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Indiana II (BB-58)

1942–1962

Indiana was admitted to the Union as the 19th state on 11 December 1816, and derives its name from its original habitation by American Indians.

(BB-58: displacement 35,000; 1ength 680'; beam 108'2"; draft 29'3"; speed 27 knots; complement 2,500; armament 9 16-inch, 20 5-inch, 24 40-millimeter, 16 20-millimeter; Aircraft 3; class Indiana)

The second Indiana (BB-58) was laid down on 20 November 1939, by the Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Newport News, Va.; sponsored by Margaret R. Robbins, the daughter of Governor Henry F. Schricker of Indiana; and commissioned on 30 April 1942, Capt. Aaron S. Merrill in command.

An act of Congress, approved by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and popularly known as the Vinson-Trammell Act after the two members of Congress who sponsored the measure, Carl Vinson (D., Ga.) and Park Trammell (D., Fla.), authorized the construction of the ship on 27 March 1934. The act established the composition of the Navy at the limits prescribed by the Washington and London Naval Limitation Treaties of 1922 and 1930, respectively. President Roosevelt approved the name Indiana for the battleship on 21 September 1938.

The people gathered for the commissioning ceremony at 1100 at Pier No. 1 included Secretary of the Navy William F. (Frank) Knox, Rear Adm. Manley H. Simons, Commandant Fifth Naval District, Gov. James H. Price of Virginia, and Gov. Schricker and an entourage of Indiana dignitaries who traveled by train to Virginia. The commissioning included the presentation of artifacts from the ship’s predecessor, Indiana (Battleship No. 1), which had participated in the Spanish American War. Cmdr. Walter B. Decker Jr., contributed the colors—the same that the first Indiana flew during the Battle of Santiago de Cuba on 3 July 1898. The pennant that flew from the first Indiana when she was decommissioned on 31 January 1919, flew during the commissioning of the new battleship. Leo J. Murray, then a Lt. (j.g.), had made the final entry in the log of the first Indiana, and he fittingly wrote the first log entry of the second Indiana.


A view of Indiana and her forward 16-inch 45-caliber guns, taken at Newport News, Va., on the day of her commissioning, 30 April 1942. Note the anchor chains and capstains, armored conning tower and Mk 38 main battery director atop her superstruc...
Caption: A view of Indiana and her forward 16-inch 45-caliber guns, taken at Newport News, Va., on the day of her commissioning, 30 April 1942. Note the anchor chains and capstains, armored conning tower and Mk 38 main battery director atop her superstructure. Fire control radar antennas have not yet been fitted atop her gun directors. (U.S. Navy Photograph 80-G-6692, National Archives and Records Administration, Still Pictures Division, College Park, Md.)

Following her commissioning, Indiana fitted out for sea while moored starboard side to Pier No. 1 Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. (1–20 May 1942). The ship sailed at 1102 on 21 May for Operating Area C in Chesapeake Bay, anchoring off Wolf Trap Shoals degaussing range in Operating Area D at 1627. Indiana carried out further trails in the bay (26–29 May). The battleship test fired her 20-millimeter guns on 26 May, the following day conducted engine trials and anchor drop tests, test fired her 5-inch guns on 28 May, and on 29 May completed ship handling drills. Indiana steamed from Chesapeake Bay at 1455 on 31 May 1942, anchoring at 2018 in berth G-3 at Hampton Roads, Va.

Indiana began her speed trails at sea escorted by destroyers Charles F. Hughes (DD-428), Hilary P. Jones (DD-427), Ingraham (DD-444), and Woolsey (DD-437) on 1 June 1942. At 1415, she made a speed turn to port at 26.9 knots, allowing for a greatest list of 8° and a decrease in speed to 17 knots. Indiana reached a maximum speed during her trials of 27.5 knots. The ship returned to Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., mooring north side at Pier No. 1 on 2 June.

Former Secretary of the Navy Charles F. Adams visited Indiana on 31 July 1942. Later that evening, the ship filled her ammunition stores. The battleship stood out of Hampton Roads with Eberle (DD-430), Erickson (DD-440), Roe (DD-418), and Wilkes (DD-441) at 0755 on 3 August. Throughout the month, Indiana sailed between Newport News, Lamberts Point, and Hampton Roads, all in Virginian waters. The ship reached a speed of 27.8 knots during a full power test on 3 August. During the mid and morning watches the following day, she practiced zigzagging tactics. Indiana recorded that she served with Battleship Division (BatDiv) 7 on the 28th of August. Additional testing into September concentrated on practice firing of her main 16-inch batteries, and antiaircraft drills shooting the 5-inch, 40-millimeter, and 20-millimeter batteries.

Indiana loaded three Vought OS2U-3 Kingfishers of Observation Squadron (VO) 7 and stood out of Chesapeake Bay on 29 September 1942. A trio of destroyers that had rendezvoused with the battleship on 7 September accompanied her to Casco Bay at Portland, Maine. Following her arrival, Indiana carried out radar and firing practice. Rear Adm. Oscar C. Badger, Commander Destroyers Atlantic Fleet, embarked on board to observe gunnery exercises on 4 October. The battleship fired 63 of her 16-inch shells and 292 5-inch rounds. Indiana was declared ready for sea and combat duty on 9 November. The Indiana War Diary noted:

“We of the Indiana know that she will make a name for herself as a ‘fighting ship’ and justify the pride that the Captain, officers and men have in her. We of the Indiana firmly believe, too, that the Indiana will be in the final battle in which our enemies are overwhelmingly defeated. We only hope and pray that all our fine comrades starting this cruise will be here when the last enemy gun is silenced. If they are not, we will always remember that they were ‘fighting men’ on a ‘fighting ship.’

The plight of the marines on Guadalcanal led U.S. leaders to a series of crucial decisions. Vice Adm. William F. Halsey Jr., relieved Vice Adm. Robert L. Ghormley as Commander South Pacific Area and South Pacific Force, on board flagship Argonne (AG-31) at Nouméa on New Caledonia, on 18 October 1942. The dispatch of further reinforcements to the area ultimately included Indiana from the Atlantic Fleet.

Indiana sailed from Hampton Roads for the Panama Canal at 1330 on 9 November 1942. While cruising in the swept channel, she launched a ‘radio controlled plane’ that simulated a torpedo run on the ship. The 40-millimeter and 20-millimeter guns destroyed the drone on its second pass. Indiana arrived at Cristóbal in the Panama Canal Zone at 0800 on 13 November. The ship then (0931–1810) steamed through the canal and moored in Balboa, where she spent the next morning fueling and provisioning.

Task Group (TG) 2.6, comprising Indiana, light cruiser Columbia (CL-56), and destroyers De Haven (DD-469) and Saufley (DD-465), formed at noon on 14 November 1942. Four hours later, TG 2.6 sailed from Balboa for Tongatabu in the Tonga Islands. Indiana conducted firing tests of 5-inch illuminating projectiles on the evening of 16 November. On 17 November 1942, the ship crossed the equator. The crew assembled for inspection as “Davy Jones, of the Dominion of Neptunus Rex,” appeared in his official finery. Capt. Merrill announced the justice of “his Royal Highness and Royal Court” upon those who received subpoenas issued to “landlubbers, beach combers, plough deserts, draft dodgers, park bench warmers, parlor dunnigans, sea lawyers, lounge lizzards, hay tossers, chit signers, sand crabs, four-flushers, squaw men and liberty hounds falsely masquerading as seamen.” The initiation of the Pollywogs began at 0900 the following morning, the men emerging from the ceremony as Shellbacks in the ‘Ancient Order of the Deep.’

Indiana anchored at Tongatabu at 1430 on 28 November. She enjoyed fair weather during her voyage of 6,102 miles from Balboa to Tongatabu, recording an average speed of 19 knots. Indiana then received 1,339,800 gallons of fuel from tanker W.C. Yeager. Indiana sailed as part of TG 66.6 on 30 November, under orders to join the South Pacific Force at Nouméa. Frequent rain interrupted the voyage before she reached Dumbea Bay, Nouméa, at 1315 on 2 December. The ship then received 175,000 additional gallons of fuel from oiler Neches (AO-47). Indiana participated in several sea exercises with ships of Task Force (TF) 64 during the next three days.


A photographer on board aircraft carrier Saratoga (CV-3) snaps this picture of Indiana in a South Pacific harbor, December 1942. (U.S. Navy Photograph 80-G-35773, National Archives and Records Administration, Still Pictures Division, College Park...
Caption: A photographer on board aircraft carrier Saratoga (CV-3) snaps this picture of Indiana in a South Pacific harbor, December 1942. (U.S. Navy Photograph 80-G-35773, National Archives and Records Administration, Still Pictures Division, College Park, Md.)

While participating in these exercises the ship made her first enemy contact, on 19 December 1942. Lookouts sighted an unidentified plane six miles from the battleship at 1229, followed 16 minutes later by two additional unidentified planes. The radar screens displayed an unidentified aircraft group soon after, and at 1249 Indiana sounded general quarters in anticipation of a possible air attack. The Japanese planes of the group did not close to visual identification and flew out of range, and the ship secured from battle stations at 1330. At 2150 the radar plot discovered further planes, and Indiana manned her antiaircraft battery. The intruders disappeared from the radar and the gunners stood down. These instances marked a milestone for the crew, the Indiana War Diary noting: “With our first contact it appears that we are at last ‘in the war’ and maybe business will pick up.”

Japanese scout planes shadowed Indiana more than once during the remaining weeks of December but no attacks materialized against TF 64. The force received orders to return to Nouméa on 23 December, and at 1656 Indiana dropped both her anchors in berth A-7 in that island’s Great Harbor. Indiana received 38 cans of 16-inch powder from ammunition ship Shasta (AE-6), beginning at 1730 on 1 January 1943. The next day, Shasta transferred 19 additional 16-inch target projectiles. Indiana and Dunlap (DD-384), Fanning (DD-385), Lardner (DD-487), and Maury (DD-401) stood out at 0515 on 2 January. TF 64 sailed in special disposition Victor One and participated in a simulated air raid launched from aircraft carrier Saratoga (CV-3).

The Japanese decided to evacuate their troops from Guadalcanal, but the Allies detected the movements of some of the enemy ships and planes as they concentrated for the operation. The Allies deployed TG 62.8, consisting of four transports embarking Army reinforcements for the marines on Guadalcanal, as part of a plan to remove the final marines on the island and relieve them with soldiers. The Japanese movements persuaded Halsey to deploy five separate task forces to escort and support these operations. The complex shipping arrangements necessitated by the overextended logistics support and the inadequate shore facilities available compelled Halsey to further divide these ships into six groups during their voyages into the battle. Rear Adm. Willis A. Lee Jr., led TF 64, built around Indiana and North Carolina (BB-55).

Essex (CV-9) and Yorktown (CV-10) and small aircraft carrier Independence (CVL-22), launched nine strike groups in a day-long at­tack on Japanese installations on Marcus Island on 30 August 1943. Grumman TBF-1 Avengers of Composite Squadron (VC) 22 flying from Independence sank three small Japanese vessels. This second U.S. raid against Marcus marked the first attack by Essex and Independence class carriers and the combat debut of Grumman F6F-3 Hellcats of Fighting Squadrons (VFs) 5, 9, and 12, embarked on board Yorktown, Essex, and Independence, respectively. Submarine Snook (SS-279) also took part.

Indiana next took part in Operation Galvanic—the occupation of the Gilbert Islands [Kiribati]. Bunker Hill (CV-17), Enterprise (CV-6), Essex, Lexington (CV-16), Saratoga, Yorktown, Belleau Wood (CVL-24), Cowpens (CVL-25), Independence, Monterey (CVL-26), and Princeton (CVL-23) comprised the main carriers. Eight escort carriers, Barnes (CVE-20), Chenango (CVE-28), Coral Sea (CVE-57), Corregidor (CVE-58), Liscome Bay (CVE-56), Nassau (CVE-16), Sangamon (CVE-26), and Suwanee (CVE-27), covered the approach of the assault shipping and the landings. The V Amphibious Corps, comprising the 2nd Marine Division and soldiers of the 27th Infantry Division, landed against bitter Japanese resistance on Tarawa, and on Abemama and Makin Atolls. While Allied cruisers and other warships shelled Betio [Bititu Island] at Tarawa in a pre-invasion shelling to soften up the island defenses on 17 November 1943, Rear Adm. Alfred E. Montgomery’s Southern Carrier Group detached and attempted to lure the Japanese fleet from their stronghold at Truk in the Caroline Islands. Air and surface bombardments of Betio began as the ground troops assaulted Tarawa.

At dawn on 18 November 1943, carrier planes began to pound Japanese dugouts, gun emplacements, and shore installations. The airmen furnished such call support as they could as the marines stormed ashore in the horrific battle. At nightfall 16 enemy torpedo bombers assailed the invasion fleet. The fighters of the CAP intercepted and claimed to splash at least four of the bombers, but nine broke through and assailed Montgomery’s carriers, three toward Bunker Hill and Essex, and six against Independence. Bunker Hill opened fire and claimed six of the assailants, and a destroyer downed another (five confirmed in total). One of the enemy planes dropped a torpedo that punched into Independence, killing 17 men and wounding 43 more, and the carrier retired from the battle to lick her wounds. On the 24th Japanese submarine I-175 torpedoed and sank Liscome Bay 20 miles southwest of Butaritari Island, killing 645 men—272 men survived. The submarine escaped. Through that date aircraft flew 2,278 close support, CAP, and antisubmarine sorties, and dropped 203.5 tons of bombs on enemy targets with very few casualties or losses to the planes or airmen. The F6F-3 Hellcats of VF-1 from Barnes and Nassau landed on the airstrip at Tarawa as the first planes of the garrison air force on the 25th. Once the marines secured the islands a carrier group remained in the area for an additional week as a protective measure.

Rear Adm. Lee swung back southward toward further action in the Solomons, and planes from Bunker Hill’s CVG-17 and Monterey’s CVG-30 screened his five battleships, Alabama (BB-60), Indiana, North Carolina, South Dakota (BB-57), and Washington (BB-56), and a dozen destroyers during the voyage. Along the way, Lee hurled another air and naval gunfire strike against enemy-held Nauru on 8 December 1943. The Japanese deployed few aircraft on the island and the raiders achieved meager results, claiming the destruction of at least eight planes while losing four. The OS2U-3 and Naval Aircraft Factory OS2N-1 Kingfishers of Observation Squadrons (VOs) 6 and 9, embarked on board the battleships strafed and photographed the area around the barracks when the ships ceased fire. A shore battery hit Boyd (DD-544) while the destroyer rescued some downed aviators and she came about for repairs.

Indiana joined Lee’s TG 37.2 on 1 January 1944. On the 16th Indiana fired 96 of her 5-inch shells in gunnery exercises with South Dakota, Burns (DD-588), Charrette (DD-581), and Conner (DD-582). Heavy seas, rain, and poor visibility compelled the planners to cancel the remainder of the exercises, and the ships returned to Havannah on Efate in the New Hebrides [Vanuatu]. They put to sea again the next day and Indiana fired 16-inch rounds at a floating target. Harsh weather drove a second cancellation of the exercises and the ships returned to port.

The battleship’s next action occurred as part of Vice Adm. Raymond A. Spruance’s Fifth Fleet during Operation Flintlock—the occupation of the Marshalls by the USMC and the Army’s 7th Infantry Division. Indiana set out with TG 37.2, comprising Massachusetts (BB-59), North Carolina, South Dakota, and Washington, screened by Burns, Charrette, Conner, Izard (DD-589), Lang (DD-399), and Wilson (DD-408), for Funafuti in the Elice Islands, at 0800 on 18 January 1944. At 0930 strong winds and seas caused a huge wave to sweep over South Dakota’s forecastle, injuring a number of men and washing SN1c J. P. Collura, USNR, overboard, at a point about 1,900 yards southwest of Knapp Island. Conner and high-speed minesweeper Hopkins (DMS-13) searched unsuccessfully for Collura. Lang also lost a man overboard.

The remainder of the voyage passed uneventfully and Indiana test fired her 40-millimeter and 20-millimeter guns on her third day at sea. TG 37.2 rendezvoused with Bunker Hill and Monterey and continued to Funafuti. Indiana’s lookouts sighted Funafunti bearing 310° at 0940 on 20 January, and at 1429, she anchored in berth B-1. The battleship received orders redesignating TF 37 as TF 58.5 in accordance with the operations plan for Flintlock.

Indiana transferred from TG 58.5 to TG 58.1, also consisting of Enterprise and Yorktown, Belleau Wood (CVL-24), Oakland (CL-95), Caperton (DD-650), Clarence K. Bronson (DD-668), Cogswell (DD-651), Cotten (DD-669), Dortch (DD-670), Gatling (DD-671), Healy (DD-672), Ingersoll (DD-652), and Knapp (DD-653). Rear Adm. John W. Reeves Jr., led the group.

The ships trained (25–28 January 1944) and Indiana zigzagged, carried out gunnery practice firing her 40-millimeter and 20-millimeter guns at towed targets, practiced emergency maneuvers, simulated an enemy ship while carrier torpedo bombers flew torpedo attacks against her, and fueled destroyers. Indiana steamed as part of TF 58 toward Kwajalein for a scheduled air strike and naval bombardment to weaken its defenses in advance of the U.S. assault on 30 January. Rear Adm. Marc A. Mitscher broke his flag in command of TF 58 in Yorktown, Rear Adm. Lee hoisted his flag in command of Battleships Pacific Fleet and Task Unit (TU) 58.1.3 in Washington, and Rear Adm. Glenn B. Davis broke his flag in command of BatDiv 8 in Indiana. TU 58.1.3 including Indiana split from the main task group.


Indiana sails in the Pacific, probably while the ship makes for the Marshall Islands to support the invasion of Kwajalein, late January 1944. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph NH 52662)
Caption: Indiana sails in the Pacific, probably while the ship makes for the Marshall Islands to support the invasion of Kwajalein, late January 1944. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph NH 52662)

Indiana, Massachusetts, and Washington, screened by Caperton, Cogswell, Ingersoll, and Knapp, detached to bombard the Japanese installations at Kwajalein. Washington served as the guideship as they approached their firing positions on 1 February 1944. At 0856 lookouts sighted Kwajalein, and Indiana catapulted a plane to provide the gunners with accurate observation and spotting during the bombardment. The warship sounded general quarters at 0915 and at 0956 her 16-inch guns roared to life from a range of 19,000 yards off the coast of Kwajalein. Small Japanese craft attempted to escape the island’s harbor, but the attackers sank some of the escapees with 5-inch gunfire. Japanese losses during the pre-invasion bombing and the shelling supporting the landings included auxiliary submarine chaser No. 11 Fuji Maru and guardboats Kikyo Maru, Meiho Maru, Palau Maru, Takeura Maru, and Yamashiro Maru.

The Japanese shore batteries returned fire, and Indiana reported that “occasional splashes could be seen in the water—several nearby.” Most of the enemy shells, however, splashed more than 1,000 yards from the battleship. Indiana finished the first phase of her 16-inch and 5-inch bombardment at 1115, and opened the range to recover her Kingfishers. She refueled the planes, and launched them for additional spotting at 1150. Seventeen minutes later, Indiana renewed fire, noting that “numerous fires were still burning…from the morning bombardment.” The shelling devastated two Japanese ammunition dumps on Kwajalein, sending “billows of smoke and flame several thousand feet high.” Indiana ended the second phase of her bombardment at 1448 and at 1715 she and TU 58.1.3 regrouped with the carriers. The ship fired a total of 306 of her 16-inch High Capacity (H.C.) rounds and 2,385 5-inch shells. North Carolina meanwhile sank Japanese transport Eiko Maru off the west coast of Roi.

Following the bombardment, Indiana’s main directive was to support the Southern Attack Force. The ship maneuvered independently to fuel some of the nine destroyers of the screen, which steamed equally spaced 36° apart in a circle surrounding the heavier ships. Capt. William K. Phillips broke his flag as Commander of the Screen in Oakland, and the task group steered 340° at 19 knots. The ships enjoyed fair weather with clear visibility to the westward, but reduced visibility to the eastward.

Indiana came right to 150° at 0415 on 1 February 1944, but men suddenly sighted Washington about 25° off Indiana’s starboard bow at a range of 1500 yards. Lookouts on board Washington sighted Indiana close on Washington’s port bow. Washington ordered “back, emergency full,” put her rudder hard left, and sounded two short blasts and the danger signal on her whistle. The ship passed “Stand by for collision.” Both battleships had way and Washington struck Indiana forward of her starboard catapult at 0428, glancing down on her starboard quarter. The steel hulls scraped against each other, causing Indiana to lose at least 200 feet of her armor plating, and at least 20 feet of Washington’s forecastle embedded in Indiana’s side. Lt. Bartlett H. Stoodley, USNR, fell overboard from Washington, but Caperton rescued Stoodley.

Indiana sounded collision quarters and held a muster with all hands reporting, but subsequently discovered the loss overboard of SN2c Lawrence H. Neville, USNR, of the ships company. Destroyers searched unsuccessfully for Neville. SN2c John F. Gerou and Coxswain Paul R. McClanahan also died in the collision. SN1c Robert F. Eucke, FN1c William M. Kelly, USNR, SN2c Milton L. Pattenaude, USNR, SN2c John A. Trouiller, USNR, FN2c Morris L. Stafford, USNR, and Pfc. Dan V. Thompson, USMC, suffered injuries.

Washington backed down, stopping within three minutes, and resumed her assigned course shortly afterward. Lt. Wildric F. Hynes Jr., USNR, Lt. Stanley K. Turner Jr., USNR, and Lt. (j.g.) Robert R. Kyser, USNR, died on board Washington, and the ship reported three more men missing: Lt. Comdr. Charles J. Allen, MC, Ens. Harrison E. Kendall, USNR, and SN1c Robert C. Gross. The ships sadly resumed operations and Washington continued fueling that afternoon, while Indiana took station on the starboard quarter of Washington but at reduced speed. Caperton, Cotton, Gatling,and Healy screened the damaged ships. Repair ship Vestal (AR-4) reinforced Washington’s damaged bow at Majuro (3–10 February), and the battleship completed further repairs at Pearl Harbor, T.H.


Indiana completes repairs at Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands, 13 February 1944, following her collision with Washington on 1 February. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph NH 92880)
Caption: Indiana completes repairs at Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands, 13 February 1944, following her collision with Washington on 1 February. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph NH 92880)


Washington sails with a collapsed bow. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph NH 68353)
Caption: Washington sails with a collapsed bow. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph NH 68353)


Sailors ingeniously rig anchor chains to retain the collapsed bow of Washington. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph NH 68355)
Caption: Sailors ingeniously rig anchor chains to retain the collapsed bow of Washington. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph NH 68355)

A Court of Inquiry subsequently found Indiana at fault because of her failure to transmit all her maneuvering changes to the other vessels in the formation. The court described Washington as a “smart ship” but excluded Indiana from that description, and held Capt. James M. Steele, her commanding officer, responsible because he “inadvertently” and admittedly “made a mistake” when he turned to 280° and reduced speed to 15 knots, thereby indicating a lack of appreciation of the danger involved in maneuvering heavy ships in a high speed disposition at night. Indiana failed to properly log her movements from 0420 to the collision eight minutes later, precluding the recreation of an accurate plot of her positions and maneuvers.

Indiana held a burial service at sea during the afternoon watch on 1 February. The following day, she steamed toward Majuro Atoll in the Marshall Islands, putting into port at 2045 in berth C-2. Pfc. Thompson, one of the six men hurt during the collision, died at 1700 as a result of his injuries. The ship held a burial service for Thompson the next afternoon. Indiana sailed from Majuro escorted by Remey (DD-68) and escort ship Burden R. Hastings (DE-19) on 7 February 1944. The trio made for Pearl Harbor at a steady 16 knots. The Pacific Fleet directed two additional destroyers to escort Indiana on 11 February, and Marshall (DD-676) and Norman Scott (DD-690) joined the damaged ship. The ship test fired her 5-inch, 40-millimeter, and 20-millimeter guns each day. At 1500 on 13 February the escorts detached, and Indiana then moored port side to Berth No. 16 at Pearl Harbor. The battlewagon entered Drydock No. 4 for repairs at 1420 the next day. Indiana floated from the dry dock and completed her repairs in berth B-12, emerging anew from the yard work on 7 April. She ran post repair trials and structural firing tests escorted by Capps (DD-561) and Prichett (DD-561). Indiana fired 18 of her 16-inch shells including a ‘triumphant’ salvo to starboard to mark her return to operational service. The increasingly seasoned vessel returned to port at 1905, mooring port side to Degaussing Dock, Beckoning Point, Pearl Harbor. For the remainder of her time in Hawaiian waters, Indiana conducted firing tests including 5-inch Mk 32 fuse projectiles, target practice on drones, and illuminating projectile tests at sunset.

Indiana entered Seeadler Harbor at Manus Island at 1038 on 26 April 1944, anchoring in Berth No. 2. TF 12.1 was dissolved and the battleship shifted to TG 58.3. Rear Adm. Davis shifted his flag to Indiana on 28 April. Indiana, Massachusetts, Cassin Young, Converse, Prichett, and Thatcher stood down the channel on 28 April and the following day rendezvoused with TF 58. Indiana took station 4180 in TG 58.3, which comprised Enterprise and Lexington, small aircraft carriers Langley (CVL-27) and Princeton, two battleship divisions, a cruiser division, and two destroyer squadrons. The battleship received Operation Order 6-44 as she steamed with the task force when it again (following Operation Hailstone in February) visited Truk with devastating power (29–30 April). Planes attacked Japanese shipping, oil and ammunition dumps, aircraft facilities, and other installations. Enemy naval aircraft fiercely counterattacked the U.S. formations, and once again the fighters of the CAP intercepted the attackers, only 25 miles from the ships. A few managed to break through and Indiana received several reports of enemy aircraft in the area, but she did not fire her guns against the intruders or the garrison, though friendly fire damaged Tingey (DD-539) in TG 58.2.

The battleship then took part in a raid against Ponape Island on 1 May 1944. Vice Adm. Lee broke his flag in North Carolina and took command of the Battle Line. Indiana operated with the battleships of TF 58 and detected Ponape on her radar at 1241, when the battle group reached a position 55 miles from shore. Indiana launched one of her two embarked OS2U-3s of VO-8 at 1450 to spot for her 16-inch guns, and at 1552 she opened fire, while steaming at 15 knots. The ship checked fire several times “due to a lack of suitable targets in our assigned areas,” and ceased fire at 1653. The battleship group returned to Majuro through the Louella Pass on 4 May. Indiana spent the remainder of May training in anticipation of operations in the Marianas.

Indiana set out with TF 58 from Majuro on 6 June 1944 to take part in Operation Forager—amphibious landings on Saipan and Tinian in the Marianas. Japanese planes attacked the ships while they steamed en route to Saipan. Indiana sounded general quarters at 0336 and executed emergency maneuvers as parachute flares cut through the darkness directly above her. The surrounding ships unsuccessfully fired at the attackers, but the proximity of her consorts in the confusion of the darkness prevented Indiana from firing. The enemy aircraft disengaged and Indiana’s radar screens cleared at 0428.

Following the nighttime interruption Indiana, North Carolina, and Washington, in company with Dewey (DD-349), Hull (DD-350), MacDonough (DD-351), and Selfridge (D-357), formed the Western Bombardment Unit, TU 58.7.3. The ships approached their firing position against Saipan at 0944, and Indiana shot 584 16-inch projectiles—the majority H.C. rounds.

While Indiana sailed to the west of Saipan and Tinian, waves of Japanese planes began to appear on radar screens at 1800 on 15 June 1944. The carriers launched their fighters and intercepted two enemy formations 30 and 60 miles out, respectively, claiming the destruction of 11 Japanese planes. Some of the enemy planes broke through toward the main formation, which reported approaching bogies at 1850. Washington opened fire, and “many planes were observed dead ahead, flying low.” Indiana sounded general quarters and executed an emergency turn left to 100°.

Indiana survived several close calls. An enemy plane flew toward Indiana at 1910. The ship opened fire and hit the aircraft but the attacker continued and dropped a torpedo. Sailors on board the ship did not spot the torpedo’s wake and it inexplicably failed to detonate. The ship’s gunfire set the plane afire and it crashed 400 yards off Indiana’s port beam. Three minutes later another low flying plane headed toward her port bow, dropping what the ship reported as “more like a bomb than a torpedo.” The weapon failed to explode and the aircraft slammed into the water 400 yards off Indiana’s port quarter. The attacks concluded at 1914 and at 2032 the radar screens cleared.

The landings on Saipan penetrated the inner defensive perimeter of the Japanese Empire and triggered A-Go—an enemy counterattack that led to the Battle of the Philippine Sea. The Japanese 1st Mobile Fleet, Vice Adm. Ozawa Jisaburō commanding, included aircraft carriers Taihō, Shōkaku, and Zuikaku, and light aircraft carriers Chitose, Chiyōda, Hiyō, Junyō, Ryūhō, and Zuihō. The Japanese intended for their shore-based planes to cripple Mitscher’s air power in order to facilitate Ozawa’s strikes—which were to refuel and rearm on Guam. Japanese fuel shortages and inadequate training and experience bedeviled A-Go, however, and U.S. signal decryption breakthroughs enabled attacks on Japanese submarines that deprived the enemy of intelligence. In addition, raids on the Bonin and Volcano Islands disrupted Japanese aerial staging en route to the Marianas, and their main attacks passed through U.S. antiaircraft fire to reach the carriers. This wall of flak included the battleships of the Battle Line.

As the opposing fleets neared on the morning of 19 June 1944, Alabama and South Dakota reported large incoming enemy air formations. The crew of Indiana manned their antiaircraft positions at 1010. One of the enemy formations began to split into three distinct groups, and reached the first U.S. major warships about 30 minutes later. At 1048 Indiana opened fire on an enemy plane that approaching her port quarter, shooting off a wing and sending the burning intruder into the deep only 200 yards from the battleship’s port beam.

Japanese planes swept through the formation while engaging several American ships including South Dakota, which suffered a bomb hit on the port side of her first superstructure deck. At 1150 a low-flying Japanese plane passed Indiana on her starboard side. As it turned around to make another pass it dropped a torpedo, after which it erupted into flame and splashed off the ship’s starboard quarter. Capt. Thomas J. Keliher Jr., the commanding officer, swung Indiana hard right to avoid the attack, but the torpedo exploded a mere 50 yards from the starboard beam. The ship’s War Diary noted that the weapon detonated for an “unknown reason,” but added that it “was a poor drop being made on a turn, the torpedo falling at a sharp angle.” Eyewitnesses could not determine whether gunfire from the ship destroyed the weapon or the torpedo malfunctioned.

Enemy planes continued to harass Indiana. At 1213 antiaircraft fire from the ship tore the tail off a Japanese fighter as it approached Indiana’s starboard quarter. As the aircraft descended into a flaming downward spiral, it dropped a bomb but missed the ship, a plume of water erupting in her wake. A burning Nakajima B5N2 Type 97 carrier attack plane (kanjō kōgekiki or kankō) flew low on Indiana’s starboard beam and crashed into the ship at 1214 on 19 June 1944. The Kate’s impact sent flaming debris across the main deck. Immediately following the crash, another detonation boomed 1,500 yards astern of Indiana. Eyewitnesses debated the origins of the explosion during the chaos of battle, with some men recalling a falling bomb and others a crashing plane, but the explosion marked the final attack of the day. The ship emerged otherwise unscathed and continued the battle.

Indiana fired 416 5-inch, 4,832 40-millimeter, and 9,000 20-millimeter rounds that day. Five seamen sustained wounds from fragments from U.S. antiaircraft fire: Floyd Bailey, George H. Bell, Donald E. Cason, Earl E. Cox, and Charles J. Figler. TF 58 repelled the Japanese air attacks and destroyed at least 300 planes in what Navy pilots called the “Great Marianas Turkey Shoot.”

The ship continued to support the fighting ashore and her Kingfishers rescued two men from a Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless of Bombing Squadron (VB) 16 from Lexington who crashed in the water off Guam on 4 July. Indiana helped carrier operations in the Marianas until August, when she began a 20-day respite at Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands. On 15 August Rear Adm. Davis presented the Navy Cross to Lt. (j.g.) Rollin M. Batten Jr., USNR, one of the ship’s Kingfisher pilots, for the utter “disregard for his own safety” that he displayed in the rescue on Independence Day. Batten “fearlessly brought his plane down within a mile of many shore batteries, and, in the face of an intense barrage directed at him by the enemy guns, proceeded calmly and deliberately to rescue a downed pilot and his crewman who were swimming in the water and also under enemy fire. His intelligent and courageous appraisal of the situation was responsible for the successful rescue, after which he took off in a crosswind with the additional load, under extremely difficult circumstances.” The admiral also awarded the Purple Heart to four of the men wounded during the air attack of 19 June in the Battle of the Philippine Sea.

The battleship steamed from the Marshall Islands in company with TF 34 on 30 August, and on 3 September 1944, rendezvoused with TG 38 to support carrier operations against the enemy forces in the Palau, Negros, and Cebu Islands. Indiana’s Kingfishers rescued a pilot from Lexington who ditched in water on 14 September, but the battleship also developed engine trouble. The maximum speed dropped to 23 knots, and after a dissatisfactory trial run she came about for Manus Island to repair the damaged turbine thrust bearing on the No. 4 engine. She anchored in berth No. 10 at Seeadler Harbor (21 September–4 October), and on the 30th Rear Adm. Davis shifted his flag from Indiana to Massachusetts.

Following satisfactory trials, Indiana rendezvoused with TG 31.11, including Idaho (BB-42), Indianapolis (CA-35), and Cleveland (CL-55), en route to Pearl Harbor on 4 October 1944. On the 14th she moored at berth F-8 at Pearl Harbor. Two days later Indiana sailed in company with Idaho, Bennet (DD-473), and Guest (DD-472) for Puget Sound Navy Yard at Bremerton, Wash. Coast Guard cutter Bittersweet (CGC-389) passed Indiana close aboard from port to starboard at 1112 on 22 October, and both ships narrowly averted a collision.

Indiana disembarked 48 officers and 923 enlisted sailors at Bremerton for three weeks leave. The battleship then shifted to Drydock No. 4 for an overhaul through 30 November. Following post-repair trials and radar calibration, the ship sailed for Pearl Harbor on 6 December 1944. Indiana conducted training exercises including a “simulated pre-dawn air attack,” and finalized repairs while at Pearl Harbor through the end of the year.

Rear Adm. Badger transferred his flag in command of TU 12.5.2 from Iowa (BB-61) to Indiana on 8 January 1945. Two days later Borie (DD-704) and destroyer minelayer Gwin (DM-33) escorted Indiana from Pearl Harbor. The battleship charted a course for Eniwetok, tested her Mk 18, 40, and 46 fuse 5-inch antiaircraft projectiles while en route, and anchored in berth K-6 at Eniwetok. She stood out on 18 January and steamed toward Saipan with TU 12.5.2, anchoring in Berth LOVE-52 two days later.

On 22 January 1945, Indiana set out in company with Rear Adm. Badger’s TG 94.9 for Operation Detachment—landings by the 4th and 5th Marine Divisions on Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands. She conducted antiaircraft practice and fueled destroyers while en route, and approached the island on the 24th. A barrier patrol of USAAF Consolidated PB4Y Liberators preceded the ships. Indiana, three heavy cruisers, seven destroyers, and Gwin bombarded the eastern, southern, and western coasts of Iwo Jima. Bell P-39 Airacobras and Lockheed P-38 Lightnings escorted Liberators that also attacked the island’s garrison. Dunlap and Fanning sank all three ships of a small Japanese convoy that arrived that morning northeast of Iwo Jima, transport I-Go Yoneyama Maru and auxiliary minesweepers Keinan Maru and No. 7 Showa Maru.

A Nakajima B6N1 carrier attack plane approached the task group at 1317 but a barrage of antiaircraft fire drove off the Jill. Another Jill closely approached the formation at 1405 and Gwin subsequently shot down the intruder. Eyewitnesses failed to agree on whether this plane was the first bomber that came about for an additional pass, or a second aircraft. Indiana opened fire against the island at 1437 and at 1555 ceased fire due to poor visibility, shooting a total of 200 16-inch H.C. shells. The ship came about the next day and on 26 January anchored in berth No. 42 at the Northern Anchorage in Ulithi in the Carolines. Rear Adm. Badger shifted his flag to New Jersey (BB-62). Indiana remained in port through the final days of January, standing out only to shift to berth No. 16 for antiaircraft exercises.

Indiana sailed with TF 58 on 10 February 1945, and joined TG 58.1, under the command of Rear Adm. Joseph J. Clark, a Cherokee Native American. The group steamed toward Tōkyō, and Bennington (CV-20), Wasp (CV-18), and Belleau Wood launched airstrikes against Japanese military targets in the Tōkyō area from a position 120 miles southeast of the enemy capital on 16 February. Indiana supported additional air strikes against Chichi Jima, Haha Jima, and Iwo Jima, and a second raid on Tōkyō on 25 February. TF-58 launched air raids against the Japanese forces on Okinawa Shima and the adjacent islands on 1 March.

A Vought F4U-1D Corsair (BuNo 82476), piloted by 1st Lt. Robert E. Washbon, USMCR, of Marine Fighting Squadron (VMF) 217, launched from Wasp but crashed three miles west of Naha, Okinawa, on 1 March 1945. Lt. Raymond W. Stanley, USNR, flew a Kingfisher from Indiana and rescued Washbon under enemy fire. A communications plane, crewed by Lt. (j.g.) Everett R. Backman, USNR, and ARM3c Carl H. Matlock, USNR, also took part in the rescue. Stanley later received the Silver Star, Backman the Bronze Star, and Matlock, who repaired the radio in flight when ground fire damaged the equipment, was awarded the Air Medal. Two days later Indiana returned to berth B-2 at Ulithi.

On the 14th of March Indiana sortied with TU 59.1.3 along with Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Dakota, and Washington, and turned north toward Kyūshū, Japan. TG 58.1 commenced air strikes against Japanese forces there from 17 March. At one point that day, the ship sounded an air alert but no attack materialized. Indiana sounded general quarters when enemy planes flew over the task group and dropped flares at 0451 on 18 March 1945. At 0519 Indiana opened fire and shot down an unidentified enemy plane, which splashed into the water 1,500 yards from the ship. A burning enemy fighter dove toward Hornet (CV-12) at 0528. Gunfire from multiple ships splashed the attacker in the center of the formation.

The carriers began launching air strikes against Kyūshū at 0543. At 0726 a Yokosuka D4Y1 Type 2 (Suisei—Comet) Judy approached unobserved and dropped a bomb off Hornet’s starboard bow but antiaircraft fire splashed the Judy. Hornet shot down a second Judy as it dived on the carrier at 1311. Indiana and TF 58 meanwhile on the 19th steamed toward the Japanese naval station and shipyard at Kure on Honshū for additional airstrikes. The ship and her task group successfully defended against an air raid at 0330. Off Shikoku a Japanese kamikaze suicide plane and a bomber damaged Wasp, killing 101 men and wounding 269, but for several days the ship continued in action before retiring for repairs. A Japanese bomber dropped two 550-pound bombs on Franklin (CV-13) that ignited fires and exploded ordnance and fuel among aircraft spotted on the flight deck or parked below. Despite 724 men killed or missing and 265 wounded, following brief tows, Franklin sailed under her own power to New York, N.Y.

Indiana steamed to Okinawa on 23 March 1945, where TF 59 was to conduct air strikes. She fired 180 16-inch H.C. projectiles against the Japanese defenders on the island on 24 March. The battleship then returned to the main formation, remaining in support while planes flew against Okinawa and Minami on 25 March. On 27 March the task force hurled aircraft against Amami Gunto. Enemy fighters attacked in the morning and Indiana sounded on air alert (0620–0748).

Lt. Stanley catapulted aloft in a rescue Kingfisher with the back seat empty to recover Lt. (j.g.) Billy J. J. Pettigrew, USNR, of VF-45 who flew an F6F-5 (BuNo 71600) from San Jacinto (CVL-30). Japanese ground fire shot down Pettigrew near his target on Ie Shima and he crashed into the water at 1152 on 27 March 1945. Lt. (j.g.) Frank M. Haas Jr., USNR, and ACMM Peter J. Cirafice, USNR, manned an OS2U-3 (BuNo 5445) as a communications plane and Bennington launched four fighters to escort the seaplane. Stanley reached the area of the crash but discovered that Pettigrew had died, and returned to the battleship with the pilot’s identification tags at 1827. The communications plane located and picked up a second downed pilot but capsized on takeoff. Planes and a rescue submarine searched unsuccessfully for Haas and Cirafice, and the rough seas rendered further search impossible. Indiana operated with TG 58.1 in support of the battle for Okinawa throughout April. The battleship faced several kamikaze threats but fighters of the Combat Air Patrol (CAP), Indiana, and her escorts sent all the attackers into the frothing sea.

The Japanese desperately sought to inflict as much damage upon the Allies as possible, and drew-up Ten-Go (Operation Heaven One)—a massive assault scheduled for 6 April 1945. The final piece of that component centered on the Surface Special Attack Force, Vice Adm. Itō Seiichi, including battleship Yamato, Capt. Aruga Kosaku, and her screen. The ships would cross the East China Sea toward Okinawa to lure U.S. carriers from the island and facilitate kamikaze attacks, and if that proved unattainable, Yamato would run aground and use her huge guns to support the Japanese troops on Okinawa. Hackleback (SS-295), Threadfin (SS-410), and a plane sighted and reported the enemy ships. Lt. James R. Young, USNR, and Lt. (j.g.) R.L. Simms, USNR, of Patrol Bombing Squadron (VPB) 21 piloted two Martin PBM-3D Mariners that shadowed the ships and assisted in guiding aircraft toward their targets. These reports alerted Mitscher to the enemy’s attack and on the 7th he ordered TF 58 to send pilots to lead a massive strike against the battleship. Fifteen carriers sent a total of 386 aircraft into the battle. Bad weather hampered the ability of planes from five of the carriers to find Yamato, and other carrier pilots simply arrived too late to take part in the spectacular attack throughout the forenoon and afternoon watches as they sank Yamato, light cruiser Yahagi, and destroyers Asashimo, Hamakaze, Isokaze, and Kasumi, and damaged destroyers Fuyuzuki, Hatsushimo, Suzutsuki, and Yukikaze. Antiaircraft fire downed ten U.S. planes.

Kamikazes took advantage of the diversion but the ongoing attrition limited the raid to only 114 planes. The Corsairs and Hellcats of the CAP splashed some of the attackers, and the ships heeled over sharply in high speed turns to avoid the enemy aircraft, but a kamikaze crashed Hancock and started a large fire at 1212. Hancock reported the fire under control at 1231 and at 1248 extinguished the blaze. The carrier lost 62 men killed and 71 wounded but continued the fight. Essex splashed a Judy on her starboard beam at 1340, and a minute later South Dakota shot down a Kate on the battleship’s starboard beam.

A Mitsubishi A6M2 Type 0 carrier fighter (kanjō sentōki or kansen) appeared ahead of Indiana during the afternoon watch on 12 April 1945. The Zeke headed through heavy antiaircraft fire directly toward the ship’s pilothouse, but crashed 50 yards from her beam at 1528. Minutes later a Nakajima Ki-43 (Hayabusa: Peregrine Falcon) Oscar began to circle ahead of the ship, pursued by a Hellcat. The Oscar attempted to crash Indiana but antiaircraft fire splashed the attacker 200 yards off the starboard quarter. The kamikazes inflicted no damage but a fragment struck a marine in his thigh, and a flash from one of Indiana’s five-inch batteries burned a sailor “about the face.” The battleship shot down three additional Oscars on 14 April.

Indiana sounded an air alert during the 1st and 2nd dog watches on 15 April, and on three separate occasions the following morning manned her battle stations. The ship mistakenly fired on two Hellcats that approached her in the last reported position of enemy fighters at 0959. Indiana identified the planes at a range of 5,000 yards and ceased firing without reported hits on the Hellcats. The log keepers did not record the pilots’ responses. The battleship sounded another air alert at 1836 and at 2101 several groups of flares fell close to her. Indiana secured from alert for the final time that day at 2202, and subsequently rendezvoused with TG 58.8 for refueling.

BatDiv-8 of TG 58.1 anchored in Ulithi (1–9 May 1945), trained, and on the 12th set out to take part in air strikes against Kyūshū. Indiana sounded four air alerts on 14 May and at 0704 that morning shot down a Zeke that plunged toward the formation. The enemy shot down Lt. Cmdr. E. W. Hessel of VF-82 in an F6F-5 (BuNo 77943) from Bennington off Minami Daito Shima on 16 May. Indiana launched Lt. Stanley and ARM L.C. Hawn in a Kingfisher to act as a communication aircraft for a rescue plane launched from Massachusetts. The other aircraft recovered the downed pilot and Stanley and Hawn returned to Indiana at 1312.

On 27 May, 1945, a change in command from Adm. Spruance’s Fifth Fleet to Adm. Halsey’s Third Fleet took place that adjusted all task number designa­tions from the 50’s to the 30’s. Indiana sailed with Rear Adm. Clark’s TG 38.1. On 1 June 1945, observers noted “a weak cyclonic circulation” in a position approximately 250 miles north of the Palaus. The circulation moved northwestward at about ten knots and weather planes flew patrols to observe the progress of the storm, beginning on the 2nd. The following day the storm grew into a typhoon and proceeded toward the Ryūkyū Islands. Navy planes flying from the Philippines and Okinawa and an aircraft of the USAAF’s XXI Bomber Command operating from the Marianas tracked the tempest. The typhoon advanced to a point about 300 miles south of Okinawa and appeared to break up, but a secondary, and more violent typhoon, replaced the primary typhoon. The second storm separated from the original disturbance and moved rapidly in a northeasterly direction, slamming into the Third Fleet on 5 June. Advance Headquarters Pacific Fleet on Guam reported that “mountainous” seas crashed into the ships.

Indiana executed at least seven course changes in an attempt to avoid the storm’s track. The anemometer reached its maximum reading at 0537, when winds whipped around the ship at 80 knots. At 0704 the eye of the typhoon passed directly over Indiana’s task group and her barometer read 28.29 inches. Minutes later the battleship lost steering control when seawater poured through the engine room ventilation and blower intakes, grounding out her main switch board. The storm tore a Kingfisher from its catapult and the plane disappeared into the maelstrom. The crew regained control at 0746 and at 1523 the tempest passed over the fleet, gaining momentum as it moved northeastward at a speed estimated at 30 knots, and passing between Iwo Jima and the Japanese home islands before dissipating. Despite the terrifying experience to the crew, an assessment revealed otherwise superficial damage to ship.

The typhoon nonetheless damaged at least 36 vessels: Alabama, Indiana, Massachusetts, Missouri (BB-63), Bennington, Hornet, Belleau Wood, San Jacinto, Attu (CVE-102), Bougainville (CVE-100), Salamaua (CVE-96), Windham Bay (CVE-92), Baltimore (CA-68), Pittsburgh (CA-72), Quincy (CA-71), Atlanta (CL-104), Detroit (CL-8), Duluth (CL-87), San Juan (CL-54), Blue (DD-744), Brush (DD-745), Dashiell (DD-659), De Haven (DD-727), John Rodgers (DD-574), Maddox (DD-731), McKee (DD-575), Samuel N. Moore (DD-747), Schroeder (DD-501), Stockham (DD-683), Taussig (DD-746), Conklin (DE-439), Donaldson (DE-44), Hilbert (DE-742), Lackawanna (AO-40), Millicoma (AO-73), and Shasta.

Inadequate weather reporting and communications hampered the admirals’ responses; however, a court of inquiry found Halsey, Vice Adm. John S. McCain, and Rear Admirals Donald B. Beary and Clark negligent in their implementation of precautions learned as a result of a typhoon on 18 December 1944, noting a “remarkable similarity between the situations, actions and results” of the admirals concerning the two storms. Normal operations against Okinawa resumed two days later.

Indiana supported air strikes against the Japanese air base at Kanoya on Kyūshū on the 8th of June. The following day Indiana steamed in company with Alabama and Massachusetts, screened by Collett (DD-730), De Haven, Lyman K. Swenson (DD-729), Maddox, and Mansfield (DD-728) to bombard Minami Daito Jima. The battleships sailed in column while surrounded by the destroyers and shelled the island, and repeated the bombardment the next day. Indiana anchored in San Pedro Bay in the Philippines for replenishment and upkeep on 11 June 1945. She joined TF 38 in early July, and on 9 July steamed toward Tōkyō. The ship supported carrier air strikes against the mainland on 10 July.

She then participated in the first gunfire attack on the Japanese home islands by heavy warships during WWII. The ship joined TU 34.8.1 when it formed at 0658 on 14 July 1945. The bombardment group comprised Indiana, Massachusetts, South Dakota, Chicago (CA-136), Quincy, and nine destroyers. Rear Adm. John F. Shafroth broke his flag in command of BatDiv2 in South Dakota. The ships bombarded Kamaishi Steel Works at Kamaishi on Honshū. The concern comprised one of the seven major plants of the Japan Iron Co., and the complex of iron works and warehouses lay in the narrow valley of the Otatari River, surrounded by rugged crests that hindered the barrage.


Ships steam in column as they prepare to shell the iron works at Kamaishi, Japan, 14 July 1945. Indiana is the nearest ship, as seen from South Dakota, followed by Massachusetts, Chicago, and Quincy. (U.S. Navy Photograph 80-G-490143, National Ar...
Caption: Ships steam in column as they prepare to shell the iron works at Kamaishi, Japan, 14 July 1945. Indiana is the nearest ship, as seen from South Dakota, followed by Massachusetts, Chicago, and Quincy. (U.S. Navy Photograph 80-G-490143, National Archives and Records Administration, Still Pictures Division, College Park, Md.)

The ship fired 271 16-inch H.C. rounds (1210–1418). A heavy cloud of smoke prevented spotter planes from reporting on the results of the shelling, but a destroyer approached the area the following day and observed from a range of 40 miles that fires continued to burn from Kamaishi. Indiana then supported carrier air strikes on the Japanese home islands. BatDiv-8 detached from TG 38.1 and again formed TU 34.8.1, to bombard Hamamatsu on Honshū. The raiders consisted of Indiana, Massachusetts, South Dakota, Chicago, Quincy, Saint Paul (CA-73), and ten destroyers. A British task unit, TU 37.1.2, consisting of battleship King George V (41), and destroyers Ulysses (R-69), Undine (R-42), and Urania (R-05), detached from British TF 37 at noon and then rendezvoused with Shafroth. At one point during their voyage Ulysses and Urania collided, and although the impact slightly damaged Ulysses, both ships continued in the battle. Indiana opened fire on Hamamatsu at 2319, sending 270 16-inch H.C. shells into the Japanese Musical Instrument Co., which the enemy had converted to manufacture aircraft propellers.


Indiana fires a salvo from her forward 16-inch guns at the plant at Kamaishi, 14 July 1945. A second before, South Dakota, from which this photograph is taken, fired the initial salvo of the first naval gunfire bombardment of the Japanese Home Is...
Caption: Indiana fires a salvo from her forward 16-inch guns at the plant at Kamaishi, 14 July 1945. A second before, South Dakota, from which this photograph is taken, fired the initial salvo of the first naval gunfire bombardment of the Japanese Home Islands. Massachusetts’ superstructure rises behind Indiana, and a heavy cruiser, either Chicago or Quincy, is visible in the left center distance. (U.S. Navy Photograph 80-G-K-6035, National Archives and Records Administration, Still Pictures Division, College Park, Md.)

Support Unit 38.1.2 absorbed BatDiv 8 on 1 August 1945, and the ships of the division operated with TF 37 while TF 38 launched air strikes and shore bombardments on Japanese targets including Honshū, Hokkaido, and Kyūshū. Indiana launched Lt. (j.g.) Backman and ARM3c Robert B. Watson in an OS2U-3 (BuNo 5473) for a routine training flight at 0802 on 7 August. The ship reported the weather as “excellent,” but when the Kingfisher reached an altitude of 600 feet it went into a nose-low progressive spiral as though the stick was locked forward and to the left. The plane flew through a 450° turn and crashed when it attained an inverted attitude. The Kingfisher struck the water at a distance of eight miles from the Task Group formation and sank within a minute. Indiana’s second seaplane landed in the area, but the crew observed only “an oil slick, a piece of canvas, and some air bubbles.” The lack of evidence and survivors precluded a detailed investigation.

BatDiv8 carried out a second bombardment against Kamaishi on 9 August 1945. Indiana sounded general quarters at 1130 and the battleships formed into column. The ship launched her sole remaining Kingfisher to spot the fall of shot, and opened fire at 1246, firing 117 AP projectiles and 153 of her 16-inch H.C. shells until 1445. Accurate battle damage assessment again proved difficult because of the poor visibility and the long range.

Indiana received word of the Japanese agreement to unconditional surrender at 0805 on 15 August 1945, while she steamed en route to support air strikes against the Tōkyō area. TF 38 quickly recalled two air raids before they reached their targets. Indiana subsequently took part in refueling, forming with ships of TF 38 for photographs, and transferring men. Meanwhile, TF 38’s aircraft carriers launched planes that dropped supplies of food and medicine to POW camps within Japan. Indiana’s Marine Detachment, Bluejackets Landing Force, Standard Communications Team, and Bomb Disposal Unit transferred to transports (19–21 August). On 30 August these men participated in the initial Allied occupation of the Japanese home islands. Some of these sailors and marines later became part of Naval Headquarters, Yokosuka.

The Japanese formally surrendered on board Missouri in Tōkyō Bay on 2 September 1945. On 5 September Indiana triumphantly entered Tōkyō Bay, anchoring in berth F66 at 0734. During the morning of 8 September her crew assembled for inspection by Rear Adm. Shafroth. Indiana served as a transfer point for emaciated Allied POWs liberated from Japanese camps, receiving and then transferring a total of seven naval officers, 47 enlisted men, 28 enlisted marines, 64 naval civilians, and a number of U.S. and Canadian soldiers through 12 September.

Indiana turned for home in company with Mansfield from Tōkyō Bay for the U.S. at 1250 on 15 September 1945. The battleship steamed “via the most direct route” at a reduced speed of 18 knots because of a locked No. 3 shaft. Throughout the voyage, crewmen passed the time by engaging in various gunnery and antiaircraft exercises, such as firing at free balloons. Indiana moored to berth H-3 at Pearl Harbor on 22 September, and the following day made for San Francisco. She entered San Francisco Bay and discharged 1,013 passengers on 29 September.

The warship completed repairs in dry dock at Hunter’s Point Naval Shipyard (29 September–31 October 1945). She then made for the Pacific Northwest, anchored off Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, discharged her remaining ammunition and inflammables, and moored at Pier No. 3 at the shipyard. Indiana shifted to Drydock No. 5 on 15 November.

The Navy announced its Postwar Plan Number Two on 29 March 1946. The plan revealed the disposal of Idaho and New Mexico (BB-40), originally slated for the Sixteenth (Reserve) Fleet, Augusta (CA-31), Chester (CA-27), Louisville (CA-28), Portland (CA-33), Boise (CL-47), Nashville (CL-46), Phoenix (CL-46), and Saint Louis (CL-49), all already serving with the Sixteenth Fleet. The plan furthermore directed the shift of Massachusetts and South Dakota to the Inactive Atlantic Fleet, and Alabama and Indiana to the Inactive Pacific Fleet. CruDiv-5, comprising Baltimore, Boston (CA-69), Canberra (CA-70), and Quincy was to shift from the Third Fleet to the Nineteenth Fleet, and CruDiv-14, consisting of Cleveland, Columbia, Denver (CL-58), Manchester (CL-83), and Montpelier (CL-57) were to shift from the Fourth Fleet to the Sixteenth Fleet.

Indiana remained inactive with the Bremerton Group Pacific Reserve Fleet until Adm. Arleigh A. Burke, Chief of Naval Operations, designated Alabama, Indiana, Massachusetts, and South Dakota eligible for disposal on 27 June 1961. Secretary of the Navy Fred H. Korth recommended that Indiana be stricken from the Navy list on 1 May 1962, effective on 1 June 1962. On 6 September 1963, the ship was sold for scrapping to Nicolai Joffe Corp., of Beverly Hills, Calif. Tugs took the battleship in tow to Richmond harbor, Calif., the following month, where the company subsequently scrapped her.

Volunteers arranged for the preservation of artifacts from the ship at locations within Indiana. Some of these artifacts include the battleship’s anchor at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum at Fort Wayne, her bell at the Heslar Naval Armory in Indianapolis, the mainmast at Memorial Stadium at the University of Indiana, Bloomington, and the great wheel at Shortridge High School.

Indiana earned nine battle stars for her service in WWII.

Commanding Officers Date Assumed Command
Capt. Aaron S. Merrill 30 April 1942
Capt. Thomas G. Peyton 23 January 1943
Capt. William M. Fechteler 10 August 1943
Capt. James M. Steele 13 January 1944
Capt. Thomas J. Keliher Jr. 17 March 1944
Capt. Francis P. Old 1 May 1945
Capt. Frank R. Talbot 5 December 1945
Cmdr. Lester R. Schulz 20 July 1946
Capt. James H. Carrington 17 August 1946


Mark L. Evans and Joseph M. Soriero

22 June 2020

Published: Mon Jun 22 16:03:43 EDT 2020