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New patrol ship HMS Tamar will deploy to the Asia-Pacific region with a so-called “dazzle camouflage” paint job. Shipwrights in Falmouth, Cornwall used 200 litres of paint in four shades of grey and black to recreate the design. The paint job has been done to give the ship a “distinct identity”, the Royal Navy said.

The paint style was first introduced by the Royal Navy towards the end of World War One. With Britain struggling to deal with the U-boat threat, artist and sailor, Norman Wilkinson, came up with the idea of confusing U-boat skippers during patrols out of Plymouth. The contrasting shapes, angles and colours were devised to make it difficult for submariners to gauge the ship’s direction of travel and speed.

This caused them to either delay long enough to give away their position, or miss their target when firing a torpedo.

More than 2,000 ships received the unusual livery by 1918 with the concept used once again during World War Two. Dazzle camouflage was phased out by the Royal Navy after 1945.

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