While concealment has been a vital requirement for hunting, fighting and protection since earliest days, the use of camouflage as deception purposes came of age in the First World War. The growing use of aircraft was a factor no doubt as the author of this fascinating study concludes. The inventiveness and improvisation required suitedt the British temperament well. Given that those individuals who particularly excel at creativity are often artists, scientist and engineers with a fine disregard for orthodox military practice there are plenty of examples of clashes with more conventional military thinkers and bureaucracy. The levels of ingenuity achieved in hiding huge installations, airfields and ships are astounding. Lakes were hidden and river courses concealed. 'Active' camouflage designed to deceive the enemy as to strengths and directions of attack was accepted as a vital part of offensive planning for example at El Alamein and in the run-up to D Day, Guy Hartcup's Camouflage is not only instructive reading for military practitioners intent on developing their skills but a most interesting and entertaining read for a much wider audience.
The use of photographs provides graphic examples of attempts at concealment and deception over the years in many different wars and theatres.