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USS L-3 (SS-42)

Please see below for item level images and donated collections containing photographs of USS L-3 (SS-42)

USS L-3 (SS-42) was laid down on 18 April 1914 at Quincy, Mass., by the Fore River Shipbuilding Co. as subcontract with Electric Boat Co., Groton, Conn.; launched on 15 March 1915; and sponsored by Mrs. Lew Morton Atkins.

Commissioned at the Boston [Mass.] Navy Yard, on 22 April 1916, Lt. (j.g.) Deupree J. Friedell in command, USS L-3 (SS-42) was assigned to the Fifth Division, Submarine Flotilla, Atlantic Fleet as of 22 April 1916, and initially operated off Massachusetts and in the Block Island and Long Island sounds conducting equipment tests, tactical maneuvering, and torpedo target practices to 22 June. On 2 December, she cleared Newport bound southward to conduct further tests and made visits to Annapolis, Md. (9-10 December), Hampton Roads, Va. (10-13 December), Key West, Fla. (23-30 December), before arriving at Havana, Cuba, on 30 December for holiday liberty. 

With the concentration of the fleet, USS L-3 (SS-42) departed Pensacola on 27 March 1917 and transiting via Key West (30-31 March) and arrived at Hampton Roads on 5 April. The day following her arrival, the U.S. declared war on Imperial Germany and entered the Great War. She cleared the Portuguese archipelago on 22 January bound for the British Isles. USS L-3 (SS-42), however, was forced to return to Ponta Delgada, due to a battery leak. Upon completion of repairs, she again cleared Ponta Delgada and finally arrived at the U.S. submarine base at Berehaven [Castletownbere], Bantry Bay, Ireland, on 22 February.

USS L-3 (SS-42) departed Berehaven on 25 July; bound for Plymouth, England, she was to rendezvous with the U.S. submarine chasers stationed there in order to conduct ASW training. She arrived the following day at the rendezvous point, five miles south of Eddystone light, and was convoyed in to port. She conducted training based from Plymouth into September. USS L-3 (SS-42) departed Plymouth on 2 September and proceeded back to Ireland, she was escorted back in to Queenstown on the 3rd. The next day she shifted to her base at Berehaven.

On 17 July 1920, USS L-3 (SS-42) was re-designated SS-42 as part of a Navy-wide administrative re-organization. On 16 November L-1 (SS-4), L-2 (SS-41), L-3, L-4 (SS-43), L-9 (SS-49), and M-1 (SS-47) were ordered to be prepared for transfer to the Submarine Repair Division at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OpNav), on 22 November, issued a memorandum stating that the above mentioned submarines were to be kept in an inactive status. The Submarine Repair Division was abolished on 26 March 1921 and USS L-3 (SS-42) was detached and assigned to Submarine Division 3 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in an inactive status. USS L-3 (SS-42) was placed in commission in ordinary on 1 June 1921 at Philadelphia and then returned to full commission on 6 February 1922. L-3 was placed out of commission at Hampton Roads on 11 June 1923. She was towed into the Philadelphia Navy Yard and delivered to the charge of Commandant, Philadelphia Navy Yard on 25 September 1924. Her home yard was later changed to the Norfolk Navy Yard on 19 June 1928. USS L-3 (SS-42) was stricken from the Navy list on 18 December 1930. She was scrapped and her material sold on 28 November 1933 in accordance with the London Treaty for the limitation and reduction of naval armament.

For a complete history of USS L-3 (SS-42) please see its DANFS page.