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Serial No. C-32-17


   U.S.S. MORRIS (417), Flagship
     Pearl Harbor, T. H.
       May 7, 1941

From: The Commander Destroyer Division SEVENTEEN.
To  : Destroyer Division SEVENTEEN.
The Commander Utility Wing ONE.
The Commander Submarines, Scouting Force.
Subject: Painting Ships - Observation Procedure.
Reference: (a) Ships - Two.
Enclosure: (A) Forms for recording observation data.

       1.     Destroyer Division SEVENTEEN has been painted in accordance with provisions of reference (a) as follows:

MORRIS (417) Graded system.
ROE (418) Black
WAINWRIGHT (419) Light gray with bow wave.
BUCK (420) Dark Gray

When in column they will normally cruise in that order.

       2.     The object of paint tests is to determine the relative visibility, course and range deception, and such searchlight illumination properties of the various systems as observed from aircraft, submarines and surface ships under various conditions of light and cloud.

       3.     Previous tests have established that the darker colors are less visible against backgrounds of water, dark cloud, and land masses. The lighter colors are less visible when seen against the sky. The darker colors have advantages in course deception, in visibility under searchlight illumination, and appear to be nearer when seen at an equal range in company with lighter colored ships. Recent technical advances have made aircraft evasion, course and range deception and invisibility under searchlight of paramount consideration. Since the darker colors are superior for all these desired characteristics the object of the current tests narrows down to a determination of the relative merits of the darker colors.



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Serial No. C-32-17


   U.S.S. MORRIS (417), Flagship
     Pearl Harbor, T. H.
       May 7, 1941
Subject:     Painting Ships - Observation Procedure.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

       4.     As a result of previous tests the Bureau of Ships has painted the BUCK the color which they estimate will be the best, with the clear understanding that the question is still an open one. The black and graded systems have been previously tested against light gray, dark green, ocean gray and against each other. The BUCK color has never before been tested against the black and graded colors. The specific question to which the current tests desires an answer is "Should the BUCK be lighter, darker, or remain as she is in order to give the best all around results for evasion of aircraft, submarines and surface vessels."

       5.     Aircraft observations are desired as to range of visibility of both ship and wakes when observed, toward, away from and across the line of bearing of the sun and moon under various cloud and daylight conditions.

       6.     Ship observations are desired as to course and range deception under the conditions tabulated for aircraft. In addition observations are desired as to visibility and course and range deception under searchlight.

       7.     Submarine observations are desired as to course, range and speed deception.

       8.     All observers are requested to be on the alert for accurate answers to the following questions.

(a)  When first detected was the ship darker or lighter than its background? What was the first thing you saw?

(b)  When estimating courses and speeds what visible characteristics such as structures, shadows or silhouette were used in forming your estimate.

       9.     Forms for recording observations are being furnished with this letter. The value of results will depend on a clear understanding of the scope and purpose of the tests and on the accuracy of data submitted. It is therefore requested that a competent observer be instructed. When possible, data should be taken by him and it should always be cleared through him. Consult Ships TWO for further details.


Copy to: Comdesbatfor
         Comdesflot ONE
         Comdesron 9


    1.  Below is a sketch showing what an observer, flying at 1600 feet sees when observing a light gray ship "A", and a dark gray ship "B" in company. Blue indicates ship darker than background. Red indicates lighter than background. The relative lengths of the ships is a rough measure of their visibility. No color indicates that ship is invisible. Observer is at the center of circle.

    2.  The size of sectors of relative visibility is a fraction of the suns brightness, altitude, and dispersion by clouds or haze.


National Archives & Records Administration, College Park Maryland
Record Group 313, CinCLant Confidential & Restricted Files 1941-43

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

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