Little Boy

Little Boy
Little boy.jpg
A post-war Little Boy model
TypeNuclear weapon
Place of originUnited States
Production history
DesignerLos Alamos Laboratory
No. built26
Mass9,700 pounds (4,400 kg)
Length10 feet (3.0 m)
Diameter28 inches (71 cm)

Filling weight140 lb (64 kg)
Blast yield15 kilotons of TNT (63 TJ)

"Little Boy" was the codename for the type of atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 during World War II. It was the first nuclear weapon used in warfare. 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. It exploded with an energy of approximately 15 kilotons of TNT (63 TJ) and caused widespread death and destruction throughout the city. The Hiroshima bombing was the second nuclear explosion in history, after the Trinity test, and the first uranium-based detonation.

Little Boy was developed by Lieutenant Commander Francis Birch's group at the Manhattan Project's Los Alamos Laboratory during World War II, a development of the unsuccessful Thin Man nuclear bomb. Like Thin Man, it was a gun-type fission weapon, but it derived its explosive power from the nuclear fission of uranium-235, whereas Thin Man was based on fission of plutonium-239. Fission was accomplished by shooting a hollow cylinder of enriched uranium (the "bullet") onto a solid cylinder of the same material (the "target") by means of a charge of nitrocellulose propellant powder. It contained 64 kg (141 lb) of enriched uranium, although less than a kilogram underwent nuclear fission. Its components were fabricated at three different plants so that no one would have a copy of the complete design.

After the war ended, it was not expected that the inefficient Little Boy design would ever again be required, and many plans and diagrams were destroyed. However, by mid-1946, the Hanford Site reactors began suffering badly from the Wigner effect, the dislocation of atoms in a solid caused by neutron radiation, and plutonium became scarce, so six Little Boy assemblies were produced at Sandia Base. The Navy Bureau of Ordnance built another 25 Little Boy assemblies in 1947 for use by the Lockheed P2V Neptune nuclear strike aircraft which could be launched from the Midway-class aircraft carriers. All the Little Boy units were withdrawn from service by the end of January 1951.


Physicist Robert Serber named the first two atomic bomb designs during World War II based on their shapes: Thin Man and Fat Man. The "Thin Man" was a long, thin device and its name came from the Dashiell Hammett detective novel and series of movies about The Thin Man. The "Fat Man" was round and fat so it was named after Kasper Gutman, a rotund character in Hammett's novel The Maltese Falcon, played by Sydney Greenstreet in the film version. Little Boy was named by others as an allusion to Thin Man, since it was based on its design.[1]

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slovenščina: Deček (bomba)
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