Capt. Robert A. Lewis' Manuscript Bombing Plan for the Dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima,  [6 August 1945] 16 x 22 in (405 x 560 mm) 1

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Lot 289
Capt. Robert A. Lewis' Manuscript Bombing Plan for the Dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima, [6 August 1945]
16 x 22 in (405 x 560 mm) 1

Sold for US$ 37,500 inc. premium
Capt. Robert A. Lewis' Manuscript Bombing Plan for the Dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima, [6 August 1945]
A single sheet of light-blue lined graph paper, drawn in pencil and in blue, black and red inks by Robert Lewis. The stylized plan shows the Enola Gay approaching Hiroshima from the left at 30,000 feet, and on dropping the bomb at 2 miles short of the target, veering and turning 150 degrees to the right to return at 28,500 feet. The plan shows the air burst at under half a mile up over the city and the subsequent shock waves that the explosion would create, verso blank and unlined.
Provenance: Robert A. Lewis, co-Pilot, Enola Gay, 6 August 1945; and then as a gift to Steven K. Lewis.

An important Enola Gay bombing plan. A particularly poignant artifact from the Lewis archive, this plan undoubtedly derives from their final briefing with William "Deak" Parsons on the afternoon of 3 August 1945 when the pilots and navigators met with Parsons and Ramsay, at which Parsons presented the gathered crews with sketches of the turn-around maneuver at 30,000 feet in order to escape the blast and shock waves from the bomb. In Robert Lewis' forthcoming biography, he discusses this meeting on Tinian on 3 August quoting Parsons words: "now let's look at these sketches, and you will better understand this designed maneuver and why every second is critical." Parsons specifically discusses 30,000 feet as their fly-in height, but in the reality of the event the flight height was 30,500 feet and therefore had this plan been drawn up after the dropping of the bomb, Lewis would have been more accurate with his plan. It seems highly likely that after the briefing Lewis borrowed Parsons' sketch and copied it out to take with him on the mission before passing it on to the other two captains. The height for the atomic explosion was set at 1800 feet as this plan accords, and as the briefing with Parsons discusses.

The location of Parsons' original bombing plan is now unknown and it may well have been cast aside after the event. Lewis, however, kept much of his paperwork, and so in this plan, we probably have the only extant, contemporary Bombing Plan for the dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima, now presented to the public, some 70 years later.
16 x 22 in (405 x 560 mm) (1)
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