An online database of camouflage used by 
United State Naval Warships during WWII

Measure 4 Black System
(Source: Ships-2 January 1941)

Sample Drawing of MS4 Camouflage Scheme

Vertical Surfaces:

Paint all vertical surfaces, such as sides of hull, sides of superstructure, stacks, masts (but not pole masts) etc., 
Black formula 82.

All approximately vertical surfaces above the top of the stacks shall be painted Light Gray 5-L.  

Horizontal Surfaces:

All horizontal surfaces except wood decks shall be painted Dark Gray 5-D.  The systems differ only in the painting of the vertical surfaces.  In case of doubt, as on sloping surfaces, use Dark Gray 5-D.


The camouflage painting need not be exact or carried into corners.  Small gear, wires, rigging, and areas permanently in shadow, as under boats, etc., need not be painted with the camouflage colors.  There is no objection to exact or careful painting which may be desired for the sake of good appearance at close range.

All bright or shiny objects, no matter how insignificant, shall be painted, covered, or removed.

Glass windows shall be covered or removed, especially during the day in sunny weather, and at night when anticipating searchlight discovery.  Insofar as conditions permit, similar precautions shall be taken on airport lenses.

Wood Decks.

Wood decks, except on submarines, shall not be darkened pending further instructions.  The best paint or stain for this purpose is being investigated.