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"Dawn of a Thousand Suns - Bockscar Over Nagasaki"
393rd Bombarbment Squadron, 509th Composite Group B29-45-MO "Bockscar" Drops the Fat-Man Atomic Weapon on 9 August, 1945.

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The Pyrocumulus Atomic cloud over Nagasaki reached over 60,000 feet. The blast had an equivalent yield equaling 20,000 tons of TNT.

On August 9th, 1945 at 29,500 feet over the Urakami Valley, near the city of Nagasaki, the second act of atomic age unfolded. The primary target had been Kokura, Japan, but smoke and haze from the previous night's raid on the neighboring city of Yawata obscured the city and saved it from annihilation. After several unsuccessful bomb runs – orders were to only drop visually – and a critical fuel situation, Aircraft Commander Major Chuck Sweeney diverted to the secondary target, the city of Nagasaki. Until then, Nagasaki had led an almost charmed life in war-time Japan, relatively untouched by the bombings her fellow cities had suffered. Sweeney issued the order for only one pass on Nagasaki, their fuel dangerous low, before they would have to head for Okinawa. 

A last minute break in the clouds over Nagasaki, at 11:01 AM local time, allowed Bockscar's bombardier Captain Kermit Beahan to visually sight the target as ordered.  The "Fat-Man" weapon, containing a core of about 14-pounds of plutonium, was dropped over the city's industrial valley at 32.77372˚N, 129.86325˚E. Exactly 47 seconds later, at 1,650 feet above a tennis court halfway between the Mitsubishi Steel and Arms Works in the south and the Nagasaki Arsenal in the north, the bomb exploded, The blast was nearly 1.9 miles northwest of the planned hypocenter and confined to the Urakami Valley District. The explosion generated heat estimated at 7,050˚F and winds that were over 624 mph. A major portion of the city was protected from the destruction because of the intervening hills, whereas 70,000 people near the hypocenter vanished instantly. Faced with an imminent ground invasion and a “Rain of Ruin” from the air, Japan capitulated on August 15th, 1945.


 

Crew of “Bockscar”

Back row (left to right): Capt. Kermit Beahan, Bombardier; Capt. James Van Pelt, Navigator; Capt. Charles Albury, Pilot; 2nd Lt. Fred Olivi, Co-pilot; Maj. Charles Sweeney, Commander.

Front row (left to right): SSgt. Edward Buckley, Radar Operator; MSgt. John Kuharek, Engineer; Sgt. Raymond Gallagher, Asst. Engineer; SSgt. Albert Dehart, Tail Gunner; Sgt. Abe Spitzer, Radio Operator.

 

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