The Polish Army is one of the NATO armies that has been with its current mimetic pattern, the Wz. 93 Panther.
The Wz camouflage. 93 Pantera currently active
Introduced in 1993,the Wz. 93 Pantera has become one of the hallmarks of Polish soldiers. This is a camouflage with a certain similarity to the famous US M-81 Woodland, but with more rounded shapes. It is made up of three colors: dark green, brown and black, on a medium green fabric.
The Pantera was developed by an officer of the JW GROM, one of the special operations units of the Polish Army (which paradoxically abandoned it years later, adopting a variant of the famous Multicam). The first use of this camouflage by the Polish Army took place in the UNPROFOR mission in the former Yugoslavia. Today it is used by the various branches of the Polish Army: the Land Forces, the Air Force, the Navy, the Territorial Defense Forces and, to a lesser extent, the Special Forces.
In 2002, the Polish Army introduced a version of the Pantera, the Pantera Pustynna (Desert Panther), intended for use in its operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. This camouflage combines three colors: light green, brown and sand.
The MAPA, a revolutionary camouflage that was discarded
In 2012, a doctoral student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk, Maciej Dojlitko developed a new family of camouflages called MAPA (Multi-environmental Adaptive Pattern), a revolutionary mimetic pattern whose appearance does not resemble to no other camouflage seen so far.
This camouflage was developed after a detailed study of Poland's vegetation, using thousands of photographs from different places. The rights to the MAPA camouflage were acquired by MASKPOL, a company of Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa (PGZ), which brings together different state-owned companies related to defense.
The first complete uniform with the MAPA camouflage was presented in 2017. Finally, after some tests, the Polish Army discarded the MAPA pattern, pointing out that it was less effective than other camouflages.
By then, the MAPA already had many supporters, and finally in 2021 it was marketed for the civilian market, today being a very popular pattern inside and outside Poland. Nowadays you can buy clothing in this camouflage in stores specializing in military equipment.
The new Lampart camouflage
The origin of the Lampart (Leopard) dates back to 2015, when the Military Institute of Engineering Technology began a process to introduce a new camouflage for the Polish Army.
The result is a four-color camouflage (black, light green, dark green and brown), with flat colors and more irregular shapes than the Wz. 93 Panther.
A few days ago, la 21st Podhale Rifle Brigade, a famous mountain unit of the Polish Army, published images of an exercise in which its soldiers show uniforms with the new Lampart camouflage.
In this exercise uniforms, equipment and ballistic vests with the new camouflage are being tested, as seen in the photos released by that Brigade, although some soldiers wear helmet covers with the Panther camouflage.
The Lampart is like a mixture of the Czech MAD21 camouflage and the Finnish MP10 camouflage, having the irregular shapes of the former and the colors of the latter.
The result seen in the photos is that this camouflage works well in the Polish forest environment, just like the Pantera. All in all, Lampart is far from being as effective a camouflage as Multicam, due to its flat colors.
The Polish website Defence24.pl noted: "Research on these elements in the 18th Division is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year. It is planned to introduce them within the framework of the project Tytan Advanced Individual Combat System (ZISW)."
It should be noted that at the time two variants of the Lampart were developed, one for spring and summer and another for autumn and winter.
In the images released by the Podhale Brigade you can see both versions. In these last two photos we can see a version with more brown tones, while the other version has a more greenish appearance.
On the Internet there is already some controversy around this new camouflage. Some like the Lampart, others consider that the MAP would be a better option, while some users prefer the Pantera and other options. You can indicate your opinion in the comments of this entry.
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