How B-29 Crews Trained to Drop the Bomb

Wendover’s atomic secret

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

(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.

About Carl A. Posey

Novelist and award-winning science writer Carl A. Posey was the author of seven published novels, a number of non-fiction books, and dozens of magazine articles. He was a licensed pilot and an Air & Space magazine contributor for more than 30 years, beginning with its second issue in 1986. Posey died on February 9, 2018.

Read more from this author

Comment on this Story

comments powered by Disqus