Hartcup, Guy.


1st ed., 1979. 113 pp., numerous photo-ills., + ills. D.j., 25 x 18cm. D.j., spine faded ; remains of a small owner’s label to f.e.p., o/w V.G.+. The author outlines the earliest history of camouflage and then concentrates on the period from 1914 to 1979. Dummy artillery, tanks and railheads all played their part in both world wars, confusing the enemy. ‘Offensive’ camouflage has become as important as ‘defensive’ although the latter is still more widely practiced. There are few limits to human ingenuity: lakes and the courses of rivers are obscured or apparently changed when observed from the air and, when it comes to ‘active’ camouflage, dummy directions of attacks (as at El Alamein) covered up the course of the true onslaught. The same ingenuity was applied to war at sea and attack from the air : warships at moorings were made virtually invisible and airfields (highly vulnerable targets) made to look like acres of turnips. The author describes the art of deception in war as practiced by the American, French, German and British forces, never forgetting the human contribution. Well known painters and designers all played a part with enthusiasm and a fine disregard for orthodox military practice, and this leads to many amusing incidents.

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