Splittertarnmuster or simply Splittertarn (splinter-pattern) was a four-colour military camouflage pattern developed by Germany in the late 1920s, and was first issued to the Reichswehr in 1931. It was first printed on the newly designed and issued triangular tent/poncho called the dreieckszeltbahn ("3-corner tent"). Known in German as Buntfarbenaufdruck 31 ("colourful print 31"), for its year of introduction, splittertarn was issued on a very wide basis to practically all regular military (Wehrmacht) units. The pattern consists of a disruptive, zig-zag pattern of hard-edged wood-brown and medium green polygons printed on a light field-grey o
r tan background. A random pattern of green dashes, called "raindrops", was applied in places to improve the camouflage effect.
Proposed in 1931 and introduced in 1932, the four-colour camouflage patterns incorporated "splinters" on top of the 1918 colour pattern. This pattern included ochre, rust, and brown overlaid on a green foundation, with sharp corners between coloured patches. This new pattern was printed on zeltbahn (triangular tent) material, and could also be used as a camouflage rain poncho in the field. Both sides of the material showed the same pattern, but the printing was brighter on one side.
A subdued grey-beige tint replaced the yellow-ochre colour. On top of this background, green and brown irregular patterns were screen-printed. A final innovation applied to this camouflage colour printing were the "splinters" irregularly printed on the fabric. Directional, dark-green dashed lines ("grass") were printed in selected areas to help break up the silhouette. During the war, cost-saving measures required textiles to be printed with changed colours. In addition, many of the lower-cost two-colour options were abandoned. These cost-saving measures caused significant deviations from the original colour patterns.
Equipment in the stained colour printing units were issued to the following: Heeres-Splittertarnmuster 31, and Luftwaffe-Splittertarnmuster 41.
The zeltbahn was the only official Army camouflage until 1942, when they added the Tarnhemd (smock) and Tarnhelmüberzug (helmet cover), both of a lightweight herringbone twill linen. Only one side of each was printed in splittermuster, while the other side was left white for snow camouflage.
In April 1942 a Wintertarnanzug suit consisted of a padded jacket, trousers, separate hood and mittens. These were also printed only on one side and were left white on the other side. However, only a small amount of these were produced, a similar set made in mouse grey or field grey were more common.
Many unofficial garments and helmet covers were produced as field expedients or were tailor-made, mostly from zeltbahn material. These included versions of the service dress uniform, parachute-jump smocks, field jackets, rucksacks and panzer jackets. Later materials included rayon.
Luftwaffe-Splittermuster 41 is a version with a smaller splinter and a more-complicated pattern, from probably not earlier than 1941. The Luftwaffe's variant of splittermuster 31 is known in the literature as "splinter camouflage B". The main difference to the 1931 splinter camouflage is that the smaller factions spots. The complexity of these spots is obvious. The pattern was used for the Fallschirmjäger's parachute Knochensack jump smock and Luftwaffe Field Division field jacket to be manufactured. Other material produced with this equipment included camouflage helmet covers, ammunition bandoliers, grenade bags, and helmet covers. The production of the splinter camouflage B ended in 1944.