These are real ships from WWI & WWII. Fantastic.
99% Invisible, a great podcast, did a show about dazzle camouflage. Interesting and cool, I had to see pictures. They didn’t disappoint. Please, take a look at the photos.
My info sheet reads:
When you think camouflage, you may think it’s about blending into surroundings. Consider the zebra. Stripes make it tricky for predators to tell one zebra from another while in herds. This is disruptive camouflage.
During WWI, German U-boats sank thousands of warships and supply ships. When a ship was spotted, they easily calculated the ship’s path and aimed torpedoes with incredible accuracy.
Varying sky colors, clouds, and wave height, plus the black smoke from the stacks meant blending camouflage wouldn’t work. Norman Wilkinson, a British artist and naval officer, suggested another tack: razzle dazzle.
The lines, arches, and color patterns confused torpedo gunners. Calculating the ship’s speed, size, type, and direction of travel went from an easy task to an incredibly difficult one. Being invisible isn’t the only way to hide.