One of the most important things in modern warfare is the ability to remain invisible or subtle to the enemy. Not only the life of servicemen depends on this, but also the success of a military event - the achievement of the set task. Today, everyone is so used to the military in spotted uniforms that no one asks questions about how, when and where the first camouflage appeared.
It appeared thanks to snipers and PMCs
Camouflage in military affairs is by no means a young phenomenon, but it became widespread only in the 20th century. Moreover, even at the beginning of the First World War, most of the countries participating in the conflict managed to fight with the "old-fashioned" variegated form, which was actually designed for war using linear tactics, which still took place in the practice of the largest conflicts of the middle and second half of the XIX century., such as the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War.
Throughout almost the entire history of mankind, tactics of dense formations were used, and therefore there was simply no need for camouflage. Moreover, there was a strictly opposite need for the use of easily and quickly identifiable "friend or foe" elements in clothing and equipment. There were exceptions, though. With the development of firearms, the first sniper-huntsmen began to appear, who operated outside the main battle formations and specialized in the population of "harassing" damage and the murder of officers in command of the formation.
The first semblance of camouflage appeared in the British colonies, in particular in India, where the local colonial troops, which today would be called PMCs, were forced to regularly encounter not too happy local residents who predominantly practiced the guerrilla form of war. And now, due to the specifics of the local climate, landscape and tactics of warfare, the British and French began to relatively widely use camouflage colors in the uniform of their soldiers' clothes.
Cherche la France
The first "certified" camouflage created by professional artists was created in France in 1915 after the outbreak of the First World War. We are talking about the works of the artists Nancy Lucien-Victor Gurande de Scauvola and Louis Guingot, who, being mobilized to serve in the 6th artillery regiment, came up with the idea of covering the guns with canvases painted in the color of the terrain. General Noel de Castelnau became interested in the problem, who promoted the ideas of artists to the high command of France. As a result, in February 1915, the first special camouflage unit was created, headed by Scsevola. Interestingly, the first camouflage for the French army was made in theater workshops.
Interesting fact: the word "camouflage" is French. What's more interesting is that before World War I, "camouflage" was not a very decent word. In fact, jargon, which was mainly used by the Parisian bandits.
The work of the French camouflage soon took on the broadest character. They not only developed uniforms for soldiers and camouflage canvases for artillery positions, sniper and machine gun nests. They also specialized in camouflaging equipment, creating false settlements and even painting ships.
Moreover, the creative French approached the military camouflage business in an extremely ingenious way. The aforementioned theatrical workshops created dummies of human heads and horses from papier-mâché. The first ones were used to distract enemy snipers, the second ones were installed in the fields and meadows to deceive the German aviation. Very soon the experience of the French was looked at in other countries as well.
If you want to know even more interesting things, then you should read about what did the Soviet trophy teams do with enemy weapons.