The USS Indianapolis was built by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation in Camden, New Jersey. She launched for the first time in 1931 and was commissioned by the US Navy the following year.
Designed to be a Portland-class heavy cruise, the ship was 186 meters long and had a displacement of 9,950 tons. Her main battery included eight 5-inch antiaircraft guns and nine 8-inch guns.
The Indianapolis had eight boilers generating power to four steam engines, allowing her to cruise at more than 32 knots.
During her first years of service, she operated in both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Then Word War II happened.
Almost immediately after the United States became directly involved in World War II, the Indianapolis played her role as part of the aircraft-carrier task force in the Pacific Theatre.
On July 30, 1945, her dutiful service ended as she sank to the bottom of the ocean after being struck by a Japanese submarine.
Hundreds of crews who survived the sinking were stranded in shark-infested waters for days, unnoticed by the US Navy.
10 Precious Cargo
The USS Indianapolis participated in the bombardment of Iwo Jima in February 1945.
She sustained damage the following month by a Japanese kamikaze plane off Okinawa Island. After receiving some repairs, she promptly returned to active service.
In late July, the Indianapolis was sent on a high-speed to deliver a precious cargo to a US airbase in the Mariana Islands.
No one on board knew that she was carrying the internal component of atomic bombs, which were ultimately dropped on Hiroshima in just less than two weeks later, sending the Pacific Theatre of WWII to a quick end.
9 From San Francisco To Guam
Starting her voyage from San Francisco, the Indianapolis reached Tinian in the Mariana Islands in just ten days.
The precious package was delivered on July 26, intact. She proceeded to Guam and was soon sent to Leyte Gulf in the Philippines on July 30.
She was about halfway to Leyte when the Japanese submarine I-58 hit her with two torpedoes. The attack was effective as the Indianapolis sank in just 12 minutes.
She brought nearly 300 crews down with her, while the remaining 900 floated in the Pacific Ocean. The US Navy was not aware of their location.