Enola Gay, heroism or insanity?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by pampa14, Apr 25, 2015.

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  1. pampa14

    pampa14 Active Member

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    Enola Gay, undoubtedly the most famous B-29 bomber ever built. The big question, his fame comes from an act of heroism or insanity? Click on the link below, answer this poll and leave your opinion. The link also contains a full report and photos about this important chapter of WW2. Be sure to visit and participate.


    Aviação em Floripa: Enola Gay


    Cheers.
     
  2. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    #2 FLYBOYJ, Apr 25, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2015
    I seen no poll on the link.

    There was nothing insane about the Enola Gay or the dropping of the atomic bombs. This action ended WW2 and saved thousands of lives on both sides. Revisionists didn't have their fathers and uncles aboard liberty ships heading over to fight in a invasion of Japan.
     
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  3. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    For Myself, My father was in 6th Marine division which invaded Okinawa and was slated for the invasion of Japan.

    I am not sure how the atomic bomb was worse than firebombings, starvation or dying of exposure (it can get below freezing in many parts of Japan).
     
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  4. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    Whatever the politics, the actions of the crew of the Enola Gay was neither heroic or insane they were doing their duty as their country expected them to.

    I wonder if Colonel Tibbets ever regretted naming the plane after his mother?
     
  5. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Aside from cousins and friends of the family, I had two Uncles and a Great Uncle that were in the PTO and they all knew after experiencing Iwo Jima and Okinawa, it was about the get "real". They were glad Japan surrendered and they would be going home instead of dragging this one for another 6+ months...

    At the time, people viewed the Atom bomb as a strange new development in a war that had seen a great number of advancments and nothing more.
     
  6. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    I strongly disagree with you there!!!!

    The crew of the Enola Gay and other 509th personnel had grueling and demanding training in pretty crappy conditions and most if not all of the men assigned to the strike contingency of the 509th recognized that they were possibly on a suicide mission. Many if not all were volunteers. They did their duty and it was heroic to even think of being part of that mission.

    No, and he never regretted what he did.


    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iQ2pyEZefs
     
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  7. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    Flyboy it would be unseemly to compare heros and I agree all who volunteered could be termed heroes.

    I knew Colonel Tibbets had no regrets about the mission and personally dont see why anyone should think he should. What I meant was did he regret naming the plane after his mother, I dont think my mother would be too pleased.
     
  8. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Don't see why it would be displeasing...a great deal of warplanes of all sides (bombers, fighters, etc.) had the names of Mothers, Wives, Sweethearts, busty barmaids and more...

    At the time and for many years after the war, the atom bomb was part of a new age and everyone saw it much differently than they do now.
     
  9. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    That was why I asked the question.
     
  10. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    War itself may be heroic but not sane.
    The 2 A-bombs ignited Japanese curiosity toward the greatness of science far beyond such secular questions like heroism, insanity, or grudge.
    It was a disaster at war but a good chance for their future. No, they changed it a chance when no other way to survive as a country.
    If they minded emotional factor to excuse their involuntary reality, they had no future.

    Oh, I am serious this time :)
    Thanks for the good thread.
     
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  11. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    It was just another job well done. I don't know that it was heroic, but I don't know that it wasn't. It depends very much on how you define heroism. I very much doubt that any of the men who flew on the raids consider(ed) themselves heroes.

    The moral issue will always raise its head and is nothing new. Once upon a time a certain Pope wanted to ban crossbows. Even in the modern era we allow killing by bomb, bullet and explosive and more, but become somehow squeamish about gassing each other.

    Steve
     
  12. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    We are looking at 1940's emotions with 2015's morals. Big difference.
     
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  13. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    #13 FLYBOYJ, Apr 25, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2015
    Tibbets flew in the ETO and in the Med. He could have probably got a ticket home after his first hitch but continue to serve. This is from Wiki, I think it describes the man we was.

    In February 1942, Tibbets reported for duty with the 29th Bombardment Group as its engineering officer. Three weeks later he was named the commanding officer of the 340th Bombardment Squadron of the 97th Bombardment Group, equipped with the B-17D.[11] It was initially based at MacDill, and then Sarasota Army Airfield, Florida, before moving to Godfrey Army Airfield in Bangor, Maine.[12]

    In July 1942 the 97th became the first heavy bombardment group of the Eighth Air Force to be deployed to England, where it was based at RAF Polebrook.[13] It had been hastily assembled to meet demands for an early deployment, and arrived without any training in the basics of high altitude daylight bombing. In the first weeks of August 1942, under the tutelage of Royal Air Force veterans, the group received intensive training for its first mission. The group commander, Lieutenant Colonel Cornelius W. Cousland,[14] was replaced by Colonel Frank A. Armstrong, Jr., who appointed Tibbets as his deputy.[15]

    Tibbets flew the lead bomber Butcher Shop for the first American daylight heavy bomber mission on August 17, 1942, a shallow penetration raid against a marshalling yard in Rouen in Occupied France, with Armstrong as his co-pilot. This was not Tibbets's regular aircraft, Red Gremlin, nor his regular crew, which included bombardier Thomas Ferebee and navigator Theodore Van Kirk, who later flew with him in Enola Gay.[16] On October 9, Tibbets led the first American raid of more than 100 bombers in Europe, attacking industrial targets in the French city of Lille. Poor bombing accuracy resulted in numerous civilian casualties and less damage to the rail installations than hoped, but the mission was hailed an overall success because it reached its target against heavy and constant fighter attack. Of the 108 aircraft in the raid, 33 were shot down or had to turn back due to mechanical problems.[17][18]

    In the leadup to Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa, the commander of the Eighth Air Force, Major General Carl Spaatz was ordered to provide his best two pilots for a secret mission. He chose Tibbets and Major Wayne Connors. Tibbets flew Major General Mark W. Clark from Polebook to Gibraltar while Connors flew Clark's chief of staff, Brigadier General Lyman Lemnitzer.[19] A few weeks later Tibbets flew the Supreme Allied Commander, Lieutenant General Dwight D. Eisenhower, there.[20] "By reputation", historian Stephen Ambrose wrote, Tibbets was "the best flier in the Army Air Force".[21]

    After Tibbets had flown 25 combat missions against targets in France,[11] the 97th Bomb Group was transferred to North Africa as part of Major General Jimmy Doolittle's Twelfth Air Force. For Tibbets, the war in North Africa introduced him to the realities of aerial warfare. He claimed that he saw the real effects of bombing civilians and the trauma of losing of his brothers in arms. In January 1943, Tibbets, who had now flown 43 combat missions,[22] was assigned as the assistant for bomber operations to Colonel Lauris Norstad, Assistant Chief of Staff of Operations (A-3) of the Twelfth Air Force.[11] Tibbets had recently been given a battlefield promotion to colonel, but did not receive it, as such promotions had to be confirmed by a panel of officers. He was told that Norstad had vetoed the promotion, saying "there's only going to be one colonel in operations".[23]

    Tibbets did not get along well with Norstad, or with Doolittle's chief of staff, Brigadier General Hoyt Vandenberg. In one planning meeting, Norstad wanted an all-out raid on Bizerte to be flown at 6,000 feet (1,800 m). Tibbets protested that flak would be most effective at that altitude. When challenged by Norstad, Tibbets said he would lead the mission himself at 6,000 feet if Norstad would fly as his co-pilot. Norstad backed down, and the mission was successfully flown at 20,000 feet (6,100 m).[24]


    I don't think he or his mother ever had any regrets over him naming his plane "Enola Gay."


    Well said my friend!
     
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  14. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Neither. For the bomber crew it was just another mission.
     
  15. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    The atomic bombings were far from " just another mission," and everyone aboard the Enola knew that!!!
     
  16. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    I think, that bomb most likely saved more lives than it killed...as an invasion of Japan and the fighting following, would have been....
     
  17. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    As I understand it, first they weren't sure the bomb would work. Next, they weren't even sure that if it DID work, the turn away from ground zero and subsequent dive to gain distance would carry the B-29 outside the radius of destruction. Last, they weren't sure they'd survive the radiation from the ignition.

    In my book, that qualifies them as heroes even as the pilots of Kamakazes were heroic in exactly the opposite direction. Yes, they were opponents, but their heroism also cannot be ignored.

    And as amply stated above, the events at the end of WWII are being viewed by some in here with 80 years of attitude changes along with considerable hindsight. Had the people who decided to drop the bomb at the time been transported into today and allowed to assimilate the thinking of today, they may well not have dropped it at all. Then again, considering the potential loss of life on BOTH sides, they may well have dropped it after all ... tough to make an educated guess and I won't try.

    I believe the Enola Gay was named before it was selected to be the carrier of the "new wonder weapon."

    War is not insane. War is declared when politicans, who will never fight in the war, fail at their jobs ... and it ends when they come to the realization that a negotiation to end the conflict is better than anymore more death and destruction. I hate war, having been in one that was not declared, but soldiers don't get to decide when war is either declared, fought undeclared, or is halted.

    It would be good if war never happened again, but whether or not is declared, we seem to be stuck with it. I'm glad I don't have to participate in the front lines anymore and have a lot of sympathy for those who do, regarless of which side they are on.

    I had a very good friend who was married to a German woman he met when the war ended. She had been a 16-year old aircraft spotter in a tower becasue she was instructed to be that; not by choice. She said that everyone in Germany was fully aware that they had made a mistake supporting Hitler by the end of 1941, but they were relatively powerless to do anything about it since the first thing the Nazis did was to disarm the populace. It's tough to make the decision to charge machine guns with pitchforks. Many if not most German civilians were unaware of the full extent of the Nazi attrocities even though they knew some had been committed on both sides. Most of the civilian population was just glad the war was over when it ended.

    I know one or two Japanese friends who were close to wartime Japan, if not quite IN the war. They didn't particularly hate anyone, but soldiers pretty much do as commanded. They don't usually take it upon themselves to initiate a new foreign policy by declaring war on some nation all by themselves. It would be useful, to recall that governments started and ended the war. The people who mostly fought in it didn't. We can be glad these governments aren't today staffed by the same people who were there in 1939 - 1945.
     
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  18. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    There you go pushing that old lie that the first thing Hitler did was disarm the German citizens.
    In 1938 laws were passed that were LESS restrictive than the previous laws of 1928, which were also less restrictive than the laws of 1919, which truly did forbid all private ownership of firearms by German citizens.

    The 1938 laws allowed unrestricted ownership of rifles, shotguns, and ammunition by German citizens.
    You did need a permit for a handgun, but the age was that you could get a permit was reduced from age 20 to age 18, and under the 1938 law it had to be renewed every 3 years instead of every year under the 1928 law.
    The 1938 laws also opened up the rights of more Germans to carry handguns without a permit also, party members of course being among them, as well as members of hunting clubs. And the Nuremburge laws took away the citizenship of what had formerly been German citizens. And you had to be a German citizen to be armed in any fashion.
     
  19. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    It's also worth remembering the immediate impact that the deploying of nuclear weapons had, particularly on President Truman himself. He was quite in awe of the power of the weapons to the extent that for the first time in history, the man at the top, the President himself - instead of the generals - had a say on whether this weapon could be deployed in a war zone. He even went as far as to put forward the concept that all nuclear weapons' usage was to be controlled by the United Nations. This was despite the fact that he staunchly defended his decision to use the weapons. He realised its potential and what could come of it if one got into the wrong hands; something that seemed to be forgotten over the next fifty or so years.
     
  20. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    I thought that until after take off, only the officers onboard knew what was going to happen.
     
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