The Hiroshima mission did not end the war. Despite the scale of destruction,
the Japanese did not immediately give up. Nelson thinks, "It required
something else, and that something was the second bomb.... The second bomb was a
necessity.... It did show that we had more than one weapon." He feels that
the bomb dropped on Nagasaki "worked--because three days later they did
concede defeat." For a
complete timeline of the Nagasaki Mission, please "click" here!
Where the Hiroshima mission's Little Boy, like most bombs, was cigar-shaped,
the plutonium bomb dropped on Nagasaki looked more like a giant egg, and was
aptly nicknamed Fat Man. Little Boy was a uranium bomb. It was also the only one
of its kind in existence. The uranium isotope of atomic mass 235 was arduous to
isolate from its sister isotope of mass 238, occurring in far greater abundance
in ordinary uranium ores. Material for a second bomb of this kind would not have
been available for several more months. The explosive for the bomb dropped on
Nagasaki was plutonium, an element that does not exist naturally on Earth. It
had to be manufactured from uranium 238 in giant nuclear reactors in a huge new
plant built for the Manhattan Project by the Army Corps of Engineers at Hanford,
Washington. By August 1945, Hanford was producing enough plutonium for two or
three bombs a month.
Tibbets decided not to go on the second bombing mission himself, and assigned
the command to Chuck Sweeney. Since Sweeney's The Great Artiste had been
outfitted for instrumentation, he was assigned to fly Bockscar, while Fred Bock,
who normally piloted the plane that bore his name, would command the
instrumentation aircraft on this flight.
The Nagasaki mission was plagued with troubles. A faulty fuel pump prevented
complete use of the fuel on board. Kokura, the primary target for the mission,
was so clouded in that Sweeney had to give up after circling the city for some
time and go for the alternate target, Nagasaki. That city also was heavily
overcast, but Sweeney did drop the bomb. Then, heading home he was so low on
fuel that he had to land on Okinawa to refuel before proceeding back to Tinian.