Amazing news today as we're just learning that on Friday, August 18, 2017, the Portland-class cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA-35), pictured here on July 12, 1945, was discovered by the "USS Indianapolis Project", led by Microsoft co-founded Paul Allen. For the past 72 years the wreckage of the Indianapolis was never able to be found.
Indianapolis' final mission of World War II was perhaps her most important. Upon undergoing repairs for damage sustained while operating off Okinawa for the preliminary naval operations preceding the invasion of the island, she received special orders to steam for Tinian. Indianapolis departed from Hunters Point Naval Ship Yard in San Francisco, California on July 16, 1945, carrying onboard parts and the enriched uranium for the Little Boy atomic bomb which was to be dropped on Hiroshima. Coincidentally it was the same day that the world's first atomic bomb was detonated, & Indianapolis left within hours of the Trinity Test. Stopping at Pearl Harbor on July 19th, she arrived at Tinian with her top secret cargo on July 26, 1945.
After delivering the bomb components Indianapolis was sent to Guam. From there she left for Leyte in the Philippines on July 28th where her crew was to undergo training before returning to the fleet at Okinawa. At about 12:14 am on July 30, 1945, while en route to Leyte, a pair of Type 95 torpedoes slammed into Indianapolis' starboard side, one in the bow and the other in the center of the ship. She took on a heavy list, and within 12 minutes rolled over and plunged into the Philippine Sea. Miraculously about 896 of the 1,196 crew members on board managed to survive the initial attack & subsequent sinking. But their troubles, unfortunately, were far from over.
For three days the survivors drifted at sea until they were spotted by a U.S. Navy PV-1 Ventura flying recon. During those first three days the Navy had no knowledge that the Indianapolis had been sunk. The Navy's first statement in the wake of the incident stated that distress calls might have been transmitted, but that there was no evidence that such messages were received from any "ship, aircraft, or shore station." [Continued ⬇]