Military aircraft camouflage has evolved with the help of science and developed to meet operational conditions. Tim Ripley looks back at its history and the reasons for adopting new schemes.
When Germany’s Baron Manfred von Richthofen took to the skies over the trenches of the Western Front in his famous red-painted Albatros D.III biplanes and Fokker Dr.1 triplanes he was aiming to get noticed.
The famous ‘Red Baron’ was hoping to intimidate his opponents and boost the morale of his own pilots by dramatically announcing his presence over the field of battle. He wrote in his autobiography, published after his death, “For whatever reasons, one fine day I came upon the idea of having my crate painted glaring red. The result was that absolutely everyone could not help but notice my red bird”.