Japan as a Pacific Power
Japanese Strategy
American Strategy
Invasion of Saipan
The Last Surrender of World War II
Tinian - The Final Offensive
Seize, Occupy and Defend Tinian
The Effort at Tinian
Secret Cargo to Tinian
A Steel Shark
Death of a Warship
The Final Offensive
The B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay carried the first atomic bomb to Japan from Tinian
Little Boy - the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima
A photograph of the mushroom cloud taken from the tail of the Enola Gay after dropping the bomb on Hiroshima
The B-29 Bock’s Car loaded with the atomic bomb (Fat Man), that is going to be dropped on Nagasaki
The atomic bombs
The mushroom cloud as seen from Bock's Car after dropping the atomic bomb over Nagasaki
Colonel Paul Tibbets waving good bye before taking off to Hiroshima to drop the atomic bomb
The Final Offensive
In Washington, Admiral Leahy, Chief of Staff to President 
Truman, upon learning of the existence of a "special" bomb, remarked, 
"This is the biggest fool thing we have ever done. The bomb will never 
go off, and I speak as an expert on explosives." 
A debate broke out among U. S. military planners over whether Japan 
should be defeated by attrition or direct attack. General MacArthur and 
Admiral Nimitz favored a direct assault. The Joint Chiefs of Staff 
scheduled an invasion of Kyushu for October 1, 1945. It was estimated 
that 1,500,000 troops, 36 divisions would be required with full
knowledge that causalities would be heavy. 
Two days before the search effort for survivors of the Indianapolis 
ended, a B-29 stationed on Tinian was  positioned over a hole in the 
ground about the size of a grave where the cargo delivered by the 
Indianapolis  would be lifted into the bomb-bay of an aircraft named the 
Enola Gay.  On August 6th, Colonel Paul Tibbets, of the 509th bomber 
group and pilot of the Enola Gay, received his orders and in the early 
morning hours roared down a runway built only a year before by the 107th 
Naval Construction Battalion, bound for Hiroshima. The cargo the 
Indianapolis delivered to Tinian would soon create an event that would 
change the world. However, the  men in the water still awaiting rescue, 
knew nothing of the fate of Hiroshima and they waited only for their own 
fate to deliver them from the torture they were experiencing, even if it 
meant death. Fate had also cheated Japan, as the course of history might 
have been changed had the I-58 sunk the Indianapolis and its secret 
cargo before it reached Tinian. 
The B-29-45-MD (# 44-86292) Superfortress lifted off Tinian at 2:45 
a. m., August 6, 1945 for the six and one half hour flight to Hiroshima. 
At 31,600 feet, with a ground speed of 328 m.p.h., a bomb weighing 9,700 
pounds, measuring 129 inches in length, with a diameter of 31.5 inches, 
containing 137.5 pounds of Uranium 235 was released and split into two 
sections. After falling to an altitude of 800 feet, nuclear fission 
began in one fifteen-hundredth of a micro-second. The firebomb that 
erupted was the equivalent of thirteen thousand tons of T.N.T. and 
thousands of degrees hotter than the surface of the sun. It melted 
granite and vaporized people leaving only their shadows on the few 
remaining buildings left standing in the city after the blast. This 
single bomb left 118,661 dead, 30,524 severely injured, 48,606 slightly
injured and 3,677 missing. It exploded  with the temperature of the 
fireball at the outer edge reaching 1,800 degrees centigrade 15 
milliseconds after the explosion, with the velocity of the shock at 100 
meters per second one thousand meters from the epicenter. When released 
over the city the temperature, at the instant of the detonation, reached 
several million degrees. A few millionths of a second later the 
surrounding air reached the point of white hot heat and in 1/10,000 of a 
second an immense fireball was formed with a uniform temperature of 
about 300,000 degrees. In less than one minute the atomic cloud had 
reached a height of more than one half mile. At the hypocenter, iron 
melted. Within nine hundred feet of the hypocenter the surface of 
granite melted. Within one mile, railroad ties, fences and trees 
ignited spontaneously. The fireball as seen from a distance of five and 
one half miles from the point of burst had a luminosity ten times that 
of the sun. 
On August 9th, a second bomb, code named “Fat Man”, which was a 
plutonium device and carried by the B-29, Bock’s Car, had as its 
primary target the city of Kokura but bad weather forced the pilot to 
the alternate target of Nagasaki. It was this second device detonated 
over Nagasaki that finally convinced the Japanese that the war was lost 
and surrender followed on August 15, 1945. The formal ceremonies aboard 
the Battleship U. S. S. Missouri  occurred on September 2, 1945 in Tokyo 
Bay. 
By the time the war ended, fragments of the Japanese Army were 
scattered and marooned on dozens of islands throughout the Pacific and 
the Imperial Navy was at the bottom of the sea. As Admiral Toyoda 
remarked, "I do not believe it would be accurate to look upon the atomic 
bomb and the entry of Soviet Russia as direct causes of the termination 
of the war. But I do think those two factors did enable us to bring the 
war to an end without creating utter chaos in Japan." 
The country was already in a chaotic state. The military was 
impotent; the economy was wrecked and financially bankrupt. Starvation, 
death and tragedy were everywhere in Japan. As Theodore Roscoe wrote in 
his U. S. Naval Institute book,Submarine Operations, "The holocaustal 
incandescence which consumed Hiroshima and Nagasaki could not blind 
observers to the fact that the maritime Empire was already destroyed. 
And long before the first mass air-raids smote Tokyo, many Japanese-held 
harbors in the Southwest Pacific were as deserted as the bays of the 
moon, and in many of Japan's home seaports there were vacant docks with 
rusting bollards where only spiders tied their lines. The atomic bomb 
was the funeral pyre of an enemy who had drowned." 
It was finally over. More than a thousands days of war had ended 
and the occupation of Japan began. 
Captain Hashimoto was ordered to the United States after the war 
to testify at Captain McVay's Court Martial.  McVay was accused of 
failing to zigzag during war-time conditions and for failure to issue 
the abandon ship command in a timely manner. 
The former submarine captain was flown to the United States and on 
December 13, 1945  testified as to the events surrounding the sinking of 
the Indianapolis. He later described his visit to the United States as 
“pleasant”. Soon after the end of the war he became a Shinto Priest. 
Captain McVay was later vindicated from any blame concerned with 
the loss of his ship. All personnel involved in the failure to report 
the ship's absence from Leyte were also exonerated. On November 6, 1968 
in Litchfield, Connecticut, McVay committed suicide. He was found with a 
pistol in one hand and a toy sailor attached to a key ring in the other. 

The account of the sinking of the Indianapolis  recorded in the 
"Dictionary Of American Naval Fighting Ships", Volume III, 1968 
published by the Navy Department indicates the ship was hit by two 
torpedoes. This conflicts with Captain Hashimoto's testimony at the 
Naval Court Of Inquiry where he stated he saw three hits and heard four 
explosions.

Photos courtesy of: U.S. Natioal Archive

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