New Video of the Sunken USS Independence

This video, from Wired, is pretty good because it shows a 40mm dual-mount AA…


…and one of the F6F Hellcats on the hangar deck.


On to the film:

The ship earned a lot of battle stars — and then got nuked. Twice. And still took some sinking. Now it rests on the seabed off San Francisco, for all time. It has become a curiosity for scientists studying, among other things, the long-term effects of a short, sharp dose of ionizing radiation.

6 thoughts on “New Video of the Sunken USS Independence

  1. Loren

    Seems such a waste to drop it into the deep. She would have been radiation free by then too. Made a good reef somewhere s. Maybe some Toyota’s sold back to us?
    We’ve all seen video taken from afar on these nuke tests but no close shots of the ships taking the hit. I wonder it they learned anything other than don’t be there when one goes off?

    1. Blackshoe

      While not highly radioactive, she was apparently still a little radioactive. Too much to make her a reef. And unfortunately, she was in the Pacific, where there isn’t a lot of shallow water for the US to make good reefs out of (Hawaii has a ton of things-both ships, trucks, aircraft, and even mounds of coffee cups dumped off in a couple thousand feet of water right off her coast). She also was a useful place to put a lot of barrels of contaminated materials from the other Bikini tests into (her engines were stripped out, and filled in with said barrels and overpoured with concrete besides).

  2. Haxo Angmark

    the bikini tests were part of a total post-WW II power-grab by Billy Mitchell’s heirs, the bomber barons/nuclear crazies, who thought we no longer needed an army or navy: just lug nukes around the planet on B-36’s and drop one from time to time on this or that recalcitrant tribe. The barons were defeated by the “Revolt of the Admirals”, the sad lessons of the Korean War, and finally by Russia’s atom bomb program

    1. Scipio Americanus

      Haxo, that’s a rather tendentious interpretation of the events in question.

      The postwar inter-service squabbling between the Navy and Air Force wasn’t over conventional vs. nuclear visions for future warfare, but over who would get to deliver the nuclear weapons. The Navy wanted it to be done by carrier-borne strike aircraft, while the air-force favored CONUS-based strategic bombers. There wasn’t a strong base of support in any service for a non-nuclear oriented strategy during that period. Even the army was radically reshaping itself for the presumed nuclear battlefield, and for a less decisive strategic role, under the Pentomic divisions concept.

      The “revolt of the admirals” didn’t accomplish much in the immediate time-frame, and it certainly didn’t defeat SAC’s “bomber barons.” In light of the Korean War and the USSR’s acquisition of nuclear weapons, the US made the decision to lavishly fund both the navy and the air-force. Hence, we got both the vast B-52 fleet and the supercarriers with their powerful strike wings.

      The Bikini Atoll tests were part of a much larger AEC and military effort to understand the effect of nuclear weapons on all types of targets, from civil infrastructure to aircraft to warships. Once again, this is completely reasonable given how little we understood of the terminal effects at the time.

      Also, you talk about the SAC perspective like some sort of unfounded madness. As though there were nothing at all, say in recent events, that might have convinced them that the prompt use of nuclear weapons could bring about victory in a major war with a comparatively small cost in American lives. Oh, wait…

  3. James

    Hmmmm….,off the coast of Cali.,wonder if the 40mm guns ok under cali. guns law revisits?

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