Have you ever heard of dazzle camouflage? I hadn’t heard of it until today*, but it’s super interesting.

Dazzle camouflage was used a lot in WWI, mainly on ships.  It is not designed to conceal a target but rather to make it difficult to estimate how far away it is, how fast it’s going, and where it’s going – thus making it difficult to fire upon it. The idea is to paint the object with complex patterns and geometric shapes that cross and zigzag and basically mess up perspective. Here are some pics:




So did it work? Apparently it’s hard to know. There were some analyses done based on WWI data, but too many confounding factors made it difficult to be able to conclude definitively that dazzle camouflage was advantageous over any other painting scheme. Still interesting, though!

*I was looking up scintillating scotomas and they mentioned that sometimes the shimmering looks like the patterns in dazzle camouflage. Which is true.

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