On July 30, 1945, in the closing days of World War II, the cruiser Indianapolis (CA-35), unescorted in the Pacific Ocean, was steaming for Leyte, having left Guam after just delivering the components for the atomic bomb to Tinian.
The Indianapolis’ orders were to rendezvous with the battleship U.S.S. Idaho (BB-42), in the Leyte Gulf and prepare for the upcoming invasion of Japan. She was steaming west on a course of 262 degrees and making 17 knots.
She would never arrive.
She was struck by a Japanese submarine (I-58), who fired six torpedoes, of which two struck the cruiser and blew away the bow, the second struck near midship on the starboard side next to a fuel tank and a powder magazine. The resulting explosion split the ship in two to the keel, knocking out all electric power. The ship went down by the bow and then rolled over to starboard in just 12 minutes, not enough time for the ship’s captain to radio a distress call.