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Ermintruder

The greatest risk is to risk nothing at all...
Joined
Jul 13, 2013
Messages
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Something that never fails to amaze me is the vast and frequently-contradictory designs of camouflage seen woven or printed into the uniforms of the world's armed forces. Whilst the logic in a leap from red to khaki is inarguably-sound, it seems there has been from then onwards an almost-infinite range of opinions available as to what constitutes military semivisibility.
https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2018/11/the-art-and-evolution-of-military-camouflage/

Whilst these designs probably become almost technofetishist in their selection and use, it's curious to consider that in many ways, opposing armies upon the field of battle should (of course) be attempting to appear similiarly-invisible to each-other.

In other words, the tactical evolution has been (over time) from convergent mud-smeared hairy mis-shapen spear-shakers, through divergent wode/shiny-armour/redcoats/penninsular greens& blacks, through blue vs grey ACW, sliding back via grey vs brown WW1+2, inexorably back towards convergent camouflaged sniper-suited riflemen.

The only time armies are now of a usefully-different colour-scheme is upon chessboards, or wargamers' tables (either physical or online.

I am always struck by the clever inverted symmetry of camouflage used on a number of WW2 fighter aircraft- a bold dark mottled upper and side surface of a few geoconvincing colours, and the underbody/underwings painted the same shade as the sky. In so doing, the designers were trying to emulate nature, and better the evolved colorways of the animal& insect worlds (the straight horizontal transition line along the fuselage between the lower layer of sky-blue, and the brown:green of the upper parts, creating a mini inverse flat horizon line that helped melt away the metal birds of death in the fire-filled skies).

I've not yet been able to find-out more about the fabled coaldust-encrusted superblack paint used (allegedly) on bombers and nightfighters, which was meant to absorb the search-beams sweeping the night sky. This may have been just another part of that by far most-potent weapon of war: reputational presumed capability, or, inferred differential advantage.
 
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...the fabled coaldust-encrusted superblack paint used (allegedly) on bombers and nightfighters...

Opinions varied concerning camouflage for nightfighters. The WWII Luftwaffe did a lot of experimentation, and found that the apparently obvious choice of black was less than optimal. The night is rarely that dark, and all-black planes tend to show up as silhouettes.

The scheme they came up with is seen below on a Heinkel 219:

main01.jpg


“...the fabled coaldust-encrusted superblack paint used (allegedly) on bombers and nightfighters...”

Are you thinking of the radar-absorbent iron ball paint used on stealth aircraft?

maximus otter
 
the apparently obvious choice of black was less than optimal. The night is rarely that dark, and all-black planes tend to show up as silhouettes.

True....however, it is worth noting that Special Forces helicopters (and tactically-located personnel) do often still tend to wear....black. Modern-day ninja...

Conversely, so-called 'urban camos' worn by a number of the world's specialist paramilitary police teams (known publicly by the 'SWAT' name) appear to have gone away from digitised dots and grey:blue splinters towards big-block blacks and barely-blacks, with arms/legs/patch-pockets made of both totally-different & slightly-contrasting colour combos. I had seen pictures of German GSG9 operatives effectively-wearing such an odd garb, it looked so weird (appropriately, I now can't find the pictures anywhere...)


they came up with is seen below on a Heinkel 219:
Was unfamiliar with that colourscheme, that's >very< effective. Curiously, the darker blotches must represent small clusters of clouds against a wider twilight sky.

Are you thinking of the radar-absorbent iron ball paint used on stealth aircraft?
No, nothing so non-visually contemporary, there was meant to be a literal coaldust/carbon-charcoal based paint used to coat the underside of eg Lancasters and Blenheims. It was meant to have been highly-effective, but it may have been a mythical advantage (like eating carrots for night vision, or melting-down garden railings to make battleships)
 
Dazzle-camouflage, often seen on Great War-era ships, and to a lesser degree vessels of the Second War, always looks striking.

The theory being that it's pretty difficult to conceal a warship (notice how I didn't write 'battleship', journos ..) within anything like the range that it might be engaged, but you can obfuscate the identifying factors that reveal what kind of ship it is, and make reliable calculations about its speed and heading more challenging.

It also looks great:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dazzle_camouflage

Nice gallery here:
https://io9.gizmodo.com/an-illustrated-history-of-unbelievably-camouflaged-ship-676257937/amp
 
... there was meant to be a literal coaldust/carbon-charcoal based paint used to coat the underside of eg Lancasters and Blenheims. It was meant to have been highly-effective, but it may have been a mythical advantage (like eating carrots for night vision, or melting-down garden railings to make battleships)

You may be referring to the Night and Special Night paints used during WW2.

The differences between the RDM2/ RDM2a Special Night and the DTD 308 Night finishes... the DTD 308 was the original night camouflage colour introduced in 1937. It was a mixture of Carbon Black and Ultramarine pigments which gave it very dark grey or gunmetal appearance. From September 1939 it began to be superseded by Special Night which used only Carbon Black pigment of a size larger than that used in other paints. This was intended to give it a very matt finish, hence the term special. It was often described as a sooty black. The difference between RDM 2 and RDM 2a was chemical only and there was no difference in their appearance. There were two problems with the new RDM 2 finish. It had a detrimental affect on the aircraft's performance and it wore away very easily, often due to faulty application. Because RMD 2 was in short supply, DTD 308 was sometimes used as an undercoat. As the RMD 2 wore away the aircraft became very patchy, the DTD 308 being smoother and shinier.

NOTE: I read elsewhere that the incorporation of Ultramarine in the earlier Night finish was solely for the purpose of rendering the Carbon Black paint more durable. It appears this durability issue arose again when they switched to the Carbon Black-only Special Night finish.
 
One of the more unusual camouflage colours - pink. This was used on reconnaissance spitfires to help them blend in with clouds. I recall it was also used during the Gulf War on some aircraft to blend in with the pinkish desert sand
Why World War II spy planes used pink camouflage

Esther Inglis-Arkell
1/03/12 3:27pm
Filed to: OPTICS
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18lp2x6bx89ygjpg.jpg

World War II marked a time of great innovation, which was sometimes practical and sometimes loony. Those two kinds of innovation came together when great military minds decided that to keep an airplane from being spotted, they needed to paint it pink. Find out why a pink aircraft can get lost in the sky.
etc
https://io9.gizmodo.com/why-world-war-ii-spy-planes-used-pink-camouflage-5872484

A Tornado in Desert Storm camouflage

X-Tornado-Pink-Camo.jpg
 
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...you can obfuscate the identifying factors that reveal what kind of ship it is...

Late in WWII, the British managed to shoehorn the excellent 17-pounder anti- tank gun into an M4 Sherman tank, producing the Firefly. This was - if only in firepower - a match for Panthers and Tigers.

The problem was the enormously long gun barrel, which made the one Firefly per troop of Shermans stand out like a pregnant nun. German tank crews weren’t daft, and soon learned of the threat posed by Fireflies. To minimise the size of the metaphorical bullseye between their shoulder blades, Firefly crews used a clever paint scheme to cloak the apparent size of the gun:

firefly.jpg


A camo scheme l’d be interested in trying while stalking is the All Season All Terrain, or ASAT, scheme:

X-71VJG-UGIWL._SL1200_.jpg


The rationale behind it is that many schemes with fine detail, even photorealistic ones like Realtree, “blob out” when seen from a distance, and just look like a plain, dark colour. ASAT, with its neutral background colour and strong, large pattern, remains effective at all ranges:


maximus otter
 
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I meant kilt or trousers! :p
 

How not to fool surveillance cameras
One day in 1995, a large, heavy middle-aged man robbed two Pittsburgh banks in broad daylight. He didn’t wear a mask or any sort of disguise. And he smiled at surveillance cameras before walking out of each bank. Later that night, police arrested a surprised McArthur Wheeler. When they showed him the surveillance tapes, Wheeler stared in disbelief. “But I wore the juice,” he mumbled. Apparently, Wheeler thought that rubbing lemon juice on his skin would render him invisible to videotape cameras. After all, lemon juice is used as invisible ink so, as long as he didn’t come near a heat source, he should have been completely invisible.
Etc

https://qz.com/986221/what-know-it-alls-dont-know-or-the-illusion-of-competence/
 

This calls to mind the "ugly T-shirt" described in William Gibson's Zero History. The image on this T-shirt contained coding that forced surveillance cameras not to see the wearer. Naturally, this technology was a closely held secret and only existed because of a "gentlemen's agreement" among the security services. Knowing Gibson's work, I'd be very surprised if this thing exists only in his imagination . . .
 
This calls to mind the "ugly T-shirt" described in William Gibson's Zero History. The image on this T-shirt contained coding that forced surveillance cameras not to see the wearer. Naturally, this technology was a closely held secret and only existed because of a "gentlemen's agreement" among the security services. Knowing Gibson's work, I'd be very surprised if this thing exists only in his imagination . . .
https://www.wired.co.uk/article/facial-recognition-t-shirt-block
 
"So here we are at the Butterfly and Insect House in Edinburgh's Botanical gardens and if we stay very still, you may start to see the outline of our very own Gordon emerging. What a magnificent creature ..."

Edinburgh Butterfly & Insect World - Bug Man.JPG
 
Cycling shoes, Nora Batty hose, a Nehru jacket and an elephant’s pessary on my head? The deer would die laughing!...

Hmm. I dunno about that.

Jim Corbett dressed like Eric Morecambe - and he shot man-eaters for breakfast.

Jim Corbett.jpg


I suspect he thought camouflage was for blouses.
 
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