USS L-8 (SS-48)

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USS L-8 in 1917
Name: USS L-8
Builder: Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine
Laid down: 24 February 1915
Launched: 23 April 1917
Commissioned: 30 August 1917
Decommissioned: 15 November 1922
Fate: Sunk as target, 26 May 1926.
General characteristics
Class and type: L-class submarine
  • 451 long tons (458 t) surfaced
  • 527 long tons (535 t) submerged
Length: 165 ft (50 m)
Beam: 14 ft 9 in (4.50 m)
Draft: 13 ft 3 in (4.04 m)
Installed power:
  • 1,200 bhp (890 kW) (diesel)
  • 800 hp (600 kW) (electric)
  • 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph) surfaced
  • 10.5 knots (19.4 km/h; 12.1 mph) submerged
  • 3,300 nmi (6,100 km; 3,800 mi) at 11 knots (20 km/h; 13 mph) on the surface
  • 150 nmi (280 km; 170 mi) at 5 knots (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph) submerged
Test depth: 200 feet (61.0 m)
Complement: 28 officers and enlisted men

USS L-8 (SS-48) was an L-class submarine built for the United States Navy during the 1910s.


The L-class boats designed by Lake Torpedo Boat (L-5 through L-8) were built to slightly different specifications from the other L boats, which were designed by Electric Boat, and are sometimes considered a separate L-5 class. The Lake boats had a length of 165 feet (50.3 m) overall, a beam of 14 feet 9 inches (4.5 m) and a mean draft of 13 feet 3 inches (4.0 m). They displaced 451 long tons (458 t) on the surface and 527 long tons (535 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).[1]

For surface running, the boats were powered by two 600-brake-horsepower (447 kW) diesel engines, each driving one propeller shaft. When submerged each propeller was driven by a 400-horsepower (298 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 Lake boats had a range of 5,150 nautical miles (9,540 km; 5,930 mi) at 11 knots (20 km/h; 13 mph)[1] and 150 nmi (280 km; 170 mi) at 5 knots (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph) submerged.[2]

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 L-class submarines were also armed with a single 3"/50 caliber deck gun.[2]

Construction and career[edit]

L-8's keel was laid down on 24 February 1915 by the Portsmouth Navy Yard in Kittery, Maine. L-8 was launched on 23 April 1917 sponsored by Miss Nancy Gill, and commissioned on 30 August 1917 with Lieutenant J. Parker, Jr., in command. Following training operations along the East Coast, L-8 prepared for European service. Departing Charleston, South Carolina, under the command of Lieutenant John N Bloom (Burton 374), on 20 October, the submarine steamed for the Azores to join Submarine Division 6 for patrols against U-boats. She arrived Bermuda on 13 November, two days after the end of World War I, and was ordered to return to the United States.

After exercises and visits in Caribbean Sea and Central American ports, L-8 crossed the Panama Canal (Burton 374) and arrived San Pedro, California, on 13 February 1919 to join the submarine flotilla on the West Coast. Remaining there from 1919 to 1922, she experimented with new torpedoes and undersea detection equipment. Following a period of commission, in ordinary, early in 1922, L-8 departed San Pedro on 25 July for the Atlantic, arriving Hampton Roads, Virginia, on 28 September. L-8 was decommissioned on 15 November 1922.

L-8 was ultimately destroyed as a target during testing for magnetic influence exploders for torpedoes, off Rhode Island on 26 May 1926 (Miller 117). This was the only test with live torpedoes of magnetic exploders conducted by the Navy in the 19 years before the World War II period.


  1. ^ a b Friedman, p. 307
  2. ^ a b 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. (1984). 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.
  • Burton, Clarence (1922). Burton, Clarence; Stocking, William; Miller, Gordon, eds. The City of Detroit, Michigan, 1701-1922 Volume 5. Detroit-Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company. 

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