Camouflage Wiki
Erdl lowland

ERDL Highland

ERDL highland

ERDL Lowland

ERDL pattern is a four-color woodland camouflage pattern originally developed by the United States Army at its Engineer Research & Development Laboratories (ERDL) in 1948. It was not issued until early 1967, during the Vietnam War, when to elite reconnaissance and special operations units began using it.


The pattern 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. The ERDL-pattern combat uniform was identical in cut to the Olive Drab (OD) jungle fatigues it was issued alongside.

The United States Marine Corps (USMC) adopted the brown ‘Highland’ version as standard issue from 1968, and later the U.S. Army introduced it on a wide scale in Southeast Asia.

By the end of the Vietnam War, American troops wore camouflage combat dress as the norm. Following the withdrawal of the U.S. military from Vietnam in 1973, the Army no longer routinely issued camouflage clothing. 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 ERDL pattern, which became general issue in the mid 1970s. It was to be used to equip the Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) while on tropical missions. Photographs during the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis showed U.S. Embassy Marines wearing the RDF version ERDL uniforms when they were taken prisoner by Iranian revolutionaries.

It was not until 1981 that the Army approved another camouflaged uniform. That year it officially introduced the M81 Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) in a four-color Woodland pattern, an enlarged and slightly altered version of ERDL-leaf, to supply all of the US Armed Forces. The last batches of the ERDL fatigues saw service during Operation Eagle Claw, Beirut, and the Grenada Invasion.