TIL dazzle camouflage is a type of ship camouflage which uses complex patterns of geometric shapes in contrasting colors to conceal the ship’s range, speed and heading. There is limited evidence that it works but it did catch the attention of artists including Picasso.

Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dazzle_camouflage

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  1. It was effective before the use of radar. Submarines used measurements taken visually (this is what the markings you see in periscopes in old movies are for) combined with sonar information. These measurements are taken repeatedly over time and compared to mathematically compute the targets speed, bearing, and heading. This is then used to calculate the targeting information for the torpedoes.

    The dazzle camouflage makes it harder to get that data accurately which increases the chance of a miss. Even a small error can result in a miss when targeting in this manner.

    It was all rendered moot with radar and developments in seeker-warheads for the torpedoes.

  2. Orchestrail Manouvrs in the Dark (OMD – wrote the song “If You Leave”) has an album called Dazzle Ships. It’s the weirdest album they ever put out.

  3. Dazzle camouflage isn’t really about concealing the presence of ships like other kinds of camouflage. It goes back to pre-radar days when range finding was done by sight and the geometric shapes made it far harder to judge the distance to the ship, which way the ship was facing and even which way the ship was moving.

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