Saturday, February 15, 2014

Town & Country Car Camouflage

Town and country camouflage (1940)
The following news article, titled CAMOUFLAGE OF CARS: Must Be Different from Services, appeared in the Glasgow Herald (Scotland) on August 12, 1940—

The Minister of Transport has made an Order prohibiting as from August 25 the use on any highway by an unauthorized person of any vehicle so painted or otherwise treated as to cause it to resemble a camouflaged vehicle in the service of the Armed Forces.

The Ministry advise the use of any neutral color other than the grays and khaki adopted by the Services. Glossy surfaces and light colors should be avoided.

A method advocated by the British Industrial Design Group, which may appeal to car owners of an artistic temperament is that one half of the car, divided longitudinally, should be painted to harmonize with the country and the other half with the town.

In an air attack the car, if it is in the country, can then be driven up against a hedge or bushes with the town camouflage screened, or, if in town, close to a building or wall with the country background hidden.

A photograph of this town and country camouflage scheme (shown above) was published, with the headline TOWN AND COUNTRY CAMOUFLAGE FOR BRITISH AUTOS, in the Pittsburgh Press on September 15 of the same year. The caption for the photo reads—

As a war effort contribution the British industrial designers have worked out a method for camouflaging private autos. One side of the car is painted to blend with "town" backgrounds, the other with country. In the picture a "town" merges into a building background.


Car camouflage has not always proven successful. The October 11, 1943 issue of the Deseret News (Salt Lake City UT) featured the following story, with the heading CAMOUFLAGE GOOD TO CERTAIN POINT

DENVER— Pvt. [John Doe] was preparing today to return to the the army's camouflage school at Camp Maxey TX for some more lessons.

Pvt. [Doe], masquerading as a bed, was arrested in Denver for questioning in connection with the possession of a weirdly painted automobile, reported stolen from an officer at Camp Maxey.

Officers of the auto theft division said they trailed [Doe] to his room, but on searching the premises they could find no trace of the soldier. The police then sat down on a bed to ponder the whereabouts of [Doe], and suddenly the bed collapsed and out scrambled the soldier.

[Doe] said he had utilized his army training and "protective screened" himself when he heard them enter his room. 

Prior to the failure of his bed disguise, Pvt. [Doe] had had quite some success as a camouflage artist. He told police that he had "tired of army life" last August, stepped unnoticed into an army officer's car, and drove, still unnoticed, out the camp gates.

Hearing a radio broadcast, in Liberal KS, that he was wanted. [Doe] decided to paint his car according to army camouflage standards. However, the strangely painted car was noticed by police and led to his arrest.


Here's yet another example, titled CAMOUFLAGE JAILS HIM, from the Milwaukee Sentinel on August 23, 1960—

NEW YORK—Police said a gunman who robbed two cars knew nothing about camouflage.

He had blond hair, wore a yellow shirt and drove away from the holdups in a bright yellow car. Two patrolmen spotted the car and arrested [John Hancock] 30, on charges of robbery and illegal possession of a weapon.