August 6th, 1945 (MONDAY)
CHINA: USN Task group 95.3 (Vice Admiral Jesse B. Oldendorf) carrier-based aircraft from 3 escort aircraft carriers (USS Lunga Point, Makin Island and Cape Gloucester) attack Japanese shipping in Tinghai Harbor. The escort aircraft carriers are covering a cruiser force operating in the East China Sea.
JAPAN: The world's first atomic attack takes place. At 0245 hours local, Colonel Paul W. Tibbets, Commanding Officer of the 509th Composite Group, pilots the Martin-built, Boeing B-29-45-MO Superfortress, s/n 44-86292, named ENOLA GAY ( after Tibbets' mother), off the runway at North Field, Tinian Island, Mariana Islands; at 2-minute intervals, 2 observation B-29s follow, Major Charles W Sweeney's GREAT ARTISTE and Captain George W Marquardt's Number 91.
ENOLA GAY is carrying a uranium fission bomb, nicknamed "Little Boy," with a yield in the area of 12,500 tons (11,340 metric tons) of TNT. The bomb has several inscriptions scribbled on its casing, one of which reads, "Greetings to the Emperor from the men of the Indianapolis" (the heavy cruiser that transported the bomb casing to the Marianas and was subsequently sunk). Seven B-29s had been designated for the mission. One was a spare that was to stand by at Iwo Jima where there were facilities for unloading and reloading the bomb in case of an abort.
Three were weather planes that had been dispatched in advance
of the attack to determine weather conditions over the three proposed targets,
i.e., Hiroshima, the primary; Kokura, the secondary; and Nagasaki, the
The Twentieth Air Force, with other missions scheduled, would provide air-sea rescue service, but no plane except those on the mission was to approach within 50 miles (80.5 km) of the target from 4 hours before to 6 hours after the strike, even for rescue purposes. Thereafter 2 photo reconnaissance F-13 Superfortresses were to take photographs. The ENOLA GAY and the two observation aircraft rendezvoused at Iwo Jima and began to
climb to bombing altitude. At 0710 hours, the "bomb commander and weaponeer," Commander William B. Parsons, USN, and his assistant, Lieutenant Morris R. Jeppson, armed the bomb. At 0815 hours, Tibbets received a weather report from the aircraft over Hiroshima: "2/10 lower and middle, and 2/10 at 15,000 feet (4,572 meters)" thus sealing the city's doom. The initial point (IP) is reached at 0911 hours and at 0915 hours (0815 hours Japan time), the atomic bomb is released over Hiroshima at 31,600 feet (9,632 meters); it explodes 50 seconds later at an altitude of 1,900 feet (579 meters); 80+% of the buildings are destroyed and over 71,000 people (Japanese figures; US figures say from 70,000 to 80,000) are killed. After an uneventful return flight, ENOLA GAY lands on Tinian at 1458 hours local, followed within the hour by the 2 observation B-29s.
The force of the explosion was unlike anything ever seen. Birds burnt up in mid-air. People died in a myriad of ways: their skin peeled off, their brains, eyes and intestines burst, or they burnt to cinders standing up.
A Jesuit priest reported: "In the Hakushima district, naked, burnt, cadavers are particularly numerous. Frightfully injured forms beckon to us and then collapse." A history professor said "I climbed Hikiyama Hill and looked down. Hiroshima had disappeared." President Truman, on board the cruiser USS AUGUST on his way back from Potsdam, said: "This is the greatest thing in history." It is not the most devastating air attack of the war. The March fire raids on Tokyo have had a larger effect.
The Japanese Army refuses to automatically acknowledge the Atomic Bomb at Hiroshima. They send an investigation team to find out the cause and possible defences. This report will not be received until August 12.
Although there is tremendous destruction and death, it is still less than the firebomb raid on Tokyo during the predawn hours of 10 March 1945 when 279 B-29s dropped 1,665 tons (1,510 metric tons) of incendiaries on the Tokyo urban area from 4,900 to 9,200 feet (1,494 to 2,804 meters) destroying 267,171 buildings, about 25% of the total in the Tokyo area, rendering over 1 million persons homeless, killing 83,793 and wounding 40,918.
- Almost 100 USAAF Twentieth Air Force fighters from Iwo Jima attack airfields and military installations at 6 locations throughout the general area around Tokyo.
- Okinawa-based USAAF Far East Air Force aircraft pound targets on Kyushu;
150+ P-47s and A-26 Invaders fight bad weather to hit the primary, Miyakonojo; 170+ B-24s, B-25s, and P-47s hit Kagoshima as a secondary target; and 60+ B-25s and P-51s attack shipping and ground targets of opportunity in the Tsushima Strait area and in the northern Ryukyu Islands.
P-51s operating in the area between Kyushu and Korea bomb an airfield and strafe numerous targets of opportunity on Saishu Island and P-47s bomb Anjo on Tanega Island. Other aircraft, operating individually or in pairs, hit various targets of opportunity on the southern Korea coast, in the Inland Sea, southern Honshu, western Shikoku Island, throughout the northern Ryukyu Islands, and in the Shanghai, China area.
USN carrier-based aircraft of Carrier Air Group Ten (CVG-10) in USS Intrepid (CV-11), bomb buildings and gun positions on Wake Island while the ship is enroute from Pearl Harbor to join USN forces off Japan. This is the Eighth Wake Raid.
GUAM: Admiral Fraser invests Admiral Nimitz with the Order of the Bath.
NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES: Submarine USS
Bullhead, CO Edward R. Holt, Jr., is sunk by aircraft off Bali. All hands are
Off the Malay Peninsula, the USN submarine USS Bugara (SS-331) comes across the RN submarine HMS Sleuth and four Japanese junks. In a display of Anglo-American cooperation, the Americans assist the British by sinking two of the enemy craft by gunfire in position 06.51N, 101.44E.
U.S.A.: Major Richard Ira Bong is killed when the jet engine of the Lockheed P-80A-1-LO Shooting Star he is flying flames out at low altitude and the aircraft crashes. The accident occurred at Van Nuys Metropolitan Airport, Los Angeles, California. He was assigned to the 412th Fighter Group which was conducting tests and engaging in experimental work with the Bell P-59A and P-80.
Bong shot down 40 Japanese aircraft in 146 combat sorties over New Guinea and the Philippines while flying a Lockheed P-38 Lightning making him the top American ace of all time. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his World War II exploits and presented by General Douglas MacArthur. After returning to the U.S., Bong had been assigned to the 412th Fighter Group, the P-80 test unit. Had he lived seven more weeks until September 24th he would have turned 25. (Drew Halevy, Jack McKillop, Rob George, Forest Garner)
Destroyer USS Leonard F Mason laid down.
Destroyer USS Arnold J Isbell launched.
U-2513 and U-3008 are transferred to the USA.
Escort carrier USS Palau launched.
The top pop songs today are
(1) "The More I See You" by Dick Haymes
(2) "Dream" by The Pied Pipers;
(3) "Sentimental Journey" by Les Brown and his Orchestra with vocal by Doris Day; and
(4) "Oklahoma Hills" by Jack Guthrie.
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