U.S. Navy Battleships - USS Indiana (BB 58)
Displacement: 35,000 tons
Speed: 27 knots
Armament: Nine 16", twenty 5", 24 40mm., 16 20mm.
Text from The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships published by the Naval Historical Center
The third Indiana (BB-58) (second actually completed) was launched by Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Newport News, Va., 21 November 1941; sponsored by Mrs.
Lewis C. Robbins, daughter of Indiana governor Henry F. Schricker; and commissioned 30 April 1942, Captain A. S. Merrill in command.
Following shakedown in Casco Bay, Maine, the new battleship steamed through the Panama Canal to bolster U.S. fleet units In the Pacific during the critical early months of World War II.
She joined Rear Admiral Lee's carrier screening force 28 November 1942. For the next 11 months, Indiana helped protect carriers USS Enterprise (CV 6) and USS Saratoga (CV 3), then supporting American advances in the Solomons.
Indiana steamed to Pearl Harbor 21 October 1943, and departed 11
November with the support forces designated for the invasion of
the Gilbert Islands. The battleship protected the carriers which
supported the Marines during the bloody fight for Tarawa. Then
late in January 1944 she bombarded Kwajalein for 8 days prior to
the Marshall Island landings, 1 February. While maneuvering to
refuel destroyers that night, Indiana collided with battleship
USS Washington (BB 56). Temporary repairs to her starboard side were made at
Majuro, and she arrived Pearl Harbor 13 February for additional
Indiana joined famed Task Force 58 for the Truk raid
29-30 April and bombarded Ponape Island 1 May. In June the
battlewagon proceeded to the Marianas with a giant American
fleet for the invasion of that strategic group. She bombarded
Saipan 13-14 June and brought down several enemy aircraft while
fighting off concentrated air attacks June 15. As the Japanese
fleet closed the Marianas for a decisive naval battle, Indiana
steamed out to meet them as part of Rear Admiral Lee's battle
line. The great fleets approached each other 19 June 1944 for the
biggest carrier engagement of the war, and as four large air
raids hit the American formations, Indiana, aided by other ships
in the screens and carrier planes, downed hundreds of the
attackers. With able assistance from submarines, Mitscher sank
two Japanese carriers in addition to inflicting fatal losses on
the enemy naval air arm during 'The Great Marianas Turkey
Indiana shot down several planes, and sustained only two near
torpedo misses. The issue decided, the battleship resumed her
screening duties around the carriers, and stayed at sea 64 days
in daily support of the Marianas invasion.
In August the battleship began operations as a unit of Task
Group 38.3, bombarding the Palaus, and later the Philippines.
She screened strikes on enemy shore installations 12-30
September 1944, helping to prepare for the coming invasion of
Leyte. Indiana departed for Bremerton, Wash., arriving 23
Reaching Pearl Harbor 12 December, the battleship immediately
began underway training preparedness. She sailed 10 January 1945
and with a fleet of battleships and cruisers bombarded Iwo Jima
24 January. Indiana then joined Task Force 58 at Ulithi and
sortied 10 February for the invasion of that strategic island,
next step on the island road to Japan. She supported the
carriers during a raid on Tokyo 17 February and again on 25
February, screening strikes on Iwo Jima in the interval. Indiana
arrived Ulithi for replenishment 5 March 1945, having just
supported a strike on the next target — Okinawa.
Indiana steamed out of Ulithi 14 March for the massive Okinawa
invasion, and until June 1945 steamed in support of carrier
operations against Japan and Okinawa. These devastating strikes
did much to aid the ground campaign and lower Japanese morale at
home. During this period she often repelled enemy suicide plane
attacks as the Japanese tried desperately but vainly to stem the
mounting tide of defeat. In early June she rode out a terrific
typhoon, and sailed to San Pedro Bay, Philippines, 13 June.
As a member of Task Group 38.1 Indiana operated from 1 July to
15 August supporting air strikes against Japan and bombarded
coastal targets with her big guns. The veteran battleship
arrived Tokyo Bay 5 September and nine days later sailed for San
Francisco, where she arrived 29 September 1945.
Indiana was placed in reserve in commission at Bremerton 11 September 1946. She
decommissioned 11 September 1947, and entered the Pacific
Reserve Fleet. She was stricken from the Navy List 1 June 1962
and sold for scrap. Indiana's mast is erected at Indiana University
at Bloomington; her anchor rests at Fort Wayne; and
other relics are on display in various museums and schools
throughout the state.
Indiana received nine battle stars for World War II service.
Also see USS Indiana (BB 1)
Updated: 29 July 2009