Why were fake trees on the battlefield in WW1?

You had to look carefully at this tree to realize 
that it was an example of wartime camouflage.

Soldiers needing to spy on the enemy built fake trees as observation posts:
To develop the O.P. Tree, Royal Engineers representatives selected, measured, and photographed the original tree, in situ, extensively. The ideal tree was dead; often it was bomb blasted. The photographs and sketches were brought back to the workshop, where artists constructed an artificial tree of hollow steel cylinders, but containing an internal scaffolding for reinforcement, to allow a sniper or observer to ascend within the structure. Then, under the cover of night, the team cut down the authentic tree and dug a hole in the place of its roots, in which they placed the O.P. Tree. When the sun rose over the field, what looked like a tree was a tree no longer; rather, it was an exquisitely crafted hunting blind, maximizing personal concealment and observational capacity simultaneously.
- O. P. Tree>>
- Via Kottke, Fake war trees>>
- Can’t see the tree for the wood… part II : The Baumbeobachter, Australian War Memorial>>
- Hide and Seek: Camouflage, Photography, and the Media of Reconnaissance - Hannah Rose Shell, Amazon>>

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