Why ships used this camouflage in World War I

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  • Published on:  Tuesday, February 27, 2018
  • Dazzle camouflage was fantastically weird. It was also surprisingly smart.

    WWII saw another kind of strange history unfold: a meme (yes, really). Watch our video on it here: http://bit.ly/2Co9DEu

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    Dazzle camouflage was a surprisingly effective defense against torpedoes. In this episode of Vox Almanac, Phil Edwards explains why.

    World War I ships faced a unique problem. The u-boat was a new threat at the time, and its torpedoes were deadly. That led artist Norman Wilkinson to come up with dazzle camouflage (sometimes called “razzle dazzle camouflage”). The idea was to confuse u-boats about a ship’s course, rather than try to conceal its presence. In doing so, dazzle camouflage could keep torpedoes from hitting the boat — and that and other strategies proved a boon in World War I.

    This camouflage is unusual, but its striking appearance influenced the culture, inspired cubist painters’ riffs, and even entered into the world of fashion. Though dazzle camouflage lost its utility once radar and other detection techniques took over from u-boat periscopes, for a brief period in time it was an effective and unusual way to help ships stay safe.

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  • Vox
    Vox  a years ago +742

    WWII saw another kind of strange history unfold: Kilroy – a meme (yes, really) – traveled the globe with servicemembers. He even makes an appearance in this video: http://bit.ly/2Co9DEu

  • Jerry Rice
    Jerry Rice  28 days ago


  • Darth Krul
    Darth Krul  a months ago

    someone show us a tape of this ship moving so i know how it works

  • Lixdy_ Gutter
    Lixdy_ Gutter  a months ago +1

    Dazzle is not designed to hide the ship like the grey one's, it's actually meant to confuse the observer, dazzle makes it harder to determine the aspect of a vessel.

  • Megawave79 _
    Megawave79 _  a months ago

    Why are you only showing pictures of water and calling it a ship???

    WAKE ME UP INSIDE  a months ago

    cool but y do u show pictures of water?

  • Mozzarella Cheese
    Mozzarella Cheese  a months ago

    U-boat: *fires torpedo*

    Also u-boat: **misses**.

    Captain: HAH your underwater sausages are no match for me

  • Bitten_By_Frost
    Bitten_By_Frost  a months ago

    dazzles myself so people can't tell my next move

  • Matthew Tian
    Matthew Tian  a months ago

    2 of the pictures of ships fought in ww2

  • Kermit the Mutant Levitating Frog

    ayyy its the Teutonic

  • Firephone1
    Firephone1  a months ago +4

    What are u talking about there’s nothing on the screen ?

  • iiJason124
    iiJason124  2 months ago

    What ships?

  • Dennis Menace
    Dennis Menace  2 months ago

    Why? So it's harder to detect them

  • Depot msa
    Depot msa  2 months ago

    there's a building painted camo in wynwood and inside the place it has this history

  • Lumberjack king the great

    Zebra boat spread it like

  • Lumberjack king the great

    Zebra. Boat

  • Lumberjack king the great

    Zebra boat

  • Baby Jason
    Baby Jason  2 months ago +1

    RMS Olympic had been in ww1

  • Fchaaa LOL
    Fchaaa LOL  2 months ago

    Its called angle on bow (AOB)

  • Muhammd Yousuf
    Muhammd Yousuf  2 months ago

    Why are you showing pictures of empty oceans