USS Indianapolis

Dec 2, 2000
58,587
376
283
Easley South Carolina
>>Are the exact coordinates of the sinking known at all?<<

No.

The general co-ordinates are known but even if a surviving crewman had the last known position committed to memory, this was not the day and age where GPS existed. If they had information that was really exact, I think the ship would have been located by now. This hasn't happened.
 
Nov 21, 2006
21
0
71
I was just wondering about the coordinates because according to Doug Stanton one SOS message was sent from the Indianapolis before it sank but was ignored by responsible officers. I had the idea that it might have contained the position of the ship.
 
Apr 3, 2005
69
0
76
The problem with radioed positions is that they may be off by a little or off by a lot. (Look at titanics, and they had a lot more time to send out a position)
With the ship sinking out from under them, i'd think that while they would want to send out an sos, surviving would be a little bit higher on the list at the time.
Plus, even if the general area is known, it still can take a long time to locate the sunken vessel as the ocean floor is an awfully big place.
(i like to compare it to finding a BB somewhere in a football field. More luck than anything unless exact coordinates are known)
 
Nov 21, 2006
21
0
71
I guess that is right, I just thought the ship sank really fast so drifting after sending out an SOS message would not affect the ship's position as much as if the sinking takes a longer time (like in case of Titanic). Of course, I know that the CQD position still does not guarantee the location of the wreck. Anyway, this is most probably a hypothetical discussion because even if the Navy knows that position they might have a good reason not to make it public. But I don't want to start creating theories let's stick to the objective facts, shall we. :eek:)
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,587
376
283
Easley South Carolina
>>even if the Navy knows that position they might have a good reason not to make it public.<<

In my opinion, the reverse is true. In the deep part of the Pacific, it's not as if anybody can get to her unless the have the same lavish and expen$ive equioment needed to explore Titanic. Further, the ship has no real secrets to hide. The Indianapolis was a Portland class heavy cruiser which was commissioned in 1932 and was already obsolete by this point in time. There was nothing made special about her just because she carried two nuclear weapons to Tinian. All she did was serve as the delivery truck.

You can see some excellant photos of the ship at http://www.navsource.org/archives/04/035/04035.htm
 
Nov 30, 2000
397
0
146
The high command was at fault, pure and simple:

The I-58, the sub which sank the Indy, was KNOWN to be operating in Phillipine Sea.
But McVay was not even warned. Apologists claim that was because with so much sea to cover, it was deemed unlikely I-58's search radius and the Indy's voyage would intersect.
A grossly absurd assumption, for where but on a shipping lane would a submarine be?
Indeed, the Japanese knew full well of the "Peddie" route between Guam and Leyte which the Indy was following when she was torpedoed, as well as the others between the Mariana's and Leyte.
In fact, the I-58 was excatly athwart the Peddie track at the time Indianapolis hove into view.
Commander Hashimoto had to dive and get off the track swiftly in case he had a destroyer on the hunt approaching his boat.

What is more, another Japanese submarine had sunk a destroyer escort named the Underhill only a few days before the Indy's arrival to deliver the atomic bomb.
Survivor Harlan Twible personally told this writer in an e-mail a few years ago that the biggest blunder was not warning them about the sinking of the Underhill. Which indicated a clear and present danger from submarines of the down, but not out, Imperial Japanese Navy.


What is even more apalling is that the fact the crew were five days adrift was not even allowed into the court martial.
If only a crewman had had the gumption to spill all about what they had to endure, the Navy would have been so embarassed by the revelation, their credibility in picking on McVay would have been blown out of the water.
Alas, when survivor Dr. Lewis Haynes began to speak of the second day in the water as part of his testimony, it was cut off.

As far as searching for her goes, it would be as challenging as the search for the Bismarck, and without any ballpark sinking estimates to triangulate and operate within, indeed a case of looking for a BB on a football field.

Hopefully, though, Indianapolis will one day be found, as Bismarck and her victim the Hood were destined to be.

Richard Krebes
 
Nov 21, 2006
21
0
71
Michael! You wrote in a previous post that "An inquiry is the inevitable result of just about any sinking, even in combat." I am really not familiar with the traditions in the US Navy regarding this matter but as Doug Stanton wrote in his book and mentions it several times that the captain's court marshall was "highly unusual". It is really difficult to imagine that the navy investigates every single sinking in war time, but I might be wrong.
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,587
376
283
Easley South Carolina
There's a difference between an inquiry and a courts-martial. A Board of Inquiry is (Theoretically at least) a fact finding body which is established to work out the factual particulars of a casualty.

A courts-martial is a criminal proceeding which has the power to establish adjudicate guilt or innocence and to impose penalties.

They have some similarities in certain proceedures, but beyond that, are very different aninmals.
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,587
376
283
Easley South Carolina
From The Washington Times:

WWII ship sinking marked in exhibit
quote:

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Sixty-two years after Japanese torpedoes sank the USS Indianapolis in shark-infested waters, an exhibit in the vessel's namesake city documents its tragic end in the final weeks of World War II.



The exhibit at the Indiana War Memorial, which opened yesterday, includes letters and telegrams about the July 30, 1945 sinking, the ship's bell and even the type of life jacket that kept the oil-drenched servicemen afloat in the ocean for more than four harrowing days.
For the rest of this two page story, go to http://www.washingtontimes.com/article/20070708/NATION/107080044/1002
 

Philip Hind

Staff member
Sep 1, 1996
1,743
9
168
48
England
Just posted on Gare Maritime:

Recalling the USS Indianapolis: An Interview with Cleatus Lebow
I was in my bunk when the two torpedoes hit. Our after compartment wasn’t damaged. I went to my locker, put on a shirt and pants, and took a pair of slippers from under my mattress and went upon deck. Now, on the quarterdeck were a lot of men who were injured- burned- and they were calling for doctors. I went to the fire control workshop, and passed out some life jackets there. We went down a deck, two friends and I, and tried to push a lifeboat out. But, we couldn’t because of the list. It was a big, heavy, whale boat. The ship was listing heavy to starboard, and I said that we should get out of there. We were on the ladder when the ship rolled hard again, and that lifeboat crashed in and crushed several men against the bulkhead.

[Moderator's Note: Three threads about the Indianapolis have been merged to form this one. MAB]
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,587
376
283
Easley South Carolina
From Jacksonville.com:

As a boy, Navy ensign helped clear WWII skipper
quote:

PENSACOLA, Fla. - During his senior year in 2003, Hunter Scott was chosen Most Likely To Succeed by his Pensacola High School classmates.

Well, considering young Scott had already been on David Letterman's television program twice, testified before Congress and been honored with Hunter Scott Day in Hawaii and Florida, it wasn't like his classmates went out on a limb.

Scott gained fame as a youngster, attracting national media attention with a middle-school history project that he hoped would clear the name of a World War II skipper unfairly tarnished by the Navy and history. He succeeded.
For the rest, go to http://www.jacksonville.com/apnews/stories/012008/D8U9IL000.shtml
 

Jan Quinn

Member
Apr 4, 2008
1
0
31
My uncle was a survivor aboard the USS Indianapolis.Now in his 80's he is putting it all on tape for us.He tells some pretty awful things.Including the demise of a guy floating whom he was holding hands with.He hasn't talked about it much but I know it had a profound affect on him.
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,587
376
283
Easley South Carolina
From The Chicago Sun-Times:

Survived sinking of ship in WWII
quote:

Navy radioman Jack Miner survived the sinking of his ship in the waning days of World War II only to spend four days in a life jacket floating and swimming in a steamy ocean filled with oil-soaked wreckage, wounded and dying men, and hungry sharks.

Herbert Jay Miner II was one of 1,196 men aboard the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis when it was struck by two Japanese submarine torpedoes on July 30, 1945. About 300 men went down with the ship in 12 minutes. Of the remaining approximately 900, only 316 were rescued four days later. The others were lost to their injuries, drowning, heat and thirst, or the sharks.
For the rest of this obituary, see http://www.suntimes.com/news/obituaries/1074145,CST-NWS-XMINER25.article

Comment: Rest in peace shipmate. You've earned it.
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,587
376
283
Easley South Carolina
From MSNBC:

In death, WWII survivor joins shipmates

Sailor spreads ashes of grandfather who survived USS Indianapolis tragedy
quote:

YOKOSUKA, Japan - When the submarine USS Ohio surfaced at sea and Machinist Mate 1st Class Jason Witty emerged from the hatch to look around, he saw calm, blue water under a peaceful sky – perfect for the solemn task he was about to perform.

On the map, the Ohio was afloat in just another indistinguishable expanse of the Pacific Ocean. As Witty stood on deck holding a silver pitcher, the vessel was alone.
Two page story begins at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27476998/
 
Dec 4, 2000
3,239
483
213
Perhaps a decade ago I met the son of a man lost when the Indianapolis sank. His father had been the ship’s dentist, but his real vocation was painting exquisite renderings of birds he found on his wanders through the Appalachian Mountains. The son inherited the father’s collected works. Rather than let them collect attic dust he chose about 10 of the best and had them made into note cards for sale through gift shops. The son took his cards to a gift ship trade show in Gatlinburg and that’s where I met him.

The cards were extremely high quality. Expensive. Worth it every penny for the quality of the bird illustrations and the fine printing. Nobody much cared. The buyers representing gift shops were interested in trendy new stuff, not stuffy old note cards. The son had a lot of time on his hands as he watched the parade march past his meager booth. He was delighted to meet someone who remembered his father’s ship and its contribution to the ending of World War II.

We talked for the better part of an hour. Nobody else even gave his cards a second glance. Old fashioned products with old fashioned engravings aren’t much in demand. Most of the buyers were too young to remember “The War.” They simply couldn’t connect to a talented dentist caught in some obscure event out of a dusty old book. So, we talked of wars and birds, mountains and dentistry, cabbages and kings. It turned out the man I met had never known his father. His only real memories were contained in a collection of bird paintings.

When we parted company I promised to try to sell a story about the dentist, the son, and the birds to some magazine. I tried, but the young editors weren’t impressed. The story remained untold until now.

– David G. Brown
 
  • Like
Reactions: Harland Duzen

J Sheehan

Member
Aug 23, 2019
18
8
3
Cork, Ireland
First introduced to the Indianapolis when I saw JAWS!
The scene with Quint,Hooper and Chief Brody drinking and comparing scars that lead to Quints story has always been my favorite scene!!!
-Don
And here's the speech in question as read by the late Robert Shaw, who had the role of Quint in Jaws.