How Allies Used Math Against German Tanks

“During World War II, Allied forces readily admitted German tanks were superior to their own. The big question for Allied forces, then, was how many tanks Germany was producing. Knowing that would help them counter the threat. Here’s how they reverse-engineered serial numbers to find out.

Allied intelligence noticed each captured tank had a unique serial number. With careful observation, the Allies were able to determine the serial numbers had a pattern denoting the order of tank production. Using this data, the Allies created a mathematical model to determine the rate of German tank production.

They used it to estimate that the Germans produced 255 tanks per month between the summer of 1940 and the fall of 1942.”


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