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Generally speaking, the more mass or the faster one pushes an object through the water, the more of a wake one leaves. This can pose a problem for warships as the wake is a beacon against the dark sea in the day time or night.

In late 1941, the Commanding Officer of Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron One, based in Hawaii, sent a memo to various commands within the Navy outlining a desire to minimize the wake and exhaust of PT boats. The Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC carried out experiments early the next year with boats from the PT Boat training center based in Melville, Rhode Island. While there were weaknesses in the designs due to weight of equipment and supplies, the general theories of the initial methods were found good and experimentation was continued.

While textual documentation doesn't extend past 1942, there are several photos dated June of 1945 that show that desire for wake camouflage continued and systems were experimented with, although no case of operational use in a war zone is known at this time.


  • Motor Torpedo Boats - Disguising of wakes of. - November 1941 document from the Commanding Officer of PT Boat Squadron One expressing a desire to hide the wake of PT boats and listing some excercises with distances, etc., where the PTs were spotted.
  • PT Boats - Concealing the Wake - August 1942 Chief of Naval Operations request to experiment with PT boat wake camouflage
  • Concealment of motor torpedo boat wakes - July 1942 Director of the Naval Research laboratory memo to the Chief of the Bureau of Ships about experiments with sprayed dies and anti-foaming agents to conceal ship wakes.
  • Concealment of the Wake - July 1942 BuShips memo to the Chief of Naval Operations about concealment of ship wakes

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