July 8, 2009 by David Gillaspie
The doors at DG’s B&B are always open for veterans. We have a visitor who never stays over but enjoys kicking back on the deck. He’s an old pilot.
Not so fast.
The atomic bombs ended the war. Sort of. Ending war is different that winning the war. If the big bombs didn’t win the war, what did? What helped America win the war? The greatest weapon in the field.
Radio detection and ranging. Radar.
Now name which program was the most expensive, nuclear bombs or radar?
The most expensive development in WWII was not the Manhattan Project or radar research. It was the B-29. The three elements combined to drop a carpet of fire on sixty-six cities. Name sixty-six cities in America and imagine them bombed by wave after wave of the biggest airplanes of that era. Not an easy exercise to complete.
Sixty-six times the greatest air force in the world flew out and back on radar. Having that sort of technology on board must have been a comfort for the anxious airmen. Leaving the ground might be hard enough, but knowing you’ve got something working to bring you back had to ease the strain.
The most advanced machine in the world joined the best radar on Tinian, an island together with Guam and Saipan making up the Northern Marianna’s. That is where the most advanced weapons in the world waited.
You’d think two atomic blasts would bring leaders to the surrender table, but not fast enough. Another wave of bombers hit Tokyo on a sixty-seventh mission. Surrender plans stepped up quickly.
The B-29 was the first plane with a pressurized cabin, leading the way for designing commercial planes.
The nuclear bombs jolted the world into a new mindset, that the elemental destruction of the world is now possible. And they started the march toward nuclear energy.
Radar is the only one of the three big money efforts to make it into our kitchens. To test this statement, turn on your micro-wave oven.