During World War II, the Allies recorded the serial numbers of captured German tanks' gearboxes. Why?

to track the movement of tanks
to identify the tanks re-captured by Germans
to estimate total tanks production
to take part in the "Top tank killer" contest
The allies found out, that the gearbox numbers fell in two unbroken sequences, so large production resulted in influx of large serial numbers. Today, the problem of estimating the maximum of a discrete uniform distribution from sampling without replacement, is known - in the English-speaking world - as the German tank problem.
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