Military Review

Blinding Disguise

I can not believe that warships could look like this. It seems that they were painted by clowns lagging behind the traveling circus. Complete asymmetry, stripes and cells. Unexpected diagonals and different bright colors. But almost 100 years ago, the court masked it that way.

Blinding Disguise

There are no color photographs, but sketches have been preserved. Can you imagine how the ship “War Clover” looked like in reality?

During the First World War, the British and Americans, and the French, too, faced a serious threat to German submarines, which with enviable success sank allied ships.

All attempts to disguise ships at sea failed because they could not adapt this or that camouflage to the ever-changing water and sky. Any combination of colors that hid in one situation, issued headlong in others.

And then the British artist and naval officer fleet Norman Wilkinson invented a new disguise scheme, which was based on the fashion trends of the visual arts of the time, above all Cubism.

The author of the idea of ​​"dazzling coloring" Norman Wilkinson

Instead of hiding the ship, trying to paint it entirely in some colors similar to the environment, Wilkinson suggested painting the ships abstractly - “breaking” the hull with unexpected lines, creating illusory planes, angles, and so on.

The idea was adopted. The British called the innovative masking technique "dazzle painting" ("Dazzle Painting"), and the Americans - "turmoil" or "mess" (Razzle Dazzle). And it worked.

US merchant ship USS Mahomet.

The fact is that the German submariners were forced to find the enemy visually and were aiming not at the ship itself - it was moving, but trying to send a torpedo to the place where the ship would be at the time of the projectile arrival. Too early or late start naturally meant a miss.

Sailors are trying to see what it is there. It’s really incomprehensible where the nose of the vessel seen far away is.

Accordingly, the submarine captain needed to determine the course and speed of the target with maximum accuracy, but by what he saw in the periscope, it was difficult to even understand where this ship has a nose, how many noses, and what it is.

The silhouette just blurred. The vessel could seem smaller than it actually was, it partially merged with the water, “connected” to the sky, and so on. In short, the devil knows what.

Type a standard ship coloring number 24. And this is one and the same vessel, only from different sides.

It should be noted that for the design of camouflage real artists were involved. At first, almost every ship had its own distinctive “cubic” color, and often the designs on different sides differed greatly.

Later, in the course of the war, standard types and types of artistic disguise were developed, and not only military but also passenger ships began to receive abstract coloring.

Unfortunately, there are no color photographs of the ships of that time, but they were not “zebras” - they were masked in different and sometimes very bright colors. They say that at sea the convoy of these “parrot ships” looked simply overwhelming.

With the end of the First World War, the massive use of "blinding painting" in the navy was also completed. There were several reasons for this.

So, effective aviation - from the air the painted ships were very clearly visible. In addition, the sailors themselves never particularly liked painting their ships in such a "non-military way."

Ship SS Melita - even now in the Museum of Mayakovsky.

The US Navy, like the British, tried to return to the "turmoil" at the end of World War II — after they destroyed Japanese aircraft. They really defended their vessels with “painting” from enemy submarines (incidentally, experiments were carried out with tanks and jeeps)

However, the third coming did not happen - improved radar, sonar and other equipment, ultimately, eliminated the need for visual detection of targets.

Passenger ship Mauretania. Judging by the image on the poster of those years - it was a bright ship.

Thus, the warships quickly repainted in its current, "foggy gray" color, and cubism returned to where Wilkinson took it.

Now in Portsmouth is a sample of such a disguise: the ship HMS Monitor M33. It was built in the 1915 year, although it looks relatively modest, it fought in World War I and even in the Civil War (together with six other monitors, it supported white troops in the Arkhangelsk region for several months).

Although Wilkinson’s camouflage was used extensively in World War I and, to a lesser extent, in World War II, its effectiveness was not scientifically proven. Check its effectiveness recently decided a group of researchers from the University of Bristol (UK), led by a specialist in experimental psychology Nick Scott-Samuel.

Speed ​​was the key point of verification: if this camouflage is not relevant for ships, highly mobile combat vehicles carrying “abstract art canvases” can now be misled by enemy soldiers.
The fact is that our perception of speed depends on many different factors. For example, it seems to us that larger objects move more slowly. In the experiments of Mr. Scott-Samuel and colleagues, volunteers showed on the screen a pair of geometric images that had different contrast and moved at different speeds. One of the two elements has always been a typical representative of the texture of “glare” camouflage.

It turned out that the speed of two fast-moving contrast figures from the camouflage set visually seems to be less by 7%. Thus, a fighter armed with a hand-held anti-tank grenade launcher may not calculate the distance and miss the armored vehicle painted using the Wilkinson method, the researchers believe.

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  1. Iraclius
    Iraclius 19 August 2013 08: 10
    I imagine - you pop up to the periscope depth, raise the periscope, look around and then you see it!
    A brain break! wassat
    The idea is interesting.
    1. Mister X
      Mister X 19 August 2013 17: 07
      Quote: Iraclius
      A brain break! wassat
      The idea is interesting.

      And there was pink camouflage: the so-called “Mountbatten pink.”
      Thanks to the Purkinje effect, the pink color camouflages the subject well at dusk and in high light conditions.
      Once Admiral Mountbatten noticed that one of the ships of an unusual color is less noticeable at dusk.
      and ordered all the destroyers of his squadron to be repainted in the same shade, but the British sailors refused
      go to sea on pink ships.

      But the British special forces did not disdain them, and the light appeared
      “Pink Panthers”, they are “Pinkies”.
      Official name - LR 109 Rover-11 (FV-18064)

      1. Mister X
        Mister X 19 August 2013 17: 14
        But the British fighter of the Second World War
        Supermarine Spitfire by "Invisible pink"

        1. Alex 241
          Alex 241 19 August 2013 21: 59
          Fighter P – 51 "Mustang".
          1. Kars
            Kars 19 August 2013 22: 06
          2. Mister X
            Mister X 19 August 2013 22: 16
            I remember the movie "Striped Flight" and the line:
            - They swim beautifully! There is that group in striped swimsuits ...
            1. Alex 241
              Alex 241 19 August 2013 22: 21
              laughing good ............................
  2. Kovrovsky
    Kovrovsky 19 August 2013 09: 10
    This often happens: a non-standard approach to solving the problem gives a good result.
  3. chunga-changa
    chunga-changa 19 August 2013 09: 32
    This is tin.)
  4. Zerstorer
    Zerstorer 19 August 2013 10: 18
    It turned out that the speed of two fast-moving contrast figures from the camouflage set visually seems to be less by 7%. Thus, a fighter armed with a hand-held anti-tank grenade launcher may not calculate the distance and miss the armored vehicle painted using the Wilkinson method, the researchers believe.

    For reference, the engineering calculation error is 5%. When experimenting with people, I think the normal error will be 10% ... So you should not trust the figure of 7%. However, the influence of camouflage on determining the spatial position of an object or determining the full velocity vector (magnitude and direction) should also be evaluated. Identification experiments (determination of the type of ship) will also be interesting.
    1. Iraclius
      Iraclius 19 August 2013 13: 32
      One thing I will say for sure and without any calculations - to paint red figures in half-body on armored vehicles is not a disguise. This is 100% unmask. yes
  5. ImPerts
    ImPerts 19 August 2013 10: 43
    Interesting, but not practical. Just like Russian millionaire footballers. Money is wasted. paid, and the team plays as it can.
    1. nbw
      nbw 19 August 2013 12: 48
      What have footballers got to do with it? "Who's talking about what, and lousy about the bath" wassat
      1. ImPerts
        ImPerts 21 August 2013 11: 56
        Because it’s impractical. It would be more practical to cut off their income. Do not like it, let them seek money in other countries. If they will be paid there for such a game such money. And here, too, they decided that such a coloring is impractical. Returned to the old. And about the players, yes, after playing with the Irish, except obscene ...
  6. Sochi
    Sochi 19 August 2013 10: 57
    If you want to live, you’ll not get up to it that way ... But in general, camouflage is a great thing, only different approaches at different times. Well, TVD is highly dependent. As I understand it, everything that complicates the life of the enemy has the right to be.
  7. Gomunkul
    Gomunkul 19 August 2013 11: 19
    Very informative, thanks to the author (+) for the article. hi
  8. smart ass
    smart ass 19 August 2013 14: 21
    It seems to me that the protection of transports from submarines needed to be organized in this way-Paint the superstructures of merchant ships in different colors (typical for different times of the day) black, blue, dark blue, white, etc. ... The bottom line is this ... The submarine is not will be able to determine the distance to the target, i.e. the ship's silhouette will be poorly defined, against the background of day, night, twilight, etc. because part of the superstructure will always be hidden, and it will not be possible to determine the silhouette of the ship, respectively, its height, type and distance to it.
  9. Mhpv
    Mhpv 19 August 2013 14: 38
    This is the coloring of "Albatross", if you look further and in reality, in the sea, the stern is not visible at all.
    And from these lines, even in the photo, in the article, the eyes get up with cancer. I can imagine what it is like in a combat situation when you need to quickly make a decision and make calculations for an attack.
    1. Papakiko
      Papakiko 19 August 2013 19: 49
      Quote: mhpv
      I can imagine what it is like in a combat situation when you need to quickly make a decision and make calculations for an attack.

      An example of German vessels.
      "Goya" and "V.Gustlov"

      Cruiser Gloire (Gloire)

      1. svp67
        svp67 19 August 2013 22: 25
        Quote: Papakiko
        Cruiser Gloire (Gloire)

        Is he white with black stripes, or black with white? "
  10. V. Tarasyan
    V. Tarasyan 19 August 2013 19: 15
    As far as I remember, the main purpose of camouflage coloring is not to hide an object, but to make it difficult to recognize. Breaking the silhouette in this case helps very well. Here you can also recall the coloring of some planes of the Second World War on the same principle. For example, white keels on US naval scouts, a change in the plumage of vertical plumage on 88 junkers.
    Actually, modern "digital" camouflage comes from the same place, only the drawing is smaller.
    1. svp67
      svp67 19 August 2013 22: 28
      Quote: V. Tarasyan
      As far as I remember, the main purpose of camouflage coloring is not to hide an object, but to make it difficult to recognize
      Rather, "or" since camouflage happens - camouflage, usually used on stationary objects, and deforming - this is where it is shown, for moving objects
      1. V. Tarasyan
        V. Tarasyan 20 August 2013 17: 28
        So in the article we were talking about moving objects, I had them in mind.
  11. xomaNN
    xomaNN 19 August 2013 20: 34
    Twenty years ago, for the first time, "Technology-youth" read an article with illustrations on this topic. Thanks to the author for this article - good text material and interesting photos
  12. The comment was deleted.
  13. valiant
    valiant 19 August 2013 21: 50
    English aircraft carrier HMS Argus in Razzle Dazzle camouflage
    1. Alex 241
      Alex 241 19 August 2013 22: 00
      1. Alex 241
        Alex 241 19 August 2013 22: 03
        During the Dardanelles operation, the Allied ships were camouflaged in every possible way. Mariotte carried a luxurious camouflage with a lot of shades lovingly applied by the crew, and a carefully painted sand-chip was visible on the nose.
  14. makarov
    makarov 23 October 2013 04: 18
    to the author RESPECT for interesting and instructive material
  15. rokanon
    rokanon 27 January 2014 01: 54
    Like it or not, * ball * is a good color for ships. Thanks to the author for an interesting topic!
  16. ed24
    ed24 1 October 2014 22: 20
    In nature, a proven method.