Flight of the Lozenges




In World War I, while the British were busy developing the "Dazzle" and "Splinter" camouflage prints, the Germans and Austro-Hungarians were designing the equally brilliant and crazy "Lozenge" patterns, made up of colorful elongated polygons. Printed on 4 foot wide fabric, there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to how the colors were worked out, except possibly the fancy of the pilots.
The scans above are from Kenneth Munson's Fighters 1914-19 (part of a brilliant series on wartime aircraft, and found in my dad's barn- Happy Father's Day Dad!), When I first saw the illustrations I thought the planes were painted just like that- before I realized that one side was the view above, the other side the view from below. But as it happens, there were the inevitable battle-damage field repairs made, and if the plane's original fabric wasn't around, the pilots would use whatever was at hand, often times creating a wildly patched, boro look (which could be similar to the illustrations). As amazing and revolutionary as the Lozenge (and Dazzle) camouflages were, they were sadly and puzzlingly around only for the First World War. Maybe the lozenge didn't work? Certainly with all the other colors and insignias on the airplanes the lozenge wasn't able to do a fair job, but it did look awesome.

related: a Lozenge hat-tip in the selective facet-filtering of secretive European buildings

An interesting note about the colors- "the greatest [wartime] shortage, incidentally, was of good, red-pigmented materials, and explains why the use of red at this time was such a mark of the 'ace'. Only pilots of particular eminence could command the priority for materials in such short supply."

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1 comment:

CTstyle said...

I love dazzle! At Alfred we would teach our students about dazzle in the Freshman foundation color theory course.