Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Parades of Dazzle Camouflaged Floats

Ship Camouflage on Parade Float (c1918)
Above In the closing years of World War I, the American public's interest in camouflage (especially dazzle camouflage) was all but boundless. Examples of camouflage were included in nearly every parade, such as this float that features a dazzle-painted ship (as seen from the rear), surrounded by waves of papier maché. See also other photographs of camouflage-themed parade floats, as noted in an earlier post. We've since found descriptions of others.


CITY TANK IN LOAN PARADE in The Tacoma Times (Tacoma WA), April 6, 1918, p. 8—

One of the novel features of Saturday's Liberty Parade was a miniature "tank" furnished by the city streets department. The tank was built from a new caterpillar tractor just purchased by the city. Although the caterpillar tread of the city machine does not go over the top of the body, as it does in the battle tanks, the machine was camouflaged by scenic designers so that it bore a startling resemblance to the new war terrors. It was armed with a half dozen fierce-looking guns. Commissioner [of Public Works Charles D.] Atkins announced that he would guide the city tank through the streets.


CAMOUFLAGED TANKS PARADE ST. LOUIS in the Oklahoma City Times, April 10, 1919, p. 4—

St. Louis, April 10—Twenty camouflaged tanks, similar to those used at the front, paraded through the business section today as part of a reception in honor of Major General Leonard Wood, commander of the central department of the army, who is in St, Louis in the interest of the coming Victory loan campaign. The tanks were operated by returned soldiers.


BATTLESHIP FLOAT OF MARINE ELECTRICAL WORKERS IN PARADE in The Boston Globe, September 3, 1918, p. 7 (see news photograph below)—

One of the most striking features of the parade was the float of the Marine Electrical Workers of America—the Navy Yard local union. This was a model of a battleship, about 50 feet long and 20 feet high, with wireless cracking and guns shooting confetti.

Another attractive float was that of the Painters' Association from the Navy Yard, showing a camouflaged torpedo boat destroyer model, over which was hung the inscription, "This Is How We Fool the Kaiser's U-Boats."

Dazzle Ship Float in Boston Parade (1918)