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Nagasaki 9 August 1945; anniversary 2017

Discussion in '509th CG - Tinian' started by 25Kingman49, Aug 9, 2017.

  1. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Not a day for celebration but also a day and date never to be forgotten. Centerboard II, second use of nuclear weapons upon the Empire of Japan in a shock and awe effort to bring the Japs to the treaty table for unconditional surrender as dictated in the Potsdam declaration. The loss of Hiroshima and a major portion of its population was not sufficient to convince this Jap Militaristic Government or its Emperor Hirohito that it was past time to quit. This was the result:
    [1] Fat Man Physics Packages  Assembly Tinian 1945.jpg
    [2] Fat Man combat prep on Tinian.jpg
    [3] 44-27297 Bockscar.jpg

    [4] Fat Man (LANL).png
    [5] Nagasaki men.jpg
    [6] NagasakiCloud.jpg
    [7] Nagasaki (Before & After).jpg

    And on the same day those pesky Soviets invaded Manchuria advancing thru Manchuria and China to the Korean peninsula within 30 days as if the Jap Kwantung Army in China did not exist. In the end few of that Kwantung force remained.

    For those interested Battlefield Manchuria (be patient while it loads, then full screen is recommended, make some popcorn as this is not a short video.
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/87296379/Battlefield of Manchuria World War II - YouTube.mp4
    Airwar likes this.
  2. terveurn

    terveurn Active Member

    and once again, the mighty 509th BG missed the aiming point by 1/4 mile...

    Did not get much better at Bikini......

    Technically, Russia and Japan are still at war
  3. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Thank you Dave for your intuitive and less than detailed contribution, likely you are just being nitpicky. Would it have been better if this mission had failed and your father was sent ashore as part of the invasion force of Kyushu during Operation Olympic; no disrespect intended? As the saying goes in horse shoes, hand grenades and nuclear weapons "close counts". I concur the Nagasaki "Centerboard II" mission was a nightmare from beginning to end. I blame this primarily on Major Charles W. Sweeney's ineptness who was personally selected to command this second mission to Kokura the primary and Nagasaki the secondary by Paul W Tibbets Jr. As such Tibbets holds some blame as to this mission becoming so FUBAR!

    Here is a FUBAR interview of Sweeney after the mission where the reporter wrongly describes the weapons carrier B-29 as "The Great Artiste" in fact it was "Bockscar" but Sweeney makes no correction, and then goes on to tell his BS account of this majorly flawed mission where he damn near ran his plane out of fuel narrowly avoiding crashing into the sea before reaching Okinawa for refueling. When he finally returned to Tinian the next day there was no awards ceremony waiting as there was for Tibbets, and frankly Sweeney is lucky they did not just drag his ass to the north end of Tinian, execute him and throw his body into the sea. Tibbets actually started court-martial proceeding against Sweeney (to cover his own ass, "my opinion") charges later dropped with no action taken, and Sweeney went on to become a USAF Major General (who says incompetence can't rise to the top if left unchecked).

    "Bikini", as you put it was a whole different story postwar, now with Colonel William H. Blanchard in command of the 509th BG, an old crony of General LeMay who served as his Operations Officer on Guam, and had been with him since B-29 China deployment. Blanchard hand picked by LeMay to replace Tibbets postwar as Tibbets had pissed LeMay off during WWII service in the Marianas. Back to "Bikini" specifically the "Able" test of Operation Crossroads with an air dropped Fat Man (Mark III) weapon over an anchored fleet of ships in the Bikini atoll lagoon. The USS Nevada (BB-36) was the aiming point (painted RED stem to stern) so even a nearsighted bombardier could find the target. In the end the target was missed by 710 yards (0.403 miles), actually Wiki has a fairly accurate account here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Crossroads little discussed a great deal of data was lost with this target miss. Many cameras and instrument were pointed at USS Nevada to record this direct hit which never occurred.

    The real boondoggle of this Operation Crossroads test series was the "Baker" test with another Mark III weapon (physics package only) detonated 90 feet below the surface of the lagoon. This Baker explosion is the one most memorable in still images and film.

    This detonation dredged up material from the bottom of the lagoon making it highly radioactive and dropping contaminated material on the decks of the observation fleet. This is accurately depicted in the film "Radio Bikini" spoiler alert, not until the end of the film is it disclosed this is another episode of the United States military "killing their own" during nuclear weapons testing. If anyone is interested we can further discuss the boondoggle of nuclear weapons testing at the Nevada Test Site (NTS) further killing our own in the military into the 1950's and Utah "downwinders" and others effected by this nuclear weapons testing in southern Nevada near Las Vegas.

    Regarding "Technically, Russia and Japan are still at war"... You'll have that. Contact the State Department to complain of this not yet being resolved https://www.state.gov/s/cpr/c15641.htm (good luck, inform us of your progress)
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2017
  4. terveurn

    terveurn Active Member

    " frankly Sweeney is lucky they did not just drag his ass to the north end of Tinian, execute him and throw his body into the sea."


    Let it all hang out -- tell your true feelings regarding Sweeney <rotfwl> Tibbets was also an brown-nosing little asshole, but that is another story as well.

    the 509th was supposed to be this elite B-29 group, my feelings it would have been better to bring the first couple A-Bombs to Tinian and use combat proven lead crew(s) to fly the missions (I was going to say like Aphrodite but that was another cluster fuck).

    I always thought Baker was the most successful of all the first A-bomb test (yeah, I consider Hiroshima and Nagasaki tests) - pretty much unproven weapon system(s) were dropped over Japan.

    What was the name of the 1950's movie about the A-Bomb test where they discover that the aiming point was caused by the lack of headrest for the bombardier ??


    and without the nuclear tests, were would not have giant ants to worry about....

    Last edited: Aug 10, 2017
  5. terveurn

    terveurn Active Member


    When did the 509th BG aircraft receive nose art and pumpkin bombing markings.

    Except for Enola Gay, I understood none of the 0ther ships had nose art applied until early October / November 1945. Even Enola gay did not have pumpkin symbols added until later.
  6. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Yes, my disdain is probably pretty obvious for Major Sweeney, he was an outright lair about the shortcomings of his nuke mission blaming others primarily USN Commander Frederick L. "Dick" Ashworth serving as weaponeer on what would become the Nagasaki mission, however Cmdr Ashworth was so much more to the MP from testing at Wendover to selecting Tinian as the base of operations for the 509CG. Tibbets is a close runner up to Sweeney with his arrogance, and frankly believe he got lucky over Hiroshima with perfect weather conditions, etc.

    Here is Dick Ashworth's post mission interview. It should probably be noted here that one of the primary mission directives was that the target must be visually observed by the bombardier before weapon release. Frankly the complete truth may never be known. On the initial bomb run over Nagasaki all was cloud covered and (at the last minute) bombardier Capt Kermit Beahan (visually sited the target, releasing the weapon). Regardless of the target visual siting prime directive I believe this was a radar weapon drop over Nagasaki. None of the crew would ever admit to this as they likely did not wish to be shot or sent to Leavenworth for an extended stay. In the end the horse shoe philosophy of close counts with the BDA of Nagasaki regardless of true aiming point proved true.
    Cmdr Ashworth post mission interview

    Capt Kermit Beahan post mission interview; paraphrasing (by golly when the clouds opened over Nagasaki I let the bomb go; that was my greatest thrill) In fact the crews of Bockscar (weapon carrier), The Great Artiste, (instruments carrier, piloted by Fred Bock) and the photographic plane way late to the party past the planned rendezvous point was 44-27354, later named "Big Stink" piloted by Major (later Lt Col) James I Hopkins, Jr (normally 509CG Operations Officer). All landed at Okinawa to refuel, and "maybe get their story straight" before returning to Tinian the next day.

    Correct none of the 393rd Squadron aircraft received nose art with the exception of "EG" until after hostilities ended while at Tinian. And a few like Jabit III and Luke the Spook had to wait until the group returned to the United States at Roswell AAFld New Mexico their postwar base of operation.

    As to big ants and other nuclear created creatures in this Hollywood genre I leave for other to explore.
  7. terveurn

    terveurn Active Member


    Did the wire recordings for both missions ever turn-up.

    My understanding is both planes has 4 recorders and Tibbets either had them turned off or the wires went missing.
  8. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Sorry Dave, missing your content/comment about combat proven lead crew(s). There is no reason to believe that Tibbets would not fly the first atomic mission. Like him or not he was combat tested over Europe serving with both the 8th and 12th Air forces. Upon return to the ZI after this ETO service he was thrusted into the B-29 development project (these are the facts, this does not mean I would have trusted this incredibly arrogant self-serving AAF officer. Read any of his biographies auto or otherwise and the BS drips from the pages. Hardly an information source as in a biography there is no source citing, the reader is expected to take Paul's words in every sentence as gospel...BS, excuse me BS, darned allergies getting the better of me.

    Other Tibbets choices to command Centerboard II. Primary pick should have been Lt. Col. Thomas J Classen who was squadron commander of the 393rd when detached from the 504th BG training at Fairmont Field, Nebraska. Secretly diverted to Wendover Field, Utah to become the combat element of the 509th CG where Tom still held the loyalty of his squadron men. Tom would be promoted to Deputy Group Command. Understand these two men Classen/Tibbets hardly ever got along, I believe primarily due to Tibbets arrogance and perhaps jealousy of Classen. Tom was already a highly decorated Pacific war veteran receiving the Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross, and Purple Heart serving with the 72BS, 5BG, 13AF citation can be viewed here http://valor.militarytimes.com/recipient.php?recipientid=22858 I may be a bit jaded on this topic as I liked and respected Tom who passed in 2009 https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=156290228 Tom was a no BS type of guy that I have always respected. Tibbets was not even in Tom's league (my opinion). Instead of selecting Tom for Centerboard II Tibbets selected his buddy Sweeney. And in the meantime ordered Tom back to the U.S. to retrieve more nukes. Mission cancelled before departing Hawaii for Wendover.

    At about the same time there was another weapon resupply mission under way. This mission included Capt. William F. Hartshorn, Jr. from Wendover Field's 216th Base Unit who had participated in the first FM pre-assembly weapons to Tinian. Now on 11 August Capt Hartshorn is flying another FM assembly (see attached) destination Tinian. Stopping at Mather Field, Sacramento, CA where he will be joined by Col. Clifford J. Heflin CO of Wendover Field and the AAF nuclear development arm working with Los Alamos. On arrival Heflin will take command and head for Tinian.

    This mission was halted at Mather Field with the orders from President Truman to stand-down from nuke shipments while evaluating the Jap indications toward treaty. In the end we will never know the full extent of this mission had it arrived Tinian. Obviously there would have been another FM pre-assembly on Tinian. Perhaps more importantly is the presence of Col Heflin at Tinian. I will let my imagination run wild in the belief he was sent there to relieve Paul Tibbets of his command as he had pissed off nearly everyone in XXI Bomber Command and beyond including Nimitz and others in the Navy. Had there been a third mission perhaps Heflin would be in command, maybe with Tibbets along as a token.

    I have no knowledge of the wire recordings that you comment about in post #7.

    Attached Files:

  9. terveurn

    terveurn Active Member

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