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These declassified photos show the final preparations of the nuclear bombs used on Hiroshima And Nagasaki

The “Little Boy” and “Fat Man” nuclear bombs killed tens of thousands of people.
Oct 14th 2014, 7:15 AM 16,592 83

ON AUGUST 6, 1945, a 9,000-pound uranium-235 bomb, known as “Little Boy” was loaded aboard a modified B-29 bomber christened the Enola Gay and dropped over the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing over 80,000 people instantly.

Radiation exposure would later kill thousands more.

“Fat Man”

Following the devastating bombing of Hiroshima, three days later, the US dropped another, more powerful A-bomb, known as “Fat Man” on the city of Nagasaki, killing an estimated 40,000 people.

The bombing of these two cities, forced the Japan’s Emperor Hirohito to surrender in World War II on August 15.

The US National Archives have released previously classified images of the preparation of these two bombs by the US army.


Here Soldiers check the casings on the “Fat Man” atomic bomb. Multiple test bombs were created on Tinian Island. All were roughly identical to an operational bomb, even though they lacked the necessary equipment to detonate.

soldiers-check-the-casings-on-the-fat-man-atomic-bomb-multiple-test-bombs-were-created-on-tinian-island-all-were-roughly-identical-to-an-operational-bomb-even-though-they-lacked-the-necessary-equipment-to-deto Source: Business Insider

On the left, geophysicist and Manhattan Project participant Francis Birch marks the bomb unit that would become “Little Boy” while Norman Ramsey, who would later win the Nobel Prize in Physics, looks on.

on-the-left-geophysicist-and-manhattan-project-participant-francis-birch-marks-the-bomb-unit-that-would-become-little-boy-while-norman-ramsey-who-would-later-win-the-nobel-prize-in-physics-looks-on Source: Business Insider/US National Archives

A technician applies sealant and putty to the crevices of “Fat Man,” a final preparation to make sure the environment inside the bomb would be stable enough to create a full impact once it detonated.

a-technician-applies-sealant-and-putty-to-the-crevices-of-fat-man-a-final-preparation-to-make-sure-the-environment-inside-the-bomb-would-be-stable-enough-to-create-a-full-impact-once-it-detonated Source: Business Insider/US National Archives

Soldiers and workers sign their names and other messages on the nose of “Fat Man”.

soldiers-and-workers-sign-their-names-and-other-messages-on-the-nose-of-fat-man Source: Business Insider/US National Archives

Here’s a closer look at the signatures.

heres-a-closer-look Source: Business Insider/US National Archives

“Fat Man” is loaded onto a transport trailer and given a final once-over.

fat-man-is-loaded-onto-a-transport-trailer-and-given-a-final-once-over Source: Business Insider/US National Archives

The bomb is then escorted to the nearby North Field airbase on Tinian, shrouded in tarp.

the-bomb-is-then-escorted-to-the-nearby-north-field-airbase-on-tinian-shrouded-in-tarp Source: Business Insider/US National Archives

At the airfield, “Fat Man” is lined up over a pit specifically constructed for it, from which it is then loaded into the plane that eventually dropped it over Nagasaki

at-the-airfield-fat-man-is-lined-up-over-a-pit-specifically-constructed-for-it-from-which-it-is-then-loaded-into-the-plane-that-eventually-dropped-it-over-nagasaki Source: Business Insider/US National Archives

Both pits for “Little Boy” and “Fat Man,” each roughly 8 feet by 12 feet, still exist today on the island and now serve as a memorial of sorts.

both-pits-for-little-boy-and-fat-man-each-roughly-8-feet-by-12-feet-still-exist-today-on-the-island-and-now-serve-as-a-memorial-of-sorts Source: Business Insider/US National Archives

The bomb and its trailer are lowered down into the pit using a hydraulic lift.

the-bomb-and-its-trailer-are-lowered-down-into-the-pit-using-a-hydraulic-lift Source: Business Insider/US National Archives

Workers check “Little Boy” one last time, keeping the tarp on for security reasons, following a similar lowering procedure like the one done for “Fat Man” three days later.

workers-check-little-boy-one-last-time-keeping-the-tarp-on-for-security-reasons-following-a-similar-lowering-procedure-like-the-one-done-for-fat-man-three-days-later Source: Business Insider/US National Archives

Once “Little Boy” is ready, the Enola Gay, a Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber, is reversed and positioned over the trench.

once-little-boy-is-ready-the-enola-gay-a-boeing-b-29-superfortress-bomber-is-reversed-and-positioned-over-the-trench Source: Business Insider/US National Archives

The tarp is removed and the bomb is readied for loading.

the-tarp-is-removed-and-the-bomb-is-readied-for-loading Source: Business Insider/US National Archives

Using the hydraulic lift, “Little Boy” is carefully raised and loaded into the belly of the Enola Gay.

using-the-hydraulic-lift-little-boy-is-carefully-raised-and-loaded-into-the-belly-of-the-enola-gay Source: Business Insider/US National Archives

Once inside the plane, the bomb is secured and all connections and equipment are checked again.

once-inside-the-plane-the-bomb-is-secured-and-all-connections-and-equipment-are-checked-again Source: Business Insider/US National Archives

From there, both “Little Boy” and “Fat Man” were flown over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively, and detonated. Tens of thousands of people were killed in the attacks and World War II ended shortly afterwards.

from-there-both-little-boy-and-fat-man-were-flown-over-hiroshima-and-nagasaki-respectively-and-detonated-world-war-ii-ended-shortly-afterwards Source: Business Insider/US National Archives

Here is video footage from 1945:

Source: RestrictedData/YouTube

Additional reporting Christina Finn 

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