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History of the Ghillie Suit

A Ghillie Suit, or also referred to as a Yowie Suit is a type of camouflage clothing designed to resemble heavy underbrush. It is typically constructed from a net or cloth garment, which itself is made up of loose strips of cloth mixed with real or artificial twine, leaves and twigs. The Ghillie Suit provides excellent concealment in some of nature’s harshest natural environments.
The History of the Ghillie Suit, begins during the 19th Century in Scotland. Back then the Scottish land owners used it to capture poachers. During the first and second World Wars, similar suits were used, but during these conflicts camouflage was not widely used by regular soldiers or common soldiers. The British Lovat Scouts’ Snipers are known to be the first military unit to use Ghillie Suits.
Today the Ghillie Suit is used by snipers, hunters and professional soldiers. Their Ghillie Suits today are made up of loose strips of cloth mixed with real or artificial twine, leaves and twigs. The base is usually either a set of combat BDUs (Battle Dress Uniform) or a one-piece aviator type uniform. The suit is often turned inside out so that the pockets are on the inside and protected from damage caused by crawling during stalking. The front part of the suit is covered with a thick canvas or cloth to reinforce the front, and padding covers the knees and elbows for added comfort and to prevent being worn-out.
In order to attach strips of jute, burlap, twigs, leaves etc, netting is sewed or glued on to the back of the base. For obvious reason, the color of the garnish must match the area the suit will be worn in. The garnish should be between one to two feet long and should completely cover the back, legs, and arms. While lying in the prone position, the garnish should reach down to the ground and cover most of the boots. To add more effectiveness natural vegetation must be added to the suit for it to completely blend into the environment. The vegetation can be tucked into the netting. However, the Ghillie Suit does not make someone completely invisible and special care must be taken when wearing the suit. The suit, because of its garnish, is a fire hazard and must be treated with a fire-retardant. Also, the suit can become extremely hot and bulky, so if it is to be used in high temperatures the sniper must do everything to avoid dehydration and fatigue.
Nature is organic and nothing in the environment has perfectly straight lines, which is why equipment like rifles and antennas often hand over concealed positions. To avoid this, good snipers also make or purchase little Gillie Suits for their rifles. Following the same ideas and principles of camouflage, snipers wrap their rifles in canvas and create little sleeves that make them blend into the environment.
Soldiers are trained to keep their eyes peeled for strange things in their surroundings that could represent a threat. The human form is one of the most recognizable shapes in nature. Snipers, spotters, and trained observers all look for color and contour when trying to spot an enemy in the brush or other terrain. Ghillie suits help the sniper to break up his outline, hide straight lines in his gear and blend his overall color with the surroundings.

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