(Submarine No. 46: displacement 456 (surfaced), 425 (submerged); length 165'; beam 14'9"; draft 13'3"; speed 14 knots (surfaced), 10.5 knots (submerged); complement 28; armament 1 3-inch, 4 18-inch torpedo tubes; class L-5)
L-7 (Submarine No. 46) was laid down 2 June 1914 at Long Beach, Calif., by Craig Shipbuilding Co. [subcontractor for the Lake Torpedo Boat Co.]; launched on 28 September 1916; sponsored by Mrs. William B. [Sarah] Fogarty, the wife of Naval Constructor William B. Fogarty, the superintending constructor; and commissioned on 7 December 1917, Lt. Paul M. Bates in command.
After shakedown, L-7 departed the west coast on 20 April 1918, arriving Charleston, S.C., on 10 June. Patrolling off Charleston until 15 October, the submarine finally set course for Europe. Arriving at Ponta Delgada, Azores, early in November, she joined Submarine Division 6. However, the Armistice of 11 November 1918 ended the Great War, and L-7 sailed for home on the 19th.
Following stops at Caribbean and Central American ports, the submarine reached San Pedro, Calif., on 14 February 1919, completing one of the best long-distance seagoing performances of America’s youthful submarine force. From 1919 to 1922, she remained on the west coast, experimenting with new torpedoes and undersea detection equipment, during which time she was redesignated from Submarine No. 46 to SS-46 on 17 July 1920.
After a period of commission in ordinary [a decommissioned status] early in 1922, L-7 was returned to full commission on 1 July and sailed for Hampton Roads, Va., the same month. She decommissioned there on 15 November 1922 and was sold on 21 December 1925 to M. Samuel & Sons for scrapping.
Updated, Robert J. Cressman
29 May 2020