The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis: The Harrowing Story of One of the U.S. Navy’s Deadliest Incidents during World War II by Charles River Editors*Includes pictures
*Includes accounts by survivors
*Includes a bibliography for further reading
*Includes a table of contents
“I awoke. I was in the air. I saw a bright light before I felt the concussion of the explosion that threw me up in the air almost to the overhead. A torpedo had detonated under my room. I hit the edge of the bunk, hit the deck, and stood up. Then the second explosion knocked me down again. As I landed on the deck I thought, ‘Ive got to get the hell out of here!’” – Dr. Lewis Haynes
The United States lost hundreds of ships during the course of World War II, from the deadly explosion of the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor to the sinking of John F. Kennedy’s PT-109, a patrol boat with a crew of less than 15. However, few of the ships lost in the Pacific suffered a fate as gripping or tragic as the sinking of the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis on July 30, 1945.
The USS Indianapolis had been launched nearly 15 years earlier, and it had already survived kamikaze attacks while fighting the Japanese. In July 1945, the cruiser and its crew of nearly 1,200 delivered parts for the first atomic bomb to an air base at Tinian, but due to a chain of events and miscommunication, the cruiser veered into the path of a Japanese submarine shortly after midnight on July 30. Torpedo attacks sank the ship within 15 minutes of the encounter, and about 300 men went down with the ship, but unfortunately, the trials and tribulations were just starting for the survivors. After the call to abandon ship and distress signals were sent out, nearly 900 men found themselves in the water, but the Navy remained unaware of the fate of the Indianapolis, so the survivors would end up spending over 4 days adrift at sea.
Those who didn’t drown had to deal with the effects of dehydration, starvation, and exposure, but while those conditions were terrible enough, the most notorious aspect of the story was the presence of sharks, and the seemingly random nature in which they attacked the sailors. The sailors could never be sure if a gruesome death was coming at any instant, especially at night, and while it’s unclear how many men were actually eaten by sharks, salvage efforts eventually found the remains of nearly 60 bodies that indicated they were bitten.
By the time rescue efforts were completed, just 300 men were saved, and the fallout over the episode was intense. To this day, the sinking of the USS Indianapolis is controversial, and historians continue to debate who shouldered the most blame for what occurred. The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis: The Harrowing Story of One of the U.S. Navy’s Deadliest Incidents during World War II chronicles the tragic fate of the ship and everything the survivors had to endure in the aftermath of the sinking. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about the USS Indianapolis like never before, in no time at all.
USS Indianapolis Crew Battled Sharks and Hallucinations
Fatal Voyage: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis
By Mark Sauer , Pat Finn. Transcript for audioclip As a teenager in Rancho Bernardo, Sara Vladic was always interested in history. How could it happen, she wondered, that the U. Navy bungled so badly that hundreds of young men died unnecessarily? The facts are grim.
For the next five nights and four days, almost three hundred miles from the nearest land, nearly nine hundred men battle injuries, sharks, dehydration, insanity, and eventually each other. Only will survive. It begins in , when Indianapolis is christened and continues through World War II, when the ship embarks on her final world-changing mission: delivering the core of the atomic bomb to the Pacific for the strike on Hiroshima. A veteran journalist and author of more than 1, articles, her investigative pieces have been cited before Congress and the US Supreme Court. She lives in the mountains east of San Diego with her husband and their three Labrador retrievers. She and her husband, Ben, live in San Marcos, California.
The ship is sailing unescorted, assured by headquarters the waters are safe. It is midnight, and Marine Edgar Harrell and several others have sacked out on deck rather than spend th. It is midnight, and Marine Edgar Harrell and several others have sacked out on deck rather than spend the night in their hot and muggy quarters below. Fresh off a top-secret mission to deliver uranium for the atomic bombs that would ultimately end World War II, they are unaware their ship is being watched. Minutes later, six torpedoes are slicing toward the "Indy". For five horrifying days and nights after their ship went down, Harrell and his shipmates had to fend for themselves in the open seas. Plagued by dehydration, exposure, saltwater poisoning, and shark attacks, their numbers were cruelly depleted before they were miraculously rescued.
For 12 minutes after the torpedoes slammed into USS Indianapolis shortly after midnight on July 30, the heavy cruiser continued moving in a long leftward arc. During its last lurching moments or so men abandoned ship singly or in groups. Some men never made it off the stricken vessel. Get The International Pack for free for your first 30 days for unlimited Smartphone and Tablet access. Already a member?