Ironically, the practice of painting the upper masts black was started in about 1962-63. It was done to reduce the need to touch up the Haze Gray paint from stack smoke. It was thought that visible detection wasn't an issue anymore, because EVERYBODY had radar by then.
: In 1989 my ship was part of the study for
: changing from black on the top of the Knox
: class mack or the masts on a Spruance. We
: were given a presentation by a couple of
: fellows from NAVSEA who had done studies
: just like the 1941 study.
: Questions included max range to first
: observe a ship, both visually from the
: bridge and from a sub's periscope. Also
: they looked at the max range to identify the
: contact as either a Knox or a Spruance. If
: the masts were painted with the old black
: scheme, a ship could be identified much,
: much further away. The effects of use of
: solid grey were really surprising.
: --Previous Message--
: Thanks for posting. Not absorbing all the
: details, but shows that the USN was
: meticulously studying camouflaging of ships.
: The attention to details reflects well on
: the naval service. Hope the USN can be just
: as diligent today.