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USS L-6, possibly at the California Shipbuilding Company at Long Beach, California, in 1917.
United States
NameUSS L-6
BuilderCraig Shipbuilding, Long Beach, California
Laid down27 May 1914
Launched31 August 1916
Commissioned7 December 1917
Decommissioned25 November 1922
FateSold for scrap, 21 December 1925
General characteristics
Class and typeL-class submarine
  • 451 long tons (458 t) surfaced
  • 527 long tons (535 t) submerged
Length165 ft (50 m)
Beam14 ft 9 in (4.50 m)
Draft13 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 depth200 feet (61.0 m)
Complement28 officers and enlisted men

USS L-6 (SS-45) 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-6's keel was laid down on 27 May 1914 by Craig Shipbuilding Company in Long Beach, California. L-6 was launched on 31 August 1916 sponsored by Mrs. William R. Monroe, and commissioned on 7 December 1917.

Service history[edit]

USS L-6, USS L-8, and USS L-7, possibly at Ponta Delgada in the Azores with Submarine Division 6 in early November 1918.

After exercises along the West Coast, L-6 departed Pacific waters on 20 April 1918, arriving Charleston, South Carolina, on 10 June. Following a brief overhaul, the submarine patrolled off Charleston until she sailed on 15 October for the eastern Atlantic. Arriving Ponta Delgada, Azores, in early November, L-6 joined Submarine Division 6 just prior to the signing of the Armistice with Germany on 11 November.

After making stops in Caribbean Sea and Central American ports, L-6 arrived San Pedro, California, on 14 February 1919, completing one of the best long-distance seagoing performances of the United States's youthful submarine force. From 1919 to 1922, she remained on the West Coast, experimenting with new torpedoes and undersea detection equipment. L-6 was placed in commission, in ordinary, on 24 March 1922; returned to full commission on 1 July; and sailed for the East Coast the same month. Upon arrival Hampton Roads, L-6 decommissioned on 25 November 1922, and was sold to M. Samuel and Sons on 21 December 1925 for scrapping.


  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. (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.

External links[edit]