A reader writes:
Your post exploring the possible explanations for zebra stripes reminded me of the “dazzle camouflage” technique Allied ships employed during WWI to confuse the Germans when they attempted to torpedo them. It’s an incredible story and the images are amazing. Here is an article explaining how it happened.
A Wiki intro:
“Dazzle camouflage,” also known as “razzle dazzle” or “dazzle painting,” was a family of ship camouflage used extensively in World War I and to a lesser extent in World War II and afterwards. Credited to artist Norman Wilkinson, it consisted of complex patterns of geometric shapes in contrasting colors, interrupting and intersecting each other. Unlike some other forms of camouflage, dazzle works not by offering concealment but by making it difficult to estimate a target’s range, speed and heading. Norman Wilkinson explained in 1919 that dazzle was intended more to mislead the enemy as to the correct position to take up than actually to miss his shot when firing.
(Image of the USS Mahomet painted in dazzle camouflage circa November 1918 via Wikipedia)