75 years ago today the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.
It was dropped by a B29 Superfortress – a plane that was literally built in parallel with the Manhattan Project to develop the bomb, and cost as much to bring into service and was in many ways more difficult to get built than the bomb itself.
As troubled by development problems and cost overruns as most other procurement projects today – early versions had an alarming tendency for engine fires to melt the wing spar, causing wings to break off and the plane to go into an uncontrollable spiral – but carried into action on a wave of wartime emergency money, the Army Air Force brass were seriously worried that the Superfortress would be ready to do the job.
Worried enough to come up with an alternate plan, with the only other plane in the world that could have carried the two early, huge atomic bombs.
Here’s the story.
By the way – if you’re a history geek, “Mark Felton Productions” is a treasure trove of the sort of history you just don’t get in most history books – the kind of off-the-beaten-path stories First Ringer and me focused on in our “World War 2 – Fact and Myth” series, way back when. It’s very much worth a watch.