Bombardier's Position

Bombardier's Position looking forward

At the center of this position is the famous Norden bombsight. It was this bombsight that permitted halfway reasonable accuracy to be achieved from six miles up. This particular sight is missing the autopilot guidance accessory, thus the cable connectors on the floor at lower left. It has been installed since this photo was taken. The bombardier's station was in effect a greenhouse, requiring a pair of two blade fans to cool things off enough for him to do his work during taxi and takeoff. Another fan is shared between the pilot and copilot. Everyone else evidently just cooked until enough altitude was gained to cool things off.

Bombardier's Position, left hand panel

This is the heart of the "setup" control panel, allowing the correct sequencing and intervals to be established between bombs. Such complex configuration settings weren't needed with the "Little Boy" dropped on 6 August 1945. The camera intervalometer installed at upper left has been moved - there is another mount for one in the rear of the aircraft near the camera to take sequential photographs for BDA, and it seems more likely it was installed there, at least on the Silverplate birds. The records for the aircraft show that the Enola Gay had a K-18 camera installed for the Hiroshima mission (missing in the Enola Gay). Why that was selected is lost from the records - the K-18 is a high altitude camera optimized for night work, but apparently wasn't used to photograph anything on the mission. Only a couple of other 509th aircraft had the K-18 assigned to the airframe, so it appears the selection was simply a need to provide more weight in the rear of the aircraft for proper balance to improve flight attitude and optimize fuel consumption to the target.

Bombardier's Position, left panel detail

Bombardier's Position, right hand side, showing SCR-718 height finding radar indicator

It is not at all clear how this radar could be effectively used on a bright sunny day, despite the availability of a hood (missing from this installation). The only other indicator, normally installed at the navigator's position, was moved to next to the left foot of the Weaponeer and ultimately deleted in the Silverplate B-29s, so that provided little help in determining where it was on 6 August 1945. Our current thinking is to move it back to the navigator's position, since we discovered an original 1945 photo of Bockscar with the indicator in that location. Fabrication of a new sheet aluminum mount is next in the queue.

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