United States Navy
Ships - 2
Bureau of Ships
of Ship Camouflage
Ship Camouflage may be defined as the means by which
the visibility of a ship is reduced, or by the means by which deception is
caused in course or range estimation, or in class identification.
The most common method of attaining these end is
through some form of special painting, and this book is limited to camouflage
by that means.
This is the second revision of SHIPS-2 and it
supplants all previous issues in their entirety. Further revision should
be expected and encouraged in a subject in which practice is far from becoming
crystallized, and this book is therefore issued in loose leaf form. It
is requested that pertinent comments be submitted and that instances of
notably effective and ineffective camouflage be reported. Special forms
for making camouflage reports have been printed and are issued with this book.
Selection of a Suitable System
Ship camouflage measures have two general
- The Reduction of Visibility - Protective
- Course or Range Deception - Generally
The systems included in this book belong in
the first category, though Measure 16 contains some elements of deception.
No one type of camouflage can possibly give
any protection under all situations. The method of ship painting must be
adapted to the tactical situation which is involved, and a radical
change in the tactics of either offense or defense should entail
re-examination of the suitability of the type of camouflage already in
use. A method of ship painting which is intended to give protection
during a period of greatest danger may at other times be of very high
Measures for reducing visibility have best
chance of success at night, in gray weather or on hazy days when visibility is
limited. Very light colored ships are best at night except in the glare
of searchlight. Light colored ships are best against periscope
observation and dark ships are best against air observation. When light
ships are clearly visible it is easy to judge target angle and make
identification. Dark ships are much better in this respect.
The systems presented are to be placed in
effect when ordered by competent authority. A summary of conditions
under which the various methods will prove most effective is given on page 4,
and a fuller explanation will be found under each camouflage measure.
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