USS Indianapolis – Overhaul 1945

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 last overhaul in the summer of 1945. 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 the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 10 July 1945, after her final overhaul.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35). Off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 10 July 1945, after her final overhaul and repair of combat damage.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35). Off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 10 July 1945, after her final overhaul.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35). Bow-on view, taken off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 10 July 1945, after her final overhaul.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35). View from astern, off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 10 July 1945, after her final overhaul.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35). At the Mare Island Navy Yard after her final overhaul, 12 July 1945. Circles on photo mark recent alterations to the ship. Note stripped Cleveland class light cruiser in the right background, with YC-283, an open lighter, alongside.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35). Closeup view of 8″ turret # 2 and the ship’s superstructure, from ahead and to starboard, at the Mare Island Navy Yard following her final overhaul, 12 July 1945. Circles on photo mark recent alterations to the ship. Note Mk13 radar on Mk34 director, atop Indianapolis‘ tripod foremast, and many other antennas on masts and superstructure. A stripped Cleveland class light cruiser is in the right background, with YC-283, an open lighter, alongside.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35). Closeup view of ship’s forward stack, superstructure and hull, from alongside her starboard side amidships, at the Mare Island Navy Yard following her final overhaul, 12 July 1945. Circles on photo mark recent alterations to the ship. Note float for a SC-1 floatplane stowed behind the stack, liferafts and floater nets, and bow of USS Hercules (AK-41), a cargo ship, in the left distance.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35). Closeup view of her after superstructure and hull, from alongside her starboard side amidships, at the Mare Island Navy Yard following her final overhaul, 12 July 1945. Circles on photo mark recent alterations to the ship. Note SC-1 seaplanes being placed in hangars, aircraft crane, port side catapult (and removal of starboard catapult), 5″/25 guns, rear view of Mk34 gun director and many other details. A stripped Cleveland class light cruiser is in the background, with YC-283, an open lighter, alongside.

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

Published by

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/

Leave a Reply