Dazzle camouflage was a military camouflage paint scheme used on ships, extensively during World War I and to a lesser extent in World War II.
After the Allied Navies failed to develop effective means to disguise ships in all weathers, the dazzle technique was employed. At first glance, this was an unlikely form of camouflage, as ships were painted with zebra-like black, grey and white stripes.
This type of camouflage was used, not to conceal the ship, but rather to make it difficult for the enemy to estimate its type, size, speed and direction of travel. Also, each ship’s dazzle pattern was unique to avoid making classes of ships instantly recognisable to the enemy.
After seeing a canon painted in dazzle camouflage trundling through the streets of Paris, Pablo Picasso is reported to have taken credit for the innovation which seemed to him a quintessentially Cubist technique.