Dazzle painted ships article

Short article, but worth seeing for just how strange a dazzle-painted PT boat looks. It's hard to tell it's even a ship, much less a PT boat:
http://blog.modernmechanix.com/2008/02/18/how-navys-new-tricks-concealed-ships / You show up at a model contest with one painted like that and you will give people headaches just looking at it.
Pat
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That PT boat is a classic! Although the Popular Science article deals with the Second World War, the true glory days of 'dazzle' were the last years of the WWI. There's some great images from both wars here:
http://www.darkroastedblend.com/2007/11/modernist-art-in-camouflage.html
Regards, Ralph
wrote:

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Ralph Currell wrote:

I keep looking at the PT boat, and I'm still having a hard time seeing the boat itself. The problem is that although it doesn't look like a boat, it doesn't look like the sea either. It might be able to hide among icebergs, but if you encountered it at sea, you might think it's a intradimensional gateway of some sort, and next thing you know a dinosaur might jump out of it:
http://www.pt-boat.com/books/images/starspangled.jpg
That's from this interesting PT boat book page BTW: http://www.pt-boat.com /

Keep a eye peeled on that website, some of its links have been known to harbor viruses. I don't link to it anymore, which is a shame as it had really interesting stuff.
Pat
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wrote:

Pat,
The idea behind dazzle was not to conceal the ship (which is pretty much impossible under all but the most ideal conditions) but to confuse the enemy as to its speed and heading. This is especially important when the enemy is a submarine captain calculating his firing solution. There is some debate as to its effectiveness, but according to one account the Germans were sufficiently concerned that they dazzle-painted one of their own merchant ships as a U-Boat training aid.

Thanks for the warning. For what it's worth my virus checker didn't throw out any red flags for that particular page.
Regards, Ralph
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Ralph Currell wrote:

But a PT boat? That's going to be a pretty small thing to torpedo. (of course it's also a pretty small thing to run down with a destroyer, also.) In this case the painting seems to be to disguise the nature of the vessel. Looking at it, it's not only hard to tell it's a PT boat, it's hard to tell it's a boat at all. The only thing you might find on the sea that would look like that is a jagged small iceberg.
Pat
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wrote:

Yeah, it's unusual to see dazzle on small boats like that. Contrary to Pop.Sci.'s enthusiastic writeup, this link states that the scheme was abandoned after a short trial period.
http://www.ptboatworld.com/ZebraScheme.htm
More photos here
http://www.ptboatworld.com/PT174.htm
Effective or not it would still make a great looking model ! :-)
Regards, Ralph
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Would be an interesting scheme to try - cutting the masking tape would take a week. Does anyone know if boat really used this - where and when. Might be fun to give the judges a headache for a change.
Val Krautr
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: : You show up at a model contest with one painted like that and you will : give people headaches just looking at it. :     There was a French cruiser that was in black & white polygons. It gives me a headache to look at the photo of the ship.
    Sort of a manic combination of Escher and Cubisim.
                            Bruce
--
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"I like bad!" Bruce Burden Austin, TX.
  Click to see the full signature.
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"I can't see your bloody tank!"
Heh -- a British Cavalry squadron extended this to their vehicles in Berlin in 1982.
Here's the article I read some years ago:
http://www.emlra.org/articles/berlin_brigade.htm
And here's and actual build:
http://tinyurl.com/22elvl
http://www.ipmsstockholm.org/magazine/2004/05/stuff_eng_vaiano_chieftain . htm
I tried this myself on a 1/72 Airfix Chieftain -- it looked pretty good (by MY standards!), but then I lost sight of it on my display shelf and haven't seen it since.
John
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Isn't it a mine sweeper rather than a PT boat? Jack G.

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Jack G wrote:

I'm pretty sure I see torpedo tubes on it. It's the one at the base of the two pages:
http://blog.modernmechanix.com/mags/qf/c/PopularScience/4-1946/navy_camo/xlg_navy_camo_0.jpg
http://blog.modernmechanix.com/mags/qf/c/PopularScience/4-1946/navy_camo/xlg_navy_camo_1.jpg
I'd hate to be seasick on that thing; you could get vertigo just looking at it.
Pat
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anyone tried dazzle on armor? was the strange paint schemes by the Germans in WWI with their aircraft an early attempt at some kind of dazzle camo?
Craig
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snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net wrote:

In that case I think it was closer to countershading as well as trying to make it blend into its surroundings by breaking in down into spots of color rather than a recognizable shape sitting on the ground. Our modern gray camouflage schemes owe a lot to German countershading work during WW II, although we've biased it entirely for air visibility rather than trying to hide it on the ground also.
Pat
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wrote:

Torpedo tubes? Armour? PT Boats? Are you kidding? THIS is what dazzle schemes were made for. Check out the Opel Kadett; http://www.vanlubeck.com/artcars
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flak monkey wrote:

No that was based on pointillism and the theory that a pattern made of small spots of pure colors will at a distance tend to fade into the predominant background color.

You have clue what countershading is. Countershading is the use of a lighter color in shadow areas to eliminate the defined shadow. EG: White arcs under the tail surfaces of some USN planes in WWII, white under platforms and overhangs on ships, etc.
Do bother to read the original documents and understand the theories behind the various naval and aircraft camouflage schemes before you go making erroneous statements. The original WWI USN and RN dazzle documents, not counting the designs themselves or the various logbooks, run to about 5000 pages of text.
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I'd be very interested to read this material. Where might I gain access to it?
Gordon McLaughlin
wrote:

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I'm not going to publicly let out where I found what I found until after I publish. I just have too much time invested.
Gordon McLaughlin wrote:

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Ron Smith wrote:

If I have Clue, I say it's Admiral Fisher in the drydock with the rivet gun.

German fighters used countershading during WW II; dark on top, light on the bottom, with the fuselage sides dappled in medium tones. Many US Navy aircraft also used the technique with their dark blue top-medium blue sides-white belly schemes. The end result was to make the aircraft pretty much even in illumination level when seen from a distance. Abbott Handerson Thayer wrote about countershading in nature in 1892. He even obtained a patent for countershading warships in 1902. There's a article about Keith Ferris and the modern countershading gray camouflage used by the Air Force, Marines, and Navy here: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res 0DEEDD113FF93BA2575BC0A961948260
Pat
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Pat Flannery wrote:

You have confused the design purpose with an observed result. The actual documentation for the USN ship and aircraft schemes is exactly what I stated, to eliminate the harshly defined shadows that provide tracking and aiming aids. For WWI dazzle ships there was no countershading at all, they all disruptive schemes meant to make optical tracking and aiming difficult. The countershading you espouse is the Ferris type for concealment camouflage, an entirely different school.

I have the book, it has limited application to naval camouflage but it is useful.

No really? You're kidding, right? Has it occurred to you I have read the original? That the original document in my hands, not a copy.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res 0DEEDD113FF93BA2575BC0A961948260
That's the New York Times, hardly an institution that relies upon fact checking the past decade or so. Ferris' schemes are all concealment camouflage, they have no relation to disruptive dazzle camouflage other than the word camouflage. The NYT apparently did not do enough homework to understand the two types of camouflage and learn the differences in countershading types.
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Ron Smith wrote:

The particular part of the discussion I was posting about was WWI German air force lozenge camouflage, not dazzle painting. Dazzle painting is about as far from countershading as it's possible to get. As others have pointed out, the concept the Germans used was a variant of pointillism to try to make the aircraft blend into its background either in the air or at its airfield...which in all likelihood had grass runways...as well as making it difficult for opponents to recognize the particular type of aircraft by making its outline and shape less distinct.

Really? Well, I think the United State Patent and Trademark Office might want it back. :-D You're really quite impressed with yourself, aren't you? I look forward to your book; your prospective publishers should have a lot of fun with your attitude. As to your command of English, I'll leave that to the proofreaders.
Pat
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