Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

US Planned To Drop An Atomic Bomb On Europe During WWII
The Memory Hole ^ | August 10, 2002

Posted on 08/10/2002 3:43:33 PM PDT by Reaganwuzthebest

US Planned to Drop an Atomic Bomb
on Europe During WWII

In early August 2002 Studs Terkel interviewed Paul Tibbets, the pilot who flew the Enola Gay on its mission to nuke Hiroshima. In the middle of this fascinating interview, General Tibbets dropped a bombshell of a different sort. Tibbets relates that after being briefed about his upcoming mission by General Uzal Ent (commander of the second air force) and others:

General Ent looked at me and said, "The other day, General Arnold [commander general of the army air corps] offered me three names." Both of the others were full colonels; I was lieutenant-colonel. He said that when General Arnold asked which of them could do this atomic weapons deal, he replied without hesitation, "Paul Tibbets is the man to do it." I said, "Well, thank you, sir." Then he laid out what was going on and it was up to me now to put together an organisation and train them to drop atomic weapons on both Europe and the Pacific--Tokyo.

Studs Turkel: Interesting that they would have dropped it on Europe as well. We didn't know that.

Paul Tibbets: My edict was as clear as could be. Drop simultaneously in Europe and the Pacific because of the secrecy problem--you couldn't drop it in one part of the world without dropping it in the other.

This is the last thing Tibbets says about nuking Europe, and Turkel never follows up! Thus, we don't know which city was to be targeted (presumably it was a German one) or why the plan wasn't carried out. The Memory Hole has written to Tibbets, asking these logical follow-up questions. Assuming he responds, we'll let you know what he says.

Later in the interview, Tibbets reveals another important piece of hidden history--that the US was just about to drop a third atomic bomb on Japan when it surrendered:

Studs Terkel: Why did they drop the second one, the Bockscar [bomb] on Nagasaki?

Paul Tibbets: Unknown to anybody else--I knew it, but nobody else knew--there was a third one. See, the first bomb went off and they didn't hear anything out of the Japanese for two or three days. The second bomb was dropped and again they were silent for another couple of days. Then I got a phone call from General Curtis LeMay [chief of staff of the strategic air forces in the Pacific]. He said, "You got another one of those damn things?" I said, "Yessir." He said, "Where is it?" I said, "Over in Utah." He said, "Get it out here. You and your crew are going to fly it." I said, "Yessir." I sent word back and the crew loaded it on an airplane and we headed back to bring it right on out to Trinian and when they got it to California debarkation point, the war was over.

Studs Terkel: What did General LeMay have in mind with the third one?

Paul Tibbets: Nobody knows.

Source: "'One Hell of a Big Bang'" by Studs Terkel. Guardian (London), 6 Aug 2002.

TOPICS: Extended News; Government
KEYWORDS: historylist
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-20 ... 41-6061-8081-100101-109 last
To: mamelukesabre
It was an Me-262 he shot down during WWII.
101 posted on 08/11/2002 4:30:44 PM PDT by Paleo Conservative
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 100 | View Replies]

To: Paleo Conservative
In europe????

Are you sure about that? I don't remember it happening in europe. I thought for sure it happened somewhere in east asia or over the pacific.
102 posted on 08/11/2002 4:35:24 PM PDT by mamelukesabre
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 101 | View Replies]

To: okie01
History? What is history? Read? What is read?


103 posted on 08/11/2002 4:37:00 PM PDT by Redleg Duke
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 93 | View Replies]

To: mamelukesabre
Wasn't the british spitfire suposedly superior to our p51?

The biggest drawback to the spitfire was its range, only capable of going 250 miles from England. The P-51 Mustang's final design was capable of going 2600 miles when extra drop-tanks were attached to the wings.

Here's a history page on the plane. It pretty much explains the advantages over the spitfire and its devasting effects on the Luftwaffe.

104 posted on 08/11/2002 4:41:30 PM PDT by Reaganwuzthebest
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 97 | View Replies]

To: SteveH
Our erstwhile friends (the Soviets) "interned" a few stray B-29s (they released the crews, but kept the a/c), which Stalin ordered to be reverse-engineered by Tupolev, thus the Soviet Tu-4. Thus, for a brief time, the USSR and the USA fielded squadrons of very similar aircraft. Developments in the US made the move of little import. The Soviets were never shy about actually copying, just about admitting it (e.g.: the StuG 44 and the Ta-156).

FWIW, I heard Gen. Tibbets speak two years ago, and he sure seemed pretty sharp. He was the USAAF's chosen operational expert, and I don't believe he ever claimed to be more than that. Would that all the people back at the facility in NM had been as devoted to their country as Paul Tibbets.

105 posted on 08/11/2002 6:25:30 PM PDT by niteowl77
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 59 | View Replies]

To: Reaganwuzthebest
The P-51 was right for NW Europe, but not necessarily for the Pacific... and definitely not for the Korean War. The P-82 (later the F-82) Twin Mustang was intended for B-29 escort and air superiority roles in the Far East, but the atomic bomb doomed it to relative obscurity; the first aerial combat victory for the newly-formed USAF was, however, made by an F-82 in the first days of the Korean War (which brought many WWII B-29s out of mothballs).
106 posted on 08/11/2002 6:35:18 PM PDT by niteowl77
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 104 | View Replies]

To: Southack
Like I said, speculatively...

By D-Day (June 6, 1944), the Germans could only muster 180 fighter aircraft and 198 bombers against the entire allied invasion (which was covered by over 5,000 U.S. and British fighters and bombers).
On day one, I heard they actually only mustered 2 over the British beaches. That being said, they maintained an average of 581 operational fighter aircraft on the western front (not the Reich proper) from june to october. Most of them were probably staged deeper in France, but my issue is a what if...
This mismatch in the skies permitted the 6 invading allied army divisions to smash through the more than 40 German Army Wehrmacht divisions that were deployed to repel any invasion against the Constinent.
Of those 40 Div, there weren't a hell of a lot of them at Normandy and none of the major Panzer divisions were forward deployed. Once again though, I'm talking about had the invasion failed and on the face of it, some divisions like Panzer Lehr and the 1st SS being a few miles from the beach coupled with a few days of overcast could have put that success in jeopardy.

What does the Loon have to do with the price of tea in China? It was nothing but a V-1 knockoff, and since it had a Ford engine in it, it'd probably need an in flight mechanic anyway ;).
Germanys highest fighter production rates were achieved in 1944, the fuel situation didn't begin to seriously cripple them until around that winter.

My point is that had Europe been firmly in German control, their would have been hesitancy in utilizing the bomb over occupied territory if the Allies thought their was even a slim chance it might fall into German hands, towing it into a port might have been thought of, but that would probably had a greater chance of failure. I'll add additionally here that use of the bomb on Germany probably would have motivated the Germans to start slinging nerve agents.
Now, I don't doubt that industrial might carried the day, and Europe could have had a lot of hot spots if they held out, but if the Russians decided to call it quits and the Germans were able to focus on the West without a French beachhead, don't you think that the Allies might have possibly considered negotiation? I'd think the British would have second thoughts about being the Atlantic aircraft carrier suffering Tabun laden V1\2 retaliations for atomic attack.

107 posted on 08/12/2002 10:19:51 PM PDT by Axenolith
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 77 | View Replies]

To: Axenolith
"if the Russians decided to call it quits and the Germans were able to focus on the West without a French beachhead, don't you think that the Allies might have possibly considered negotiation? I'd think the British would have second thoughts about being the Atlantic aircraft carrier suffering Tabun laden V1\2 retaliations for atomic attack."

The Germans had no way for their Army to stop the American forces, and no way for their air defenses to stop the multi-thousand-plane allied bomber raids.

By late August 1945 there would have been 7 atomic bombs dropped per month on German industry and military targets, rolling up whatever was left of German resistence.

It's safe to say that the Germans would have lost Every port facility that was even nominally available to them, too. By November of 1945, U.S. A-bomb production would have been up to 25 bombs per month, and by January of 1946, 100 atom bombs per month would have been produced and dropped.

In the meantime, massive firebombing raids such as the demonstration raid over Dresden would have been stepped up.

Also, by September of 1945 the surrender of Japan would have meant that an entire Pacific war machine of troops, bombers, fighters, and ships would have been available for Allied redeployment against Germany.

In short, the U.S. could DOUBLE its war effort against Germany each and every month from May of 1945 through January of 1946.

To pretend that the few surviving Russian-front grunt German soldiers and tanks could have made any appreciable difference against such might is to overlook reality.

If the Germans had held out any longer, their eventual destruction would have been proportionately greater, based upon however much longer they held out against us.

Even if they had a wonder-weapon that could knock out all of England, it would not have affected the American war machine in the slightest.

Launching less than 100 V-1's and V-2's per day was simply no match against an air force that was sending 5,000 fighters and bombers over German territory by June of 1944.

Adding the Allied fighters and bombers from the Pacific Front to that total only skews the odds even further against Germany.

Japan surrendered after two atomic bombs were dropped on its cities, and the Japanese at that time were considered suicidal maniacs for their cause.

Dropping 7 or more atomic bombs per month on Germany is clearly more than they could ever have handled, much less the 100 or more per month that we would have been making by January of 1946.

And the reason that I mentioned that the U.S. was flying the unmanned JB-2 Loon cruise missle by October of 1944 is to remind you that the U.S. could have been launching unmanned nuclear attacks on top of our manned bombing raids.

The reality of WW2 is that Germany and Japan engaged in national suicide. They had no chance of winning, and the war was never close. They did not have the economy, technology, or firepower to win against the U.S., whether Russia was involved or not.

108 posted on 08/13/2002 10:13:40 AM PDT by Southack
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 107 | View Replies]

To: Focault's Pendulum
Yech! You have made me physically ill. Oink.

They were right about the effects of plutonium exposure.

109 posted on 08/14/2002 3:54:19 PM PDT by stboz
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-20 ... 41-6061-8081-100101-109 last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson