Trinity Remembered

Preparations for the July 16 Test

- K. T. Bainbridge


The preparations for the bomb test were greatly increased in intensity starting in March, when a July 4 date was set for the gadget test. In the final 2 wk about 250 men from Y were engaged in technical work at Trinity, and many more contributed to theoretical and experimental studies at Y and in the construction of equipment.


A total of 125 men, under Lt. H. C. Bush's command, were charged with the responsibility of guarding and maintaining the camp. An additional 160 men were located north of the test area, under the command of Major T. O. Palmer, with sufficient vehicles to be able to evacuate ranches and towns if the products descended in dangerous amounts. At least 20 men associated with Military Intelligence were in neighboring towns and cities up to 100 miles away. Eighteen were provided with recording barographs as described in Ref. 2. These instruments and the remote seismographs were for getting permanent records of blast and earth shock at remote points and in neighboring towns.

Coordination of Preparations

The advice and predictions of V. Weisskopf on the behavior of the gadget and its radiation effects, of J. H. Manley and W. G. Penney on shock and blast effects, and of J. O. Hirschfelder on postshot phenomena were of the greatest importance in defining the operations at Trinity and their preparation. R. W. Carlson and Ens. G. T. Reynolds aided in advising on structures and blast phenomena. Major contributions and aid also were frequently furnished by H. A. Bethe, E. Fermi, and J. R. Oppenheimer.

Source: K. T. Bainbridge, Trinity, Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, May 1976, LA-6300-H, National Technical Information Service