Military Wiki
United States L-class submarine
USS L-1 running trials
USS L-1 (SS-40) lead ship of her class during running trials.
Class overview
Name: L-class submarine
Builders: Fore River Shipbuilding Company, Quincy, Massachusetts (L-1 to L-4, L-9 to L-11)
Lake Torpedo Boat Company, Bridgeport, Connecticut (L-5)
Craig Shipbuilding Company, Long Beach, California (L-6 & L-7)
Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, Maine (L-8)
Operators:  United States Navy
Preceded by: K-class submarine
Succeeded by: USS M-1 (SS-47)
Built: 1914-1917
In commission: 1916-1923
Completed: 11
Retired: 11
Preserved: 0
General characteristics
Type: Submarine
Displacement: Group 1 :
450 long tons (457 t) surfaced
548 long tons (557 t) submerged
Group 2 :
456 long tons (463 t) surfaced
524 long tons (532 t) submerged
Length: Group 1 : 167 ft 5 in (51.03 m)
Group 2 : 165 ft (50 m)
Beam: Group 1 : 17 ft 5 in (5.31 m)
Group 2 : 14 ft 9 in (4.50 m)
Draft: Group 1 : 13 ft 7 in (4.14 m)
Group 2 : 13 ft 3 in (4.04 m)
Propulsion: Diesel-electric
Group 1 :
2 × 650 hp Niseco, Diesel?
600 hp electric
Group 2 :
2 × 600 hp Busch Sulzer, Diesel?
600 hp electric
Speed: 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph) surfaced
10.5 knots (19.4 km/h; 12.1 mph) submerged
Range: 4,500 nmi (8,300 km) at 7 kn (13 km/h; 8.1 mph)
150 nmi (280 km) at 5 kn (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph)
Complement: 28 officers and men
Armament: • 4 × 18 in (457 mm) torpedo tubes, 8 torpedoes
• 1 × 3"/23 caliber deck gun

The United States L class submarine was the United States Navy's first attempt at designing and building ocean-going submarines, which at the time was a yawning gap in capability compared with other major navies. The first hulls were laid down in 1914, six months before the European hostilities, but they were not commissioned until two years later because of long fitting-out periods.

The Group 2 L-boats designed by Lake Torpedo Boat (L-5 through L-8) were built to slightly different specifications from the other Group 1 L-boats, which were designed by Electric Boat, and are sometimes considered a separate L-5 class.

After service in the Atlantic Flotilla by the Group 1 boats, most required extensive refits at Philadelphia after the USA's entry into the First World War which reflected the US Navy's then limited experience in ocean operations.

In November 1917, the class was sent to the Bantry Bay and the Azores for anti-U-boat patrols. The class did not sink any U-boats.

The class was generally under-powered, but they enjoyed good endurance for patrols in the North Atlantic and in British waters.

After the war, the L class were involved in trials of new torpedoes and hydrophone equipment on both the east and west coasts before decommissioning in 1922 and 1923 and were used in the US scrapping quota in 1933 under the London Naval Treaty limiting naval armament.


Group 1

Group 2

See also


Hutchinson, Robert, Submarines, War Beneath The Waves, From 1776 To The Present Day

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