Beach Day by Rodger Bliss
April 2024

Holy Planes!

It was a dark and stormy night at a secret airfield somewhere in England during WW II. The Royal Air Force had summoned one of England’s most noted mathematicians to help them solve a problem. German anti-aircraft fire based on the ground was inflicting heavy losses on the Brits. Their planes were being shot down right and left. The RAF had to do something to diminish their losses.

Clearly, they could put armor plating on the bottoms of the fuselages and the wings, but there were several problems with that idea. Their range and their ability to carry bombs would be considerably reduced because of the additional weight. A nameless mathematician crawled underneath the planes and looked at where the bullet holes were on the underside. They were all over the place as you might expect — in the wings and the fuselage, and seemingly distributed randomly on the undersides. He noticed that all the planes he studied had bullet holes in similar areas. He studied hundreds of planes, took pictures, drew a number of sketches — and then he made his recommendation.

The question is, what armor plating, if any, did he recommend putting on these planes — where and why?

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5 guesses to Holy Planes!

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  • Julie

    First, why are the young English mathematicians always guys?

    Rather than armor plating, he recommended they strap young attractive German male prisoners of war, dressed as blonde haired, blue eyed women with makeup and revealing clothing, to the fuselage and wings of each Allied plane, and instructed them to fly low enough for the German anti-aircraft soldiers to become enamored, so as to prevent them from firing at what they believed to be the physical perfection of the female form.

    That, my friends, is why an army including women will always have the upper hand and why Eisenhower was quoted as saying, “Women, you can’t live with them, but you can dress a German dude up to look like one.”

  • Dude

    Wow! That is so close, we’ll have to ask the judges: Judges say sorry, no cigar. Keep trying.

  • m.vlsqz

    The planes that had bullet holes in them are the planes that came back. The mathematician told them to put armor plating on the locations not hit by the bullets as the planes that did not come were possibly hit in these areas.

  • Shane

    He suggested they painted the planes either to blend into the sky or resemble a friendly?

  • Dude

    His recommendation very simply was to armor plate the unhit areas that the returning planes had in common. When he surveyed the undersides of these planes, he noticed that there were a few spots that all of them had in common that had no bullet holes. And he had to assume that the ones that hadn’t returned had bullet holes in those locations. They were in the English Channel someplace.

    m.vlsqz you are today’s winner!