Ship Camouflage Instructions
United States Navy
Ships - 2
Bureau of Ships
January 1941

Painting a Ship to Look Like another Ship


Measure 9.    Black System for Submarines.

Paint entire submarine above the waterline black, formula 82.  The painting shall be carried over all parts which are visible for the air including the numbers, capstan and running light boards and bridge rails.  The radio insulators shall be dark.  The shall be no boot topping.  The underbody shall be painted with the current issues of bottom antifouling paints.

Discussion of Measure 9.

Experiments in Key West and Canal Zone Area with submerged submarines and airplane observers, described in Reference 3*, showed that black was practically the color of lowest visibility.  A very dark blue, called "Pearl Harbor Blue," was found to be slightly less visible than black in Hawaiian waters, but the experiments were not sufficiently extensive to decide whether the slight difference was of essential importance.  It turned out that the  dark blue deteriorated and turned milky in a few weeks, whereas the black paint remained serviceable for several months.  Therefore, black paint is specified in Measure 9.  Improved formulas of Pearl Harbor Blue are being tested extensively in the Fleet at present.


Reference 3

Naval Research Laboratory Report H-1598, March 14, 1940, "Tests at Sea of February 1940, in the Key West Area of the Visibility of Submarines and Transparency Measurements of Navigable Waters."

Back Page ] Table of Contents ] Next Page ]