USS Indiana BB58

The USS Indiana BB58 was a South Dakota class battleship that spent her entire active career in the Pacific, serving from late in 1942 until the end of the war.

The Indiana was laid down in November 1939, launched in November 1941 and commissioned on 30 April 1942. She spent the summer of 1942 working up, and was then sent to the Pacific.

The Indiana was built with six quad 40mm mountings (24 guns) and sixteen 20mm guns. As will all US battleships her anti-aircraft armament greatly increased during the war and eventually she had fourteen 40mm mountings (56 guns) and 52 20mm guns.

The Indiana entered service at Tonga in November 1942. She joined with the Washington and the North Carolina (from January 1943) to provide convoy escort duties in the waters around Guadalcanal and to support the carriers Enterprise and Saratoga during the campaign in the Solomon Islands.

The Indiana took part in the first of the fast carrier raids of the Pacific War, an attack on Makin on 31 August. During this raid it formed part of Task Force 15, alongside the carriers Yorktown, Essex and Independence.

The Indiana returned to Makin on 19 November 1943, when she and North Carolina formed part of TF50.2. This task force was used to cover the carriers Enterprise, Belleau Wood and Monterey during Operation Galvanic, the invasion of Makin.

In December 1943 Washington, South Dakota, Massachusetts, Indiana and North Carolina formed TF50.7 under the command of Rear Admiral Lee. This task force, covered by the carriers Bunker Hill and Monterey took part in a heavy bombardment of Kwajelein on 8 December, firing 810 16in shells. 

Eight of the fast battleships took part in Operation Flintlock, the invasion of the Marshalls (29 January 1944). Washington, Indiana and Massachusetts formed part of TG58.1, providing an escort for the carriers Enterprise, Yorktown and Belleau Wood. This task group took part in the invasion of Kwajelein and was positioned off Roi and Namur. The Indiania spent eight days bombarding Kwajelein before the invasion. On 1 February the Washington and the Indiana collided, suffering minor damage that took some months to repair.

On 29-30 April 1944 the Indiana covered the carriers during a raid on Truk.

On 1 May New Jersey, Iowa, Alabama, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Dakota and the newly repaired Indiana took part in a bombardment of Ponape in the Caroline Islands.

Seven of the fast battleships were present at the Battle of the Philippine Sea (June 1944). New Jersey, Iowa, Alabama, Washington, North Carolina, South Dakota and Indiana formed TG58.7 (Battle Line), under Admiral Lee. Their role was to serve as a bombardment force during the invasion of the Mariana Islands and to engage any Japanese surface force that threatened the carriers. The battle itself proved to be an entirely aerial affair, and so although the battleships were attacked from the air they were never involved in a surface battle.

In September-October 1944 the fast battleships New Jersey, Iowa, Alabama, Washington, Massachusetts and Indiana formed part of Task Force 38 during Admiral Halsey's series of raids on targets around the Philippine Sea. Alabama, Washington, Massachusetts and Indiana formed part of TG 38.3 under Admiral Lee.

This powerful US fleet attacked Palau (6-8 September), Mindinao (10 September), the Visayas (12-14 September) and Luzon (21-22 September). Japanese resistance to this raid was so weak that the Americans decided to bring the invasion of the Philippines forward from December to 20 October and to skip the southern islands and begin with an invasion of Leyte.

At the start of October the Indiana went for a refit and was replaced by the South Dakota.

On 25 January 1945 the Indiana bombarded Iwo Jima, firing 203 16in shells. In February she supported the invasion of Ulithi, the carrier raids on Tokyo and on Iwo Jima.

Between March and June the Indiana supported the carriers during the invasion of Okinawa and raids against Japan.

In July 1945 the fast battleships accompanied the US carriers as they raided the Japanese mainland. South Dakota, Indiana and Massachusetts bombarded the Kamaishi steel works on 14 July and 9 August and an aircraft factory at Hamamatsu in 29-30 July.

The Indiana entered Tokyo Bay on 5 September but nine days later left fot San Francisco, arriving on 29 September. On 11 September 1946 she was placed into reserve.

The Indiana was the first of the fast battleships to be decommissioned, on 11 September 1946. She was struck off the Navy List in 1962 and was scrapped, although her mast and anchor were preserved.

Displacement (standard)

37,970t

Displacement (loaded)

44,519t

Top Speed

27.5kts

Range

15,000nm at 15kts

Armour – belt

12.2in on .875in STS

 - lower belt

12.2in-1in on 0.875in STS

 - armour deck

5.75in-6in with 1.5in weather deck and 0.625in splinter deck

 - bulkheads

11in

 - barbettes

11.3-17.3in

 - turrets

18in face, 7.25in roof, 9.5in side, 12in rear, 16in CT

Length

680ft

Width

108ft 2in

Armaments as designed

Nine 16in/45 guns in triple turrets
Twenty 5in/38 guns in twin turrets
Twelve 1.1in guns in quadruple turrets
Twelve 0.5in guns
Three aircraft

Crew complement

1793

Laid Down

20 November 1939

Launched

23 November 1941

Commissioned

30 April 1942

Sold

1963

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (19 June 2012), USS Indiana BB58 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_USS_Indiana_BB58.html

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