Sinking of the USS Indianapolis

A scene from the 2016 movie "USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage"
A scene from the 2016 movie "USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage"

Historical Context

The death toll from the sinking of the Indianapolis is the largest in US naval history. It was sunk in the Philippine Sea during WWII on the 30th July 1945 by Japanese naval torpedoes a few days after delivering parts for the bomb that would level Hiroshima.

Of the 1196 men on board about 800 made it into the water after the ship sunk in 12 minutes. The remaining men began a horrendous 4-day ordeal in the water being picked off by sharks and suffering from heat, thirst and exhaustion. On the fourth day a US naval plane finally spotted the survivors, but by then only 300 had survived.

Photo Info

Location taken: Philippine Sea

Related Events

  • 1945-07-30 After delivering the Atomic Bomb across the Pacific, the cruiser USS Indianapolis is torpedoed and sunk by Japanese submarine I-58. 880 of the crew died, many after being attacked by sharks, the inspiration for the movie Jaws.
  • 1945-08-02 After 3½ days suffering exhaustion, lack of water and shark attacks in the Philippine Sea, the surviving crew of USS Indianapolis are spotted by Wilbur “Chuck” Gwinn, a PV-1 Ventura pilot on a routine sector search. 316 had survived.
  • 2017-08-18 Civilian researchers led by Paul Allen re-discover the USS Indianapolis 18,000 feet below the Pacific surface, 72 years after it was sunk by Japanese torpedoes

Historical Photos