Most Secret Cargo of WWII – How a Lone US Warship Delivered the Atomic Bomb

Secret Cargo of WWII

When officials from the Manhattan Project and the United States Army Air Forces were looking for a base for a planned atomic bomb attack on Japan, they decided to look amongst the Mariana Island group. Eventually, they settled on Tinian, an island in the Pacific coincidently shaped just like Manhattan. Tinian, once under the control of Spain and Japan, was the place where the atomic bombs were assembled and from where the B-29 Superfortress bombers departed towards Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The island was positioned strategically close to mainland Japan, as the round trip was only 3,000 miles long. Thanks to the diligent work of the Navy’s Seabees Construction Battalions, it also had multiple runways. It became the base of the 509th Composite Group, responsible for delivering the atomic bombs Little Boy and Fat Man. But before Tinian could be used as an atomic staging area, the parts to assemble the devices had to get there first. The task was left to the USS Indianapolis, a heavy-cruiser sent on a top-secret mission to deliver the enriched uranium and other parts that would belong to Little Boy. It would be a mission fraught with peril, as Japanese submarines still stalked the surrounding seas…

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