In this episode we’re looking at the sinking of the USS Indianapolis.
Returning from delivering the atomic bomb to Tinian, in preparation for it to be dropped, the Indianapolis was hit twice by torpedoes from a Japanese submarine. She sank in less than a quarter of an hour.
800-900 men went in the shark infested waters, and no one in the US Navy was aware of the unfolding tragedy. The men floated in small groups for five nights and four days before they were finally spotted by the passing US plane.
And that is just half the story.
An Amazon Best Book of July 2018: As anyone who's ever watched Jaws remembers, many of the Indianapolis's sailors were eaten by sharks in the four days before they were discovered adrift in the Pacific during World War II. While the horrifying shark scenes will spark many readers to pick up the bookrk many readers to pick up the book, the rest of the Indianapolis's story is equally as tense, from its top-secret mission to deliver materials for the first atomic bomb dropped on Japan, to the sailors' frantic attempts to get out a distress call after they were torpedoed at night, to the court-martial of the captain—a court-martial that his crew fought against even after McVay's suicide. The clear, tight scenes brim with first-person details, and seasoned author Lynn Vincent and documentary filmmaker Sara Vladic include not only the expected tales of heroism under duress but the just-as-human stories of willpower bending and sanity breaking. This is history writing at its finest, shining a spotlight on a wartime tragedy that still echoes within the survivors and the Navy today. —Adrian Liang, Amazon Book Review
I’m joined by Sara Vladic.
Sara is the director of the documentary USS Indianapolis: The Legacy, she’s also so-written a book looking at the events surrounding the sinking, the book is titled Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man.
It is quite a story!