Wednesday, February 15, 2012

All That Dazzles...History of Camo Part III

Now that's a custom paint job!
Confusing Camouflage...A brief review of one of history most interesting camos.

At first sight, the thought of calling this camouflage seems wrong. By definition camouflage is meant to hind and disguise objects. But the purpose behind this innovative warfare was to confuse not conceal.

The idea of "Dazzle Camouflage" or as it was known in the U.S "Razzle Dazzle" was created by a British artist and naval officer, Norman Wilkinson, during World War I. The complex pattern of geometric shapes and colors made it difficult to estimate the direction and speed of the ship. Therefore, U-Boat commanders would become confused when observing the course and speed of their target. Early in World War I, ships were individually painted with unique patterns but as the war progress, standardized patterns were adapted. In 1919, Wilkinson can be quoted as stating.

"The primary object of this scheme was not so much to cause the enemy to miss his shot when actually in firing position, but to mislead him, when the ship was first sighted, as to the correct position to take up." 

These dazzling effects could be found on ships throughout WWI and WWII on both U.S and foreign ships but as radar technology improved and aircraft's became more advanced, the need for this disguised became obsolete by the end of World War II. While these methods of camouflage where never proven to work, you can find traces of dazzle camo effects in today's modern world. Many car companies when building prototype cars, paint their new models in this form of camouflage, thus disguising its new "curves" and features. So while we won't be seeing this form of camouflage on Navy Ships anytime soon, who knows what other applications it might have? Perhaps even a new style of B.D.U's?
A modern interpenetration of Dazzle Camo

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