One of the greatest losses of WWII came near the end of the war itself. The USS Indianapolis (CA-35), which had served with honor throughout the war, was struck by Japanese submarine I-58 in the early hours of July 30, 1945. Its crew had been on a secret mission to deliver enriched uranium crucial to the atomic bomb which would be dropped on Hiroshima. Though they completed their mission successfully, the torpedo assault resulted in the ship sinking in under an hour.
Given the secrecy of the mission itself and other communication errors, the sinking went unnoticed for three days. While around 800 of the ship's 1,196 sailors and Marines survived the initial strike and sinking, the conditions of rough seas, sharks, and dehydration resulted in the loss of nearly 500 of the survivors. All told, only 316 men survived.
On August 19, 2017, however, some closure was brought as Paul Allen's Indianapolis Project discovered the wreckage some 18,000 feet below the ocean floor.
This photo shows the best proof of the discovery, as the ship name and number are shown as if no time had passed.
Another photo from Paul Allen's company showing the large "35" that marked the hull on the front of the ship.
The ship had had a storied history in warfare. This photo shows the ship among other cruisers in 1939.
The ship was used in many key battles of the Pacific and underwent many changes and repairs through WWII. Here we see the ship with the well-known "Dazzle" camouflage in early 1944.
Here we see the ship in action as it bombs the beach of Saipan on 15 June 1944. Take note of the many landing crafts and tanks that were being deployed from the ship under cover of its fire.
This is the last photo of the Indianapolis taken on July 10, 1945 off the Mare Islands.
Survivors of the sinking in Guam in 1945.
The USS Indianapolis remains the property of the U.S. Navy and its location will remain confidential and restricted by the Navy. The crew of the R/V Petrel has been collaborating with Navy authorities throughout its search operations and will continue to work on plans to honor the 22 crew members still alive today, as well as the families of all those who served on the highly decorated cruiser.
Click "Share" below to pass the story along...
40 Rare Photos from the 1840s