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USS L-5 (SS-44)

Diesel-Electric Attack Submarine [ 1918 ]

USS L-5 SS-44 arrived too late to see any notable action in World War 1 and was decommissioned as soon as 1922.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 05/05/2016 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

America's late entry into World War 1 (1914-1918) meant that many indigenously-designed and developed war products failed to see much action during the years-long conflict. USS L-5 (SS-44) was an attack-minded submarine laid down by the Lake Torpedo Boat Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut on May 14th, 1914. However, the boat would not be launched until May 1st of 1916 and formal commissioning would elude the design until February 17th of 1918. America's entry came with the formal declaration of war against Germany on April 6th, 1917 and the war was over with the Armistice of November 1918. L-5's contribution to the war effort was as part of Submarine Division 6 operating near the Azores in November 1918.

L-5 was based on the preceding L-class of boats but, unlike those designed by Electric Boat, she was bred from a design offered by the Lake Torpedo Boat Company. The group encompassed L-5, L-6, L-7 and L-8 and differed in minor ways from their Electric Boat cousins. As completed, L-5 displaced 458 tons (short) when surfaced and 535 tons when submerged. Her length was 165 feet with a beam reaching 14.8 feet and a draught of 13.2 feet. Power was served through 2 x diesel engines for surface travel and 2 x electric motors for undersea travel. Speeds topped 14 knots surfaced and 10.5 knots submerged with ranges out to 3,300 nautical miles (when surfaced, though 150 nautical miles submerged). Operating depths were down to 200 feet. Her crew complement numbered 28 officers and submariners and her armament constituted 4 x 18" (457mm) torpedo tubes (bow-mounted, eight total torpedoes) and a 3" /23 caliber deck gun.

L-5's career in the ocean was a short one and she never fired a shot in anger. From the post-war period spanning 1919 to 1922 she was used to evaluate various torpedo designs and new sonar equipment along the American west coast. She was decommissioned at Hampton Roads, Virginia (arriving there by way of the Panama Canal) on December 5th, 1922, sold off in 1925 and ultimately scrapped.©MilitaryFactory.com
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Service Year

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United States



USS L-1 (SS-40); USS L-2 (SS-41); USS L-3 (SS-42); USS L-4 (SS-43); USS L-5 (SS-44); USS L-6 (SS-45); USS L-7 (SS-46); USS L-8 (SS-48); USS L-9 (SS-49); USS L-10 (SS-50); USS L-11 (SS-51)

National flag of the United States United States
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Submerged Attack
Traveling under the surface to search, track, and / or engage or reconnoiter areas.
Maritime Patrol
Active patroling of vital waterways and maritime areas; can also serve as local deterrence against airborne and seaborne threats.
Fleet Support
Serving in support (either firepower or material) of the main surface fleet in Blue Water environments.

165.0 ft
50.29 m
14.8 ft
4.51 m
13.2 ft
4.02 m

Installed Power: 2 x Diesel engines with 2 x electric motors developing 1,200 to 1,300 horsepower to 2 x shafts.
Surface Speed
14.0 kts
(16.1 mph)
Submerged Speed
10.5 kts
(12.1 mph)
3,302 nm
(3,800 mi | 6,116 km)

kts = knots | mph = miles-per-hour | nm = nautical miles | mi = miles | km = kilometers

1 kts = 1.15 mph | 1 nm = 1.15 mi | 1 nm = 1.85 km
4 x 457mm (18") torpedo tubes; 8 x torpedo reloads
1 x 3" /23 caliber deck gun

Supported Types

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Graphical image of an aircraft aerial torpedo

(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)

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Images Gallery

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Image of the USS L-5 (SS-44)
Image courtesy of the United States Navy image archives.


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