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.

    WWII saw another kind of strange history unfold: a meme (yes, really). Watch our video on it here: http://bit.ly/2Co9DEu

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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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  • Vox
    Vox  6 months ago +528

    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

  • mxferro
    mxferro  2 hours ago

    The zigzags made it difficult to determine direction..orientation...sizes..defined shapes...etc. It broke up the silhouette

  • akidin06
    akidin06  3 days ago

    looks like the opposite of camo

  • definitelyNotBrandonInUrSchol

    Thumbnail why is there a arrow so weird what were you pointing at i didnt see anything

  • lamo xD
    lamo xD  15 days ago

    Where are the ships

  • Dax Lehman
    Dax Lehman  21 days ago


  • Stephen Arugay
    Stephen Arugay  24 days ago

    Olympic was dazzled to be a troopship in ww1 and worked perfectly. the Olympic survived for a really long time while Brittanic (titanic's 3rd sister) was sunk and Olympic on the other hand got scrapped with Cunard Line's own ship the Mauretania which was a troopship as well but was not dazzled (but how did she survive?)

  • Siladitya Sen
    Siladitya Sen  24 days ago

    609 WW veterans from the allied U-boats have disliked the video...

  • Joe0400
    Joe0400  25 days ago

    Today dazzling is used in the auto industry to hide body shapes on cars like this

  • Wasbor [Yuan]
    Wasbor [Yuan]  26 days ago

    What ships??

  • Trey Hunt's SkyRed Media

    I like purple, I would to serve on a purple boat, sir.

  • Evan Cornell
    Evan Cornell  26 days ago

    I ironically learned about Dazzle Camo a few years back via Dywane Wade.

  • TomCook1993
    TomCook1993  27 days ago

    Só what’s the next chapter? Why’d it stop

  • Will-I-Am-Not
    Will-I-Am-Not  28 days ago

    give em the ol' razzle dazzle

  • Jay Rana
    Jay Rana  a months ago

    Navy Commander: We need new ideas to help hide our ships while crossing the Atlantic.
    Camofleur, from the back of the room: just *razzle dazzle* em

  • mradhayuda1
    mradhayuda1  1 months ago

    I didnt see its coming

  • Joseph Youdontneedtoknowmylastnameski

    Goes to deer camp, doesn’t know any of the hunters, walks up to the fire at night, ten camouflaged hunters sitting around having a beer. I say, “So, your all Camofluers?” Even the crickets stop chirping. Gets in my truck dressed like a tree.......and leaves. 😉

  • ItzMeDude
    ItzMeDude  1 months ago

    IT is so you can Get that boost from WOWS