Another Excellent Addition/Correction from
There was a 4th A-bomb
In the article (Trinity)
the statement is made that "The allies had only three, two left after
Actually the allies didn't have any. The United States had
two left after Trinity
which they used at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but they also had another plutonium
bomb which became ready for use at about the time the Nagasaki bomb was
This bomb was still in the U.S. and following Nagasaki,
Tibbets was directed to get that bomb to Tinian immediately. The Japanese
didn't capitulate immediately following the Nagasaki bombing, but President
Truman ordered that the third bomb not be used, and before that order
was amended, the Emperor ordered the cease fire and the end of the Japanese
resistance. (Basically the surrender of Japan) The third bomb was disarmed
and subsequently transferred to the Smithsonian Museum and was stored
at the Paul Garber facility located at Silver Hill, Maryland (where it
may still reside.)
The distinction about the allies no having any bombs was an "all
U.S. effort" in the use of both bombs is significant in that the
British formally requested to put a crew member aboard the Enola Gay,
and on orders of President Truman they were firmly rebuffed. The President
made it abundantly clear that this was to be exclusively an American effort.
The exclusion of the British from the Hiroshima mission, was mentioned
in the book, "Enola Gay" by Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan Witts
(Pocket edition, 1978 printing) on page 234 states that, "The war
cabinet had insisted that Britain be represented when the bomb was dropped.
President Truman had agreed 'in principle' to this at Potsdam."
Then on page 268 of the same volume they state that at the preflight briefing,
"At 2:45 the British contingent arrived. Both Cheshire and Penny
were grim-faced, having just been told by LeMay that they were to be excluded
from flying on the first atomic mission. Hoping for a last minute reversal
of the order, they seated themselves behind the scientists."
If indeed Truman had at least tacitly agreed to British participation
in the first atomic mission, it is unlikely in the extreme that anyone
had overruled the President. Or to state it more succinctly, the President
had put them off the flight. The Enola Gay was of course joined by two
other B-29s at Iwo Jima, and one of those had a Britisher onboard.
As to the existence of the third bomb, as I mentioned it was still being
assembled at the time the Nagasaki bomb was used. Right after the Nagasaki
bomb, the President ordered a halt to the use of nuclear weapons. I don't
recall ever reading whether the third bomb ever left the U.S. of A. I've
been told that this bomb was completely disarmed (both the plutonium pit
and the high explosive detonator) and it now resides in the Smithsonian
Museum, Paul Garber Restoration Facility located at Silver Hill, MD. It
is/was identical to the Fat Man bomb.
About Ted Wilkinson
Ted Wilkinson has provided several worthwhile
additions to Kilroy Was Here. He is a retired professional pilot and
an amateur historian. He was born in 1935 and so was 10 when WWII
ended. After getting his BS in Metallurgical Engineering at Le Tourneau
College, now LeToutneau University he worked in the field for six
and one half years then flew as an airline pilot for 35 years.
|His father owned the first private
A/C (an Alexander Eaglerock) in Floyd County, TX. He grew up around
airplanes, achieved Private, Commercial, Instrument licences. He holds
ATP ratings in Learjet, B-727, B-757, B-767, FAA licensed Mechanic,
Flight Engineer (Reciprocating, Turbine.)
He resided in Washington, D.C. area for several years and volunteered
as a restoration technician at the Garber facility where the forth
bomb was stored but says he never actually saw it. Even the shape
of the bombs into the late 1950s was classified so was never seen
without clearance and "need to know." He helped restore
the Curtis F9-C 'Sparrowhawk'.
He remains active in aviation, owning and flying
a Cessna 182. He is a member in the "OX-5 Aviation Pioneers,"
"Ancient and Secret Order of Quiet Birdmen," and Lifetime Member
of the "Experimental Aircraft Association." He attended the EAA
Convention in Oshkosh every year from 1972 to 2000. He is also a Lifetime
Member of the "American Aviation Historical Society."
He also worked at what was formerly the "Electromagnetic
separation plant" in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The U-235 for the
"Little Boy" bomb was produced by the "Electromagnetic
separation" process. Ted says "When
they finally got it going,
it became apparent that
the "Gaseous diffusion" process was substantially more
efficient, and that's the process that was finally settled on, but
initially the Electromagnetic process
got going sooner and actually produced the first product. "
Send Corrections, additions, and input to: