In war, the function of camouflage is very simple: It is used to hide yourself and your equipment from the enemy. People have been using camouflage in some form or another from the beginning of human civilization. In fact, the basic idea of camouflage predates humans entirely. It comes from the natural adaptations that let animals blend in with their environment.

Photo courtesy United States Military
U.S. Air Force cadets put on camouflage clothing and face paint as part of boot-camp training.

In the past 100 years, camouflage has played a crucial role in most countries' military operations. In this edition of HowStuffWorks, we'll look at the basic idea of military camouflage to understand how it helps soldiers defeat the enemy. We'll also find out about modern camouflage and see how it has kept up with technological advancements in enemy detection.