DID YOU KNOW....(19)
On August 9, 1945, Nagasaki was actually a secondary target. The primary target for Major Charles W. Sweeney and the crew of the B-29 'Bockscar' was actually the city of Kokura.
About 96 miles (≃ 155km) northeast of Nagasaki, Kokura was a city of about 130,000 people in 1945, and the large arms factory complex (the biggest in Western Japan) situated there was the main reason why this city in the north of Kyūshū was chosen for the second Atomic Bomb mission. However, on the morning of August 9, Kokura was obscured, mostly by low level haze, cloud, and apparently smoke from the fire-bombing of the nearby Yahata Steel Works the night before; and thus the targeting could not be done visually—as ordered.
The Flight Log recorded that: "Target was obscured by heavy ground haze and smoke."
Crew member Lt. Fred Olivi recorded in his Flight diary: "7/10 cloud coverage – Bomb must be dropped visually but I don't think our chances are very good."
Despite this, Sweeney made three runs on Kokura with the bomb bay doors open; the plutonium-cored "Fat Man" A-Bomb primed and ready to drop. But at no time could the target be visually acquired, and eventually Kokura was abandoned. 'Bockscar' flew on to Nagasaki instead, and at 11:02am local time, the "Fat Man" exploded about 500m above Nagasaki with the force of 20 kilotons of TNT.
The artwork depicts the B-29 'Bockscar' of the 393rd Bomb Squadron, 509th Composite Group, dropping "Fat Man" over Nagasaki, August 9, 1945.
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