During World War I, German submarines menaced Allied shipping. Without radar or sonar, the Allies struggled to locate and attack the submarines in the stormy and foggy North Atlantic. To confuse and deceive the enemy, the Allies painted their ships to camouflage them on the ocean. These paint schemes, often called dazzle camouflage, were designed not only to conceal a ship’s presence, but also to complicate the submarine’s fire-control solution by making it more difficult to determine the aspect of the ship. Paint schemes remained in use through World War II and still find occasional use today. In renewed great power competition, the paint scheme deception tactic should not be retired but, instead, scaled for the 21st century.
The Navy Must Learn to Hide from Algorithms
By Lieutenant Andrew Pfau, U.S. Navy