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During the war, Wendover Army Air Base was one of the country's most secretive locations. (Wendover AFB History Office)

Wendover’s Atomic Secret

How B-29 crews trained to drop the bomb

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(Continued from page 3)

Little Boy was ready to deliver by late July. The fissile material arrived from San Francisco, aboard the cruiser USS Indianapolis. After a final test of the arming and fusing system in a simulated drop near Tinian, and a few days’ wait for better weather over Japan, the bomb was loaded aboard Tibbets’ B-29, Enola Gay, on August 6 and flown to Hiroshima.

As for Fat Man, Trinity had demonstrated that it worked on a tower. But no one knew how the bomb—vastly more complex than Little Boy—would perform during a fall from 30,000 feet. Finally, in early August, the ordnance hands at Wendover assembled a test unit complete with high explosives and hoisted the device into the forward bay of another B-29. It was a Fat Man in full, lacking only the plutonium core. Dropped on August 4, it worked as intended. A similar surrogate was tested near Tinian on August 8. Next morning, the real Fat Man destroyed Nagasaki.

Frequent contributor Carl Posey last wrote about Florida’s Albert Whitted Airport.

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