Skip to main content
Related Content
Document Type
  • Themed Collection
Wars & Conflicts
File Formats
  • Image (gif, jpg, tiff)
Location of Archival Materials
  • NHHC

USS Indianapolis (CA-35)

Please see below for item level images and donated collections containing photographs of USS Indianapolis (CA-35)

USS Indianapolis (CA-35) was laid down on 31 March 1930 at Camden, N.J., by the New York Shipbuilding Corp.; launched on 7 November 1931; sponsored by Miss Lucy Taggart, daughter of the late Senator Thomas Taggart, a former mayor of Indianapolis; and commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 15 November 1932, Capt. John M. Smeallie in command. 

Following shakedown in the Atlantic and Guantanamo Bay until 23 February 1932, USS Indianapolis (CA-35) trained in the Canal Zone and in Pacific off the Chilean coast. After overhaul at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, the heavy cruiser sailed to Maine to embark President Franklin D. Roosevelt at Campobello Island on 1 July 1933. Getting underway the same day, USS Indianapolis (CA-35) arrived at Annapolis two days later where she entertained six members of the cabinet. After disembarking the President, she departed Annapolis on 4 July, and returned to the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

When Japanese bombs struck Pearl Harbor, USS Indianapolis (CA-35), then making a simulated bombardment of Johnston Island, immediately joined Task Force 12 and searched for Japanese carriers reportedly still in the vicinity. She arrived Pearl Harbor on 13 December 1941 and entered Task Force 11 for operations against the enemy. By 7 August 1942, the task force to which USS Indianapolis (CA-35) was attached finally found an opening in the thick fog which hid the Japanese stronghold at Kiska Island, and imperiled ships in the treacherous and partially uncharted nearby coasts.

Throughout the spring and summer of 1943, USS Indianapolis (CA-35) operated in Aleutian waters escorting American convoys and covering amphibious assaults. In May the Navy took Attu, the first territory stolen by the Japanese to be reconquered by the United States. After Attu was proclaimed secure, the U.S. forces focused their attention on Kiska, the last enemy stronghold in the Aleutians. After repairs and overhaul, USS Indianapolis (CA-35) received orders to proceed at high speed to Tinian, carrying parts and nuclear material to be used in the atomic bombs which were soon to be dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Due to the urgency of her mission, USS Indianapolis (CA-35) departed San Francisco on 16 July 1945, foregoing her post-repair shakedown period. Touching at Pearl Harbor on 19 July, she raced on unescorted and reached Tinian on 26 July, covering some 5,000 miles from San Francisco in only ten days.

Early in the morning, 15 minutes into the mid watch on 30 July 1945, two heavy explosions occurred against her starboard side forward, and she capsized and sank in 12 minutes, at 12-02°N, 134-48°E. USS Indianapolis (CA-35) had been hit by two torpedoes from Japanese submarine I-58. Upon completion of rescue operations, 8 August 1945, a radius of 100 miles had been combed by day and by night, saving 316 of the crew of 1,195 men.

For a complete history of USS Indianapolis (CA-35) please see its DANFS page.