Home -update Tinian Island – Declassified Pictures Taken Hours Before Dropping the Hiroshima Bomb.

Tinian Island – Declassified Pictures Taken Hours Before Dropping the Hiroshima Bomb.

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On August 6th and 9th of 1945, the United States dropped atomic bombs over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, causing unparalleled death and destruction. To this day, the bombings remain history’s only acts of nuclear warfare.

Much of what happened has of course been very well documented. An incident of such historical significance, as well as being so destructive in it’s force, will resonate for generations to come.

In many ways it was a turning point in the way humanity viewed itself. Our technological capability for annihilation now threatened our very existence. It was also a pivotal point of the outcome of WW2.

However, what about the sequence of events leading up to the dropping of the bombs? The work of the technicians that were based on the North Field airbase on Tinian Island, part of the Northern Mariana Islands to the south of Japan.

These ordinary men were charged with the task of preparing and loading the bombs, (known as “Little Boy” and “Fat Man,”) onto the awaiting military airplanes.

Until recently, few photographs were available documenting the final preparations. Now, newly declassified pictures shed light on the hours leading up to the nuclear attacks.


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.



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.



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.



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

Signatures on the bomb



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



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



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.



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



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



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



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


Afterwards, both “Little Boy” and “Fat Man” were flown over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively, and detonated. World War II ended shortly afterwards.


Left: Atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Right: Atomic bombing of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, taken by Charles Levy.

(Source: National Archives, AlternativeWars.com)