Seventy five years ago today the B-29 Enola Gay dropped the Little Boy gun-type atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Between 80,000 and 100,000 people died, sources vary.
It has been a now 11 year and counting tradition of the Chicagoboyz blog to commemorate this bombing and the events immediately after. Today’s post will speak of the anniversary and share forgotten history from before & after the event. Per the wikipedia article:
The bomb was dropped by the Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay piloted by Colonel Paul W. Tibbets, Jr., commander of the 509th Composite Group of the United States Army Air Forces and Captain Robert A. Lewis. It exploded with an energy of approximately 15 kilotons of TNT (63 TJ) and caused widespread death and destruction throughout the city.
This act set in motion historical events that lead to the surrender of Imperial Japan, the start of the nuclear age and the Cold War with the Soviet Union that ended in 1989. Yet for all of the event’s importance we, seventy six years, on know less about it’s real history than the myths that arose in Cold War propaganda afterwards.
The fully restored in 2003 B-29 Enola Gay at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
To begin with, Hiroshima was very much a military target. The Imperial Japanese Army’s Second Army headquarters and staff were destroyed as an organization by Little Boy in Hiroshima. It was the second most important headquarters in the home islands. It was in charge of defending all of western and southern Japan from American invasion. Only the First Army in Tokyo was higher in the Japanese Army and the First was responsible for upper Japan. The Second Army’s destruction crippled preparations for the Japanese defense of Kyushu from the impending American “Operation Olympic” assault.
Second Army H.Q. operations center with, all the planning documents, was very close to the hypocenter of the Little Boy detonation. While Garrison troops at Mount Futaba, manning the main H.Q. survived in a badly damaged building. The staff officers planning the Second Army defense of Kyushu at the operation center all died when the bomb hit. 
Nor was that the only major military installation of strategic importance destroyed in Hiroshima.
Hiroshima fell into the area the British Commonwealth Occupation Forces (BCOF) controlled after the Japanese surrender. To them fell the responsibility of demilitarizing Japanese forces there, including the IJA’s chemical weapons. Okunojima island in Hiroshima prefecture was one of the major production facilities for IJA chemical agents and the BCOF conducted “Operation Lewisite” to dispose of these munitions.  The report stated, among other things:
“ 8. Moto Machi Depot in Hiroshima City was an Army Supply Depot to which vesicants were shipped in 200 kg containers from the Tadanoumi Factory. This installation was destroyed by the atomic bomb. No records of its activities are available in Hiroshima Prefecture. One 200 kg container of mustard gas was removed from these premises on 9 Sept 1946. This container is believed to have survived the atomic bomb burst because it was stored two feet below the earth’s surface. The container was ruptured, allowing vapours to escape, which led to discovery of same. 
and from slightly later in the report:
As clearly stated in item (8) of the above, the Army Installation in the central part of Hiroshima to which vesicants (Yperite and Lewisite) had been shipped had been destroyed by the atomic bombing. Judging from these findings it may be possible that some chemical weapons were released to the environment from the military facilities on ground at the time they were destroyed by the atomic bombing and the survivors were exposed to P-11-206 5 poison gases to a smaller or larger extent. There was no drinking water and they had to drink rain water which fell heavily soon after the atomic bombing. It is highly possible that the rainwater was also contaminated by various toxic substances including chemical weapons. These effects combined with the irradiation by atomic radiation are difficult to quantify accurately at present, many years after atomic bombings. But if all these adverse effects were ascribed solely to the ionizing radiation, the effects of radiation may be overestimated in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In using the Hiroshima and Nagasaki data for establishing radiation standard in peaceful uses of atomic energy, we should keep these possibilities of over-estimation in mind. According to Mr. Hatsuichi Murakami , ex-director of the Okunojima Chemical Weapons Museum, soon after the atomic bombing, some chemical weapons leaked into the sea from the facility on Okunojima and many fish were dead and floating on the water and washed to the shore. Normally, such contaminated dead fish are not consumed, but because of the extreme shortage of food at that time they were distributed in Hiroshima Prefecture. What effects it might have had is difficult to estimate (23)
So let be clear on something here based upon the above. The atomic destruction of various wartime facilities in Hiroshima released various toxic substances, mutagenic or carcinogenic agents such as benzopyrene, heavy metals, chemical warfare agents and other radioactive substances. The collapse of food & water distribution meant Hiroshima survivors were drinking heavily contaminated water and eating fish kills from that contaminated water. 
The Japanese government has been counting everyone who died promptly after the bombing and anyone dying of cancer since then as being killed by the atomic bomb. Yet someone who had their insides burnt out via ingested lewisite contaminated fish absolutely did not die from the atomic bomb. Nor did someone who got cancer from non-radiation chemical poisoning.
We cannot and will never know with certainty how many people in Hiroshima died of radiation poisoning or from radiation caused cancer.
Such is the reality of “Fog of War,” even seventy six years after the event.
Note & Sources:
 Page 426 in Stanley Weintraub’s, THE LAST GREAT VICTORY: The End of World War II, July/August 1945, Dutton Adult; 1st edition (July 1, 1995) ISBN-10: 0525936874, ISBN-13: 978-0525936879
 Page 431, Weintraub, THE LAST GREAT VICTORY
 Disposal Report, Chemical Munitions, Operation Lewisite, BCOF OCCUPATION ZONE JAPAN, 8 May 1946 to 30 November 1946.
[4 ] My research partner Ryan Crierie found that quote from the BCOF report on-line via a posting from Prof. Yoshiaki Yoshimi of Chuo University in Tokyo in December 2019.
 Y. Nishiwaki, H. Kawai, N. Shono, S. Fujita, H. Matsuoka, S. Fujiwara, and T. Hosoda, “Uncertainties under Emergency Conditions in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 and Bikini Accident in 1954” 1 Institut für Medizinische Physik, Universität Wien, Vienna, Austria; 2 Atomic Energy Research Institute of Kinki University, Osaka, Japan; 3 Hiroshima Jogakuin University, Hiroshima, Japan; 4 Department of Statistics, Radiation Effects Research Foundation, Hiroshima, Japan; 5 Earth Simulator Research and Development Center, Japan Atomic Energy Research
 The link below is to a list of all previous Chicagoboyz columns on this subject: