Skip to main content
Related Content
Document Type
  • Themed Collection
Wars & Conflicts
File Formats
  • Image (gif, jpg, tiff)
Location of Archival Materials
  • NHHC

USS L-2 (SS-41)

Please see below for item level images and donated collections containing photographs of USS L-2 (SS-41)

USS L-2 (SS-41) was laid down on 19 March 1914 at Quincy, Mass., by the Fore River Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 11 February 1915; and sponsored by Mrs. Russell Gray.

Upon being commissioned at the Boston [Mass.] Navy Yard on 29 September 1916, Lt. (j.g.) Augustine H. Gray in command, USS L-2 (SS-41) reported for duty with Division Five, Submarine Flotilla, Atlantic Fleet, on 2 October 1916. She continued fitting out and training out of Boston until 26 October, after which she then proceeded to the Torpedo Station at Newport, R.I., to take on her torpedo outfit (26-28 October). USS L-2 (SS-41) then continued her shakedown training in the waters off New England and in Long Island Sound until 30 November.

After provisioning, refueling, and conducting overhaul until 30 December, she stood out of the harbor and patrolled in relief of USS L-2 (SS-41) on the 31st. Though there were reports of U-boats having sunk a ship around the Azores, she conducted the patrol without incident. After conducting several patrols amidst the islands of the Azores archipelago in January 1918, USS L-2 (SS-41) and the other units of Division Five departed Ponta Delgada on 19 January and proceeded to Ireland. USS L-2 (SS-41) got underway in Bantry Bay on 25 May 1918. After initially exercising with AL-11 she continued on to her patrol billet QB. While en route on 26 May, she sighted a ship resembling an enemy submarine on the surface bearing 300º about six miles distant. She raised speed and headed for the vessel and confirmed that she was a German U-boat.

The following month, on 25 August 1918, USS L-2 (SS-41) was again underway on patrol when she reported a likely encounter with a submarine. She reported hearing the submarine, but given the rough seas running at that time, she dared not attempt to make a visual contact with her periscope as her tower would be visible in the troughs. She also reported a possible contact three days later, but given that her batteries were almost expended, she was unable to give chase. USS L-2 (SS-41) stood out of Portland to return to the U.S. on 3 January 1919. Proceeding via the Azores, she reached Ponta Delgada on 10 January and secured alongside USSYarnall (Destroyer No. 143) before later shifting to USS Bushnell.

After her return to the U.S., the submarine underwent post-deployment overhaul and repairs at Philadelphia. When returned to operational duty, she experimented with torpedo and undersea detection techniques and equipment along the Atlantic coast. Again known as USS L-2 (SS-41), the submarine was re-designated as SS-41 as part of a Navy-wide administrative re-organization. On 12 January 1923, she cleared New London, bound for the Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, Maine. Arriving on 14 January, she docked until 9 March, when she cleared the yard to make her return up the Thames River to New London the next day. She the departed New London and proceeded to the Submarine Base at Hampton Roads, Va., reaching there on the 15th.  USS L-2 (SS-41) decommissioned at Hampton Roads on 4 May 1923. Eleven months later, on 4 April 1924, the Navy issued orders directing that L-2 and 25 other submarines be towed to the Philadelphia Navy Yard. She went into dry dock (3 June-17 July), then on 18 August, was taken under tow by the minesweeper USS Owl (AM-2) and arrived at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 19 August.

For a complete history of USS L-2 (SS-41) please see its DANFS page.