Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
You need to play a total of 10 battles to post in this section.
NGTM_1R

November 7th - Focus: USS Indianapolis

17 comments in this topic

Recommended Posts

1,982
[XODUS]
Alpha Tester
4,691 posts
1,944 battles

Stats time!

 

Allies

Between 1911 and 1944 the Allies laid down 27 ships, the largest of which was HMS Nairana, an escort carrier.

Between 1918 and 1944 the Allies launched 29 ships, among them the one we're going to talk about, contre-torpilleur Jaguar, and a rare appearance by the RCN with corvette Saskatoon

Between 1919 and 1944 we have 39 ships commissioned, including another rare appearance by the Royal Indian Navy, and everyone's favorite or least-favorite forum member, CVE-65 USS Wake Island.

There were 6 ships lost, between 1940 and 1944. The most interesting is probably USS Albacore.

 

Axis

1 launched, pre-dreadnaught SMS Hannover, in 1904.

1 sunk, light cruiser SMS Undine, in 1915.

 

Italy: In 1917 the torpedo boat Giaconto Carini was launched. Got nothing else.

 

1931

 

Well, it's time to discuss USS Indianapolis. And not the black-humor one at the Naval Academy, which is where they do swimming exercises for midshipmen. (Those who doubt the United States Navy's capacity for black humor, I invite you to look into the AE naming scheme.)

 

Indianapolis was a Portland-class cruiser, the third US treaty class. Some people consider them more of a “modified Northhampton” than their own class; the primary difference from the Northies was improved armoring and a longer, improved hullform that offered more speed despite the weight increase. Other changes included the fact the Portlands were designed for a flagship role and had dedicated space for an admiral and staff. The standard 3 triple turret main battery of and 8 single secondary gun battery for US treaty cruisers.

 

The ship was ordered as CL-35 in 1930, laid down at the end of March of that year, then redesignated CA-35 because of the London Naval Treaty in July of 1931. Following that, Indianapolis was launched on the 7th of November 1931 and commissioned on the 15th of November in 1932. Early in her life she transported FDR from Maine to Annapolis and played host to the President for five days so doing. After duty on an inspection tour for the Secretary of the Navy and as flagship of Scouting Force 1, Indianapolis then served as Presidential transport again during a goodwill tour of South America before returning to Scouting Force 1.

 

Indianapolis underway during 1939.

Posted Image

On December 7th 1941, Indianapolis was busy conducting a mock bombardment of Johnston Atoll, only to have training ops canceled on account of war. Absorbed into Task Force 11 as escort for USS Lexington, she participated in early war strike ops but missed out on Coral Sea and Midway, being refitted at Mare Island. From there, Indianapolis did a long tour in the Aleutians, in August of 1942, and remaining despite the crises around Guadalcanal. Her first action there was the very creditable first bombardment of Kiska. It was a treacherous business; at that time in the Aleutians fog was more common than clear air, and two previous efforts were canceled. The mariner's rule was not based on how close you came to sight of land, but to reverse course if you heard the bark of sealions.

 

The amidships area, docked at Mare Island during the April 1942 overhaul. Theses are the old SOC Seagull observation planes before Indianapolis got OS2Us. The ship nearest to her in the background is Omaha-class USS Raleigh.

Posted Image

Yet at 1934 on August 7th, shouts of “Land ho!” from the leading destroyers filtered back along the line and the task force turned parallel to Kiska Island and opened fire at a range of 19500 yards, firing indirect over South Head into Kiska Harbor and the main Japanese camp. Their floatplanes, supposed to spot, were instead attacked by A6M2-N floatplane fighters, so the bombardment was essentially unspotted. In spite of this, it was probably the best bombardment mission the USN conducted before the Marshalls landings. An inspection tour from Japan just flown in sat in a foxhole and watched the 8” shells rain down, destroying all the barracks on Kiska, while splashes churned up the harbor and heavy shells sank landing craft and floatplanes alike as well as setting fire to the 8000+ ton Kano Maru. Shore batteries returned fire, but ineffectually. The bombardment completed, the group left. Indianapolis supported moves into Adak and Amchitka, and in mid-February of 1943 intercepted a Japanese cargo ship making a run to Attu Island. Still, Indianapolis missed the chance for glory at the Komandorskis, and had to settle for bombardment duty with the landings on Kiska and Attu.

 

Welcome to the atolls; Indianapolis in the Central Pacific during 1944, exact date unknown. The ship in the background is an LST, not a carrier.

Posted Image

From there, after another refit, she headed south and assumed the duty of flagship for 5th Fleet, Raymond A. Spruance commanding, and retained that duty for the invasions of the Gilberts, Marshalls, and Marianas as carrier escort and with the gun line at Philippine Sea, with forays into bombardment duty at Kwajalein, Saipain, and Tinian. Indianapolis was the first US ship to enter Apra Harbor at Guam since the start of the war, and also did bombardment duty at Peleliu. From there, she sailed home for another refit.

 

Rejoining the fleet in Feburary 1945 for the first raids on Japan, and to do bombardment duty at Iwo Jima and Okinawa, Indianapolis spent seven days off Okinawa firing bombardment missions before the landings and shot down six planes. On the 31st of March, a kamikaze made yet another attempt. The plane missed, swerving to avoid the ship's 20mm batteries and crashing into the water to port and astern, but its bomb hit amidships, passing through the crew mess, a berthing compartment, and the fuel tanks before detonating beneath the keel. Damage was contained by the ship's watertight bulkheads, but the ship was not designed for the forces the detonation subjected it to and shock damage was extensive, including the shafts being jolted partially off their bearings and many of the fuel tanks being ruptured. Indianapolis needed repairs that were only available Stateside.

 

Indianapolis at Mare Island following her last Stateside refit during the war.

 

She set out for Mare Island alone, repaired, and afterwards carried the physics package (as it's known in the business of building such things) for the Little Boy atomic bomb to Tinian Island. After that, she sailed for Leyte before heading to Okinawa. On the 30th of July, she instead wandered into the crosshairs of I-58, which hit her with two torpedoes. She sank within twelve minutes. 300 crew went down with the ship, and the crew was adrift for four days before being rescued so that of the 880 that went over the side before she sank, only 321 came out of the water. There was a great hue and cry about the incident, and the captain was subjected to court-martial; he was the only captain to be court-martialed for the loss of his ship in the war.

 

Track chart showing the planned path from Tinan to Leyte and roughly where Indianapolis was sunk.

Posted Image

Wrongly. Captain McVay, as came to light in postwar declassified records, was acting within his orders at the time and the ship did in fact get off a distress signal, but it was ignored (of the three stations that received it, one thought it a Japanese hoax, one's commander was drunk on duty, and one ordered his radiomen not to bother him). So was her non-arrival at Leyte on schedule. Nimitz tactly acknowledged the lack of wrongdoing when he remitted McVay's sentence and restored him to duty, but the loss haunted McVay for the rest of his life, and he eventually committed suicide in 1968. The campaign to exonerate him went on past his death, notably being spearheaded by (among others) the man who sunk the Indianapolis, Mochitsura Hashimoto, captain of the I-58. In 2001, McVay's record was formally amended by the Secretary of the Navy to reflect that he was cleared of all wrongdoing.

 

Dimensions

Length (waterline): 592 feet

Length (overall): 610 feet 3 inches

Width: 66 feet 3 inches

Draft: 23 feet

Displacement: 9950 tons standard

 

Weapons (as lost)

3x triple 8”/55 Mark 14 turrets

8x single 5”/25 Mark 13 open mounts

32x 40mm/56 Mark 1 and Mark 2 AAMG, in dual and quad mounts (the Bofors)

27x 20mm/70 Mark 2, Mark 3 and Mark 4 in dual and single mounts (the Oerlikon)

 

Armor

Main Belt: 3.25 to 5 inch

Deck: 2.5 inch

Barbette: 1.5 inch

Gunhouse: 1.5 to 2.5 inches

 

Engines

8 White-Forster boilers, 4 Parsons geared turbines, 4 shafts

107000 installed horsepower

 

Performance

32.7 knots

13000 nautical miles at 15 knots

 

Crew

As designed: 807

As lost: 1119

 

Aircraft

3 aircraft (SOC Seagull or OS2U Kingfisher), 2 catapults

  • Cool 9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
429
[KERN]
Alpha Tester, In AlfaTesters
1,205 posts
5,556 battles

Interestingly, a telescope from the Indianapolis surfaced several years ago on eBay.  Apparently this object was removed during a refit but still bore the USS Indianapolis' information on it' case, and a small brass plaque inside.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19
[SMI-1]
Alpha Tester
288 posts

Hmm, question remains is, could she be found on the seabed at this very moment? That is if anyone wants to try to search for her where she lies in her final resting place. God bless and rest those souls that were lost on her that day.

 

Very good Info! +1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1,859
Supertester, Members, Alpha Tester, In AlfaTesters, Beta Testers
11,285 posts
1,963 battles

Nice stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2,137
Members
3,593 posts

View PostEaglecorps911, on 07 November 2013 - 05:09 PM, said:

Hmm, question remains is, could she be found on the seabed at this very moment? That is if anyone wants to try to search for her where she lies in her final resting place. God bless and rest those souls that were lost on her that day. Very good Info! +1
http://www.wrecksite...reck.aspx?15863
Apparently there have been expeditions, but she's in too deep waters...or so this site claims.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19
[SMI-1]
Alpha Tester
288 posts

View PostJeeWeeJ, on 07 November 2013 - 05:19 PM, said:

http://www.wrecksite...reck.aspx?15863
Apparently there have been expeditions, but she's in too deep waters...or so this site claims.
Ah, ok then. Well that stinks, I bet she would be an great sight to see underwater, despite the ocean decay on her hull and all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2,242
Alpha Tester
4,441 posts

View Postaragorn, on 07 November 2013 - 07:26 PM, said:

woohooo someone made an Indianapolis post! :P
There was already one :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21
[TF16B]
Alpha Tester
172 posts
1,982 battles

View PostEaglecorps911, on 07 November 2013 - 06:20 PM, said:

Ah, ok then. Well that stinks, I bet she would be an great sight to see underwater, despite the ocean decay on her hull and all.

View PostJeeWeeJ, on 07 November 2013 - 05:19 PM, said:

http://www.wrecksite...reck.aspx?15863
Apparently there have been expeditions, but she's in too deep waters...or so this site claims.

The tricky part about finding her is that since she was on a classified mission, only a handful of people even knew she was out to sea when she sank, and no one knows the precise location where she was sunk since the survivors drifted for 4 days. Expeditions to find her have been going on for years and the Indianapolis is considered the holy grail of lost sunken ships to be found. As of now, they are still looking or her in the suspected area where she was sunk.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Members
1 post

Awesome details . Share some more experience about this Allies because this year my project topic is also Allies. So this information is very useful to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
623
[NGA-A]
Supertester, Alpha Tester, Beta Testers
1,793 posts
1,720 battles

Great stuff. The USS. Indianapolis was one of my favorite ships. it also was named after my home town.  gotta love history.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3,281
Supertester
11,713 posts
11,020 battles

The fate of her crew and captain was a great tragedy.  It always affected me deeply.  I hope they are at peace.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alpha Tester
962 posts

when I was a kid I saw Jaws and I know it sounds funny but this part of the movie was the first time I ever heard the story of the Indianapolis. Obviously it's Hollywood but it still made an impression on me.

  • Cool 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3,281
Supertester
11,713 posts
11,020 battles

Thanks Mark I had never seen that before.  I still remember my grandfather telling me about floating in the water when he got sunk twice during the war.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Beta Testers
3 posts

I took the time to read this information. Thank you for writing it up (a 2 years later i'm reading it :sceptic:). But +1 and good job for the write up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×