Marines digging in on June 15th, Saipan 1944

Marines on Saipan using the M1942 Spot Pattern on their helmet covers

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The M1942 Reversible Spot Pattern was the standard camouflage pattern of the United States Marine Corps during World War II. Notably, the M1942 Reversible Spot Pattern was widely used initially with the M1942 One-Piece Camouflage Suit as well as the M1942 M1 Helmet Cover, common with marines in the Pacific.[1] The pattern consisted of a tan base with brown shapes on one side of whatever cloth it was printed on with a light brown base on the other with dark brown, light green, and dark green shapes. This allowed marines to wear the tan colored pattern during lands and in sandy environments while switching to the green and brown pattern for inland jungle areas.[2]


The M1942 Pattern was used in a wide variety of uniforms, shelter covers, ponchos, etc during the war. Its use ranged from 1942 all the way until the end of the war. The pattern was also used in the ETO with a fairly negative record. The largest complaint was that it looked strikingly similar to Waffen-SS uniforms in service at the time and thus could put American troops at risk for friendly fire. As such, it was promptly dropped from service in the ETO.


The M1942 Reversible Pattern was first put into service in large quantities in August, 1942 following a request by General Douglas MacArthur for a jungle camouflage suit that could be given to marines in the Pacific. It saw widespread use in the Pacific in the various articles of clothing and cloth equipment brought along by American forces. Besides a brief use in the Western Front (ETO), the M1942 Pattern was generally only used in the Pacific.


  1. Rottman, L. Gordon. World War II Tactical Camouflage Techniques. Osprey Publishing (2013), Page 27
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