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The Enola Gay

Discussion in 'Allied Bomber Planes' started by Jim, Nov 5, 2007.

  1. Jim

    Jim Active Member

    Sep 1, 2006
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    Tibbets renamed the plane the Enola Gay after his mother, over the objections of the plane's usual pilot Robert A. Lewis. At 1600 (Tinian time) "Enola Gay" was painted on its nose.

    Bomb unit L11 was selected for combat use and on 31 July the U-235 projectile and target were installed along with the four initiators – making Little Boy ready for use the next day. An approaching typhoon required postponing the planned attack of Hiroshima on 1 August. Several days are required for weather to clear, and on 4 August the date was set for two days later. On 5 August Lt. Col. Paul W. Tibbets, the 509th commander, selected B-29 No. 82 for the mission, renamed the Enola Gay after his mother, over the objections of its pilot Robert A. Lewis. Little Boy was loaded on the plane the same day.

    The Enola Gay returning from the bombing mission against Hiroshima.


    At 1400 on 5 August the first combat atomic bomb Little Boy was loaded onto a trailer and taken to the loading pit where a hydraulic lift raised it into the bomb bay of the Enola Gay. At 1530 Parsons began practicing his new task of in-flight propellant insertion. At 1600 Tibbets had his mother’s name, Enola Gay, painted on the strike plane. At 1730 the Enola Gay taxied on to the pad for pre-mission testing.

    The pre-flight briefing for the seven flight crews began at about 2000. The flight briefings for the weather planes occurred at 2300; the strike plane flight briefing was at midnight. At 0015 on 6 August assembly on the flight line began. Just before 0200 the crew boarded the Enola Gay; takeoff was at 0245.

    The Enola Gay rendezvoused with the observation planes over Iwo Jima at 0605. Little Boy was armed at 0730. At 0741 Tibbets began the climb to the drop altitude above 30,000 feet. The Enola Gay came within sight of the Empire, as bombing crews called it, at about 0750 as it approached the southern tip of Shikoku Island.

    The weather plane over the primary target radioed good conditions at 0830 and Tibbets announced that Hiroshima would be their destination. At 0909 Hiroshima came into view. At 0913.30 the bombardier, Thomas Ferebee, took control of plane in preparation for release. At 0914.17 the Aioi Bridge appeared in the Norden bombsight cross-hairs and Ferebee initiated the automatic release sequence. At 0915.17 Little Boy dropped away. The fall to the burst altitude of 600 meters lasted 43 seconds, at that moment Little Boy had a vertical velocity of 335 meters/second, just a bit faster than sound.

    As soon as the bomb was released Tibbets took control and the Enola Gay began its escape manoeuvre. Eleven and a half miles from the detonation point and nearly a minute after the explosion the plane was rocked by the shock wave travelling directly out from the fireball, and then several seconds later it was struck by a second weaker shock reflected from the ground. Aside from the sighting of a single fighter, the flight back from the mission was uneventful. The mushroom cloud, which had climbed to 40,000 feet, was visible from the plane for almost an hour and a half, finally being lost from sight at 1041, 363 miles from Hiroshima.

    At 1458, after a textbook perfect mission lasting 12 hours and 13 minutes, the Enola Gay landed at Tinian Island.

    The Enola Gay flew one more combat mission, on 9 August 1945 to scout the weather over Kokura Arsenal, the primary target of Operation Centerboard II, the second atomic bombing mission.

    The Enola Gay on Tinian Island.


    The Bombing of Hiroshima

    Nuclear Weapon Archive.
  2. Jim

    Jim Active Member

    Sep 1, 2006
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    Flight Crew:
    Col. Paul W. Tibbets, 509th Group CO and pilot
    Capt. Robert A. Lewis, co-pilot
    Lt. Jacob Beser, radar countermeasure officer
    Navy Capt. William "Deak" Parsons, Manhattan Project Scientist
    Sgt. Joseph S. Stiborik, radar operator
    S/Sgt. George R. Caron, tail gunner
    Pfc. Richard H. Nelson, radio operator
    Sgt. Robert H. Shumard, assistant engineer
    S/Sgt. Wyatt E. Duzenbury, flight engineer
    Lt. Col. John Porter, ground maintenance officer
    Capt. Theodore J. Van Kirk, navigator
    Maj. Thomas W. Ferebee, bombardier

    Ground Crew:
    Technical Sgt. Walter F. McCaleb
    Sgt. Leonard W. Markley
    Sgt. Jean S. Cooper
    Cpl. Frank D. Duffy
    Cpl. John E. Jackson
    Cpl. Harold R. Olson
    Pfc. John J. Lesniewski

    May 18, 1945, Aircraft 44-86292 delivered to U.S. Army Air Forces Glenn L. Martin Aircraft Factory, Omaha, Nebraska.

    June 14, 1945, Aircraft ferried to Wendover Army Air Field, Utah, by pilot-in-command Capt. Robert A. Lewis.

    June 27, 1945, Aircraft and 11 man crew depart Wendover for South Pacific.

    July 6, 1945, Aircraft arrives at Guam. Additional modifications to the bomb bay are made. Aircraft flies to Tinian Island in the Marianas.

    July 12, 1945, Aircraft and crew resume training.

    August 5, 1945, Aircraft 44-86292 formally named Enola Gay after Col. Paul Tibbets' mother. Tibbets chose to use her name because she had supported his decision to become a pilot. Ground crew prepares it for the next days mission. Loaded, the Enola Gay weighed 65 tons and carried 7,000 gallons of fuel and a four ton bomb.

    August 6, 1945, Enola Gay departs at 2:45 a.m. for Hiroshima, Japan. The atomic bomb is released over Hiroshima at 8:15 a.m. local time.

    The aircraft returns to Tinian at 2:58 p.m.

    August 9, 1945, Flight report and operations order indicate Enola Gay flies as weather plane on the Nagasaki atomic mission.

    November 6, 1945, Enola Gay departs Tinian for Roswell Army Air Field, New Mexico.

    April 29, 1946, Enola Gay is flown to Kwajalein Island by Col. Tibbets for "Operation Crossroads" nuclear tests.

    July 24, 1946, Enola Gay, bearing "Operation Crossroads" special insignia, is flown to Davis-Monthan Army Air Field, Arizona, for storage.

    July 3, 1949, Enola Gay is retrieved from storage and flown to Orchard Place Army Air Field.

    July 3, 1949, Enola Gay is formally accepted by the Smithsonian Institution for the National Air Museum.

    January 12, 1952, Enola Gay is flown to Pyote Air Force Base, Texas for temporary storage.

    December 2, 1953, Enola Gay is flown from Pyote Air Force Base Texas, to Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland for storage.

    August 10, 1960, Workers begin disassembling Enola Gay.

    July 21, 1961, Enola Gay is moved overland to National Air Museum's storage facility in Suitland, Maryland, near Washington, D.C.

    December 5, 1984, National Air and Space Museum crews begin restoring Enola Gay.

    November 22, 1994 Forward fuselage of the Enola Gay is moved from Suitland, Maryland to the National Air and Space Museum

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