United States Navy
Ships - 2

Supplement to second revision of Ships-2
March 1943


Description of New Measures


The chief purpose of this supplement is to provide better anti-submarine camouflage measures especially designed to meet present enemy tactics.

Three of the new measures are for protection against submarine observation and attack.  The fourth is a dark pattern anti-aircraft measure judged to be superior to  painting in a dark, plain color for protection against both high and low angle aircraft observation.

Since from periscope level, ships will be seen against a sky background, the new antisubmarine measures provide for the use of light shades of paint though no pure white is employed-nothing lighter than Pale-Gray (5-P) with a 55 percent reflectance.

The measures have been established with references a definitive brightness sequence, and classified in a manner they have the following percent reflectance:

Measure 23: Light Gray System; reflectance 37 percent.
Measure 33: Light Pattern System; average reflectance,       40 to 50 percent.
Measure 32: Medium Pattern System; average reflectance,  20 to 40 percent.
Measure 31: Dark Pattern System; average reflectance,       10 to 15 percent.

With the increased use of RADAR the approach to camouflage has changed, but its importance is far from being eliminated.  In cases where the target will first be detected by other than visual means, it is important to deceive the enemy as to type and course.  Since this can only be accomplished with pattern camouflage, that method  has been emphasized in this supplement.

A ship painted in uniform colors appears as a pattern of lights and darks caused by the shadows of its complex structure.  This inherent pattern betrays the identity and target angle of the ship.  Strictly speaking, the application of pattern camouflage does not add a pattern; it changes one that already exists.  Counter pattern applied with paint is the most logical way of falsifying the inherent pattern which is characteristic of each type of ship.

Such a method provides deception at close and medium ranges and possesses a capacity for reducing visibility at distant ranges which is generally not appreciated.  The shadows on a ship are almost always darker than the sky and in high visibility areas the only way in which the silhouette can be made to match the background is through skillful balancing of light paint areas to merge into a uniform tone at the visual resolving point.

A new type of design has been made possible by the increasing wide use of spray equipment in ship painting.  A number of patterns are included in this supplement which employ paint areas with soft contours or with a combination of soft and sharp edges.  In addition to its value for breaking up the outlines of a vessel this type of pattern  is believed greatly to increase the difficulty of focusing optical instruments.

Camouflage executed by the spray method is particularly suited for use when adapting a design to a vessel for which  it was not specifically prepared, as the exact location of the paint areas is not of such major importance.

A type of pattern commonly called disruptive is exemplified in Design 5A Plate XXXV where the color areas have sharply defined edges but are of irregular shape.  Such patterns are particularly effective against a shore background because they resemble  the curve of foliage or indefinite land formations.  Seen against either a sky or ocean background, such pattern produce the confusion due to partial visibility, part of the design being visible and part lost.  An expert designer could arrange the seemingly random shapes of the pattern so that they would produce course deception, but this can be more successfully accomplished by geometric designs containing straight lines and long sweeping curves.  Falsification of the appearance of  the ship's structure is better accomplished by the use of lines and shapes which are characteristic of the ship's structure.

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