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The Military

Paul Allen Finds Long-Lost World War II Cruiser, the USS Indianapolis (usni.org) 131

An anonymous reader quotes the US Naval Institute News: Seventy-two years after two torpedoes fired from a Japanese submarine sunk cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA-35), the ship's wreckage was found resting on the seafloor on Saturday -- more than 18,000 feet below the Pacific Ocean's surface. Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist, led a search team, assisted by historians from the Naval History and Heritage Command in Washington, D.C., to accomplish what past searches had failed to do -- find Indianapolis, considered the last great naval tragedy of World War II.

"To be able to honor the brave men of the USS Indianapolis and their families through the discovery of a ship that played such a significant role in ending World War II is truly humbling," said Allen in a statement provided to US Naval Institute News on Saturday... "I hope everyone connected to this historic ship will feel some measure of closure at this discovery so long in coming"... Allen's 13-person expedition team, on the R/V Petrel is in the process of surveying the full site and will conduct a live tour of the wreckage in the next few weeks. They are complying with U.S. law and respecting the sunken ship as a war grave, taking care not to disturb the site.

Paul Allen has shared some photos from the discovery on Twitter.

The ship had delivered components for the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima just four days before it was sunk. Only 317 of its 1,197-man crew survived, making it the worst at-sea disaster in the history of the U.S. Navy.
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Paul Allen Finds Long-Lost World War II Cruiser, the USS Indianapolis

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  • From TFA: Only 317 of its 1,197-man crew survived, making it the worst disaster in the history of the U.S. Navy

    1197 - 317 = 880 dead

    1177 died on 12/7/1941 on the USS Arizona.

    So the USS Indianapolis was not the worst.

    • by Scutter ( 18425 ) on Saturday August 19, 2017 @03:56PM (#55049323) Journal

      So the USS Indianapolis was not the worst.

      It's not a contest.

    • I'd say the whole Pearl Harbor thing is the worst naval disaster.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The USS Arizona was in port, whereas the USS Indianapolis was at sea (engaged in a combat mission).
      • The USS Arizona was in port, whereas the USS Indianapolis was at sea (engaged in a combat mission).

        By the time her magazine exploded, the crew of the USS Arizona had gone to general quarters, and anti-aircraft guns were manned and returning fire. So she was also engaged in combat.

      • Sultana, 27 Apr 1865. 1547 dead (depending on who you talk to). A civilian ship, but hired by the Army to ferry POWs home. Maybe not combat, but could still be considered a military mission taking place during war (The war between the states didn't end until May 1865). It's all in the definition. Regardless, none of these examples detract from the (unnecessary) loss of life on the Indianapolis.
      • by ebvwfbw ( 864834 )

        She was returning. She wasn't part of the "right" navy, however so they didn't care that she was missing which is why so many were lost. The whole way it was handled was wrong. Of course the Navy brought in the guy that sunk the ship to help convict the Captain in his court martial. Didn't matter what he did, that Jap captain would have had him. Text book shot.

    • making it the worst at-sea disaster [emphasis mine]

      The Arizona was docked at the time. The water was so shallow her superstructure was above water after she sunk [wikipedia.org].

  • The ship is considered a war grave and protected by various country-specific laws. Unfortunately, "scavengers ain't got no respect [theguardian.com]."

    • by Anonymous Coward

      18000 feet is 5.4 km deep - VERY deep. I don't think the tech exists capable to disturb it.

      • The tech exists today to disturb any site under the ocean - maybe not delicately explore or salvage, but we can disturb the hell out of anything, anywhere in the ocean, and send live video back while it's happening.

      • by dwye ( 1127395 )

        18000 feet is 5.4 km deep - VERY deep. I don't think the tech exists capable to disturb it.

        But surely we still have plans for the Glomar Explorer, if we needed to rebuild it?

    • Yeah! If only they hadn't disturbed the wreck, those people could be alive now!

    • Allen's 13-person expedition team [...] will conduct a live tour of the wreckage in the next few weeks. They are complying with U.S. law and respecting the sunken ship as a war grave, taking care not to disturb the site.

      How do you do a live tour of the wreckage without disturbing it?

      • Allen's 13-person expedition team [...] will conduct a live tour of the wreckage in the next few weeks. They are complying with U.S. law and respecting the sunken ship as a war grave, taking care not to disturb the site.

        How do you do a live tour of the wreckage without disturbing it?

        You don't enter the wreck, you stay outside. You do not remove anything from the site, you take photos/video.

  • Guess where it was... behind the sofa. ;)

  • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Saturday August 19, 2017 @05:01PM (#55049591)
    The Indianapolis monologue [legacy.com] by Robert Shaw in "Jaws" [amzn.to] was the best scene out of the whole movie. I was always fascinated by that story. Nice to see the story of the USS Indianapolis concluded 42 years after the movie.
    • That scene is the sum of what I know about the Indianapolis and the first thing that came to my mind when I saw the story. Robert Shaw had a great presence in that movie. "Jaws" also had Roy Scheider with the classic line "We gonna need a bigger boat".

      Years ago I was on a Universal City Studio tour where we saw an animatronic shark from the movie. It looked so fake. I was embarrassed to think back on how scared shitless I'd been when I first saw the movie.
      • by dwye ( 1127395 )

        You were scared because the shark was so fake that they didn't use it more than absolutely necessary. Thus, you saw your shark in your mind, which was probably more terrifying than any real shark.

  • The real enemy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fnj ( 64210 ) on Saturday August 19, 2017 @07:00PM (#55050033)

    The disgusting part of this disaster was the way the US Navy persecuted Captain McVay, railroading him in a court martial with trumped-up charges shown to be nonsense by testimony of the Japanese sub captain, and finally driving McVay to suicide. He was the final victim, 24 years delayed. It took an act of Congress to force the Navy, kicking and screaming, to finally clear his record of all findings of wrongdoing, 56 years too late.

    The mismanagement of the stupidly, needlessly, and literally carelessly delayed search and rescue of survivors, as day after day drifting in the water dehydrating, starving, going mad, and being picked off by sharks, is also a huge part of the disaster. Something very similar happened at the Battle off Samar, in which hundreds of sailors from a small group of destroyers and escort carriers, after being pulverized by a huge Japanese battle fleet, were also left to drift for days, with many needless drowning and shark bite deaths.

    • Wow--after all that trolling, quibbling and backbiting, somebody shows up who reads things past the first paragraph. You must be an old fart like me.

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