Known to collectors by a variety of names, Buntfarbenaufdruck (German 'multicoloured colour print') was the basic pattern developed for the Reichswehr (German 'Territorial Defence') in the early 1930s. It was used for the standard camouflaged Zeltbahn 31 shelter quarter, which was issued to all units of the Reichsheer (German 'Territorial Army') and Reichsmarine (German 'Territorial Navy').
The Bundeswehr ('Federal defence') was formed in 1955 and, from the start, was issued a camouflage Kampfanzug ('combat suit'). The Bundeswehr-Splittertarnmuster ('Bundeswehr splinter pattern') camouflage pattern was clearly inspired by the traditional German Heeres-Splittermuster 31 ('1931 Army splinter pattern').
However, it now appears that Bundeswehr-Splittertarnmuster was not the only camouflage pattern to be considered for adoption by the Bundeswehr during the 1950s. In 2005, a 180×650cm example of a previously unknown experimental Splittermuster was bought from factory liquidation sale and offered for auction on eBay.
Like the Bundeswehr-Splittertarnmuster, this design is characterised by a deliberate slipping of the printing plates, which allowed white borders to show at the edges of the medium green and red earth splinter elements. Unlike the more familiar camouflage, though, the dashed elements have been replaced by a curious black overprint of long, leaf-shaped elements.
The fabric is further distinguished by a plain olive reverse side, which suggests that it was meant to be used in the manufacture of reversible uniforms.