The Enola Gay

The U.S. dropped two atomic bombs on Japan - one in Hiroshima and one in Nagasaki. "Little Boy" was the first bomb and it was detonated in Hiroshima. "Fat Man" was detonated in Nagasaki. Each bomb was carried by a B-29. The B-29 superfortress that carried "Little Boy" was the legendary Enola Gay.

external image Paul-Tibbets-and-Enola-Gay.jpg

Piloted by Paul Tibbets (pictured above), the plane was originally called number 82, but Tibbets later renamed it after his loving mother.

The table below, courtesy of Mark Sublette of the Nuclear Weapon Archive, details the specifics of the Enola Gay.

Boeing B-29
Serial Number:
43 m (141 ft 3 in)
30.2 m (99 ft)
9 m (29 ft 7 in)
31,400 kg (69,000 lb) empty
54,500 kg (120,000 lb) fully loaded
Four Wright R-3350-41, 2200 hp each
Combat Radius:
4670 km (2900 miles)
Service Ceiling:
9710 m (31,850 feet)
Cruise Speed:
355 km/hr (220 mph)
Maximum Speed:
588 km/hr (365 mph)
Bomb Load:
9090 kg (20,000 lb)
Approximate Cost:
$782,000 (1945 dollars)

The Enola Gay dropped "Little Boy" on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 at 8:15 AM. The bomb detonated 1890 feet above ground and killed 70,000 people instantly. The initial shockwave created a mushroom cloud 45,000 feet high and it was visible for an hour and a half.


Bockscar was the plane that carried the second atomic bomb, "Fat Man", and delivered it to Nagasaki.


Little Boy

"Little Boy" was the name given to the atomic bomb which was dropped on Hiroshima. It had originally been called "Thin Man", after Roosevelt, but had the name changed when it underwent modifications. Little Boy was the only bomb to use U-235 as the fissile material. It was a gun-type assembly, in which two subcritical masses of uranium were held apart, and then allowed to collide by high explosive. The resulting compression would create a supercritical mass of uranium, whihc would then undergo fission.
In all, less than 5 grams of uranium, of the 200 kilograms which were put in the bomb, actually underwent fission. However, the result of even these few grams caused a 15 000 kilton explosion- it would take over 4 000 fully loaded B-29s to match that with conventional explosives.
Little Boy was dropped by the Enola Gay.

Fat Man

"Fat Man" was the name given to the atomic bomb which was dropped on Nagasaki. It was a tribute to Winston Churchill. Fat Man was a bomb based on the design of "the Gadget" at the Trinity test. It was a plutonium implosion device. A subcritical mass of plutonium sat in the middle of a sphere of high explosive. Simultaneously, the explosive would detonate, and cause the mass to compress to a supercritical mass, and undergo fission.
Technically, Fat Man was far more complex than Little Boy, since the implosion system was far harder to engineer.
Fat Man was dropped by the Bockscar.