|Ship Class||South Dakota-class Battleship|
|Builder||Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company, Newport News, VA|
|Laid Down||20 Nov 1939|
|Launched||21 Nov 1941|
|Commissioned||30 Apr 1942|
|Decommissioned||11 Sep 1947|
|Displacement||35000 tons standard|
|Armament||9x16in guns, 20x5in guns, 24x40mm cannon, 16x20mm cannon|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Indiana was commissioned in Apr 1942, during WW2, with Captain A. A. Merrill in command. Upon the completion of shakedown in Casco Bay, Maine, United States, she sailed through the Panama Canal to help screen for carriers Enterprise and Saratoga in the Pacific Ocean on 28 Nov 1942. Between 21 Oct and 11 Nov 1943, she received a brief rest at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, United States. In mid-Nov 1943, she arrived at the Gilbert Islands to screen for aircraft carriers during the invasion, then in late Jan 1944 fired her guns at Kwajalein, Marshall Islands to prepare for the landing scheduled for 1 Feb.
In the pre-dawn darkness of 1 Feb 1944, Indiana turned to leave the cruising formation of Task Group 58.1 near Kwajalein, under orders to fuel four destroyers. At 0420, she sent out a radio message noting she was turning towards the left and slowing to 15 knots, but Captain J. G. Steele decided to turn to the right instead without sending out a follow-up radio message. About 7 minutes after her turning to the right, her crewmen noted the proximity of battleship Washington. Washington engaged her engines at "back, emergency full" and pulled her rudder hard left, but could not prevent the collision that took place about a minute later, with Washington's bow scraping down the after portion of Indiana's starboard side. Indiana's starboard side hull was ripped open, and her after 16-inch gun turret rangefinder was damaged, along with several anti-aircraft machine guns, starboard catapult, and a seaplane. 60-some feet of Washington's forward hull was damaged, causing her deck to flap down into the water. 6 men were killed aboard Washington, and 4 aboard Indiana. Steele was relieved of command by Admiral Chester Nimitz for this incident, and never again served at sea. Meanwhile, Washington's Officer of the Deck was commended for "prompt and seamanlike action which almost averted the collision and definitely minimized the consequences." Indiana was temporarily repaired at Majuro, Marshall Islands and then sailed for Pearl Harbor Navy Yard for permanent repairs.
Indiana returned to the Pacific War in Apr 1944. Her first mission upon her return was to screen for Task Force 58 as its aircraft attacked Japanese positions at Truk Atoll on 29 and 30 Apr. On 1 May, she bombarded Ponape, Caroline Islands. In Jun, she sailed to the Mariana Islands and bombarded Saipan on 13 and 14 Jun and defended against Japanese aircraft attacks on 15 Jun. On 19 Jun 1944, she screened for American ships during the Battle of the Philippine Sea, shooting down several Japanese aircraft while sustaining two near-misses by torpedoes. She remained at sea in the Mariana Islands area for 64 consecutive days to support the land campaign.
In Aug 1944, Indiana joined Task Group 38.3 in the bombardment of the Palau Islands. Between 12 and 30 Sep, she screened aircraft carriers as the aircraft attacked Leyte, Philippine Islands. Between 23 Oct and Dec 1944, she underwent a major overhaul at Bremerton Navy Yard, Washington, United States. Upon completion, she sailed for Pearl Harbor for training.
On 10 Jan 1945, Indiana departed from Pearl Harbor for Iwo Jima. On 24 Jan, she bombarded Iwo Jima. On 10 Feb, she returned to Iwo Jima with Task Force 58 for the invasion. Between 17 and 28 Feb, she screened for aircraft carriers as their aircraft attacked Tokyo, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. Between 5 and 14 Mar, she anchored at Ulithi for replenishment. On 14 Mar, she departed Ulithi for the Okinawa invasion, and remained at sea until Jun 1945 in support for carrier operations against Okinawa and the Japanese home islands. On 13 Jun, she sailed to San Pedro, Philippine Islands. Between 1 Jul and 15 Aug, she sailed off Honshu, Japan and bombarded coastal targets. On 14 Jul 1945, she bombarded ironworks at Kamaishi, Iwate, in northern Honshu.
After the Japanese surrender, Indiana sailed into Tokyo Bay for occupation duties on 5 Sep 1945. On 14 Sep, she sailed for San Francisco, California, United States, arriving on 29 Sep. She was placed in reserve at Bremerton Navy Yard, and was decommissioned exactly one year later. She was sold for scrap on 1 Jun 1962.
Sources: US Navy Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, US Navy Naval Historical Center, Wikipedia.
USS Indiana Operational Timeline
|30 Apr 1942||Indiana was commissioned into service.|
|11 Sep 1947||Indiana was decommissioned from service.|
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