This story is fantastic, primarily because it is true. Reading this article, one can see where George Lucas may have acquired at least some of his ideas for the Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk, which fans can visually explore in games such as Knights of the Old Republic* and The Force Unleashed*. Gamers who enjoy a particular JRPG* may also find themselves thinking of a steampunk city built of glass, metal, and materia.
But the towns described below were real, though hardly anyone lived in them. Given the improvements in technology and the constant use thereof, I doubt this type of set up would work today. At least, not in the manner it did at the time.
Find out more about this forgotten piece of American history through the link, readers. Who knows? Perhaps it will be useful for your own fictional locales and their camouflage someday. 😉
How Hollywood Set Designers Hid America’s WWII Aircraft Factories
In the Army’s greatest cover-up, Boeing’s Plant 2 disappeared under a 26-acre suburb of burlap, chicken feathers, and wood-framed cars.
NOV 8, 2020
As the sun rose over the horizon, a Japanese aviator worked to get his bearings above enemy territory. Anti-aircraft shells rocked his floatplane bomber as he looked for his target, a giant aircraft factory. The imposing building and expansive runways should be unmistakable, but there were only houses below.
American interceptors would surely find him soon. Seconds turned into minutes he couldn’t afford. He was still searching in vain when a pair of American P-40 Warhawk fighters zoomed in behind him, lining up to end his failed mission.
In early 1942, this scenario played out clearly in the mind of Army engineer Colonel John F. Ohmer Jr., though the intended mark for his greatest illusion—the Imperial Japanese Navy—had yet to actually appear. The art and science of camouflage had infatuated Ohmer for years. After joining the Army in 1938, he combined his love of magic and photography to find inventive ways to fool the eye and the lens. When Ohmer went overseas to study Britain’s wartime concealment efforts, he marveled as German attackers wasted their bombs in open fields brilliantly attired to appear as vital targets.
As commander of the Army’s 604th Engineer Camouflage Battalion, Ohmer campaigned to demonstrate his craft by obscuring Hawaii’s Wheeler Field in 1941. His superiors rejected his proposal because of the $56,210 price tag (nearly $900,000 today). Then on December 7, 1941, Japanese attackers bombed and strafed Oahu’s exposed airfields, along with the naval base at Pearl Harbor. Wheeler alone lost 83 warplanes, each one nearly worth the cost of Ohmer’s proposed cover-up.
With America at war, it seemed like only a matter of time before America’s West Coast bases and factories became the next targets of the Japanese navy. Enemy raiders were spotted skulking offshore. One Japanese submarine shelled an oil storage facility near Santa Barbara and in the early morning hours of February 25, 1942, air defense gunners around Los Angeles blasted 1,400 shells into the spotlight-pierced night sky, chasing the ghosts of unidentified aircraft.
*These are Amazon affiliate links. When you purchase something through them, this author receives a commission from Amazon at no extra charge to you, the buyer.
If you liked this article, friend Caroline Furlong on Facebook or follow her here at www.carolinefurlong.wordpress.com. Her stories have been published in Cirsova’s Summer Special and Unbound III: Goodbye, Earth, while her poetry appeared in Organic Ink, Vol. 2. She has also had stories published in Planetary Anthologies Luna and Uranus. Another story was released in Cirsova Magazine’s Summer Issue. Her most recent piece is available in Planetary Anthology: Sol. Order them today!
Like Caroline’s content? Then consider buying her a coffee on Ko-fi to let her know you appreciate her work. 😉