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Page7.925 About 7.935
May 27 -1944 -- The first B-29 raid of World War II was flown. Target:
The Nagasaki Atom Bomb,
Tomorrow is the 60th anniversary of the dropping of the Nagasaki Atom Bomb. At that time I was four months past my 21st birthday. I was a corporal radar bombardment technician assigned to the 58lth Bomb Wing Training Center on Tinian Island.
I had recently assembled a device known as a Supersonic Trainer which allowed
the simulations of radar bombardment over specific areas Japan. An aircraft
radar operator and bombardier could synchronize the radar display and flight to
a selected target with the mechanism of the Norden bomb sight. The radar display
screen gave a near realistic progression of the planned flight and bomb release
as would occur over Japan.
On my web site I have made available my part in wining/ending WWII. My site is divided into two parts. VFR and IFR at the very beginning of the IFR on Page 7.1 is a listing of the contents.
The chart has been on display at the Admiral Nimitz Museum in
Fredricksburg, Texas since 1981. That is the reason for the different colors on
On the chart you will see four practice bomb runs made on a nearby city. Interestingly the runs begin very near the latitude of Nagasaki. Fact is the actual bombing direction was opposite to the flight direction on the chart. Security, you know. However with further research, I find it rather interesting that the actual Nagasaki bombing runs (there were several) were very nearly exactly opposite to the simulator runs. The:
initial point (IP) of the simulations was the selected impact point at
Nagasaki and the Simulation target was the actual IP for the actual bombing runs. (off chart)
You may find the ingenuity of the Supersonic Trainer operation of interest. I have tried to write a word picture. I have a CD with the pictures and operational instructions of the Trainer and have found out how to make thumbnail copies that can be enlarged. I have included some explanatory notes to go with each page.
About Page 793.5 JPG
Page 793.50 JPG is a digital WWII map that includes the city of Nagasaki on the lower far right of the entire chart. Since this was a highly secret target there was no way that I or anyone else would have knowledge of the target selection. The city of Fukuoka that had been previously bombed at least twice was the designated practice target on the supersonic trainer using the Nagasaki chart..
Should you desire to see the chart in larger view you can use the zoom in icon to move the chart and enlarge it as you wish. Several interesting aspects of the four simulator bombing runs on Fukuoka seem to related to the actual attack. The four simulator bombing are very nearly exactly the opposite direction of the bombing runs actually made. The bomb runs have used a different chart with Nagasaki on the lower left side of the chart. The actual runs were at least four and perhaps more in an effort to get ‘visual’ as required by the Field Order. The selection of the point to begin all the practice runs was at the same latitude as is Nagasaki. By blowing up the pencil lines charted above Nagasaki using the zoom in glass you can see more clearly what I mean.
The fact that the aiming point was missed by at least three miles leads me to believe that on the final run the drop was made by radar perhaps with a brief glimpse of the ground area through a hole in the clouds. The radar set in use on Bocks Car at the end of the war was the APQ-13 and not the APQ-23 that I had installed on the Supersonic Trainer. Practice runs on my trainer may have led to overconfidence in the accuracy of a radar drop. Over five years later the APQ-23 was used as standard equipment on the B-47. .
My actual chart is at the Nimitz Museum in Fredricksburg, Texas. It has faded over the years being in a lighted glass case but my Zinkos’ copy is close to the original color but not the same texture. It make take as long as 20 minutes to load using dial-up speeds.
To Go to Page793.50
---I have not been able to write on the chart to make any links so return to the Index to load Page 793.5
---Instead of closing the chart page you are better off by minimizing it and using another page to quit the site.
June 20, 2005
Briefly, I was a Corporal radar bombardment mechanic with the 20th Air Force, 58th Bombardment Wing (VH), 468th Bombardment Group, 793 Squadron. After a year in India our Wing was transferred to Tinian. Those who could not fly via China to Tinian were shipped for 42 days around Australia by troop ship with stops at Melbourne, Townsville and Lae, New Guinea.
Initially, I worked on LORAN (Long-Range Navigation) on all the 36 aircraft in
our group. I was trained in the operation and alignment of both the APN-4 and
the APN-9. The -4 was the first airborne LORAN with over 40 tubes in two units.
On Tinian the crews that brought over the newer aircraft with center-wing fuel
tanks, a four gun top front turret and the –9 LORAN in one unit. Senior
officers took the new planes and junior officers got the old. This meant that
all the navigators needed to be trained in their aircraft's LORAN. I was
transferred to the Wing Training Center to teach LORAN as required by the whole
Aside: A position fix by a WWII LORAN took from three to five minutes. My 1975 C-172 has a cigar box sized LORAN gives continuous fixes very much as GPS does.
As a Corporal/teacher I outranked my officer students and I was a believer in LORAN. Celestial navigation was the standard first taught and learned navigational method. At high altitudes electronics had a high failure rate and this lack of reliability made my students reluctant to accept LORAN as worth the effort. Several months before the end of the war and at the same time I had worn out my welcome teaching LORAN, several large boxes of equipment arrived requiring assembly. I was in Erector-Set heaven. Enter the Supersonic Trainer. Three sets were to be assembled in the oversized Quonset building
I have appended a 1945 Aeronautical Chart of Japan with Nagasaki in the lower right. On the chart are some practice Supersonic runs on a nearby city as well as some alignment runs. The operational manual of the Supersonic Trainer and some related pictures are included. The fact that the Nagasaki bomb missed its aiming point by three miles is substantial evidence that the bomb was released by radar even though against orders. The original chart has been on display at the Admiral Nimitz Museum in Fredricksburg, TX since 1981.
Frosting on the cake is a copy of the Field Order for the first low-level firebombing of Japan. Most significant part of the mission is Major General LeMay’s gutsy requirement that low altitudes without ammunition in the machine guns be used to increase bomb load and accuracy. This Field Order was not well received by the combat crews and not obeyed by all by some accounts. Between the date of this mission on March 6th and dropping of the first atomic bomb on August 6th 800 B-29s from the Marianas were substantially destroying Japanese cities at a rate of one every day. This amounts to 153 cities.
Had the war lasted two more months we would have been bombing with 2000 B-29s
most of them from Okinawa carrying larger bomb loads. We were literally running
out of targets. Meanwhile, on Tinian there was a large building program underway
one very close to the Wing Training School was living quarters for the 700
nurses. They were needed at this one hospital on one island as required for a
portion of the expected invasion casualties. The ‘Decision to Drop the Bomb’
was the right decision.
Why Truman Dropped the Bomb
Sixty years after Hiroshima, we now have the secret intercepts that shaped his decision. At the end of the war Americans were led to believe that the bombs were dropped to end the war and actually did end the war. Fifteen years after the war differing opinions as to the why and effect of the bombs arose
Before the dropping of the bomb, Americans were also led to believe that Japan was virtually defenseless and knew it. American leadership ‘knew’ that Japan was about to surrender. Was ulterior purpose behind use of the bomb to worry Russia? Revelations show that Truman chose not to make known his reasons for dropping the bomb.
Presumed reasons for using the bomb only partially accurate. Other rationale never revealed until now. A secret radio intelligence system was/is in use from 1942 until the present day. The real reasons for dropping the bomb have never been revealed to preserve the secrecy of the intelligence system involved.
By the end of the war the United States was reading all the secrets of the Japanese. All of the top-secret information was given to a select few and not to another select few. Three summaries diplomatic, European and Far East gave specifics on military/political situation. Summaries made public in 1978 and unabridged in 1995 showed we spied on everybody
Some few messages indicated some Japanese without authority were seeking a compromise peace. Six top military/diplomatic Japanese sought Russian help for plan that would preserve the military. Surrender plans with Russia was contrary to official Japanese no surrender plan. Use of Russians did not include unconditional surrender.
Truman was told that keeping of emperor in position would be required to get
a Japanese surrender but that any acceptance of preservation of Emperor’s
position would not alone cause Japan to surrender. Truman’s advisors did not
see that the Emperor’s envoy to Russians was a reason to expect peace because
of Hiroshima. The very few diplomatic radio intercepts seeking peace were
overwhelmed by many military intercepts showing determination to continue
The Japanese military believed American willingness to fight would end after heavy losses. Japan accurately anticipated and countered American invasion plans. The Japanese were well prepared to fight any American invasion and win. Still the U.S. Army wanted an early invasion of Japan. After Okinawa the Navy wanted more bombing and blockade instead of an invasion. Naval leaders were no longer supporting invasion plans. MacArthur refused to believe the radio intelligence of Japanese preparations so he continued to favor an invasion.
Navy still opposed invasion after dropping of Nagasaki bomb. Only MacArthur favored the invasion. With mixed military support, the certainty of the invasion of Japan was less than finalized. Truman’s initial support of an invasion was based on unanimous military recommendation. Navy’s withdrawal of support and Japanese anti invasion preparations had doomed the invasion plan in the president’s view.
The sequence of two atomic bombs with Russia’s declaration of war between them made possible Japan’s decision to surrender. Japan would agree to accept the Potsdam Declaration with Emperor still as head of Japan. Japanese precondition for surrender included preservation of the imperial system and the military.
Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of Asians were dying each month under Japanese control. Contrary to popular world opinion, the Japanese did not feel hopeless, did not want to surrender. Radio intelligence led the American Leadership to believe that Japan was not ready to surrender or accept any peace terms if they believed they could defeat any invasion. Thus, it would appear that Truman did not expect the atomic bombs to end the war or even win the war. Could the final straw been the Russian declaration of war?
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