Little use of camouflage by the Japanese has been found thus far on existing airfields or
newly-constructed strips, and no extensive schemes for their concealment. What little
means of concealment have been noticed may be classified as follows; (a) use of natural
foliage (branches of trees, etc.) to cover objects; (b) use of nets or similar material
to obscure outline; (c) use of covered "hangarettes," etc., to conceal aircraft,
and (d) concealment by dispersion in woods and scrub.
Disruptive painting of buildings has been noticed infrequently. On the roof of one
service hangar was noticed a disruptive camouflage, but no attempt was made to break up
its sharp outline, and it was plainly visible against the light-toned background of
the area upon which it was situated.
Branches and foliage were used to disguise fighter aircraft on one airfield and were
found to effectively conceal details, but the aircraft had not been dispersed in the
adjacent scrub and were easily detected.
The most extensive use of nets has been in the form of individual nets to disguise the
outlines of aircraft. This is sometimes done merely by draping a large net over an
aircraft, and at other times, by laying nets over a rough framework of long poles. Both
methods achieve the desired result of making the exact study of the aircraft's form and
measurements difficult; they do not mask the presence of aircraft.
Lightly built movable "hangarettes" are used by the Japanese on airfields in China,
Thailand, and Burma. Sometimes these "hangarettes" stand by themselves; at other
times they are placed inside the blast walls of aircraft shelters. These "hangarettes" are
built of wood or of light bamboo framework covered with openwork matting. They vary in
form from inverted V-section tents to inverted U-shaped structures
like Nissen huts, and house-like structures with straight walls and pitched roof. They
are not extensively used by the Japanese, there being only about an average of 50 on the
Burma airfields photographed in the last 6 months, as against a total of
over 1,000 aircraft shelters in Burma. Frequently they do not afford complete concealment
and the outlines of the aircraft can be seen through the "matting." No covered aircraft
shelters affording complete concealment are used by the Japanese in Burma.
Occasionally the Japanese have made use of gaps in hedges, and have dispersed fighter
aircraft in these gaps so that they are very inconspicuous. This is a common practice in
German-occupied airfields in Europe. There has been a recent tendency on Japanese airfields
to disperse the aircraft at greater distances and with greater care, hiding them among
scrub and bushes on the outskirts of the area. The sequence in disposal of aircraft in
enemy-occupied Burma is interesting. During the Japanese advance in May-June 1942, aircraft
were parked along runways with no attempt at concealment. This was followed by the very
extensive construction, not far from the runways, of blast shelters, sometimes with
internal "hangarettes." The latest practice according to photographs is, as has been
stated above, toward deliberate concealment in far more widely dispersed areas.
The use of dummy aircraft and other indications to give a false impression of the presence
or availability of landing grounds has been noted on several occasions. In one
instance, unserviceable aircraft were lined up on the main airfield and the satellite
landing strips to suggest that these were in use, when other indications showed that
they were most likely to be unusable. A recent study of another airfield has shown 8 unserviceable
aircraft used as dummies since the beginning of December 1942. Near another there was an
arrangement of rough 2-dimensional dummies representing fighter aircraft, with
dummy corner-markings adjacent, which may have been intended to constitute a decoy site
for the actual airfield. A single dummy aircraft, partly 3-dimensional and
partly flat, was constructed in open country near still another airfield.