Saturday, November 28, 2015

German Ship Camouflage (Tarnung)

Camouflaged WWII German minesweeper
Above (and below) photographs of disruptively patterned WWII German ships (called Sperrbrecher) used for detecting enemy mines or minesweeping (c1941). One often hears that disruptive ship camouflage was all but phased out in WWII, or that the patterns were more restrained than previously, but some German ships (such as minesweepers) were conspicuous deviations from that. Comparable examples can also be found in German WWI ship camouflage.


Anon, CAMOUFLAGED SHIP AND FREIGHTER COME CLOSE TO COLLIDING IN RIVER, in The Republican-Journal (Ogdensburg NY), August 23, 1918, p. 8—

A camouflaged ship, en route eastward on the St Lawrence River, and a large freighter bound westward, narrowly escaped collision near Brockville [NY] about 6 o'clock Tuesday evening. The proper signals were sounded, it is stated, but for some unknown reason they were misunderstood.


Anon, CAMOUFLAGE WOULD SAVE SHIP, in The Pulaski Democrat (Pulaski NY), September 17, 1919, p. 6—

A submarine can spot a ship five miles away, estimate its course, submerge and later intercept it. But this ship might have a keel painted fifty feet down its side and the actual keel blocked out. This would give it the appearance of traveling in a course that was quite off the actual course. The calculations of the submarine would be quite wrong and the ship would not be intercepted at all. It would be saved by the deception of its camouflage.