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WWII Logic

Posted by Karl Sharman on December 18, 2010 – 12:23 pm

During WWII, the Royal Air Force called upon a mathematician to improve their bombers. Specifically, they wanted to reduce the chances of them being shot down.

Bombers are relatively slow moving targets escorted by smaller fighters to protect them from air attacks. But antiaircraft fire would occasionally knock them down.

So a reasonable solution was to put metal armor on the bottoms.But putting metal armor all over the bottom would add too much weight.

So this mathematician examines the bottoms of all the bombers which had been in combat. Most had at least some damage to their undersides, clustered about seemingly at random over the bottoms. After examining all the locations the bombers had received damage, he made a recommendation.

What was it?

This post is under “Tom” and has 10 respond so far.
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10 Responds so far- Add one»

  1. 1. Wizard of Oz Said:

    Protect the wings?

  2. 2. Nathan Said:

    Fortify the areas that have little damage, because the ones that did get damaged there were shot down and therefore those are the critical places to protect.

  3. 3. Chris Said:

    1. Only protect important areas.
    2. Paint the underside to camouflage the plane.
    3. Stop flying.

  4. 4. kkhong Said:

    make the plane ‘taller’ rather than ‘wider’. In that case, the bottom area would be smaller, hence smaller chance of getting an attack.

    Anyway, i guess mathematician was called upon instead of an aerospace engineer for a reason.

  5. 5. Tom Said:

    Reduce the armor and on top of the bombers (to save weight and help them go faster) and then have the smaller fighter planes fly below them to take any incoming fire

  6. 6. mike Said:

    Solution was that they made a bomber that could fly at higher altitudes to reduce losses. This also included making bombs that were accurate at those heights.

    Problem is, the bombings were inaccurate so they dropped the bombing altitude from the recommended height and were a lot more precising in their attacks. Bombers went down, but they destroyed whole cities in Japan.

    Source: Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara

  7. 7. Dave Said:

    Knowing those crazy maths boys (and girls) and their use of logic, my guess is that he would recommend them flying upside down.

  8. 8. Tom Said:

    Did he suggest that some of the fighter planes fly below the bombers to try and take any hits from below.

  9. 9. Karl Sharman Said:

    Nathan was right.

    Armouring the complete underside of the plane was not viable for a number of reasons.

    The mathematician charted out all the damage on all the returning bombers. He assumed that anywhere on a plane was as likely to be hit as any other. His chart showed where a bomber could be hit and continue to fly. The areas showing least amounts of damage according to the mathematicians charts were assumed to be areas that would affect the ability of the plane, in other words, planes hit in these areas did not return.

    He recommended that the RAF armour only those critical areas shown up by his charts.

  10. 10. Your name Said:

    stop using bombers hahahaha

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