Some things about the development and deployment of the atomic bomb at the end of world war 2 I have known for a long while and some things I only learned recently. I knew that the first bomb which was dropped on Hiroshima was nicknamed Little Boy and was carried in a plane called the Enola Gay. I also knew that the second bomb, dropped on Nagasaki was called Fat Man and was carried in a plane named Bockscar. The pilots were Paul Tibbetts (Enola gay) and Charles Sweeney (Bockscar).
What I didn’t know was that Fat Man was allegedly named after the rather portly Winston Churchill. However it has since come to light that as a cover story the conversion of B-29 bombers to carry atomic bombs workers wer told they were being converted to carry passengers and the plane codenamed Fat Man was supposedly for Winston Churchill. The truth is that the Fat Man bomb was actually named after Kasper Gutman, Sydney Greenstreet‘s character in the film ‘The Maltese Falcon’. You have to admit the name Gutman does sound a bit lardy doesn’t it?
The other thing I never knew was that Nagasaki was not the original target of the Fat Man bomb. It was another city, Kokura that was targeted. However bad visibility arising from cloudy conditions meant that the operation was moved to Nagasaki. It was a strange twist of fate as Kokura was in fact the secondary target if Hiroshima had not been visible on the day. A Japanese phrase ‘Kokura Luck’ stemmed from the fate of the city that was in effect twice spared attack from a nuclear bomb.