The photos below seem to be of a normal, suburban neighborhood, but theyre actually hiding something so important: a military base. Burbanks Lockheed Air Terminal (which is now known as Bob Hope Airport) underwent a major makeover during World War II. In February 1942, a Japanese submarine was seen outside of San Francisco Bay. Then, when another was spotted in Santa Barbara, the US government decided to protect vital military installations along the Pacific Coast. For the Lockheed airport base, it was decided to camouflage the entire base to look like a suburban neighborhood.
It was surprisingly effective.
This seems like a normal rural neighborhood, right?
Its not. This is what the area looked like before. It was the Lockheed airport base.
Colonel John F Ohmer, an expert in camouflage and misdirection techniques, had the responsibility of creating a strategy for California.
Scenic designers, painters, art directors, landscape artists, animators, carpenters, lighting experts and prop men from movie studios in Hollywood, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Disney Studios, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Universal Pictures and others helped disguise this base.
A heavy-duty netting was spread over the top of the base, with trees and houses on top of it.
To make the camouflage seem like a legitimate neighborhood, the military had to maintain the illusion of life and activity on the surface. People were paid to ride their bicycles over the netting (Warren Holmgreen Jr.).
The netting protected airplanes, soldiers, and the lives of so many people that lived on the airbase.
It seems like an outlandish tactic, but from an aerial view, the airport base looked like a normal US neighborhood.
Before seeing this, if someone told me that the United States protected its soldiers by covering a base with a giant net made to look like a town, Id think that the officer in charge was Wile E. Coyote. As it turns out, this intricate and well-strategized camouflage did the trick.