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Warship Camouflage: Just Like a Zebra

Updated: Aug 16, 2022

Adapted from War Park Weibo news release 2022-05-14 20:08

One of Germany's most feared and effective weapons during the First World War was its U-boat unit - which roamed the Atlantic, surveyed and destroyed many British merchant ships. In the course of the war, they sank more than 5,700 ships and killed more than 12,700 non-combatants.

A Royal Navy reservist, Lieutenant Norman Wilkinson, came up with a radical and ingenious solution: instead of trying to hide ships, make them inconspicuous. By covering the hull with startling stripes and irregular abstract shapes, it confuses German submarine officers looking through their periscope. And these stripes are called warship camouflage.

When a German submarine is submerged, the only way to aim was through the periscope. Even then, the risk of detection is high, so the periscope can only be used for observation in the water for a short period of time before retracting. The U-boat commander had to use that little visual data to calculate size, speed, distance and direction of the targeted ship to determine the angle and time of detonation. The warship camouflage made it all the more difficult. It was hard to tell the bow from the stern, including the direction the targeted ship was heading.

Zebra stripes and warships camouflage has the similar effect on land. When a lion hunts a zebra, the sight of the herd from a distance turns into a chaotic line of lines that directly confuses the lion's sight and judgment, making it harder to intercept. This camouflage was also used on German tanks during the later phase of Second World War. Dive bombers, tanks and anti-tank guns all use periscope-like sights for aiming, and warship camouflage combined with high speed movement can improve the survival probability of tanks.

This month War Park unveiled its Ostwind anti-aircraft tank, painted in warship camouflage.


The main body is resin, track + gun barrel + accessories are metal.

Trackability: Wheels can be pushed without suspension, tracks are metal spliced, the front two hatches are retractable, turret can rotate 360°, gun barrel can pitch upwards and downwards.

Original Chinese text follows below.

在第一次世界大战期间,德国最令人恐惧和最有效的武器之一是其U型潜艇部队——它们在大西洋漫游,发现并摧毁所有英国商船。在战争过程中,他们击沉了 5,700 多艘船只,杀死了 12,700 多名非战斗人员。







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