Ghillie suit
Overview
 
A ghillie suit, wookie suit, yowie suit, or camo tent is a type of camouflage
Camouflage
Camouflage is a method of concealment that allows an otherwise visible animal, military vehicle, or other object to remain unnoticed, by blending with its environment. Examples include a leopard's spotted coat, the battledress of a modern soldier and a leaf-mimic butterfly...

 clothing
Clothing
Clothing refers to any covering for the human body that is worn. The wearing of clothing is exclusively a human characteristic and is a feature of nearly all human societies...

 designed to resemble heavy foliage. Typically, it is a net or cloth garment covered in loose strips of cloth or twine, sometimes made to look like leaves and twigs, and optionally augmented with scraps of foliage from the area.

Sniper
Sniper
A sniper is a marksman who shoots targets from concealed positions or distances exceeding the capabilities of regular personnel. Snipers typically have specialized training and distinct high-precision rifles....

s and hunters
Hunting
Hunting is the practice of pursuing any living thing, usually wildlife, for food, recreation, or trade. In present-day use, the term refers to lawful hunting, as distinguished from poaching, which is the killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species contrary to applicable law...

 may wear a ghillie suit to blend into their surroundings and conceal themselves from enemies or targets.
Encyclopedia
A ghillie suit, wookie suit, yowie suit, or camo tent is a type of camouflage
Camouflage
Camouflage is a method of concealment that allows an otherwise visible animal, military vehicle, or other object to remain unnoticed, by blending with its environment. Examples include a leopard's spotted coat, the battledress of a modern soldier and a leaf-mimic butterfly...

 clothing
Clothing
Clothing refers to any covering for the human body that is worn. The wearing of clothing is exclusively a human characteristic and is a feature of nearly all human societies...

 designed to resemble heavy foliage. Typically, it is a net or cloth garment covered in loose strips of cloth or twine, sometimes made to look like leaves and twigs, and optionally augmented with scraps of foliage from the area.

Sniper
Sniper
A sniper is a marksman who shoots targets from concealed positions or distances exceeding the capabilities of regular personnel. Snipers typically have specialized training and distinct high-precision rifles....

s and hunters
Hunting
Hunting is the practice of pursuing any living thing, usually wildlife, for food, recreation, or trade. In present-day use, the term refers to lawful hunting, as distinguished from poaching, which is the killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species contrary to applicable law...

 may wear a ghillie suit to blend into their surroundings and conceal themselves from enemies or targets. The suit gives the wearer's outline a three-dimensional breakup, rather than a linear one. When manufactured correctly, the suit will move in the wind in the same way as surrounding foliage.

History

The name was derived from gille, the Scottish Gaelic for "servant" or a "lad", cognate with the Irish
Irish people
The Irish people are an ethnic group who originate in Ireland, an island in northwestern Europe. Ireland has been populated for around 9,000 years , with the Irish people's earliest ancestors recorded having legends of being descended from groups such as the Nemedians, Fomorians, Fir Bolg, Tuatha...

 word giolla, and which may also reference the traditional Scottish deity of trees and the forest, Ghillie Dhu
Ghillie Dhu
In Scottish folklore the Ghillie Dhu or Gille Dubh is a faerie, a guardian spirit of the trees. He is kind to children, but generally wild and shy. Said to be dark haired, he is described as clothed in leaves and moss . He especially likes birch trees, and is most active at night...

. in English especially used to refer to those assisting in deer hunting
Deer hunting
Deer hunting is survival hunting or sport hunting, harvesting deer, dating back to tens of thousands of years ago. Which occurred though out Europe Asia and North America There are numerous types of deer throughout the world that are hunted.- New Zealand :...

, deer stalking
Deer stalking
Deer stalking is a British term for the stealthy pursuit of deer for sporting purposes, historically with dogs such as Scottish Deerhounds, or in modern times typically with a high powered rifle fitted with a telescopic sight to hunt them....

 or fly fishing
Fly fishing
Fly fishing is an angling method in which an artificial 'fly' is used to catch fish. The fly is cast using a fly rod, reel, and specialized weighted line. Casting a nearly weightless fly or 'lure' requires casting techniques significantly different from other forms of casting...

 expeditions in the Scottish Highlands
Scottish Highlands
The Highlands is an historic region of Scotland. The area is sometimes referred to as the "Scottish Highlands". It was culturally distinguishable from the Lowlands from the later Middle Ages into the modern period, when Lowland Scots replaced Scottish Gaelic throughout most of the Lowlands...

.

The ghillie suit was developed by Scottish
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 gamekeeper
Gamekeeper
A gamekeeper is a person who manages an area of countryside to make sure there is enough game for shooting, or fish for angling, and who actively manages areas of woodland, moorland, waterway or farmland for the benefit of game birds, deer, fish and wildlife in general.Typically, a gamekeeper is...

s as a portable hunting blind
Hunting blind
A hunting blind is a cover device for hunters, designed to reduce the chance of detection; ground blinds are an alternative to the traditional Treestand, movements in a well-designed ground blind can virtually be undetectable by the game....

. Lovat Scouts
Lovat Scouts
The Lovat Scouts were a British Army unit. The unit was first formed during the Second Boer War as a Scottish Highland yeomanry regiment of the British Army and is the first known military unit to wear a ghillie suit...

, a Scottish Highland regiment formed by the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 during the Second Boer War
Second Boer War
The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State...

, is the first known military unit to use ghillie suits. In 1916, Lovat Scouts went on to become the British Army's first sniper
Sniper
A sniper is a marksman who shoots targets from concealed positions or distances exceeding the capabilities of regular personnel. Snipers typically have specialized training and distinct high-precision rifles....

 unit.

The Australian Army
Australian Army
The Australian Army is Australia's military land force. It is part of the Australian Defence Force along with the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force. While the Chief of Defence commands the Australian Defence Force , the Army is commanded by the Chief of Army...

 sniper's outfits are nicknamed "yowies", named for their resemblance to the Yowie
Yowie
The Yowie is a creature from Australian folklore.Yowie may also refer to:*Cadbury Yowie, a confectionery from the Cadbury-Schweppes company*Yowie Bay, New South Wales, a suburb of Sydney, Australia...

, an unidentified hominid similar to the Yeti
Yeti
The Yeti or Abominable Snowman is an ape-like cryptid said to inhabit the Himalayan region of Nepal, and Tibet. The names Yeti and Meh-Teh are commonly used by the people indigenous to the region, and are part of their history and mythology...

 which is reputed to live in the Australian wilderness.

Manufacture

High-quality ghillie suits are made by hand; most military snipers generally construct their own unique suits. Manufactured Ghillie suits can be assembled from up to six pieces. Proper camouflage requires the use of natural materials present in the environment in which a sniper will operate. Making a ghillie suit from scratch is time-consuming, and a detailed, high-quality suit can take weeks or even months to manufacture and season.
Ghillie suits can be constructed in several different ways. Some military services make them of rough burlap
Burlap
Hessian , or burlap in the US, is a woven fabric usually made from skin of the jute plant or sisal fibres, or may be combined with other vegetable fibres to make rope, nets, and similar products...

 flaps or jute
Jute
Jute is a long, soft, shiny vegetable fibre that can be spun into coarse, strong threads. It is produced from plants in the genus Corchorus, which has been classified in the family Tiliaceae, or more recently in Malvaceae....

 twine attached to a poncho. United States military ghillie suits are often built using either a battle dress uniform
Battle Dress Uniform
The Battle Dress Uniform were the fatigues that the armed forces of the United States used as their standard uniform for combat situations from September 1981 to April 2005. Since then, it has been replaced in every branch of the U.S. military. Only the U.S. Navy currently authorizes wear of the...

 (BDU), or a pilot's flight suit
Flight suit
A flight suit is a full body garment, worn while flying aircraft such as military airplanes, gliders and helicopters. These suits are generally made to keep the wearer warm, as well as being practical , and durable . Its appearance is usually similar to a jumpsuit. A military flight suit may also...

 or some other one-piece coverall as the base.

On the base, rough webbing made of durable, stainable fabric like burlap
Burlap
Hessian , or burlap in the US, is a woven fabric usually made from skin of the jute plant or sisal fibres, or may be combined with other vegetable fibres to make rope, nets, and similar products...

 is attached. A nearly invisible material like fishing line can be used to sew each knot of net to the fabric (often with a drop of glue for strength). The jute is applied to the netting by tying groups of 5 to 10 strands of a color to the netting with simple knots, skipping sections to be filled in with other colors. The webbing is then seasoned by dragging it behind a vehicle, leaving it to soak in mud, or even applying manure to make it smell "earthy." Once on location, the ghillie suit is customized with twigs, leaves, and other elements of the local foliage as much as possible, although these local additions must be changed every few hours, due to wilting of green grasses or branches.

Safety considerations

Although highly effective, ghillie suits are impractical for many situations where camouflage is useful. They tend to be very heavy and hot. Even in moderate climates, the temperature inside of the ghillie suit can reach over 50 °C (120 °F). The burlap is also flammable, unless treated with fire retardant, and the wearer may be exposed to ignition sources such as smoke grenade
Smoke grenade
Smoke grenades are canister-type grenades used as ground-to-ground or ground-to-air signaling devices, target or landing zone marking devices, or as screening devices for unit movements. Smoke grenades are normally considered non-lethal, although incorrect use may cause death...

s or white phosphorus.

To enhance safety, the US Army Soldier Systems Center has developed an inherently fire resistant ghillie suit fabric to replace the jute
Jute
Jute is a long, soft, shiny vegetable fibre that can be spun into coarse, strong threads. It is produced from plants in the genus Corchorus, which has been classified in the family Tiliaceae, or more recently in Malvaceae....

 or burlap
Burlap
Hessian , or burlap in the US, is a woven fabric usually made from skin of the jute plant or sisal fibres, or may be combined with other vegetable fibres to make rope, nets, and similar products...

. This new material does not need to be treated with any additional flame retardant
Flame retardant
Flame retardants are chemicals used in thermoplastics, thermosets, textiles and coatings that inhibit or resist the spread of fire. These can be separated into several different classes of chemicals:...

, as the fire resistance is inherent in the product and the fabric will self extinguish. This material was field tested in late 2007 at the Sniper School at Fort Benning
Fort Benning
Fort Benning is a United States Army post located southeast of the city of Columbus in Muscogee and Chattahoochee counties in Georgia and Russell County, Alabama...

and has been standard issue since June 2008.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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