Thursday, 1 May 2008

Razzle dazzle

HMT Olympic photographed during WWI

This is the 200th post so i thought a bit of razzle dazzle was needed :-) I spotted this on one of the forums i visit and i think it's a fascinating image. The ship is the RMS Olympic, the sister ship of the famous Titanic that sank in 1912. This ship was 882.5 feet (269m) long which gives you an idea of the work involved painting the ship....and this wasn't the only dazzle camouflage scheme used.

The camouflage was called dazzle, designed by Norman Wilkinson, although various other artists were put to work designing camouflage schemes during the First World War. The purpose of the dazzle paintwork was to confuse and not hide the ship; the aim was for the patterns to disrupt the visual rangefinders on enemy ships and U-boats from estimating distance and speed accurately.

Did it work? Well, some believed it did and others weren't so sure, but it was improvements in optical rangefinders and the introduction of radar technology that eventually finished off the groovy paint jobs. I think the Royal Navy should bring it back!

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