Razzle Dazzle

United States Navy Ship Camouflage in World War I

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About the Book

During World War I, American merchant ships were given oddly colored paint jobs to distort their profiles at sea. Dubbed “Razzle-Dazzle,” these camouflage patterns were believed responsible for dramatic decreases in Allied shipping losses.

This book examines the real (and more compelling) factors that made a difference in the survivability of merchant shipping: the various measures taken principally by the U.S. Navy, including the use of convoys and destroyer escorts, along with some innovative naval technologies. At the same time, advances in America’s shipbuilding industry and the development of the nation’s first major on-the-job training program enabled mass production of merchant ships at a record pace.

About the Author(s)

During his 35-year federal and not-for-profit career James H. Bruns has served as Director of the Department of the Navy’s Museum System, with administrative oversight of the Navy’s nine national Museums. He lives in Lorton, Virginia.

Bibliographic Details

James H. Bruns
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 274
Bibliographic Info: 241 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8763-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4707-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Preface 1
Introduction 17
1. The Gathering Storm at Sea 25
2. The Ocean, Sky and Sun 64
3. American Razzle Dazzle 72
4. The British and American Camouflage Section’s Handiworks 81
5. The Navy’s Camouflage Section Workshop at Work 83
6. Safe Passage 88
7. The U-boat 113
8. The Queens of the Convoys 121
9. The War of the Ways 128
10. The Navy Armed Guards 156
11. Convoy Duty 165
12. Cargos 173
13. Mail 185
14. The Destroyers, Subchasers and Eagle Boats 196
15. Convoy Orphans 211
16. Combating the U-boat Menace from the Air 216
17. Mines 224
18. Sabotage, Espionage and Subterfuge 236
19. Assessing Success 243
Chapter Notes 251
Bibliography 255
Index 257