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» Hello snopes.com » Urban Legends » Military » Stop that island: the escape of HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen

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Author Topic: Stop that island: the escape of HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen
Bug Muldoon
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I was looking up a few museum ships and stumbled onto this page about a Dutch minesweeper called the Abraham Crijnssen. The text says:

quote:
After the destruction of the Allied Fleet by the Japanese during the Battle of the Java Sea in February 1942, Crijnssen's captain was ordered to escape with his ship to Australia. Covered with tree branches, the minesweeper crossed the Japanese naval lines camouflaged as a tropical island.
Unfortunately I've found no other sources to confirm this - all other mentions of the ship I found were verabtim reprints of the page I linked. Is there a navy buff who knows more about this story?

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Eddylizard
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I don't have any information, but I don't rule it out. Many weird things were tried out on WWII.

But I have to question the thought process behind such a plan. Surely if the minesweeper passed within line of sight of a Japanese Naval vessel, one of the Japanese crew might have noticed that the 'island' was moving? And that it was not on any of their maps? Although I don't know how good Japanese WWII era sea charts were.

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Don Enrico
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This page from the Royal Netherlands Navy Museum as well as this page from the Historic Naval Ships Association seem to confirm the story. According to the Dutch page (from what I understand, at least) and the Wikipedia entry, the vessel was stationed in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), an area full of small islands. Staying near to the coast and going very slow, I could imagine how a ship could be disguised as an island.

Don Enrico

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Troberg
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I would also suspect that the greates risk of discovery was not from ships, but from aircraft. Stick enough green stuff on a ship and an aircraft at high altitude would see it as an island.

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/Troberg

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Eddylizard
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A good point Troberg.

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jimmy101
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Camouflage of ships has always been kind of strange.

Usually, there isn't anything around a ship at sea so there isn't anything else to make the ship look like. On land you make a tank look like a big bush. On the sea what do you make a ship look like? A wave?

During WW I and II some ships were camouflaged to look like anything that wasn't a ship. Heck, you could make it look like a candy store and it would still help to avoid detection since observers are looking for the shape of a ship, not a candy store. The "dazzle" pattern of WW I & II ships not only made the ship more difficult to spot but also confused the optical sights of attackers.

The same principle applies to camo on a person. To be effective you don't have to make the person look like a bush, or anything else. You just have to make the person not look like a person.

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jimmy101
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quote:
Originally posted by Troberg:
I would also suspect that the greates risk of discovery was not from ships, but from aircraft. Stick enough green stuff on a ship and an aircraft at high altitude would see it as an island.

Of course, islands don't usually have wakes. [Razz]

I would think a recon plane would be looking more for wakes than for actual ships since the wake is much bigger than the ship itself.

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Eddylizard
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quote:
Posted by jimmy101
The "dazzle" pattern of WW I & II ships not only made the ship more difficult to spot but also confused the optical sights of attackers.


But would it defeat the pigeon-guided missile?

http://www.cs.utah.edu/~regehr/research/pelican.html

eddy 'stop that pigeon' lizard

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