Measure 16 Thayer System


The Thayer System (Measure 16) was introduced in the June 1942 revision to SHIPS-2. This measure was similar to some British Navy camouflages used in the North Atlantic. It was considered especially well adapted for winter use in northern areas where nights were long and days were frequently overcast. The special feature of this system was its changeable character. At low levels of illumination a blue paint will appear relatively lighter and a red paint will appear relatively darker than these two paints appear in daylight.This visual change, known as the Purkinje effect, was utilized in the Thayer System. The pure light blue was selected because it appeared practically like white paint at low levels of illumination. The ship would therefore appear like an all-white ship on moonless nights or during twilight when white or very light ships were the best for reduced visibility. During daylight hours or under bright moonlight the pattern would be apparent and might produce some deception in the estimation of the target angle. A darker blue would produce more deception but was not used because it would not appear white at night. The purity of the color was a very important factor in the Purkinje effect.

The entire ship was painted white (5-U) and a pattern using Thayer blue (5-B) was painted on top of that. Nine patterns were supplied by drawings of various ship classes in SHIPS-2 (see table below.) Some of these patterns were later reused in the Measure 31-32-33 dazzle schemes. This system also employed countershading, which was the application of white paint to the under side of projecting decks and overhangs, in an effort to hide or lessen shadows in order to blend with the background.



Plate #
Title
Evolved into or Influenced

IV

DESTROYER DD 380 Class
Design 21D
ship ship

This is Plate IV from SHIPS-2 labeled DESTROYER DD 380 Class the light color was white (5-U) and the pattern was Thayer Blue (5-B). This pattern was used again for Design 21D. This drawing was published in June 1942.

These are side views from the camouflage drawings for Measure 33 Design 21D for the USS Nashville (CL-43) dated July 14, 1943. This camouflage was used by Nashville and the colors were navy blue and light gray.

Original Drawing Source: NARA 80-G-157050 and 80-G-157051.

V

DESTROYER DD 384 Class
Design 22D
ship ship

This is Plate V from the June 1942 version of SHIPS-2 labeled DESTROYER DD 384 Class the light color was white (5-U) and the pattern was Thayer Blue (5-B). Note the distictive wave pattern on the starboard bow and the curved patterns of the port bow. This pattern was used again for Design 22D.

These are side views from the camouflage drawings for Design 22D using Measure 31, 32 or 33 colors for the Fletcher class (DD-445) dated December 3, 1943. This pattern is an almost exact copy of the earlier Measure 16 pattern, only stretched for a longer hull form and modified in the superstructure. This camouflage was used in March 1944 by USS Wedderburn (DD-684) of the Fletcher class, using Measure 31: dull black and ocean gray. Design 22D was drawn up on January 27, 1944, for the Buckley class destroyer escorts and used three colors. In March and April of 1944 it was drawn for the Porter and Benson classes of destroyers. Design 22D using three Measure 33 colors was dated April 18, 1944, for the Atlanta class light cruisers and used by USS San Juan (CL-54) and USS Flint (CL-97) but in Measure 32 colors. The battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) commissioned on June 11, 1944 in this design and she wore this camouflage until she arrived in the Pacific a few weeks later. Missouri used Measure 32 colors of dull black, ocean gray and light gray. Also a total of twenty-nine destroyer escorts, at least eleven minesweepers carried this design.

Original drawing source: NARA 80-G-164292 and 80-G-164293.

VI

Four Stack Destroyer
Design 23D
ship ship

This is Plate VI from the June 1942 version of SHIPS-2 that was labeled Four Stack Destroyer (Adaptable to Three Stack Destroyer) the light color was white (5-U) and the pattern was Thayer Blue (5-B). Note the distictive bow panels. This pattern was used again for Design 23D.

These are side views from the camouflage drawings for Measure 31 Design 23D for the Fletcher class (DD-445) dated January 8, 1944. This pattern is a good match to the earlier Measure 16 pattern, and the distictive bow designs are retained. The design drawing for Buckley class destroyer escorts was dated March 8, 1944. Design 23D was drawn for Mahan class destroyers on April 13, 1944, and again for Admirable class minesweepers on May 5, 1944.

Original drawing source: NARA 80-G-164294 and 80-G-164295.

VII

PATROL BOAT PC 471 Class
?
ship

This is Plate VII from the June 1942 version of SHIPS-2 that was labeled PATROL BOAT PC 471 Class, here again the light color was white (5-U) and the pattern was Thayer Blue (5-B).

VIII

110 FOOT SUBMARINE CHASER
?
ship

This is Plate VIII from the June 1942 version of SHIPS-2 that was labeled 110 FOOT SUBMARINE CHASER, and the colors were white (5-U) with the pattern Thayer Blue (5-B).

IX

DESTROYER DD 421 Class
Design 16D
ship ship

This is Plate IX from the June 1942 version of SHIPS-2 that was labeled DESTROYER DD 421 Class the light color was white (5-U) and the pattern was Thayer Blue (5-B). Note the distictive pattern on the port bow. This pattern was used again for Design 16D.

These are side views from the camouflage drawings for Measure 31 Design 16D for the Alan M. Sumner class (DD-692) of destroyers drawn probably in late 1943. This pattern on the port side is a good match to the earlier Measure 16 pattern, especially for the bow stripes. In this case Design 16D added a similar striped pattern to the starboard side. Design 16D was also drawn for Fletcher and Gleaves classes of destroyers, Buckley class destroyer escorts, Bayfield class attack transports and for Tacoma class frigates. The cruiser USS Baltimore (CA-68) and the battleship USS California (BB-44) also wore Design 16D.

Original drawing source: NARA 80-G-170940 and 80-G-170941.

X

DESTROYER DD 421 Class
Design 24D
ship ship

This is Plate X from the June 1942 version of SHIPS-2 that was labeled DESTROYER DD 445 Class, again the light color was white (5-U) and the pattern was Thayer Blue (5-B). Note the distictive patterns on each bow.This pattern was used again for Design 24D.

These are side views from the camouflage drawings for Measure 32 Design 24D for the Buckley (DE-51) class of destroyer escorts dated January 6, 1944. The patterns on both the starboard and the port sides are good matches to the earlier Measure 16 drawing, except for some shifting and stretching. In December 1943, Design 24D was used for the light cruiser USS Reno (CL-96) in Measure 33 colors: ocean gray and light gray. About the same time 24D was used with Measure 32 colors for the Fletcher class destroyers. In February 1944, it was redrawn for the Cleveland class light cruisers. Design 24D was worn by the light cruisers USS Springfield (CL-66), USS Topeka (CL-67) and USS Astoria (CL-90) in Measure 33 colors and USS Pasadena (CL-65) in Measure 32 colors. Light cruiser USS San Diego (CL-53) also wore Design 24D using the Measure 33 colors navy blue and light gray, beginning in April 1944, until the end of the war.

Original drawing source: NARA 80-G-105512 for the port and 80-G-172874 for the starboard.

XI

TRANSPORT AP 21 Class
?
ship

This is Plate XI from the June 1942 version of SHIPS-2 that was labeled TRANSPORT AP 21 Class, the light color was white (5-U) and the pattern was Thayer Blue (5-B).

XII

CARGO SHIP AK 25 Class
Design 18D
ship ship

This is Plate XII from the June 1942 version of SHIPS-2 that was labeled CARGO SHIP AK 25 Class, again the light color was white (5-U) and the pattern was Thayer Blue (5-B). This pattern later became Design 18D.

These are side views from the camouflage drawings for Measure 32 Design 18D for the Fletcher (DD-445) class of destroyers dated August 19, 1943. The patterns on both the starboard and the port sides are good matches to the earlier Measure 16 drawing, except for some added panels for three colors. Many details on the superstructure have been added or modified. Design 18D was dated December 1943 when drawn for the Baltimore class heavy cruisers and it was worn by USS Canberra (CA-70), USS Quincy (CA-71) and USS Pittsburgh (CA-72). The battleship USS North Carolina (BB-55) also wore Design 18D from November 1943 all the way through 1944.

Original drawing source: NARA 80-G-156814 and 80-G-156815.




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Site last updated: March 2, 2017
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