Allied Warships

USS Indianapolis (CA 35)

Heavy cruiser of the Portland class


USS Indianapolis prewar.

NavyThe US Navy
TypeHeavy cruiser
ClassPortland 
PennantCA 35 
Built byNew York Shipbuilding Corp. (Camden, New Jersey, U.S.A.) 
Ordered 
Laid down31 Mar 1930 
Launched7 Nov 1931 
Commissioned15 Nov 1932 
Lost30 Jul 1945 
Loss position12° 02'N, 134° 48'E
History

This was one of the more famous losses of the war, made into many made-for-TV movies/shows. She was returning from Tinian after delivering top-secret nuclear-weapon components for dropping on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. One of the more sensitive missions in the war.

She was sunk by Japanese submarine I-58 (offsite link) (Lt.Cdr. Mochitsura Hashimoto, later promoted to Commander for the same attack) in the Philippine Sea in position 12º02'N, 134º48'E. The men were not missed until 2 August (she was to return to Leyte on 31 July) and aircraft on routine flight spotted the survivors in the water on that day. Rescue operations did not complete until 8 August.

Only 316 survived from her crew of 1199 officers and men.

 

Commands listed for USS Indianapolis (CA 35)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

CommanderFromTo
1John Morris Smeallie, USN15 Nov 193210 Dec 1934 (1)

2Capt. Henry Kent Hewitt, USN16 Mar 19365 Jun 1937 (1)
3Capt. Thomas Cassin Kinkaid, USN5 Jun 19371 Jul 1937 (1)

4John Franklin Shafroth, Jr., USN1 Jul 1938

5Capt. Edward William Hanson, USN1941Aug 1942 (1)

6Morton Lyndholm Deyo, USN11 Jul 194212 Jan 1943
7Captain Nicholas Vytlacil, USN12 Jan 194330 Jul 1943
8Einar Reynolds Johnson, USN30 Jul 194318 Nov 1944
9Capt. Charles Butler McVay, III, USN18 Nov 194430 Jul 1945

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Noteable events involving Indianapolis include:


At the time of her sinking the ships commanding officer Captain McVay was blamed for her loss and the loss of so many men. But information was withheld from Cpt. McVay about submarine activity in the area and especially about how navy policies at the time precluded the navy from even realizing the ship was lost for days. In one of the most shameful episodes in maritime history US Navy brass tried to make him a scapegoat for their own failures in procedure and omission. By now history has exonerated Cpt. McVay. (2)

31 Mar 1945
Seriously Damaged by Japanese Kamikaze off Okinawa.9 of her crew were killed and 26 were wounded.

30 Jul 1945
She was hit by two torpedoes at 12:05 am, one blowing off most of her bow, where the officers slept. About 900 of the 1,196 on board survived the sinking, which lasted 12 minutes. 316 would later survive the dehydration, the sharks, and the heat. The ships commanding officer, Capt. McVay survived, only to commit suicide in 1968 by reasons of receiving hate mail. The survivors attend a reunion every 5 years, starting in 1960. (2)

Media links


Left for dead

Pete Nelson


Ordeal by Sea

Helm, Thomas


The Tragic Fate of the U.S.S. Indianapolis

Lech, Raymond B.


Fatal Voyage

Kurzman, Dan


In Harm's Way

Stanton, Doug


Abandon Ship!

Newcomb, Richard F.


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