Tinian Island was the launching point for the atomic bomb attacks against Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. One of three islands in the Northern Marianas, Tinian is less than forty square miles in size and located approximately 1, miles south of Tokyo. The round-trip flight from Tinian to Tokyo took Bs an average of twelve hours. This proximity to Japan is one reason Tinian served as the headquarters of the th Composite Group. Tinian, easy to supply by sea and perfect for launching air attacks against Japan, was desired by the U.
On 6 August , during the final stages of World War II , it became the first aircraft to drop an atomic bomb. The bomb, code-named " Little Boy ", was targeted at the city of Hiroshima , Japan, and caused the near-complete destruction of the city. Enola Gay participated in the second atomic attack as the weather reconnaissance aircraft for the primary target of Kokura. Clouds and drifting smoke resulted in a secondary target, Nagasaki , being bombed instead. In May , it was flown to Kwajalein for the Operation Crossroads nuclear tests in the Pacific, but was not chosen to make the test drop at Bikini Atoll.
Bathed in floodlights, the B "Enola Gay" awaits take-off on an historic mission: dropping the first atomic bomb on Japan. The head of the Manhattan Project, Gen. Leslie Groves, had warned the "Enola Gay's" commander, Col. Paul Tibbets, to expect "a little publicity," but Tibbets and his crew are stunned by the scene on the tarmac.
The Enola Gay was part of a second batch of fifteen improved Silverplate bombers built between February and June The Enola Gay 's complete serial number BMO, indicated that it was a B built at the Martin Omaha plant built in block 45, and was ordered in fiscal year The Enola Gay arrived on Tinian on 6 July Prior to flying the first atomic combat mission the Enola Gay flew eight practice missions from Tinian, then two conventional bombing missions over Japan using the pound "pumpkin" high explosive bomb, designed to simulate the characteristics of the Fat Man bomb.