Topic: Military history/German military history
In the statistical theory of estimation, the German tank problem consists of estimating the maximum of a discrete uniform distribution from sampling without replacement. In simple terms, suppose we have an unknown number of items which are sequentially numbered from 1 to N. We take a random sample of these items and observe their sequence numbers; the problem is to estimate N from these observed numbers.
The problem can be approached using either frequentist inference or Bayesian inference, leading to different results. Estimating the population maximum based on a single sample yields divergent results, whereas estimation based on multiple samples is a practical estimation question whose answer is simple (especially in the frequentist setting) but not obvious (especially in the Bayesian setting).
The problem is named after its historical application by Allied forces in World War II to the estimation of the monthly rate of German tank production from very few data. This exploited the manufacturing practice of assigning and attaching ascending sequences of serial numbers to tank components (chassis, gearbox, engine, wheels), with some of the tanks eventually being captured in battle by Allied forces.
- "German Tank Problem" | 2023-11-26 | 39 Upvotes 7 Comments
- "The German tank problem" | 2016-12-03 | 64 Upvotes 6 Comments
- "German tank problem" | 2014-02-21 | 231 Upvotes 83 Comments
- "German tank problem" | 2011-03-02 | 28 Upvotes 1 Comments
- "The German Tank Problem" | 2009-06-23 | 103 Upvotes 18 Comments
A jerrycan (also written as jerry can or jerrican) is a robust liquid container made from pressed steel. It was designed in Germany in the 1930s for military use to hold 20 litres (4.4 imp gal; 5.3 US gal) of fuel. The development of the jerrycan was a significant improvement on earlier designs, which required tools and funnels to use, and it contained many innovative features for convenience of use and robustness. After widespread use by both Germany and the Allies during the Second World War, today similar designs are used worldwide for fuel and water containers, some of which are also produced in plastic. The designs usually emulate the original steel design and are still known as jerrycans. The original design of jerrycan and various derivatives remain in widespread military use.
- "Jerrycan" | 2022-01-03 | 272 Upvotes 155 Comments
The Wire of Death (Dutch: Dodendraad, German: Todesdraht) was a lethal electric fence created by the German military to control the Dutch–Belgian frontier during the occupation of Belgium during the First World War.
- "Wire of Death" | 2016-04-09 | 158 Upvotes 75 Comments
Operation Gladio is the codename for clandestine "stay-behind" operations of armed resistance that were organized by the Western Union (WU), and subsequently by NATO and the CIA, in collaboration with several European intelligence agencies. The operation was designed for a potential Warsaw Pact invasion and conquest of Europe. Although Gladio specifically refers to the Italian branch of the NATO stay-behind organizations, "Operation Gladio" is used as an informal name for all of them. Stay-behind operations were prepared in many NATO member countries, and some neutral countries.
During the Cold War, some anti-communist armed groups engaged in the harassment of left-wing parties, torture, terrorist attacks, and massacres in countries such as Italy. The role of the CIA and other intelligence organisations in Gladio—the extent of its activities during the Cold War era and any responsibility for terrorist attacks perpetrated in Italy during the "Years of Lead" (late 1960s–early 1980s)—is the subject of debate.
In 1990, the European Parliament adopted a resolution alleging that military secret services in certain member states were involved in serious terrorism and crime, whether or not their superiors were aware. The resolution also urged investigations by the judiciaries of the countries in which those armies operated, so that their modus operandi and actual extension would be revealed. To date, only Italy, Switzerland and Belgium have had parliamentary inquiries into the matter.
The three inquiries reached differing conclusions as regarded different countries. Guido Salvini, a judge who worked in the Italian Massacres Commission, concluded that some right-wing terrorist organizations of the Years of Lead (La Fenice, National Vanguard and Ordine Nuovo) were the trench troops of a secret army, remotely controlled by exponents of the Italian state apparatus and linked to the CIA. Salvini said that the CIA encouraged them to commit atrocities. The Swiss inquiry found that British intelligence secretly cooperated with their army in an operation named P-26 and provided training in combat, communications, and sabotage. It also discovered that P-26 not only would organize resistance in case of a Soviet invasion, but would also become active should the left succeed in achieving a parliamentary majority. The Belgian inquiry could find no conclusive information on their army. No links between them and terrorist attacks were found, and the inquiry noted that the Belgian secret services refused to provide the identity of agents, which could have eliminated all doubts. A 2000 Italian parliamentary report from the left wing coalition Gruppo Democratici di Sinistra l'Ulivo reported that terrorist massacres and bombings had been organised or promoted or supported by men inside Italian state institutions who were linked to American intelligence. The report also said the United States was guilty of promoting the strategy of tension. Operation Gladio is also suspected to have been activated to counter existing left-wing parliamentary majorities in Europe.
The US State Department published a communiqué in January 2006 that stated claims the United States ordered, supported, or authorized terrorism by stay-behind units, and US-sponsored "false flag" operations are rehashed former Soviet disinformation based on documents that the Soviets forged.
The word gladio is the Italian form of gladius, a type of Roman shortsword.
- "Operation Gladio" | 2022-10-03 | 123 Upvotes 55 Comments
German submarine U-1206 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. She was laid down on 12 June 1943 at F. Schichau GmbH in Danzig and went into service on 16 March 1944 before sinking a year later, in April 1945. The boat's emblem was a white stork on a black shield with green beak and legs.
- "German submarine U-1206" | 2019-07-11 | 66 Upvotes 101 Comments
The Charlie Brown and Franz Stigler incident occurred on 20 December 1943, when, after a successful bomb run on Bremen, 2nd Lt Charles "Charlie" Brown's B-17 Flying Fortress (named "Ye Olde Pub") was severely damaged by German fighters. Luftwaffe pilot Franz Stigler had the opportunity to shoot down the crippled bomber but did not do so. After an extensive search by Brown, the two pilots met each other 50 years later and developed a friendship that lasted until Stigler's death in March 2008.
The Battle of the Beams was a period early in the Second World War when bombers of the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) used a number of increasingly accurate systems of radio navigation for night bombing in the United Kingdom. British scientific intelligence at the Air Ministry fought back with a variety of their own increasingly effective means, involving jamming and distortion of the radio waves. The period ended when the Wehrmacht moved their forces to the East in May 1941, in preparation for the attack on the Soviet Union.
- ""Some German bombers landed at UK bases, believing they were back in Germany."" | 2010-08-16 | 99 Upvotes 17 Comments
Pigeon photography is an aerial photography technique invented in 1907 by the German apothecary Julius Neubronner, who also used pigeons to deliver medications. A homing pigeon was fitted with an aluminium breast harness to which a lightweight time-delayed miniature camera could be attached. Neubronner's German patent application was initially rejected, but was granted in December 1908 after he produced authenticated photographs taken by his pigeons. He publicized the technique at the 1909 Dresden International Photographic Exhibition, and sold some images as postcards at the Frankfurt International Aviation Exhibition and at the 1910 and 1911 Paris Air Shows.
Initially, the military potential of pigeon photography for aerial reconnaissance appeared interesting. Battlefield tests in World War I provided encouraging results, but the ancillary technology of mobile dovecotes for messenger pigeons had the greatest impact. Owing to the rapid perfection of aviation during the war, military interest in pigeon photography faded and Neubronner abandoned his experiments. The idea was briefly resurrected in the 1930s by a Swiss clockmaker, and reportedly also by the German and French militaries. Although war pigeons were deployed extensively during World War II, it is unclear to what extent, if any, birds were involved in aerial reconnaissance. The United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) later developed a battery-powered camera designed for espionage pigeon photography; details of its use remain classified.
The construction of sufficiently small and light cameras with a timer mechanism, and the training and handling of the birds to carry the necessary loads, presented major challenges, as did the limited control over the pigeons' position, orientation and speed when the photographs were being taken. In 2004, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) used miniature television cameras attached to falcons and goshawks to obtain live footage, and today some researchers, enthusiasts and artists similarly deploy crittercams with various species of animals.
- "Pigeon photography" | 2014-07-17 | 79 Upvotes 11 Comments
This is an incomplete list of documented attempts to assassinate Adolf Hitler.
All attempts occurred in the German Reich, except where noted. All attempts involved citizens of the German Reich, except where noted. No fewer than 42 plots have been uncovered by historians. However, the true numbers cannot be accurately determined due to an unknown number of undocumented cases.
- "List of Assassination Attempts on Adolf Hitler" | 2019-11-06 | 55 Upvotes 30 Comments
Operation Epsilon was the codename of a program in which Allied forces near the end of World War II detained ten German scientists who were thought to have worked on Nazi Germany's nuclear program. The scientists were captured between May 1 and June 30, 1945, as part of the Allied Alsos Mission, mainly as part of its Operation Big sweep through southwestern Germany.
They were interned at Farm Hall, a bugged house in Godmanchester, near Cambridge, England, from July 3, 1945, to January 3, 1946. The primary goal of the program was to determine how close Nazi Germany had been to constructing an atomic bomb by listening to their conversations.
- "Operation Epsilon" | 2023-05-08 | 61 Upvotes 10 Comments