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.

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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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  • Source: https://youtu.be/zDbq7y20wpw


  • Vox

     (Feb 27, 2018)

    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

  • MRGamers CJX

     (Nov 30, 2018)

    Interesting ship don't use camouflage because the ship is too big will still able to see it from far away but is for submarines to confuse them. Smart idea.

  • Máté Rudas

     (Nov 12, 2018)

    What is tge name of the piece that starts at 3:05

  • Alicia Mn

     (Feb 27, 2018)

    Vox teaching me more history than my school does

  • kalvin john

     (Jan 30, 2019)

    Nirbhay Thacker that's offenseive

  • Adrian Curiale

     (Jan 15, 2019)

    My elementary taught this

  • BanditRants

     (Feb 27, 2018)

    As a video editor, I love the edits here on Vox.

  • Gappie Al Kebabi

     (Dec 6, 2018)

    no one cares about your self-claimed career..

  • Random Alien

     (Feb 27, 2018)

    Why are there people who disliked this video?

  • Asher R.

     (Feb 11, 2019)

    every video has dislikes, it's really not that unusual

  • ja b'aaron kowalski

     (Jan 28, 2019)

    that isnt even a valid question

  • Rivdogg

     (Feb 27, 2018)

    If the titanic had dazzle paint the iceberg wouldn’t see it tho

  • Snake_XIX

     (2 days ago)

    The iceberg was a paid actor hired by Russia through Trump

  • Staitz

     (Jan 30, 2019)

    Harry Baker r/wooooooosh

  • Jock Lucas

     (Feb 27, 2018)

    This video said it was about ships yet I didn't see a single one the whole time?? Another Vox rip off...

  • Joseph Delahunty

     (Jan 27, 2019)

    It’s a camouflage joke fools

  • Kucing Menangos

     (Jan 8, 2019)

    Lmao camo

  • mneonew87

     (Feb 27, 2018)

    Dazzle camouflage is actively used on car prototypes driving around in the wild, to make it harder for rivaling car producers to copy prototypes.

  • McC Alexander

     (Jan 5, 2019)

    +Abid M in addition to what mmmakee said the customer could decide to look elsewhere now that they're waiting and lose the sale altogether.

  • antsolja

     (Oct 20, 2018)

    idk why they do that cos it doesnt work lol

  • Michael Miller

     (Feb 27, 2018)

    Titanic's sister ships Brittanic and Olympic were used in the war, and Olympic had one of these "disruptive" camouflages. Just another fun fact from an enthusiast.

  • Kevin Coffey

     (Oct 7, 2018)

    Michael Miller yeah true

  • Stunallypp Stars

     (Feb 27, 2018)

    *_What ship? I don’t see any._*

  • Zaki Hibatulwafi R

     (Dec 2, 2018)


  • Nicolas Sousa

     (Jul 12, 2018)

    I just see weird lines wtf

  • oriana garrido

     (Feb 27, 2018)

    Imagine you are just there being a cubist painter and then suddenly a man comes at the door yelling"I NEED YOU TO PAINT A SHIP!!"

  • •TheKaisTzar •

     (Jan 29, 2019)