Ship Camouflage - Second World War

Second World War

Some two-color paint schemes attempted to harmonize with both sea and sky near the horizon. The US Navy painted some ships dark gray with white structures above bridge level. Both the US Navy and the Royal Navy painted ships dark gray on the hull and light gray on the superstructure and turrets. USN measure 12 was a graded System with sea blue low on the hull below the first continuous deck, with ocean gray above that. The top of the masts were painted haze gray. This measure was modified with ocean gray above navy blue low on the hull below the first continuous deck (painted parallel to the waterline rather than the main deck). This bold contrast on a horizontal line near the horizon reduced visibility to surface observers and created the illusion of greater range. This camouflage was considered most effective for gunnery engagements with surface units or shore batteries in areas where aerial observation was unlikely. It was used in the Atlantic and European coastal waters from the end of 1942 through the end of World War II. It was worn by shore bombardment ships in the Pacific from late 1944 after the destruction of Japanese naval aviation capability at the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Similar Admiralty standard schemes were applied beginning in 1944 when it was assumed enemy forces would have radar. Ships were painted light gray overall, except for a sea blue patch low on the hull, either between the main gun turrets or the entire length of the hull.

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