World War II US Navy dazzle camouflage measures 31, 32 and 33: cruisers

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Dazzle camouflage of warships was adopted by the U.S. Navy during World War II, following research at the Naval Research Laboratory. Dazzle consists in painting obtrusive patterns on vertical surfaces. Unlike some other forms of camouflage, dazzle works not by offering concealment but by making it difficult to estimate a target's range, speed and heading. Each ship's dazzle pattern was unique to make it more difficult for the enemy to recognize different classes of ships. The result was that a profusion of dazzle schemes were tried, and the evidence for their success was at best mixed.

Dazzle camouflage patterns used on cruisers are presented here. Patterns designed for cruisers were suffixed with the letter C, but many cruisers were painted in adapted patterns originally designed for other ship types (A for aircraft carriers, D for destroyers etc.)

Colors[edit]

Typical color combinations
MS-31 MS-31a MS-32 MS-33 MS-33a Horizontals
Haze Gray 5-H Haze Gray 5-H Light Gray 5-L Light Gray 5-L Pale Gray 5-P Pale Gray 5-P Light Gray 5-L Ocean Gray 5-O
Ocean Gray 5-O Ocean Gray 5-O Dull Black 82 Ocean Gray 5-O Haze Gray 5-H Haze Gray 5-H Ocean Gray 5-O Deck Blue 20-B
Dull Black 82 Navy Blue 5-N Dull Black 82 Navy Blue 5-N Ocean Gray 5-O


Some patterns were designed to be used for either Measure 31, 32 or 33 depending on the colors used; these pattern sheets were marked, e.g., MS-3_/3D; in the following table the effective Measure is listed in parentheses after each ship in the last column. In addition, many ships were painted using colors for a different Measure than that marked on the sheet; these are indicated in footnotes.

Patterns[edit]

Cruiser designs
Name Description Pattern sheet Photo Known examples
MS-32/1C[a] for Atlanta-class antiaircraft cruisers Pattern sheet, MS-32 1C for Atlanta class.jpg not used
MS-32/2C for St. Louis-class light cruisers Pattern sheet, MS-32 2C for Cleveland class cruisers.jpg St. Louis Honolulu,[b] St. Louis
MS-32/3C[c] for Omaha-class light cruisers Pattern sheet, MS-32 3C for Omaha class.jpg not used
MS-32/7C for Alaska-class large cruisers Pattern sheet, MS32 7C for Alaska class.jpg USS Guam (CB-2), Oct 1944.jpg Guam
MS-33/8C for Brooklyn-class light cruisers Pattern sheet, MS-33 8C for Brooklyn class.jpg not used
MS-31a/9C for Baltimore-class heavy cruisers Pattern sheet, MS-31a 9C for Baltimore class.jpg not used
MS-31a/10C for Cleveland-class light cruisers Pattern sheet, MS-31a 10C for Cleveland class.jpg Amsterdam
Adapted designs
MS-32/11A
(aircraft carrier)
adapted to Cleveland-class light cruisers Pattern sheet, MS-32 11A for Cleveland class.jpg Duluth Montpelier, Duluth
MS-32/1D
(destroyer)
adapted to Raleigh-class[d] light cruisers Pattern sheet, MS-32 1D for Raleigh (Omaha) class cruisers.jpg USS Raleigh (CL-7), May 1944.jpg Raleigh
adapted to Cleveland-class light cruisers Pattern sheet, M32 1D for Cleveland class.jpg Miami Columbia,[e] Topeka,[f] Houston, Miami
adapted to Alaska-class large cruisers Pattern sheet, MS-32 1D for Alaska-class battlecruisers.jpg USS Alaska (CB-1).gif Alaska
MS-3_/3D
(destroyer)
adapted to Omaha-class light cruisers Pattern sheet, MS-3 Design 3D for Omaha class.jpg Richmond Detroit (MS-32), Richmond (MS-32)
MS-33/3D
(destroyer)
adapted to Cleveland-class light cruisers Pattern sheet, MS-33 3D for Cleveland class cruisers.jpg Vincennes Columbia,[e] Denver, Vincennes[g]
MS-32/5D
(destroyer)
adapted to Brooklyn-class light cruisers USS Phoenix CL-46.gif Phoenix
MS-33/6D
(destroyer)
adapted to Northampton-class heavy cruisers USS Louisville (CA-28), Dec 1943.jpg Louisville
adapted to Cleveland-class light cruisers Pattern sheet, MS-33 6D for Cleveland class.jpg Vicksburg Birmingham, Vicksburg, possibly Biloxi
MS-32/7D
(destroyer)
adapted to Portland-class heavy cruisers Pattern sheet, MS 32 7D for Portland class.jpg Indianapolis Portland, Indianapolis
MS-32/9D
(destroyer)
adapted to Northampton-class[h] heavy cruisers Pattern sheet, MS-32 9D for Northampton class.jpg USS Chester (CA-27).jpg Chester
MS-33/10D
(destroyer)
adapted to Pensacola-class heavy cruisers USS Pensacola (CA-24) in MS-33 10D camouflage.jpg Pensacola[i]
MS-33/13D
(destroyer)
adapted to New Orleans-class heavy cruisers Pattern sheet, MS-33 13D for New Orleans class.jpg San Francisco Tuscaloosa, San Francisco
MS-32/14D
(destroyer)
adapted to Pensacola-class heavy cruisers Pattern sheet, MS-32 14D for Pensacola class cruisers.jpg Salt Lake City Pensacola,[i] Salt Lake City[f]
adapted to heavy cruiser USS Wichita (CA-45) Pattern sheet, MS-32 14D for USS Wichita.jpg not used
MS-3_/16D
(destroyer)
adapted to Baltimore-class heavy cruisers Pattern Sheet Measure 31-2-3 16D for Baltimore class cruisers.jpg USS Baltimore (CA-68), Oct 44.jpg Baltimore (MS-32)
MS-3_/18D
(destroyer)
adapted to Baltimore-class heavy cruisers Pattern Sheet, MS 31-32-22 18D for Baltimore class cruisers.jpg Quincy Canberra (MS-32), Quincy (MS-32), Pittsburgh (MS-33)
MS-33/21D
(destroyer)
adapted to light cruiser USS Nashville (CL-43) Pattern sheet, MS-33 21D for USS Nashville.jpg USS Nashville (CL-43) in MS-32 21D camouflage.jpg Nashville
MS-33/22D
(destroyer)
adapted to Atlanta-class antiaircraft cruisers Pattern sheet, MS-33 22D for Atlanta class.jpg San Juan San Juan,[g] Flint[g]
MS-33/24D
(destroyer)
adapted to Atlanta-class antiaircraft cruisers Pattern sheet, MS-33 24D for Atlanta class.jpg Reno San Diego,[g] Reno
adapted to Cleveland-class light cruisers Pattern sheet, MS-33 24D for Cleveland class.jpg Wilkes-Barre Pasadena,[g] Springfield, Topeka, Astoria, Wilkes-Barre,[g] Atlanta
MS-33/2F
(stores ship)
adapted to Omaha-class light cruisers Pattern sheet, MS-33 2F for Omaha-class cruisers.jpg Trenton Concord, Trenton[g]
  1. ^ The colors specified, Ocean Gray and Pale Gray, would normally be a Measure 33 scheme
  2. ^ Honolulu of the very similar Brooklyn class used a variant of the St. Louis MS-32/2C design
  3. ^ The colors specified, Navy Blue, Haze Gray and Pale Gray, would normally be a Measure 33 scheme
  4. ^ i.e. the Omaha class
  5. ^ a b Columbia received MS-33/3D in Measure 32 colors in early 1944 probably during her January drydocking at Espiritu Santo; she was repainted in MS-33/1D not later than the Philippines operation, most likely during her refit at Mare Island that summer.
  6. ^ a b Used Measure 33 colors
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Used Measure 32 colors
  8. ^ the pattern sheet is marked "CA-27 class;" CA-26 Northampton had been sunk in November 1942
  9. ^ a b Pensacola wore MS-33/10D from October 1943 until May 1944, when she was repainted in MS-32/14D

See also[edit]