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The Third Atomic Bomb Was Going To Be Dropped On 19 August
National Security Archive ^ | 13 August 1945 | General Hull and Colonel Seaman

Posted on 08/05/2012 4:49:23 PM PDT by moonshot925

This is a telephone conversation transcript between Colonel Seaman of the Manhattan Project and General Hull of Marshall's staff that took place on 13 August 1945. The subject is atomic bomb deployment and production timeline.

TOPICS: History; Military/Veterans; Miscellaneous; Science
KEYWORDS: atomicbomb; hiroshima; japan; manhattanproject; nucdet; worldwar2; worldwareleven; worldwarii; ww2; wwii
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H[ull]: What General Marshall wants to know is the status of the development of these bombs so we can best determine how to use them. There's one of them due up the 23rd as I recall it.

S[eaman]: There's one ready to be shipped - waiting on order right now.

H: If the order is given now, when can it be ready?

S: Thursday would be its readiness; the 19th it would be dropped.

S: … Then there will be another one the first part of September. Then there are three definite. There is a possibility of a fourth one in September, either the middle or the latter part.

H: Now, how many in October?

S: Probably three in October.

H: That’s three definite, possibly four by the end of September; possibly three more by the end of October; making a total possibility of seven. That is the information I want.

S: So you can figure on three a month with a possibility of a fourth one. If you get the fourth one, you won’t get it next month. That is up to November.

H: The last one, which is a possibility for the end of October, could you count on that for use before the end of October?

S: You have a possibility of seven, with a good chance of using them prior to the 31st of October.

H: They come out approximately at the rate of three a month.

1 posted on 08/05/2012 4:49:34 PM PDT by moonshot925

To: moonshot925

Hmmmmm, I had always thought there were only two A-bombs ready to go. I guess a third one was on the way.

2 posted on 08/05/2012 4:52:32 PM PDT by Parley Baer

To: moonshot925

I had always been told that they only had enough fissile material for 3 devices. The test bomb at Los alamos and the 2 we dropped on the enemy.

Supposedly would have taken months for another bomb to be ready

3 posted on 08/05/2012 4:56:44 PM PDT by Vaquero (Don't pick a fight with an old guy. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.)

To: moonshot925

There were three Model 1561 “Fat Man” bomb units assembled and held in reserve on Tinian the week after the Nagasaki mission.

They were labeled F101, F102 and F103.

4 posted on 08/05/2012 4:56:55 PM PDT by moonshot925

To: Parley Baer

I thought there were only two myself. I just watched a History Channel show about the last days of World War II, and they indicated that there was a define plan to drop a third bomb in Ausgust, if the Japanese did not agree to surrender.

I know Truman drafted a letter to the Prime Minister of Great Britain telling him that the U.S. intended to drop an A-Bomb on Tokyo if the Japanese did not surrender, despite British objections. The “Tokyo Bomb” was only in the planning stages, there was no date set for its deployment, but I believe that Truman would have nuked Tokyo before he attempted an invasion of Japan.

5 posted on 08/05/2012 4:59:31 PM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (The Democratic Party strongly supports full civil rights for necro-Americans!)

To: Parley Baer

That’s because “they didn’t build that”.

6 posted on 08/05/2012 5:01:23 PM PDT by InvisibleChurch (the mature Christian is almost impossible to offend)

To: moonshot925
Interesting conversation. Shows how they thought it might go with the tenacious Japs. Of course, looking back, it amazes me that they didn't surrender after the first one. Thank God for men like that back then, and a country that could do something like the Manhattan Project - during war time with shortages, etc.

In building the first large reactor they needed something like 16 tons of copper. But none available. They went to the treasury department and got 16.5 tons of silver to use instead! (Or some-such numbers).

7 posted on 08/05/2012 5:01:23 PM PDT by 21twelve

To: Lonesome in Massachussets

So Tokyo was to be the target of the third one?

8 posted on 08/05/2012 5:02:11 PM PDT by John W (Viva Cristo Rey!)

To: moonshot925
They were labeled F101, F102 and F103.

Must have been early versions from Ford Motors.

9 posted on 08/05/2012 5:03:01 PM PDT by Randy Larsen (Damned if I do, Damned if I don't. Damn it, I will!)

To: Parley Baer

I thought there were only two bombs also, so Truman’s threat that “they may expect a reign of ruin from the air the likes of which has never been seen on this earth” was a bluff. Yet it sounds like they did have a 3rd, and then more in the works, so it could have been raining bombs, a rain of ruin.
Regardless, that’s what O has been doing to this country; he has been leading a reign of ruin, the likes of which has never been seen before.

10 posted on 08/05/2012 5:08:15 PM PDT by Hokestuk

To: moonshot925

Some book I read in the past convinced me that it was a huge military loss in Manchuria that led to the Jap surrender more so than the bombs...or a combination, certainly.

11 posted on 08/05/2012 5:08:19 PM PDT by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)

To: Parley Baer; Lonesome in Massachussets; Vaquero; gorush
On 10 August 1945 General Groves, director of the Manhattan Project sent a memorandum to General Marshall, Army Chief of Staff.

"Providing there are no unforeseen difficulties in manufacture, in transportation to the theatre or after arrival in the theatre, the next bomb should be ready for delivery on the first suitable weather after 17 or 18 August."

12 posted on 08/05/2012 5:11:41 PM PDT by moonshot925

To: moonshot925
 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach Thanks moonshot925. Just adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution. To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.

13 posted on 08/05/2012 5:16:24 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)

To: moonshot925

Maybe we captured some from the Germans.

14 posted on 08/05/2012 5:25:16 PM PDT by bmwcyle (Corollary - Electing the same person over and over and expecting a different outcome is insanity)

To: Lonesome in Massachussets

I wish we would have hit Tokyo first. Destroyed their whole image of emperor as god.

Course Tokyo got firebombed very badly and iirc 100,000 or so died. The nuke would have cracked their will to keep going right away with a dead nuked emperor false god destroyed.

15 posted on 08/05/2012 5:44:16 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I can neither confirm or deny that; even if I could, I couldn't - it's classified.)

To: 21twelve

There were some in Japan who didn’t want to surrender even after the second bomb.

Also, regarding the silver from the Treasury - it was 14700 tons - 429 million troy ounces. Apparently the Keeper of the Silver like to crapped his pants when he got the request.

16 posted on 08/05/2012 5:46:34 PM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)

To: InvisibleChurch

The next time I get in a argument with a government loving liberal, I will remind them that it was the government that developed the atomic bomb.

17 posted on 08/05/2012 5:51:34 PM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.)

To: 21twelve
"Thank God for men like that back then, and a country that could do something like the Manhattan Project"

If we had today's leaders back then, the war would have been lost.

18 posted on 08/05/2012 6:01:17 PM PDT by YHAOS (you betcha!)

To: YHAOS

“Thank God for men like that back then, and a country that could do something like the Manhattan Project”

If we had today’s leaders back then, the war would have been lost.

Unfortunately we do not have any “leaders” today....not one.

19 posted on 08/05/2012 6:16:21 PM PDT by AFret. ("Charlie don't surf ! ")

To: 21twelve

There were many Japanese before August 1945 that were pushing the surrender issue...which, for reasons that basically boiled down to pride, remained unthinkable at the top levels of leadership. Encountering a super-weapon that could eliminate an entire city in one shot was the beyond-comprehension-or defense reason the surrender advocates were able to use as an “acceptable” reason for surrender...even though it took the second bomb to nudge some of them over the edge.

And yes, there were those—particularly high-ranking military officers—who still regarded surrender as unthinkable, and chose to commit suicide or (in the case of Admiral Ugaki) lead a final kamikaze mission rather than give themselves up.

20 posted on 08/05/2012 6:18:11 PM PDT by M1903A1 ("We shed all that is good and virtuous for that which is shoddy and sleazy... and call it progress")

To: gorush

There was. The Soviets effected the most their most flawlessly choreographed attack of the war against the Japs in Manchuria just days before the Nagasaki Bomb.

21 posted on 08/05/2012 6:24:11 PM PDT by Rebelbase (The most transparent administration ever is clear as mud.)

To: DuncanWaring

Thank you for the correct numbers. Back when wars were fought with no regard to the cost - only the outcome.

22 posted on 08/05/2012 6:50:39 PM PDT by 21twelve

To: All
The authoritative work on the use of the Atomic bombs and the end of the War in the Pacific is "Downfall" by Richard B. Frank. He had access to the de-coded messages sent back and forth between the Japanese ambassador in Moscow and the Japanese foreign minister, and the Emperor's own diary.

Cliff notes version: The Japanese had correctly deduced that the Allies were going to land on the Japanese home island of Kyushu, and correctly deduced the 3 landing beaches. The Japanese planned a furious defense called "Ketsu-Go" ("Decisive Operation") on Kyushu, with the goal of making the invasion so costly that the Americans would negotiate terms favorable to the Japanese. The American planners had anticipated 350,000 defenders on Kyushu, while the Japanese had actually managed to deploy 750,000 defenders there. US Navy CNO Adm. King was about to withdraw his support for the invasion when these new figures came to light.

The Japanese Army was in de facto control of the government as the war drew to its close. Even after the 2nd atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, the Army refused to accept the terms of the Potsdam Declaration, and insisted on no Allied occupation of Japanese territory, Japanese self-disarmament, and Japanese control of War Crimes trials none of which would have been acceptable to the Allies. Had the Emperor not personally intervened to end the war, Japanese Army intransigence would have led to a pre-invasion continuation of atomic bombings, a destruction of the Japanese rail network (leading to mass starvation as the Japanese merchant fleet had already suffered such losses that the Japanese had trouble moving food between the home islands) and selected firebombing of Japanese cities.

Frank's conclusions are the atomic bombs negated the Ketsu-Go strategy in the eyes of the Emperor and more moderate Japanese leaders, and were the immediate cause of the Emperor's decision to terminate the war. The Japanese knew that the army in Manchuria was a lost cause if the Soviets launched a major attack against it (one Japanese message described the Manchurian Army as “hopeless”). Frank also concludes that 150,000 Asians were dying each month under the brutal Japanese occupation, and that these lives are never considered in the calculation of the human cost of the atomic bombings versus their effect on ending the war.

The bottom line is that Fat man and Little Boy saved millions of lives, most of those lives being Japanese. A fanatical, firebombed, invaded and starving Japan in which poorly-equipped Japanese civilians were trained to resist Allied invading forces would have rapidly doubled the eventual cost of over 3 million dead Japan lost during the war.

23 posted on 08/05/2012 6:57:05 PM PDT by BushMeister ("We are a nation that has a government - not the other way around." --Ronald Reagan)

To: Randy Larsen
They were labeled F101, F102 and F103.

And the one after that would have been labeled "FU".

24 posted on 08/05/2012 7:03:43 PM PDT by dfwgator (FUJR (not you, Jim))

To: BushMeister

bump for future reference

25 posted on 08/05/2012 7:08:37 PM PDT by Robert357 (D.Rather "Hoist with his own petard!" www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1223916/posts)

To: 21twelve

“Back when wars were fought with no regard to the cost - only the outcome.”

Someday the war with Islam will have to be fought that way as well.

If not, the “outcome” will be inevitable.

And it will “cost” The West its freedom, perhaps forever.

26 posted on 08/05/2012 7:21:51 PM PDT by Road Glide

“Back when wars were fought with no regard to the cost - only the outcome.” Someday the war with Islam will have to be fought that way as well.

I've been saying that for years. See my tagline.

27 posted on 08/05/2012 7:50:45 PM PDT by cayuga (The next Crusade will be a war of annihilation.)

To: AFret.

I disagree, America has a lot of good leaders.

None, or very few, are in positions of influence, but when TSHTF, as many here like to say, they’ll show up all over the place.

28 posted on 08/05/2012 7:51:28 PM PDT by Balding_Eagle (Liberals, at their core, are aggressive & dangerous to everyone around them,)

To: 21twelve

“In building the first large reactor they needed something like 16 tons of copper. But none available. They went to the treasury department and got 16.5 tons of silver to use instead! (Or some-such numbers). “

If I remember correctly from reading the report on the Manhattan project, they needed the copper to make the huge electromagnets for the magnetic separators at Oak Ridge.

That much copper just could not be spared so they did indeed get pure silver from the treasury and they made 100% silver conductor electromagnets for the project.

After they were done, the silver wire was recovered and remelted and returned to the treasury. It was worth a mind boggling amount of money compared to the cost of using copper, had copper been available.

29 posted on 08/05/2012 7:53:10 PM PDT by Nik Naym (It's not my fault... I have compulsive smartass disorder.)

To: Vaquero
The test bomb at Los alamos

The Test was NOT at Los Alamos. Closer to Alamogordo on White Sands, know as the Trinity Site.

30 posted on 08/05/2012 7:54:25 PM PDT by Texas Fossil (Government, even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one)

To: gorush

***Some book I read in the past convinced me that it was a huge military loss in Manchuria that led to the Jap surrender more so than the bombs****

Years ago I was listening to Vladimer Posner on Radio Moscow. The said the reason the Japanese surrendered was that after the explosion of the first two bombs, the Russians entered the war against Japan, and THAT is what made them surrender.

31 posted on 08/05/2012 7:56:29 PM PDT by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Tyrannies demand immense sacrifices of their people to produce trifles.-Marquis de Custine)

So right you are.

It was a big mistake not to kill hundreds of thousands, millions, following 9/11.

32 posted on 08/05/2012 7:57:38 PM PDT by Balding_Eagle (Liberals, at their core, are aggressive & dangerous to everyone around them,)

To: Balding_Eagle
None, or very few, are in positions of influence, but when TSHTF, as many here like to say, they’ll show up all over the place.

I agree with you. We don't have a great leader because we don't need a great leader just at this moment. We're too rich and feel too safe, in absolute terms. Most Americans don't even know what "worried" means, in the sense that people were "worried" in 1940, '41, 42.

But that time will come, as I'm sure you know.

33 posted on 08/05/2012 7:59:11 PM PDT by Steely Tom (If the Constitution can be a living document, I guess a corporation can be a person.)

To: BushMeister

Wholeheartedly agree. It may be the best WWII book that I’ve ever read. If you like the topic I recommend one that I about halfway through now - Pacific Crucible by Ian Toll. It deals with the first two years of the war in the Pacific.

34 posted on 08/05/2012 8:06:35 PM PDT by Scoutdad

To: 21twelve

The Russians were sweeping through Manchuria like a hot knife through butter, and would likely been on Hokkaido by the end of September of 1945.

35 posted on 08/05/2012 8:09:09 PM PDT by Thunder90 (Kick Obama out of the White House in 2012.)

To: moonshot925

The “Trinity” device wasn’t a weapon - it was a test device designed to demonstrate the plutonium/implosion fission method for bringing the core to critical mass and creating the explosion. The test was because while the yield was theorized to be larger and created more efficiently than the uranium/gun-style fission method (as used in Little Boy), it was also much more complex due to the need for all the compression “lenses” to trigger at the right moments.

They didn’t want to risk dropping an implosion device on Japan and have it fail.

“Fat Man”, dropped on Nagasaki, was the first real plutonium/implosion bomb. I’m not sure what the sequence of production was (it was laid out in several books I read) between the two types, but the 3rd bombing was going to be Tokyo, with Tibbets piloting Enola Gay again. The Nagasaki mission didn’t go well at all, between missed rendezvous, Nagasaki being the secondary target, the apparent decision by the strike aircraft crew to violate orders and drop the bomb using radar targeting (ultimately not needed because there was a last minute opening in the cloud cover) and even then missing the AP by a HUGE amount ... and topped off by Bocks Car pretty much running out of gas and just about needing to be dead-sticked into Okinawa, Tibbets decided that HE needed to lead the 3rd strike.

36 posted on 08/05/2012 8:14:41 PM PDT by tanknetter

To: dfwgator

And then FU-2

37 posted on 08/05/2012 8:18:25 PM PDT by Vermont Lt (I just hate our government. All of them. Republican and Democrat.)

To: Secret Agent Man
I wish we would have hit Tokyo first. Destroyed their whole image of emperor as god.

Course Tokyo got firebombed very badly and iirc 100,000 or so died. The nuke would have cracked their will to keep going right away with a dead nuked emperor false god destroyed.

Ultimately, we got it right. Had we taken out Hirohito and a good chunk of the leadership cadre there wouldn't have been a surrender and instead there would have been a reversion to the tribal warlord model. We would have needed to invade and then spend years, possibly decades, suppressing all the warlords in a guerrilla-style counter-insurgency ... which we weren't really prepared to do.

Think along the lines of an alternate ending to the US Civil War where Lee orders the various Confederate armies to disband and take to the hills to continue the rebellion.

The flip side of the Hirohito/"need-someone-with-the authority/stature-to-surrender-to-us" argument is the indispensable need for Douglas MacArthur as well. Dugout Doug deserves his fair share of criticism for a lot of things, but he was absolutely the right guy to head up the Occupation.
38 posted on 08/05/2012 8:24:34 PM PDT by tanknetter

To: Blood of Tyrants

“I will remind them that it was the government that developed the atomic bomb.”

Yes, it was the Leftist government of FDR & Truman that did this terrible thing to that poor innocent country known as Japan. And now the Leftists in Govt are doing it to this country.

39 posted on 08/05/2012 8:49:41 PM PDT by GGpaX4DumpedTea (I am a Tea Party descendant...steeped in the Constitutional Republic given to us by the Founders.)

To: Hokestuk
Regardless, that’s what O has been doing to this country; he has been leading a reign of ruin, the likes of which has never been seen before.
Ain't that the truth!
40 posted on 08/05/2012 10:03:34 PM PDT by wjcsux ("In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." - George Orwell)

To: Parley Baer

The material was at Mather AFB when the war was called off.

41 posted on 08/06/2012 2:01:55 AM PDT by Domangart

To: BushMeister; tanknetter
Here is what Downfall by Richard B. Frank says on page 303.

"General Farrell and Captain Parsons had met with General Twining, Admiral Nimitz, and General Spaatz, and by the afternoon of August 9th they urged Washington to review target lists since the 'effects at Trinity and Hiroshima ... [had] far exceeded optimistic expectations.' They 'expressly recommended' that the next bomb be dropped in the 'region of Tokyo' to achieve maximum psychological effect. On August 14, Twining submitted a new list of six targets in order of priority: Sapporo, Hakodate, Oyabu, Yokosuka, Osaka, and Nagoya."

42 posted on 08/06/2012 2:26:57 AM PDT by moonshot925

To: John W

I do not think so. But it was on the list.

I think hitting Tokyo would have been part of a change in strategy from trying to convince them to surrender to inflicting as much damage a possible prior to an invasion.

43 posted on 08/06/2012 2:44:44 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (The Democratic Party strongly supports full civil rights for necro-Americans!)

To: John W

See number 42, above. Tokyo was not on the list. Yet.

44 posted on 08/06/2012 2:59:20 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (The Democratic Party strongly supports full civil rights for necro-Americans!)

To: Hokestuk

I think production capacity was on the order of 8 bombs a month, 100 per year, so a rain of destruction from the sky, the likes of which has never been seen before, was no bluff.

45 posted on 08/06/2012 3:24:28 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (The Democratic Party strongly supports full civil rights for necro-Americans!)

To: Texas Fossil
Closer to Alamogordo on White Sands, know as the Trinity Site.

yup.....that one.

46 posted on 08/06/2012 4:14:48 AM PDT by Vaquero (Don't pick a fight with an old guy. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.)

To: moonshot925

A-Bomb no 4=London
A-Bomb no 5=Paris
A-Bomb no 6=Berlin
A-Bomb no 7=Moscow
A-Bomb no 8=What’s left of Japan

47 posted on 08/06/2012 8:23:28 AM PDT by US Navy Vet (Go Packers! Go Rockies! Go Boston Bruins! See, I'm "Diverse"!)

To: tanknetter

We should not have allowed the concept of the emperor being god, to continue to exist.

48 posted on 08/06/2012 5:12:44 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I can neither confirm or deny that; even if I could, I couldn't - it's classified.)

To: Secret Agent Man

I think it was smart to leave the emperor in place as a way to keep Soviet influence out.

49 posted on 08/06/2012 5:18:05 PM PDT by dfwgator (FUJR (not you, Jim))

To: Secret Agent Man
We should not have allowed the concept of the emperor being god, to continue to exist.

We didn't. Oh sure, there are still nationalists in Japan who think that way ... just like there are neo-Nazis in Germany despite the appropriately-draconian de-Nazification program enacted during the occupation. But they are relatively few and far between.

The process of tearing down the God-Emperor began almost immediately, when Hirohito was pretty much ordered to pay a social call on Douglas MacArthur (as opposed to the other way around). The result was one of the classic photographs of the 20th Century, one that - by intent - diminished the Emperor and helped the Japanese along in viewing the Emperor as the figurehead/symbolic representation of the state that he remains today:

50 posted on 08/06/2012 5:59:44 PM PDT by tanknetter