USS Indianapolis – Overhauls 1944

I’ve spoken previously about the USS Indianapolis and my father’s time on it. Commissioned in November 1932, the Indy spent most of the 1930’s on goodwill missions. She spent the first few months of World War Two in the South Pacific before heading to Alaska to participate in the campaign there against the Japanese in the Aleutians. In late 1943, she became the flagship of Admiral Spruance and during 1944 and 1945 participated in operations in the Gilbert Islands, Marshall Islands, Marianas Islands, Peleliu Island, Iwo Jima, the Japanese home islands, and the Ryukyus. Her final mission was to transport atomic bomb components from California to Tinian Island in the Marianas. She sailed for the Philippines after and was sank on 30 July 1945 by the Japanese submarine I-58 resulting in the largest single loss of life at sea in the history of the US Navy.

The following pictures are of the USS Indianapolis during her next couple of World War Two overhauls that took place in the spring and fall of 1944. Naval overhauls were common events during World War Two as older ships were modernized in an attempt to match the capabilities of younger ships. World War Two forced many countries, especially the United States, to drastically increase their military funding which enabled these overhauls to occur more frequently. This process also occurred as new technologies became available for more wide-spread use and warfare tactics evolved to face specific threats. Examples of this include the development of radar and a focus on anti-submarine and anti-air armament.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35). Off San Francisco, California, 1 May 1944, after overhaul and repainting with pattern camouflage.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35) in the background, with weathered Measure 32, Design 7d camouflage, recently arrived at the Mare Island Navy Yard for overhaul. USS Montpelier (CL-57), in the foreground, is at the end of an overhaul. Circles mark recent alterations to Montpelier. 21 October 1944.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35). Closeup view of her forward superstructure and 8″/55 triple gun turrets from off the port side, at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, following overhaul, 7 December 1944. White outlines mark recent alterations to the ship. Note newer type Mk.33 gun director atop her open bridge, 40mm quad gun mount, eight-inch projectiles by her second turret, and bridge details. YF-389, a covered lighter, is in the center background.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35). Closeup view of her port forward half, at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, following overhaul, 7 December 1944. White outlines mark recent alterations to the ship. Note catapults, forward stack details, newly-fitted Mk.34 gun director atop her tripod foremast, liferafts and floater nets. An Amphibious Force Flagship (AGC) is in the right background.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35). Closeup view of her port after half, at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, following overhaul, 7 December 1944. White outlines mark recent alterations to the ship. Note “whip” radio antenna mounted on her forward smokestack, aircraft crane, tripod mainmast with an SK radar antenna on top and newly-fitted Mk.34 gun director. YD-66, a floating crane, and a large harbor tugboat, USS Mawkaw (YTB-182) are at left.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35). View from off her port quarter, at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, following overhaul, 7 December 1944. White outlines mark recent alterations to the ship. Note 40mm quad gun mounts on her fantail, after 8″/55 gun turret, newer type Mk.33 gun director, and newly-fitted Mk.34 main battery gun director. An Amphibious Force Flagship (AGC) is in the right background.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35). Off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 9 December 1944, following overhaul.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35). Off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 9 December 1944, following overhaul and repainting into Measure 22 camouflage.

[Images courtesy of the Department of the Navy – Naval History & Heritage Command.]

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/

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