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11

Hiding a Ship with Smoke



This footage of a smoke screen was taken around 1923. A plane dropped a curtain of titanium tetrachloride to obscure the ship's exact location and movement from the enemy. In World War II, this was used to protect Allied ships from enemy fire, as Japanese naval radar technology was only in its infancy. Meanwhile, American ships were more likely to employ radar to locate target ships that were out of sight. -via reddit


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This is definitely from the 1920s. Probably worked great if you were close to shore as no one had the means to fly around at will in the middle of the ocean. Then I was thinking a ship would have to stop - or maybe sail in small tight circles in order to stay behind the screen. One maybe. Think it would get a little tight with a fleet.
Brief History of Naval Smoke Screens
Funny - the Patterson System that finally worked came from Prohibition. Make vapor instead of fog. That system is exactly what I use to "fog" up my cemetery on Halloween.
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Looks like it's described in patent US28981A, "Process of producing smoke clouds from moving aircraft", granted in 1927. Application filed 1925. https://patents.google.com/patent/US1619183A/en . "We prefer to employ a smoke-pr ducing liquid such as TiCl₄, SnCl₄, oleum and chlorsulphonic acid. ... The effect produced is the generation of a falling smoke curtain, which reaches the ground in the form of a long, high screen. Dependent on the height at which the plane is travelling when the liquid is released, the smoke curtain may be made to hang in the air, or may be made to rest on the ground."
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