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1945: Still no rescue

Wednesday, August 1. The Philippine Sea where the Indianapolis was sunk. Another day of blinding sun. Another day of no rescue. The sharks return, circling the kapok and human floatilla. They dart in. The men—who’ve been floating in the water for two days and one night—are weakened. They panic. Men in the grip of group […]

1945: Tibbets to Crew: Now we wait

Colonel Tibbets, in command of the air force wing that will deliver and drop the bomb on Japan, calls a meeting for his crew. Closed doors. Flight crews and section chiefs only. He tells the assembled crew: You’re on alert. As soon as weather permits, we’ll be delivering the first of the special “gimmick” weapons. […]

1945: Japan’s weather

Typhoon approaches Japan. Cloudcover makes visual bombing impossible. So the special mission waits for the storm to pass.

1945: Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink

Tuesday in the Philippine Sea. No rescue for the crew of the sunken Indianapolis. The survivors float a little lower in the water, their kapok lifejackets waterlogged. No water to drink. No fresh water, that is. Blinding sun and thirst drive some to attempt to drink seawater. The ship’s doctor recalls, “Those who drank became […]

1945: Cables from the Pacific

General Farrell on Tinian sends a cable to Groves in Washington. Farrell arrived in Guam (the larger island just south of Tinian) the previous day, and met with LeMay. His cable says, “1 August is interpreted by LeMay and Farrell as coming within the intent of the directive.” Between readying the bomb components (11 hours) […]

1945: Bloody Monday in the Philippine Sea

The Japanese submarine commander, Hashimoto, together with his crew, “[celebrate] our haul of the previous day with our favorite rice with beans, boiled eels, and corned beef (all of it tinned).” . . . . . Meanwhile, at the site above where the Indianapolis went down, the scent of blood in the water attracts a […]