On today in 1945, the USS Indianapolis is torpedoed by way of a Japanese submarine and sinks inside minutes in shark-infested waters. Only 317 of the 1,196 guys up to speed survived. However, the Indianapolis had already completed its key mission: the delivery of crucial aspects of the atomic bomb that might be dropped per week later at Hiroshima to Tinian Island in the South Pacific.
The Indianapolis made its delivery to Tinian Island on July 26, 1945. The mission was prime secret and the ship’s crew was unacquainted with its cargo. After leaving Tinian, the Indianapolis sailed to the U.S. military’s Pacific headquarters at Guam and was provided orders to meet up the battleship USS Idaho at Leyte Gulf in the Philippines to get ready for the invasion of Japan.
Shortly after midnight on July 30, halfway between Guam and Leyte Gulf, a Japanese sub blasted the Indianapolis, sparking an explosion that split the ship and triggered it to sink in approximately 12 minutes, with about 300 males trapped inside. Another 900 went in to the water, where several died from drowning exactly, shark attacks, injuries or dehydration from the explosion. Help didn’t arrive until 4 days later, on August 2, when an anti-submarine plane on routine patrol occurred upon the males and radioed for assistance.
On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, inflicting nearly 130,000 casualties and destroying greater than 60 percent of the town. On August 9, another atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, where casualties have been estimated at over 66,000. Meanwhile, the U.S. government kept quiet concerning the Indianapolis tragedy till August 15 to be able to assure that the news headlines will be overshadowed by President Harry Truman’s announcement that Japan had surrendered.
In the aftermath of the events relating to the Indianapolis, the ship’s commander, Captain Charles McVay, was court-martialed in November 1945 for failing woefully to sail a zigzag course that could have helped the ship to evade enemy submarines in the positioning. McVay, the only real Navy captain court-martialed for losing a ship through the war, committed suicide in 1968. Many of his surviving crewmen believed the military had produced him a scapegoat. In 2000, 55 years immediately after the Indianapolis transpired, Congress cleared McVay’s name.