The WWI Camouflage Strategy That Was So Bizarre It Was Actually Genius

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Image: via Wikimedia Commons

It’s 1917, and World War One rages on. Britain depends on merchant shipping for its survival, but German U-boats are causing havoc on the high seas. Merchant vessels are being sunk at the rate of 23 a week by the Germans. But one day an artist called Norman Wilkinson has a brain wave. He believes he knows how to conceal large ships from the prying periscopes of U-boat commanders.

Image: Paul Thompson/FPG/Getty Images

At the outbreak of World War One in July 1914, many believed that the fighting would end by Christmas of that year. Of course, that was an entirely false hope, and the war turned into a grinding conflict of attrition that stretched on for four long years.

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Image: National Maritime Museum

From the outset of the war, a key concern for the British was the security of their maritime supply routes. The country depended on its merchant fleet to bring in both food and essential war supplies from the U.S. and other countries.

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