Re: Lozenge

Charles Harrison (
Thu, 17 Nov 1994 10:56:26 -0800

Neat post. Regarding fabric damage its also worth noting that the French
adopted silver dope (clear with suspended metal particles, aluminum I think)
for its reflective properties, and by extension its ability to preserve
fabric. One interesting question though - how does this apply to the night
bomber lozenge scheme? Why not just use black fabric?


>Return-Path: <>
>Date: Wed, 16 Nov 1994 01:21:52 -0500
>From: (Bill Shatzer)
>Subject: Re: Lozenge
>In a previous article, tschmid@tezcat.con says:
>>I have been wondering , what is the idea behind the lozenge pattern?
>>My first thought was that the pattern simulated the European landscape from
>>the air. The patchwork of fields and small towns could take on this
>>pattern from the air and like todays aircraft , the plane is hard to see
>>from a distance utilizing the element of suprise. Or was it a type of
>>arrogance (here I am come get me if you think your good enough) like the
>>red planes of von Richthofen?
>>Any thoughts?
>I've not seen any comprehensive article on the development of the lozenge
>fabric so the following is an amalgamation of several sources and some personal
>The basic initial thrust for camouflage dope was not concealment but rather
>sunlight protection. It was discovered that prolonged exposure to sunlight
>caused the original clear dope covered fabric to deteriorate. A dark colored
>dope furnished a measure of protection against sunlight and thus was adopted,
>more or less universally by the major belligerents by 1916 or so. And, as
>long as you've got to put dark dope for sunlight protection, you might as well
>use a color that provides a measure of camouflage. Ergo, the wide spread
>adoption of greens and browns (*but*, check out the British red (PC10,
>I think) and the German mauve for obvious exceptions - although these weren't
>necessarily *anti-camouflage* colors for reasons too lengthly to cover here.)
>Now dark colored dope is all well and good but it has one great disadvantage -
>it's a *lot* heavier than clear dope and with aircraft weighing less than
>1,000 lbs, even 10 or 15 lbs of additional dope weight has an adverse effect
>on a/c performance. Thus the Germans came up with the bright idea of dying
>the fabric itself for sunlight protection which would allow the lighter
>clear dope to be used while still providing adequate sunlight protection.
>The problem the Germans faced was selecting a proper color to dye the fabric
>when they couldn't know, in advance, what sort of terrain the a/c would
>be operating over. Some places green would be appropriate, other places
>brown, or mauve, or ochre would be better. The solution they adopted was
>to use *all* the colors on the theory that at least one of the colors
>would be right and, in any case, at a distance the multi-colored fabric
>would kind of blend into a "neutral" color which would be an acceptable
>camouflage color over almost any terrain.
>The lozenge was *not* an attempt to match terrain features like fields, etc.
>Witness the use of similar fabric (in blues and grays) by naval aircraft
>operating mainly over water and by Austro-Hungarian aircraft operating largely
>over the Alps and in the east.
>I could expand on this if anyone is interested but this is too long already.
>If you want more, e-mail me - I can expound forever! <g)
>Cheers, Bill
>"Just another road kill on the information superhighway."
>Bill Shatzer - - aw177@Freenet.carleton.CA