Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dazzle Camouflage.

Dazzle camouflage, also known as Razzle Dazzle or Dazzle painting, was a camouflage paint scheme used on ships, extensively during World War I and to a lesser extent in World War II. Credited to artist Norman Wilkinson, it consisted of a complex pattern of geometric shapes in contrasting colours, interrupting and intersecting each other.

At first glance Dazzle seems unlikely camouflage, drawing attention to the ship rather than hiding it, but this technique was developed after the Allied Navies were unable to develop effective means to disguise ships in all weather.
Dazzle did not conceal the ship but made it difficult for the enemy to estimate its type, size, speed and heading. The idea was to disrupt the visual rangefinders used for naval artillery. Its purpose was confusion rather than concealment. An observer would find it difficult to know exactly whether the stern or the bow is in view; and it would be equally difficult to estimate whether the observed vessel is moving towards or away from the observer's position.

Dazzle camouflage is a perfect combination of pop art and military technology which makes it a winner in my book. Here are a few common (and some not so common) examples.


  1. I once designed an exhibit for the WWII battleship USS West Virginia and we painted the walls with the exact dazzle camo pattern and colors from the period. It was awesome, and really fun. Great post!