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The following pages have been abstracted from camouflage training publications issued by the British Middle East Command. The universality makes them worth reproduction and worth reading by all concerned with protective concealment.

1.  General Notes

2.  Day and Night Use of Decoys.









1.  In the design of a camouflage scheme, it is essential that the oblique view be considered, as this is the view of the bombardier when recognizing his target and adjusting his bomb-sights.

2.  Design all patterning so that is is large in scale.

3.  Vary the treatment when dealing with a number of similar and associated buildings.

4.  Any pattern used for the purpose of disruption must cross the contours and break the edges of the buildings; hsnce the necessity for nets and ground patterning.

5.  Remember that a smooth surface painted a light color will always appear darker when in shade than a black surface in bright sunlight.

6.  Because a shadow is more conspicuous than paint, a line of disruption cutting cross a shadow will have little effect. Shadows should therefore be absorbed into black pattern wherever possible.

7.  In shadow simulation, all shadows should be cast in one direction.

8.  Avoid a light coloured road painted across the ridges of a roof as it will look correct from only two aspects (i.e. in direct pro-longation). From other angles it will appear broken by each successive roof ridge.

9.  In disruptive painting always make the break between the two colours sharp. This sharpness can be increased by varying the tone at the junction so that a light tone of one colour adjoins a dark tone of adjacent colour.

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10.  To make a tall building appear shorter than it really is, a dark bank of natural ground.colour (earth, grass, etc.,) should be painted round the lower story.

11.  Cast shadow cannot be obliterated by paint. When the shadow falls on buildings, it can be increased by black matt paint and when it falls on the ground, by artificial ground pattern.

12.  Bright colors should be used only in special circumstances.

13.  Do not paint roofs the same tone as walls; roofs should be darker.

l4.  North walls should be lighter in tone than other walls.

15.  In the desert light tones should be lighter than the shades required, and dark tones darker. Dust corrects the differences in a few weeks.

16.  Matt paint only should be used for the purpose of toning down or distorting forms.

17.  When matching colors remember that the color on a sample card will appear lighter when applied to a larger area.

18.  Glass roofs require special consideration. Glass should be covered with clear varnish and dusted with sand. Roof patterns should then be continued over the windows.

19.  When pattern painting simulates buildings, it is necessary to exaggerate all perspective.




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This subject will include the following:-

1.  Decoy fires.

2.  Decoy lighting.

3.  Decoy flare paths.

4.  Dummy antiaircraft flashes.

5.  Dummy buildings and layouts for daylight deception.

6.  Dummy damage.

Active defense against aircraft attack, by means of deception, with intent to confuse the enemy before, during and after bombing, will be considered.

Might deception will be considered under its various headings.


These are fires lit at night by the defenders before or during a raid to deceive the aircraft into bombing them by mistake for a vital target that already has been set afire by bombs.

The following conditions apply:-

(a)  They must be at a safe distance from the target, but not too far to be convincing. The general rule is not less than one mile and not more than 6 miles. On the average the best distance is 2 to 4 miles.

(b)  They must burn for two or three hours to convince the pilots of subsequent waves.

(c)  Their ignition should be remotely controlled.

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(d) Their operation must be controlled by an agent who is aware of the nature and progress of the raid.

The above are the essential elements. The leaders of a raid are not likely to be deceived by a fire that is going when they arrive, as they will probably assume that they have arrived first.

In average circumstances the fire should be ignited only under the following, conditions:-

1.  When visibility is not absolutely 100%, i.e. not in bright moonlight.

2.  After the proper authority is satisfied that the raid is an attack in FORCE on the area concerned.

3.  After some bombs have been dropped at a point reasonably near the vital target.

These three conditions are a matter of personal judgment and should be the responsibility of the officer—in-charge of air raid defense.


The fires are, of course, very secret, but experience has prove that thoy can be used again and again without loss of effectiveness and without shifting, in most cases.


It must be stressed that decoys, while a form of camouflage, are primarily a means of lessening the destruction of a known objective. The test as to whether an installation, is entitled to a fire is not only its conspicuousness but also its VULNERABILITY in case of an attack.

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When the first fires were used in England, great attention was paid to simulation on the ground of the immediate surroundings of the actual target. The shape and area of the fire was believed to be of paramount importance and dummy screens, roads, etc., were deemed essential to success. Now, however, they are successfully operating fires there without any associated dummy layout.

In the desert there are strong clear lines of road, and sharply marked continuous lines outlining the edges of cultivation which contrast vividly with barren stretches of desert. It is therefore felt that where fires are sited on bare desert and are intended to simulate known targets which stand out clearly to the eye in average conditions of visibility, some physical representation is required. It is felt that to locate bonfires on the bare desert in these circumstances, without any simulation of the parent target, would not be successful. Exactly how much simulation is required one cannot say until all degrees have been tried.

On the only occasion that such a fire was used in Egypt, considerable trouble was taken to simulate the appearance of an important target. The results were satisfactory in that 30% of the bomb load was dropped in the decoy, which was sited in the flat desert.


This is an important aspect as it has often been maintained that a decoy fire takes the place of, or is better than camouflage.

This is not so. The two go hand in hand'!

Everything should bo done to make the parent target as hard to find as possible. The degree of success of the decoy depends upon the failure to recognize the real target. The more expert pilots may

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recognize the genuine installationj nevertheless, the dec?y has succeeded, to a degree if it has drawn any of the bombs from those less expert.


Obviously the kind of fire produced should bear some relation to the probable behaviour of the parent target if it should catch fire.
This involves two considerations:

(a)  Shape of fire.

(b)  Type of fire.

SHAPE, can be regulated by various means, by surrounding them with oil tins filled with sand.

TYPES of fire may vary considerably. A fire producing an explosion simulating that of a bomb can be made with a Fougasse Flame Thrower. A glowing fire can be produced with coal, with an attachment to drip oil into it.

Fires fed by a wick of hessian in oil will give a good fire with a great deal of smoke. It has been found advisable in England to raise the combustible material off the ground to got a better draught for a quick blaze.


At least two men will bo required to stand by at night, taking turns. The minimum staff for a fire is suggested as three men, the third man for day duties of inspection and guarding. Continual inspection and maintenance is, of course, essential.


These are lights placed to simulate the lighting system of a V.P.

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The essential factor of decoy lights is that the parent target have as complete a blackout as it can have in the circumstances. The general rules of distance, layout etc., are the same as for decoy fires, with obvious exceptions. These are:-

1.  Lights must already be on "before there is any possibility of enemy raiders seeing them go on.

2.  A simulation of an attempted dimming as the raiders approach gives more realism.

3.  Lights must be constructed' so as to suggest a poor attempt at blackout.

4.  Lights can, arid should when possible, be used in conjunctiyh with decoy fires.


Bare lights are unsuitable. The following types have been used:-

1.  Lights in tents - Some go out as planes approach.

2.  Leaking skylights - Lights are in a V-shaped trough, the top of the V is covered with cloth and the light faces inwards towards its apex. Sloping walls are painted white and light reflects out through cloth, giving the appearance of a factory roof light improperly blacked out.

3.  Open door light - A box a little larger than a door is made. A hole, the shape-of the void when a door is ajar is cut in the side of the box. A bulb is then fixed to the ceiling of box and the light spills out as it would from an open door.

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4.  Furnace glow - A series of bulbs illuminate an orange reflector laid on the ground. A reostat is used to make lights increase and fade in intensity to simulate the blowing of a furnace.
Airdromes, factories, camps and streets have bee-n represented successfully in this way.


These are sots of lights so placed as to imitate the landing lights of an operating airdrome. They are of a type that can be dimmed.

Actual landing lights cannot usually be extinguished hurriedly and will often betray a landing to a raider. The dummy therefore, has a good chance of leading him astray if used efficiently.

If decoy fires are used in conjunction with dummy flare paths, it may be possible, to draw the whole wave of a raid because "Q" lighting provides the first raider with a visible target on approach. Use of a decoy fire alone presupposes the passive acceptance of the first bombs.

"Q" lighting with a dummy fire may make it possible to decoy all the bombs - BUT "Q" lighting should only be used when the parent target is of a type that is likely to show light, e.g. Operating airdromes, etc.


Flash simulation for ground deception is, of c-urse, often 'used, and the ways of producing these flashes need no details here. However, the question of antiaircraft flashes has received little consideration. Since the positions of heavy antiaircraft are often known to the enemy, and can be used to locate a target from the air, dummy flashes may be of groat value. Especially is this so in connection

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with decoys of all sorts, which will need to be placed in a similar relationship.

For deception of aircraft a really big flash is needed and it should be supported by genuine antiaircraft fire from nearby guns, or the lack of shell bursts may make the raider suspicious.


In this instance, day deception refers to dummy damage and the concealing of actual damage, dummy buildings, layouts, etc.

The creation of dummy damage and the concealment of actual damage after a raid is essentially a matter for small scale work. Speed, personnel and pro-organized drill are indispensable. Personnel and materials will always be the stumbling block to large scale «~ork in the iddle East.


Bomb hole painted with bitumen. Surrounded by cement wash to represent edge of hole in roof. Rubbish scattered around. Dark patches on road and nearby buildings.
RAILHEAD. Dummy rail system, all attributes (vehicles, dump tracks, etc.) assembled.) Decoy fires. This was bombed several times.


The popular conception of bomb craters painted on the ground or painted tarpaulins laid cut to suggest bomb holes is unlikely to be practicable for deception. The most workable and credible method is to dig or blast out craters beforehand and cover them up. After the raid they are uncovered and the covering material used to conceal the real craters.

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However, holes painted on buildings are, much more likely to be deceptive if plenty of other debris is thrown about, and if the ecl^e of the hole is painted to surest the. thickness of the £apin£ wall.













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National Archives & Records Administration, Seattle Branch
Record Group 181, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard Captain of the Yard Passive Defense Files

Transcribed by RESEARCHER @ LARGE. Formatting & Comments Copyright R@L.

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