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Was there a third atomic bomb target?

Discussion in 'Atomic Bombs In the Pacific' started by blazo, Dec 4, 2002.

  1. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    It is also not outside of the realm of possibility that the western powers wanted the Red Army and Stalin to understand just how far north our B-Sans could fly and what they could do if atomics were used on those targets.

    On the last bombing run of the war, just before Japan accepted the Potsdam Declaration, the USAAF flew to the far north of Japan and bombed the few remaining oil facilities of the Imperial Japanese. This was quite obvious to the Red Army, and may have been a not too subtle warning to NOT invade from Sakhalin Island.
     
  2. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    Only the A + B "pilot" reactors had been running; C, a full output reactor, was six months late coming on line...and D was still under construction; hence Hanford did not reach its highest rate of production until 1948 IIRC.
     
  3. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Um, General Marshall asked for permission to reserve bombs three through ten for the invasion, so the next target would have been a troop concentration or hardpoint in the way of the Allied landings.
     
  4. Victor Gomez

    Victor Gomez Ace

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    Yes we had several available bombs to use....however this was an entirely new technology and the scientists themselves had a great range of emotions concerning how well and dependable they would work. At the completion of the three successful bombs they were still sending along instruments to measure the pitching and rolling of transport to try to improve and understand things that would affect the performance and triggering of the bombs. You can see what was said of a bomb that had already been dropped---I am afraid the only source is from this book but I learned of some of these things from Ralph Carlisle Smith himself so it is hard for me to cite sources appropriately----this address is an indirect source hope it has enough to show what I describe about how confidant they were NOT. As you see this person did not want to call it a weapon yet.Nuclear tourist The fact is we had the highest level research scientists assembling these first bombs and faced the difficulties of trying to change a research environment into an ordinance manufacturing factory to be able to continue to make bombs. That would have been a very trying task for the scientists to accomplish as having made a few prototypes it would be hard to switch them into factory type work as you will see described in these statements from their book.
     
  5. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Richard B. Frank has the latest magisterial work on the bombs. I recommend it highly.
     
  6. thecanadianfool

    thecanadianfool Member

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    Yes there was, there were four targets I think but I can't be certain.
     
  7. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    Read the previous posts, and you will find at least two separate ideas/lists of which would be the next targets if the Imperial Japanese didn't surrender. The "cases" for the next two "Fat Man" implosion type bombs had been finished, the core for the one sitting on Tinian (un-named third bomb) was recalled to Los Alamos from the San Francisco air launch site, and the core for the next was completed at Hanford before the system was put on hiatus to await the Japanese reply.

    Fortunately for both America and Japan they (Japan) decided to accept the Potsdam Declaration before the next atomic bombs would have been dropped.
     
  8. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Well, there were 4 cities selected as atomic bomb targets - Hiroshima, Kokura, Kyoto, and Niigata. US Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, successfully lobbied to have Kyoto removed from the list, Nagasaki then replaced Kyoto.

    However, "The List" is no reflection of how many atomic bombs the US possessed, since each atomic mission had a primary target and a secondary target. As it was, had the 2nd atomic mission gone as planned, Kokura would have been wiped off the map. Instead, after three runs over the city, "Bock's Car" failed to find an opening in the cloud cover, and diverted to it's secondary target, Nagasaki.
     
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  9. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    As I recall there was also some considerable debate at that point what to do with follow on bombs. I seem to recall reading of three variants:
    1) Use them as they became available.
    2) Hold off until several were available and use them in short period of time.
    3) Hold off using them until Olympic then use them tactically.
     
  10. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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    If I recall correctly, Mac was actually lobbying for stockpiling them so that he could use 7 on the planned invasion beaches.. Thank god that didn't happen or a million US troops would have suffered for years afterwards.
     
  11. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    Mac only started requesting that some be made available to him for the invasion beaches after he knew of their existence, which was between mid-August and the end of August. MacArthur wasn't in the loop during their development, completion, nor production. Even LeMay was out of the loop, as were the men of the 509th Composite group which would deliver them, only Tibbets knew what they were and he didn't talk.

    These were real and well kept secrets, at least from our guys, the Soviets were better informed than the commanders in the PTO. This rumor is an exaggeration at best, and in actuality could only fall in the time-frame after Nagasaki, and before the time when both sections of Operation Downfall were cancelled. His non-inclusion in the group is reflected in his requiring seven, there were two unused awaiting their cores, no new cores for the remaining uranium gun-types had been made, and production was halted on more plutonium cores awaiting the Japanese response to the bombs and the USSR entering the war against them. He didn't know how many their were, and while he wasn't alone in the ignorance of the radiation dangers, it was becoming more apparent as the US examined the bomb sites.

    He did lobby for their use in Korea while he was in charge, Truman turned him down cold and flat.
     
  12. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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  13. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    I was only replying to the bombs, not the Atomic Annie shells which were dumb as a box of rocks as a weapon anyway.
     
  14. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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    Akk, kk Got ya =]
     
  15. eaglestar78

    eaglestar78 New Member

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    In August 1945 the US had three (3) atomic bomb weapons.
    The test bomb nicknamed "the Gadget"( a FAT MAN design type) was detonated at the TRINITY test site at Alamogordo Air Base , NM on 16 July 1945 (blast yield of 18.6 kilotons).
    Two weapons, code named for the types of bomb designs and not the weapons themselves, were a LITTLE BOY ( a MARK 1; bomb L-11) uranium U-235 bomb dropped on Hiroshima on 06 Aug 1945 (blast yield of 12.5 kilotons) called Operation CENTERBOARD I and a FAT MAN (a MARK 3; bomb Y1561) plutonium Pu-239 bomb dropped on Nagasaki on 09 Aug 1945 (blast yield of 22 kilotons) called Operation CENTERBOARD II. The third bomb also a FAT MAN (MARK 3) intended for Kokura on 19 Aug 1945 Operation CENTERBOARD III was not used. Niigata and Yokohama were the next two of the seventeen (17) targeted Japanese cities not bombed. Tokyo was considered a target city only of last resort since the Emperor, the Supreme War Council, the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and the Imperial Army and Navy General Staffs would have to survive to order an unconditional surrender.
    The US had plans to manufacture and assemble one (1) more LITTLE BOY U-235 uranium bomb and up to twelve (12) additional FAT MAN Pu-239 plutonium bombs to drop on the targeted Japanese cities before the first phase Operation OLYMPIC/MAJESTIC of the invasion of Japan code named Operation DOWNFALL on 01 Nov 1945, but the surrender of Japan 14 Aug 45 (V-J Day) halted production and assembly of further atomic weapons until the Operation CROSSROADS tests in June 1946.

    Sources:
    Pincher - D. A. Rosenberg 1989

    Silverplate Bombers - R. H. Campbell 2005

    The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb - G. Alperovitz 1995

    Making of the Atomic Bomb - R. Rhodes 1987

    The General and the Bomb - W. Lawren 1988

    Now It Can Be Told - L. Groves 1983
     
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  16. eaglestar78

    eaglestar78 New Member

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  17. TheThirdBomb

    TheThirdBomb New Member

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    From my calculations, it seems reasonable that we could have flown the third atomic bomb from Pearl to Midway to Japan and landed in Okinawa since we had secured a landing field after the first two bombs were dropped. In those final few chaotic days after Aug 9th I could imagine that scenario taking place and Truman and the JCS wanting to end the war pronto before Operation Warlord became necessary. Why waste time shipping more cores to Tinian at that stage?

    www.thirdbomb.com
     
  18. Fred Wilson

    Fred Wilson "The" Rogue of Rogues

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    Eons ago,''in another life'' I had a photo of some A-Bomb Fat Man empty half-shells (without the fins) sitting in a shed at Hanford, which produced the plutonium version.

    2 or 3 of them... Still there decades later apparently - as technological advancements had made the old shell shape obselete.

    I have no idea if they were there for experimentation or because the were stripped and gutted there or...

    The legend was that A-Bombs were NEVER produced at Hanford. Just nuclear products.
    - by-products of which are now detectable in groundwater well north of the Canadian border in the Grand Forks / Rock Creek area here in British Columbia.
    http://www.cbc.ca/m/news/canada/british-columbia/washington-plutonium-leak-poses-long-term-threat-1.1378478

    Side note:
    The road beds approaching Hanford were experimental.
    Designed to stand up to enormous truck load weights.
    This always made me wonder just how much Lead was shipped there.

    The other side of the coin said that after construction the only way into Hanford was by air.

    So much trivia still to learn...
     
  19. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Ok, I'll bite...What is Operation Warlord?

    The landing fields were secured and constructed before the atomic bombings. The 333rd Bombardment Group was operational from Kadena airfield on August 5th, 1945. Although, IIRC there were no facilities for loading the Atomic Bomb at Kadena. Iwo Jima did have facilities at their airfields, and this was used for the "back-up" B-29, should the primary run into unexpected trouble. The primary could land at Iwo, and swap the Bomb to the back-up B-29, and the back-up would fly the mission.

    I'm also not sure how you classify the "waste of time", as flying the parts to Okinawa will take more time than flying them to Tinian. There would be a "safety factor" though, as flying from Okinawa would mean more time over Japan - As it was, Sweeney landed "Bock's Car" at Okinawa because he had used up most of his fuel due to bad weather and the rest could not be transferred due to a faulty fuel pump. All that and he only just made Okinawa...
     
  20. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member

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    I've never heard of this. Do you mean Operation Downfall, the invasion of Japan?
     

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