Friday, November 9, 2012

Camouflaged Nebraska | Wolfgang Kring

USS Nebraska in Watson-Norfolk camouflage (1918)
Above World War I photograph of the USS Nebraska (1918), painted in an experimental camouflage scheme proposed by an American poster artist named F.M. Watson, who was the chief ship painter at the Norfolk Navy Yard in Norfolk VA.• In government documents, this system was referred to as the Watson-Norfolk plan. Photo Naval History and Heritage Command (NH 101208).

In recent years, as shown in the photos below, a German ship modeler named Wolfgang Kring has produced an amazing replica of the same strangely-painted ship.

Model of camouflaged USS Nebraska © Wolfgang Kring

• Several WWI posters by Watson are listed and described on the website for the Finding Aid of the WWI Poster Collection in the State Archives of North Carolina. Each time, he is cited as "F.M. Watson, Navy Yard Norfolk."


Heber Blankenhorn, Adventures in Propaganda: Letters from an Intelligence Officer in France. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1919, p. 3—

It's odd how childish and unbelievable camouflage makes the war seem. It makes it all look like the insane jest of the feeble-minded or a kid's toy. Man's war playthings—childish, ridiculous!

Finally, the convoying destroyers have come, tearing up out of a foggy, rainy, menacing deep—with terrific speed and bringing great comfort, but still looking like jokes—painted, restless insects.