L-2 off the Philadelphia Navy Yard, 1919
|Builder:||Fore River Shipbuilding Company, Quincy, Massachusetts|
|Laid down:||19 March 1914|
|Launched:||11 February 1915|
|Commissioned:||29 September 1916|
|Decommissioned:||4 May 1923|
|Stricken:||18 December 1930|
|Fate:||Sold for scrap, 28 November 1933|
|Class and type:||L-class submarine|
|Length:||168 ft 6 in (51.36 m)|
|Beam:||17 ft 5 in (5.31 m)|
|Draft:||13 ft 7 in (4.14 m)|
|Test depth:||200 feet (61.0 m)|
|Complement:||28 officers and enlisted men|
The L-class boats designed by Electric Boat (L-1 to L-4 and L-9 to L-11) were built to slightly different specifications from the other L boats, which were designed by Lake Torpedo Boat, and are sometimes considered a separate class. The Electric Boat submarines had a length of 168 feet 6 inches (51.4 m) overall, a beam of 17 feet 5 inches (5.3 m) and a mean draft of 13 feet 7 inches (4.1 m). They displaced 450 long tons (460 t) on the surface and 548 long tons (557 t) submerged. The L-class submarines had a crew of 28 officers and enlisted men. They had a diving depth of 200 feet (61.0 m).
For surface running, the Electric Boat submarines were powered by two 450-brake-horsepower (336 kW) diesel engines, each driving one propeller shaft. When submerged each propeller was driven by a 170-horsepower (127 kW) electric motor. They could reach 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph) on the surface and 10.5 knots (19.4 km/h; 12.1 mph) underwater. On the surface, the boats had a range of 5,150 nautical miles (9,540 km; 5,930 mi) at 11 knots (20 km/h; 13 mph) and 150 nmi (280 km; 170 mi) at 5 knots (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph) submerged.
The boats were armed with four 18-inch (450 mm) torpedo tubes in the bow. They carried four reloads, for a total of eight torpedoes. The Electric Boat submarines were initially not fitted with a deck gun; a single 3"/50 caliber gun on a disappearing mount was added during the war.
Construction and career
L-2's keel was laid down on 19 March 1914 by the Fore River Shipbuilding Company in Quincy, Massachusetts. She was launched on 11 February 1915 sponsored by Mrs. Russel Gray, and commissioned on 29 September 1916, Lieutenant (junior grade) Augustine H. Gray in command.
After exercises along the Atlantic coast, L-2 arrived in Key West, Florida, for experiments in submarine warfare. After operating in southern waters through March 1917, the submarine prepared for World War I service.
Departing New London, Connecticut, on 27 November 1917, L-2 steamed for Europe via the Azores, arriving Queenstown, Ireland, on 27 January 1918. Based at Bantry Bay, Ireland, she patrolled around the British Isles and, with other members of her squadron, ranged the North Atlantic Ocean, reducing losses to U-boats of shipping vital in supplying the Allied armies. L-2 attacked enemy submarines on 26 May and 10 July with inconclusive results.
After the war, L-2 departed the Isle of Portland, England, on 3 January 1919 for home. Arriving Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in early February, the submarine experimented with torpedo and undersea detection techniques along the Atlantic coast until 1922. L-2 was placed in reduced commission at New London on 1 May 1922, and decommissioned at Hampton Roads, Virginia, on 4 May 1923. She was scrapped and her materials were sold on 28 November 1933, in accordance with the terms of the London Naval Treaty.
- Friedman, p. 307
- Gardiner & Gray, p. 129
- Friedman, Norman (1995). U.S. Submarines Through 1945: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-263-3.
- Gardiner, Robert & Gray, Randal, eds. (1985). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships: 1906–1921. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-85177-245-5.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
- Photo gallery of USS L-2 at NavSource Naval History