Ship Camouflage Instructions
United States Navy
Ships - 2 
Revision 2
Bureau of Ships
June 1942

Camouflage Paints



The Munsell Book of Color, as used by the Bureau of Standards, the Naval Research Laboratory, and the Bureau of Ships, has been found to be the most practical means for specifying and matching colors for camouflage.  The letters of the Munsell notation refer to the hue, the first number refers to the reflection factor, and the second number refers to the degree of purity of the hue, that is, the absence of gray.

Reflection Factor.

The percent of incident light reflected from a surface is an accurate method of describing the lightness or darkness of that surface.  It naturally follows that a light paint has a larger percent of reflection than a dark paint.  This percent may be called the reflection factor.  The reflection factor is independent of the color (hue) of the surface.  It may specify a neutral gray which has no hue.


Gloss is the power of a surface to reflect light specularly, which means like a mirror, and a surface which is not glossy is said to be matt. A convenient method of measuring gloss is based on the ratio of the amount of light reflected at an angle of 60 degrees from the surface in question to the amount reflected at the same angle from polished black glass.  This scale has been used in the accompanying table.  High gloss is very objectionable in camouflage paint.


The camouflage systems established to date require the use of white and five colors.  Samples of the colors, enclosed in an envelope, accompany this book.  Deck Blue paint, for all surface vessels except carriers, and Aircraft Carrier Deck Stain, are supplied ready-mixed from the Navy Yards.  Navy Blue, Ocean Gray and Haze Gray paints are made by adding to 5 gallons of white untinted base (5-Ua) the stated number of pints of dark blue-black tinting material (5-TMa) listing in the table below.  Thayer Blue is made by mixing 5 gallons of 5-Ua with a special tinting material (5-BTM) in the proportions given below:

Color Formula Munsell Reflection 
Gloss Number of Pints
In Mixture
Navy Blue 5-N PB 3.4/3 9% 4 15 pints of 5-TMa
Ocean Gray 5-O PB 5/3 18% 3 5 pints of 5-TMa
Haze Gray 5-H PB 6/2 28% 3 2 pints of 5-TMa
Deck Blue 20-B PB 3/4 7% 11 Issued ready-mixed
Thayer Blue 5-B PB 8/2 50% 3 1 pints of 5-BTM

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