'Bockscar' was the name of the B-29 which dropped 'Fat Man', the second atomic bomb, over Nagasaki on the 9th of August 1945. It was named after the original pilot, Frederick Bock, and is of course a pun on 'boxcar' (although the bomber's cargo was more lethal than that of the average railway carriage).

A faulty fuel pump and low cloud almost forced it to cancel its historic mission; on arriving at its intended target, Kokura, pilot Major Charles Sweeney (Bock, meanwhile, was flying escort in another bomber) found that the target was obscured by cloud and smoke from earlier bombing raids. Unable to get a fix on an important bridge located in the centre of Kokura, Sweeney diverted to Nagasaki with very little fuel left. The same low cloud prevented 'Fat Man' from finding its target, but Sweeney was under orders not to return to base with the bomb in case of an accident on landing. Thus, with imperfect aim, Nagasaki's devastation was slightly less complete than that of Hiroshima.

Bockscar is now in retirement at the USAF Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. So far, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark have not yet recorded a hit song about it, but there's still time.

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