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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive

L-8 (SS-48)

Radio Call Sign: November - Yankee - Uniform

L-5 Class Submarine: Laid down, 24 February 1915, at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, N.H.; Launched, 23 April 1917; Commissioned, USS L-8, 30 August 1917; Designated (SS-48), 17 July 1920; Decommissioned, and struck from the Naval Register, 15 November 1922, at Hampton Roads; Struck from the Naval Register, 20 March 1925. Final Disposition, expended in tests for magnetic influence exploders, 26 May 1926.
Partial data submitted by Yves Hubert.

Specifications: Displacement, surfaced: 456 t., submerged: 524 t..; Length 165'; Beam 14' 9"; Draft 13' 3"; Speed, surfaced 14 kts, submerged 10.5 kts; Depth Limit 200'; Complement 2 Officers, 26 Enlisted; Armament, four 18", torpedo tubes, 8 torpedoes, one 3"/23 deck gun; Propulsion, diesel-electric, Busch Sulzer Brothers Diesel Engine Co., diesel engines, 1,200hp, Fuel Capacity, 17,800 gal., Diehl Manufacture Co. electric motors, 800hp, Battery Cells 120, single propeller.
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L-8689k L-8 (SS-48) under construction at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, Maine, March 1916. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
L-8147k L-8 (SS-48) under construction at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, Maine, 13 April 1916. Her bow plating is as yet incomplete. Note the overhead crane spanning the width of the wooden ship-house. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 46541.
L-8  / O-193kKeel laying ceremony for the O-1 (SS-62) at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, Maine, 26 March 1917. L-8 (SS-48) is under construction in the left background. She was launched on 23 April 1917. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 46543.
Thomas A. Edison950k"Edison's Daughter Sponsor for Submarine with New Battery
First Undersea Craft to Carry Storage Battery Will Be Christened by Mrs. John Erye Sloane.
When the United States submarine L-8 (SS-48), the first in the world to carry the new Edison storage battery, is launched at Portsmouth Navy Yard, N.H., Mrs. John Eyre Sloane, daughter of the inventor, will crack the champagne bottle across her prow.
Mrs. Sloane, who yesterday accepted Secretary Daniels invitation to officiate at the christening, is the wife of a former assistant of Mr. Edison and now an inventor and an expert on aeronautics."
Somewhere along the line, she didn't christen the L-8 and the honor went to Miss Nancy Gill.
Mrs. Sloane finally got her chance 44 years later with the Thomas A. Edison (SSBN-610), on 15 June 1961.
Image and text provided by Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
Photo from New-York Tribune. ((New York [N.Y.]) 1866-1924, 13 April 1915, Image 5 & 24 April 1917, Image 3, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
L-889kLaunching of the L-8 (SS-48) at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, Maine, 23 April 1917. Photograph printed on a color-tinted postal card. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 85278. Courtesy of Commander Donald J. Robinson, USN(MSC), 1977.
Photo inset courtesy of Arnold Putnam.
L-8464kLaunching of the L-8 (SS-48) at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, N.H., 23 April 1917. Note the tug boat in the back of the photo over the bridge of the L-8 makes it look as if it is attached to the boats superstructure. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
R-24 134k PDF entitled "How the Diesel engine came to America." Photo courtesy of subvetpaul.com.
Pennell 127k What looks to be L-class (SS-40/51) submarines in dry dock, by the artist Joseph Pennell, 1917. Photo # 3c19552v, LC-USZ62-119552. Photograph courtesy of memory.loc.gov.
L-8124k Leonidas (1898-1922) at the Portsmouth, N.H., Navy Yard circa September 1917. The newly-commissioned submarine L-8 (SS-48) is in drydock in the foreground. Leonidas, just back from the Caribbean, has surveying launches in her well deck and a 3" gun in a shield on her forecastle. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command, Photo No. NH 51135 courtesy of Mike Green.
G-4107kG-4 (SS-26) at the New London Submarine Base, Groton, Connecticut, about February 1918. The "boats" are (from left to right):
G-4 (SS-26);
G-2 (SS-27); and
L-8 (SS-48).
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 80743. Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation, collection of Lieutenant O.E. Wightman.
L boat 750k The Alert (AS-4) and two of her 'pigs' in Bermuda, L-5 (SS-44), L-6 (SS-45), L-7 (SS-46) & L-8 (SS-48). Photo i.d. courtesy of Ric Hedman & David Johnston (USNR).
Photo courtesy of Kristina Magill via Gary Priolo.
Photo added 07/17/15.
L-8132k L-8 (SS-48) anchored with crew on deck, possibly at the New London Submarine Base, Groton, Connecticut, date unknown. She displays Lake's trademark watertight superstructure, with limber holes to allow the bow portion to flood quickly for a fast dive. Partial text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
USN photo # 80-G-1025029, from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), courtesy of Daniel Dunham.
L-827k Simon Lake's L-8 (SS-48) (built by Portsmouth) shows his characteristic ship-type stern, with its horizontal chisel shape, which C & R preferred to E.B.'s much less buoyant one. The cylinder forward of the bridge houses a 3-in Mk IX gun. The bankruptcy of Lake's original company delayed construction of these boats, when completed, they embodied such war modifications as chariot bridge and retractable (housing) periscopes.
Note the signal bell set into the keel forward. During WW I, such bevels were superseded by Fessenden oscillators, which used plates set into flooded tanks. The battery tanks were set above the two main ballast tanks, one below the torpedo room forward and one below the control room amidships.
Note that Lake subdivided his boats more completely than did E.B., with separate engine & motor rooms aft, and with a separate tiller flat abaft the after trim tank (which was abaft the motor room, connected to it by an access trunk). He concentrated pumps & other auxiliaries to the large space beneath the control room, rather than (as in E.B.'s design) along the propeller shafts abaft the motors. The two periscopes flank the retractable antenna mast. This class incorporated Lake's patented air lock abaft the conning tower.
Drawing by Jim Christley.
Text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
L-6, 7 & 8 35k L-6 (SS-45), L-8 (SS-48), and L-7 (SS-46) at San Pedro, circa 1919 - 1922. Photo i.d. courtesy of Ric Hedman.
Photo courtesy of Ms. Patricia Kipp Combs.
L-boats 623k L-5 (SS-44), L-6 (SS-45), L-7 (SS-46) & L-8 (SS-48) at San Pedro, circa 1919 -1922. Photo i.d. courtesy of Ric Hedman & David Johnston (USNR).
Photo courtesy of Carlos Manuel Estrela via Fabio Peña.
Lake type97kSubmarines at a West Coast port, circa 1919-1922. The Lake type L-8 (SS-48) is at the outboard (left) end of the nest, with her sister, L-7 (SS-46), in the middle (3rd from left). H-3 (SS-30) is between them, with another Electric Boat Company submarine second from right. The inboard (right) "boat" and that in the foreground are the other two units of the Lake-designed L-5 class; L-5 (SS-44) and L-6 (SS-45). Note piloting station details, periscope, and wide deck of the Lake type L-boat in the foreground. USNHC photo # NH 103256. Collection of Chief Engineman Virgil Breland, USN. Donated by Mrs. E.H. Breland, 1979.
Lake type89kSubmarines at a West Coast port, circa 1919-1922. The Lake type L-8 (SS-48) is at the outboard (left) end of the nest, with her sister, L-7 (SS-46), in the middle (3rd from left). H-3 (SS-30) is between them, with another Electric Boat Company submarine second from right. The inboard (right) "boat" and that in the foreground are the other two units of the Lake-designed L-5 class; L-5 (SS-44) and L-6 (SS-45). Note the "Y-tube" hydrophone mounted on the bow of the submarine in the foreground. USNHC photo # NH 103255. Collection of Chief Engineman Virgil Breland, USN. Donated by Mrs. E.H. Breland, 1979.
L-893kMagnetic Torpedo Exploder Test. A torpedo equipped with a magnetic influence exploder passes under the hulked submarine L-8 (SS-48), during tests off Newport, Rhode Island, 26 May 1926. This torpedo failed to explode. Copied from "U.S. Naval Administration in World War II, Bureau of Ordnance: Naval Torpedo Station, Newport, R.I., Volume VII", held by the Navy Department Library, 1978. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 88457.
L-881kMagnetic Torpedo Exploder Test. The hulked submarine L-8 (SS-48) is sunk by a torpedo equipped with a magnetic influence exploder, in tests off Newport, Rhode Island, 26 May 1926. This was the only destructive test conducted during 19 years of pre-World War II magnetic influence torpedo exploder development. Copied from "U.S. Naval Administration in World War II, Bureau of Ordnance: Naval Torpedo Station, Newport, R.I., Volume VII", held by the Navy Department Library, 1978. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 88458.

View the L-8 (SS-48)
DANFS history entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway Web Site.
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