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A Portland-class heavy cruiser, Indianapolis served as flagship for Admiral Raymond Spruance in 1943 and 1944 as he commanded the actions of the fifth fleet in the central pacific. She was ever-present in supporting the Island Hopping Campaigns of the Marianas and later supported the invasion of Okinawa.
It was Indianapolis in July 1945 which secretly transported parts of ‘Little Boy’, the first nuclear weapon used in combat, to the USAAF base on Tinian. The same month, whilst on training exercises in the Philippines, she was struck and sunk by a torpedo from Japanese sub, I-58. 890 survivors faced four days of exposure, dehydration, saltwater poisoning and shark attacks before rescue, leading to only 316 survivors. This marks the single greatest loss of life from a single ship in the history of the US Navy.