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Camouflage was it always effective or just looked good

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by Prospero Quevedo, Jan 19, 2022.

  1. Riter

    Riter Active Member

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    How about those undewater bridges built in secrecy? Zhukov used one in Khalkin Gol and it might have been used elsehwere by them in WW 2.
     
  2. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Well, for ships camouflage could be effective when done properly. Singularly, the USN put a lot of effort into devising working camouflage schemes. The RN had some that worked and some that didn't. The Axis navies never put a big effort into effective camouflage but did widely use patterns on their ships.

    For instance, one that the USN and RN both used was the Thayer / Western Approaches schemes used in the Atlantic. These had the ship painted white or very light grey with some pattern of light blue and / or light green applied to break up the appearance. In poor visibility and fog as was often present in the Atlantic, these patterns made the ship nearly invisible to a surface observer (eg., U-boat).

    What didn't work were very small patter, often complex, schemes.

    [​IMG]

    Something like that doesn't work very well as the pattern resolves itself into a few large areas at best at a distance instead of being an effective dazzle pattern.
     
  3. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    That makes my inner boatswain cry.
     
  4. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Well, unintentional camouflage.

    The positions at Pont du Hoc were real, but were mostly incomplete. Meanwhile, the guns were moved just down the road until the positions had been completed. However, D-Day happened before the positions were completed - Thus, no guns.
     
  5. Ricky

    Ricky Well-Known Member

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    Decoys are always fun. Like the decoy burning cities used by the British during the Blitz, or the decoy Pathfinder flares used by the Germans
     
  6. Riter

    Riter Active Member

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    How about the dummy battleships? Britain resorted to taking a WW I dreadnought and dressing her up like a modern battleship (wood guns). A merchant ship was dressed up to look like an aircraft carrier and (I read that) when the Germans finally figured it out, a Stuka dropped a wood bomb on her. Cardboard panzers built on kubelwagens and the British disgusing their tanks to look like trucks. Then there was the Sherman Firefly whose barrel was painted ot make it appear like a normal 75 mm armed Sherman (dunno if that worked).

    German Hilfskreuzers were effective (unlike their two Japanese counterparts) and the Kormorman sank the HMAS Sydney (light cruiser) in a mutually fatal combat.
     
  7. Fatboy Coxy

    Fatboy Coxy Member

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    How much more difficult must it be to use camouflage in the field these days with drones equipped with heat seeking sensors.
     
  8. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Not very...Thermal defeating camouflage & thermal defeating smoke screens have been around for over a decade.

    For vehicles, the worst problem is the exhaust, which is much harder to hide. There are several types of hot air dispersion with varying effectiveness.
     
  9. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Were not very effective in WW1 or 2.

    HMS Centurion was dressed up to resemble HMS Anson...But, the British "forgot" the castle-like superstructure of the KGV's. Centurion retained her "low" WW1 superstructure.

    Ex-SS Zealandic/ex SS Mamari was disguised as HMS Hermes.

    Note: 2 other merchant ships, the S.S. Pakeha and S.S. Waimana, were turned into the "R" class battleships, while Mamari was turned into Hermes.

    Apocryphal, Mamari(Hermes) was attacked by the Luftwaffe in 1941. While maneuvering to avoid the attack, she ran over a submerged wreck and was beached. Before she could be refloated, the Mamari(Hermes) was torpedoed and destroyed by German E-Boats.

    The Japanese had 14 armed merchant cruisers(more comparable to British AMCs than German Hilfkreuzers). While, they had some early successes, those that were not sunk, were soon recovered back to transports.
     
  10. Riter

    Riter Active Member

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    Takao - you seem knowledgeable. Jasper Maskelyne claimed to have camouflaged an old cruiser near the Nile (or was it Alexandria). What ship?
     
  11. Ricky

    Ricky Well-Known Member

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    My wife's Grandfather was in the Navy, he once told me about HMS Centurion being filled with cork shavings to make her harder to sink.
    No idea how true that was!
     
  12. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Never heard of it, but he is reported to have created the illusion of the Graf Spee sailing up the Thames using balloons, a model, and mirrors.

    Why camouflage an old cruiser? It would serve to attract bombs 5hat could be used against more important targets.

    Edit - He and his troupe built a fake Alexandria to decoy German night bombers.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2022
  13. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    True. But it had nothing to do with her use as a "decoy."

    The cork was added to unarmored spaces when HMS Centurion was converted in to a radio-controlled target vessel in 1926-27.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2022
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  14. Riter

    Riter Active Member

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    Takao - Maskelyne wanted to make a bigger ship, then supposedly disguised to to make it look like something the RN wanted to mislead the Germans. Any idea what ship? I couldn't figure it out but many of his claims are considered spurious.
     
  15. Ricky

    Ricky Well-Known Member

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    I'd love to see some of Maskelyne's work, the stories of what he did sound amazing, and really make me wonder how they were done
     
  16. Temujin

    Temujin Member

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    These are not great photos (US Army Records)…….but info and photo of camo on a hangar by covering it with soil and planting grass

    E955F54A-E505-49FB-8145-67B6AC4FB9C0.jpeg

    52B14C91-9CDE-4701-8D56-FE79C42CAD9D.jpeg
     
  17. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Like disguising a blimp flying over New York City as a poodle.
     
  18. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Look like Blister hangars.
     
  19. Riter

    Riter Active Member

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    How about early war Warner Bros studios with the painted studio roof, Lockeed Thataway! (with big arrow). The War Department was not amused and had it painted over. The camouflaging of Lockeed was rather clever with false streets and houses and fake trees on their rooftops.
     

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