

From its creation in 1929, until the beginning of the 1990s, Telo Mimetico pattern has seen many color variations.

Difficulties in color procurement, usage in different countries' militaries, this camo will even see a version for the sole purpose of a specific regiment, the San Marco batallion.

M 1929 first war version


Detail from a vest, San Marco batallion version


Post war version from the 1960s


In the end, the M 1929 Telo Mimetico is not only the first manufactured camouflage but remains to this day the longer used camouflage in the world.

A real pillar of military gear, it is often little-known and start to be difficult to get, especially war time patterns.

If you want to go further on the subject, those links and books are marvellous:

The very well done that lists all the camouflages used by every country in its history
The book "Camouflage: modern international military patterns" from Eric H. Larson, Pen & Sword Military editions
The "Brassey's book of camouflage" from Tim Newark, Quentin Newark and J. F. Borsarello, Brassey editions