Wednesday, October 21, 2020

as conspicuous as a barber pole, and equally illusive

B.B. Henderson, US Ambulance Service, in DODGING THE KAISERS’ U-BOATS: How a Honolulan Going to France Crossed the Atlantic—Convoy Fleet Changed Positions—Something About Camouflage—The Real Thing, in Honolulu Star Bulletin (Hawaii), February 16, 1918—

…[The armed escort of our ship convoy] is a cruiser, converted from a passenger boat, big, speedy, heavily armed and camouflaged [not shown here]. (That word is too new to know what part of speech it really is, so on board it is a matter of personal preference.) The color and form of the paintings on the side of that boat would make any “cubist” artist green with envy. 

USS West Galeta (c1918), digital coloration









It is the last word in camouflage and marvelously effective. It’s as conspicuous as a barber pole but at a very short distance its outline disappears and it is impossible to get a line on what direction she is traveling.

Norman Wilkinson, dazzle-painted ship ventilators