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Dazzle camouflage was fantastically bizarre. It was also remarkably smart.

WWII saw an additional type of odd historical past unfold: a meme (sure, definitely). Enjoy our video on it right here:

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Dazzle camouflage was a remarkably productive defense against torpedoes. In this episode of Vox Almanac, Phil Edwards clarifies why.

Entire world War I ships faced a exclusive issue. The u-boat was a new menace at the time, and its torpedoes were deadly. That led artist Norman Wilkinson to come up with dazzle camouflage (often identified as “razzle dazzle camouflage”). The strategy was to confuse u-boats about a ship’s course, alternatively than try out to conceal its presence. In doing so, dazzle camouflage could hold torpedoes from hitting the boat — and that and other approaches proved a boon in Entire world War I.

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This camouflage is unconventional, but its striking visual appeal affected the society, influenced cubist painters’ riffs, and even entered into the world of fashion. Even though dazzle camouflage dropped its utility as soon as radar and other detection strategies took about from u-boat periscopes, for a quick interval in time it was an productive and unconventional way to help ships stay secure.

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