PaintSquare.com
Follow us on Twitter Follow us on LinkedIn Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram Visit the TPC Store
Search the site

 

Advertisement

Sherwin-Williams


Coatings Industry News

Main News Page


A Dazzling Homage to Camouflage

Monday, July 28, 2014

More items for Coating Materials

Comment | More

Hiding in plain sight has always been a crafty ruse, but if you want to completely confuse the enemy, you need to razzle-dazzle him.

That was the battle-tested theory behind the Dazzle Ship, a bracingly brazen camouflage concept used by the British Admiralty and U.S. Navy in World Wars I and II.

Now, the bold deception is back in technicolor, with a newly painted Dazzle Ship at the Albert Dock in Liverpool, England.

EdmundGardner
Technology Publishing Co.

The pilot ship Edmund Gardner, at Albert Dock in Liverpool, received Dazzle Ship treatment this summer in a new commemorative coating project designed to honor the disruptive marine camouflage technique used in World Wars I and II.

A century after the beginning of World War I, the pilot ship Edmund Gardner has been repainted in classic Dazzle Ship style by Venezuelan artist Carolos Cruz-Diez with screamingly bright multi-colored stripes.

The pilot cutter once ensured the safe passage of shipping into and out of Liverpool. Today, it is owned and conserved by the Merseyside Maritime Museum.

The new painting project, completed this summer, was co-commissioned by Liverpool Biennial, 14-18 NOW, WW1 Centenary Art Commissions and Tate Liverpool, in partnership with the museum. Tours of the ship are available.

Dreaming Up Dazzle

Credit for the Dazzle Ship technique is usually given to British maritime painter Norman Wilkinson, who was serving in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve in 1917 when he suggested the idea.

JohnGrahamKerr NormanWilkinson
Wikimedia Commons

Credit for the Dazzle Ship's "disruptive camouflage" is shared by Scottish naturalist John Graham Kerr (left) and British maritime painter Norman Wilkinson.

Others credit Scottish naturalist John Graham Kerr, who reportedly suggested to then-First Sea Lord Winston Churchill in September 1914 that "disruptive coloration" could be used to camouflage various vessels, according to a 2009 Forbes report.

Standing Out

In any case, while marine camouflage has taken many other forms over history, with varying success—black, white and light gray (to blend into the horizon), false bows, Flotta polygons, sea blue (to conceal from aircraft)—the Dazzle approach literally, deliberately stands out.

Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. embraced Dazzle Ship designs. Top: A sample design for merchant marine vessels. Bottom: The USS Charles S. Sperry in 1944.

By painting ships in bright colors and a wild variety of patterns—zigzags, zebra stripes, animal prints or chaotic designs—and countershading the guns into the background, navies could obscure the ship's lines and even distort visual estimates of its distance and course. The goal was more to confuse than conceal.

(Even Pablo Picasso was supposedly bedazzled by the idea. The Public Domain Review reports that the painter's Cubist technique was inspired by his view of a Dazzle-camouflaged cannon rumbling through the streets of Paris.)

The Power of Confusion

The Allied Navies gave the technique a try after they were unable to develop an effective way to disguise ships in all kinds of weather, The Public Domain Review reports.

HMS Belfast
Wikimedia Commons

Edward Wadsworth's 1919 Dazzle-ships in Drydock at Liverpool honors the camouflage that confused, rather than concealed.

Both the Royal Navy and U.S. Navy both used Dazzle Ships in World War I and, to a lesser extent, in World War II.

Other navies also experimented with the concept, inspired by Kerr's insights to Churchill:

"It is essential to break up the regularity of outline and this can be easily effected by strongly contrasting shades ... a giraffe or zebra or jaguar looks extraordinarily conspicuous in a museum but in nature, especially when moving, is wonderfully difficult to pick up."

   

Tagged categories: Color; Design; Historic Preservation; Historic Structures; Marine; Marine Coatings; Shipyards

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Advertisements
 
BASF
 
New resins from BASF will have metals loving water!
 
Excellent corrosion resistance, low VOC, high gloss, thin films www.basf.us/industrialcoatings dpsolutions@basf.com 800-231-7868
 

 
Mitsubishi Gas Chemical America
 
Performance Amine 1,3-BAC
 
A highly reactive cycloaliphatic diamine offering superior performance. Reasonable cost and curing efficacy makes it suitable for all types of epoxy resin applications.
 

 
SAFE Systems, Inc.
 
Portable Blast &
Recovery Equipment
 
Trailer or skid mounted blast and recovery equipment. Systems designed for maximum versatility, environmental compliance
and overall cost savings.
Call 1-800-634-7278
 

 
Novatek Corporation
 
Dustless Coatings Removal
 
Novatek Corporation, Dustless Coatings Removal Strip, clean and profile all dust free! Comply with new lead standards. Contact today: (866) 563-7800 www.Novatekco.com
 

 
Jotun Paints Inc.
 
Jotun Jotachar 1709
 
Mesh-free passive fire protection epoxy designed to protect against hydrocarbon pool fire scenarios for up to four hours as defined in the ANSI/UL1709 standard.
 

 
Carboline Company
 
New product: Carbozinc® 608 HB
 
Introducing a new high build zinc-rich primer that can save you time and money by eliminating the epoxy intermediate coat!
 

 
US Minerals
 
Blast with the best
 
The most effective blasting media on the market, Black Diamond hits harder and cleans faster.
 

 
DeFelsko Corporation
 
PosiTector SST Soluble Salt Tester
 
Measures the concentration of soluble salts on metal surfaces. Use with all Bresle patch types including the reusable, adhesive-free PosiPatch.
 

 
Blastox/The TDJ Group, Inc.
 
Blastox® - One Step Lead Abatement
 
Sandblast additive delivered to jobsite pre-blended to eliminate hazardous abrasive wastes. Why mix, meter or apply at the job-site? Blast with ease and
Let your painters paint!
1(800)-252-7869
 

 
ABKaelin, LLC
 
ABKAELIN EH&S SERVICES
 
Programs/Training/Monitoring for Silica, Lead, Noise, Beryllium, Hexavalent Chromium, Cadmium, Hazardous Waste*PM10 & TSP-Lead Ambient Air Monitoring*SSPC C3/C5
 

 
 
 

Technology Publishing Co., 1501 Reedsdale Street, Suite 2008, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

TEL 1-412-431-8300  • FAX  1-412-431-5428  •  EMAIL webmaster@paintsquare.com


The Technology Publishing Network

Durability + Design PaintSquare the Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings Paint BidTracker

 
EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About PaintSquare.com   |   Privacy Policy (Updated 5/24/2018)   |   Terms & Conditions   |   Support   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us