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Little Boy & Fat Man

posted by Jiri Wagner

LITTLE  BOY

The uranium bomb Little Boy was ready for delivery by July 31. On August 2, LeMay's staff specified Hiroshima as the primary target, with Kokura and Nagasaki as alternates. Hiroshima was chosen because intelligence reports had indicated that there were no Allied POW camps located there. The raid was set for August 6, and Col. Tibbets was to command the attacking B-29. On the day before the mission, his plane (a Martin-Omaha-built B-29-45-MO serial number 44-86292) had been painted with the name Enola Gay, after his mother.

Seven bombers B-29 Superfortess took off:

Weather report:

Attack:

Backout, Iwojima Island:

Enola Gay crew:

The attack began with a flight of three special reconnaissance F-13As which took off to report the weather over the primary and secondary targets. Col. Tibbets followed in Enola Gay an hour later, accompanied by two other B-29s which would observe the drop. While on the way to Japan, Major Claude Eatherly, flying Straight Flush, radioed that Hiroshima was clear for a visual bomb drop.

Navy weapons expert Captain William Parsons armed the bomb while in flight, as it was deemed too dangerous to do this on the ground at North Field, lest an accident happen and the bomb go off, wiping out the entire base. At 8:15am, the Enola Gay released "Little Boy" from an altitude of 31,500 feet. The radar fuse on the bomb had been preset to go off at an altitude of 2000 feet above the ground. In the ensuing explosion, 80,000 people were killed and 60,000 buildings (from 90,000) were destroyed.

FAT  MAN

The plutonium bomb Fat Man was loaded into a B-29 known as Bock's Car (Martin-Omaha-built B-29-35-MO serial number 44-27297), named after its commander, Capt. Frederick C. Bock. However, on this mission, the aircraft was flown by Major Sweeney, with Capt. Bock flying one of the observation planes. The primary target was to be Kokura Arsenal, with Nagasaki as the alternative. Bock's Car took off on August 9, with "Fat Man" on board.

This time, the primary target of Kokura was obscured by dense smoke left over from the earlier B-29 raid on nearby Yawata, and the bombardier could not pinpoint the specified aiming point despite three separate runs. So Sweeney turned to the secondary target, Nagasaki. There were clouds over Nagasaki as well, and a couple of runs over the target had to be made before the bombardier could find an opening in the clouds. At 11:00am, "Fat Man" was released from the aircraft and the bomb exploded. The yield was estimated at 22 kilotons. Approximately 35,000 people died at Nagasaki in the immediate blast.

 

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Last updated 01.01.2017