A Harrowing Story: Dropping an Atomic Bomb on Nagasaki

Last Sunday marked the 75th anniversary of the world’s second atomic bomb attack in 1945. Slashdot reader DanDrollette (who is also the deputy editor of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists) shares their article describing that eight-hour flight — with no radio communication — carrying a 9,000-pound nuclear weapon as “outside, monsoon winds, rain, and lightning lashed at them.” In a nutshell: A typhoon was coming, the fuel pump failed, they had to switch planes, things were wired incorrectly, they missed their rendezvous, they couldn’t see the primary target, they ran out of gas on the way home, and they had to crash-land. But the worst part was when the Fat Man atomic bomb started to arm itself and begin the countdown to detonation mid-flight, before they were even half-way to Nagasaki.
“One of them, bearing the newly minted title ‘weaponeer,’ grabbed the Bomb’s blueprints and raced to figure out what was wrong…” the article explains, calling it a miracle that their mission ultimately succeeded. “It is a story of astonishing screw-ups that easily could have plunged the plane, the men, and the bomb into the Pacific Ocean…

“The military has been loathe to talk about it for reasons of national security and, perhaps, embarrassment.”