Highlights

  • Nagasaki was bombed 3 days after Hiroshima
  • ‘Fat Man’ weighed 10,000 pounds with a diameter of 60 inches
  • An estimated 74,000 people were killed in Nagasaki

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Nagasaki Day 2022: 'Fat Man', the bomb that destroyed Nagasaki

The bomb used in Nagasaki was more powerful in the one used in Hiroshima but since it was dropped in a valley, the surrounding mountains shielded large parts of the city. 

The first atomic bomb was dropped on the western city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 by the US bomber Enola Gay killing around 140,000 people in Hiroshima and left many more deeply traumatised and even stigmatised.

A second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, killing another 74,000 people.

Here are some facts about the devastating attacks: -

The bombs –

The first atomic bomb was dropped on the western city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 by the US bomber Enola Gay. The bomb was nicknamed "Little Boy" but its impact was anything but small.

It detonated about 600 metres from the ground, with a force equivalent to 15,000 tonnes of TNT, and killed 140,000 people. Tens of thousands died instantly, while others succumbed to injuries or illness in the weeks, months and years that followed.

Three days later the US dropped a second bomb, dubbed "Fat Man", on the city of Nagasaki, killing another 74,000 people.

The bomb used in Nagasaki was more powerful than the one used in Hiroshima but since it was dropped in a valley, the surrounding mountains shielded large parts of the city.

‘Fat Man’, as the Nagasaki bomb was nicknamed, weighed 10,000 pounds with a diameter of 60 inches.

With plutonium at its core, the bomb has several detonators placed outside its inner casing which produce a powerful inward pressure leading to an explosion.

The Fat Man produced 21 kilotons of energy when it exploded, leading to complete destruction of everything in the radius of 1.6 kms in Nagasaki.

The bomb was dropped by Bock’s Car, a US B-29 bomber and was piloted by US Army Air Force Major Charles Sweeney.

Robert Serber, one of the scientist who helped developed the bomb, named it Fat Man after one of the characters in a novel and a film called ‘The Maltese Falcon’ as the bomb was supposed to be round and fat.

A US govt atomic facility which developed and tested nuclear bombs during World World II even suggests that according to a common lore, the bomb was named Fat Man after British PM Winston Churchill.

The second atomic bombing was first scheduled for August 11 but it was moved to August 9 due to weather concerns.

Ironically, Nagasaki was never the primary target of the second mission. It was Kokura. But a faulty fuel pump and a cloud cover forced US pilots to move towards their secondary target Nagasaki.

(With AFP inputs)

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