U.S. Navy Ship Camouflage Schemes
World War II

Bibliography
Ship Camouflage Instructions, Second Revision June 1942 (SHIPS-2)

Measure 9 – Black System for Submarines

Effectiveness

Lowest visibility when submerged.

When on surface low visibility to aerial observers in all types of weather, except up-sun in bright weather.

When on surface high visibility to surface observers in all types of weather.

Above Waterline

Black-Formula 82

Examples


MS-9 as applied to
Gato Class Submarine by Darth Panda of Shipbucket

Measure 10 – Gray System for Submarines

Effectiveness

Low visibility for submarines when on the surface both to surface observation and low angle aerial observation.

High visibility to high angle aerial observation when the submarine is on the surface or submerged in clear water,.

Will not offer the same protection as the black system to submerged submarines operating in areas where aerial observation is an important factor, but will be lower visibility against either sea or sky when observed by surface ships.

Above Waterline

Ocean Gray 5-O

Examples


MS-10 as applied to
Gato Class Submarine by Darth Panda of Shipbucket

Measure 13 – Haze Gray System

Effectiveness

Low visibility to surface observers in hazy or foggy weather especially when it is accompanied with periods of weak sunlight.

High visibility in bright weather when seen against the water.

Useful in submarine infested areas, where periscopic observers will see a vessel entirely against a sky background.

High visibility under searchlight, and down-moon at close ranges. Very low visibility on moonless nights and at twilight.

Vertical Surfaces

Haze Gray 5-H

Horizontal Surfaces

Deck Blue 20-B

Decks

Deck Blue 20-B

Examples


MS-13 as applied to
Northampton Class CA by Brockpaine of Shipbucket

Measure 14 – Ocean Gray System

Effectiveness

Low visibility to surface observers in bright sunny weather and down-moon on moonlit nights.

High visibility in bright weather to aerial observers at close ranges, but not necessarily so at distant ranges. Its maximum utility would be against surface observation in areas where sunny weather is common.

Moderately high visibility in overcast weather or on moonless nights. Inferior to Measure 13 under such circumstances, but superior to it in areas where bright sunlight predominates

Vertical Surfaces
(except slender poles and slender upper-works)

Ocean Gray 5-O

Vertical Surfaces
(Slender poles and slender upper works)

Haze Gray 5-H

Decks

Deck Blue 20-B

Examples


MS-14 as applied to
Northampton Class CA by Brockpaine of Shipbucket

Measure 16 – Thayer System

Effectiveness

Lowest visibility to surface observers on moonless nights and in overcast weather.

High visibility down-sun or down-moon in bright clear weather, but reduced visibility up-sun and up-moon in all weathers.

Especially well adapted for winter use in Northern areas where nights are long and days frequently overcast. It would prove useful against submarines in any area where attacks occur mostly at night, but in bright weather it would be very visible to surface raiders, or to high-flying aircraft, when observed down-sun.

Some deception as to target angle has been reported for both day and night operations.

Shading One

5-U White

Shading Two

5-B Thayer Blue

Examples


MS-16 as applied to a Haskell APA by Gunship of Shipbucket

Measure 21 – Navy Blue System

Effectiveness

Lowest visibility to aerial observers day and night in all types of weather.
Low visibility under searchlight.
High visibility to all surface observers in all types of weather.
Considerable course deception to surface observers in all types of weather.

Vertical Surfaces

Navy Blue 5-N

Horizontal Surfaces

Deck Blue 20-B

Decks

Deck Blue 20-B

Examples


MS-21 as applied to
Northampton Class CA by Brockpaine of Shipbucket

Measure 22 – Graded System

Effectiveness

This measure is intended for use on combatant ships in areas where bright weather with fair visibility predominates, and high angle aerial observation is unlikely, and there is a likelihood of a gunnery engagement. There will be some reduction of visibility when viewed from low-flying planes, and from higher altitudes at extended ranges.

Vertical Surfaces
(above Main Deck)

Haze Gray 5-H

Vertical Surfaces
(below Main Deck)

Navy Blue 5-N

Horizontal Surfaces

Deck Blue 20-B

Decks

Deck Blue 20-B

Examples


MS-22 as applied to BB-59 class by MidnightNova of Shipbucket


MS-22 as applied to Lexington Class CV by MidnightNova of Shipbucket