Simon’s Sub Counter

U.S. Lake Subs

The Lake Submarines: U.S. Subs

   The United States was trailing in the “submarine race” while Europe had gained the edge from adopting submarines of the Lake design. The U. S. government finally recognized the value of Lake boats over the Holland type, and requested that Simon Lake return from his European venture and build submarines for his own country as an independent contractor through The Lake Torpedo Boat Company of Bridgeport Connecticut.
   Simon Lake had spent his first 10 years in the submarine business trying to interest his own government in the advantages of the Lake submarine. By 1907-8, he had developed a lucrative European business which still had a great deal to offer, but he was a patriotic man who had also instilled that also in his company, and it was decided that he return to America to continue his love of submarine manufacture and development.

  The Seal or G-1, was the first of 33 submarines that were built for the United States Navy at Bridgeport or in California at California Shipbuilding & Dry-dock, including numerous auxiliary vessels built for the U.S. Shipping Board at Housatonic Shipbuilding.

The Seal
The Seal

   “This was the first contract the Lake Company was able to secure from the U. S. Government and the requirements were probably the most severe ever required of any shipbuilder.
   The Company did not receive any payment on account during her construction and her required performances had never been approached by any other submarine in this country or abroad.

   In addition to the usual fixed torpedo tubes arranged in the-bow of the vessel which requires the vessel herself to be trained, the (SEAL) “G—1” carries four torpedo tubes on her deck which may be trained while the vessel is submerged in the same manner as a deck gun on a surface vessel is trained and thus fire to either broadside which gives many tactical advantages.
   She was submerged to a depth of 256 feet, a world’s record, and exceeded her contract requirements and proved beyond question the capability of the Lake Type in meeting any requirement that submarines might be called upon to perform.” (extract from  Lake Company booklet).
   The G-1 design had been approved by early 1909 and the keel was laid on 2-2-09. The completed vessel was christened by Simon Lake’s daughter, Margaret,  and launched Feb. 8, 1911. She was commissioned on 10-28-12 and was commanded by LT Kenneth Whiting until 3-6-20.
   The success of the G1 led to five additional submarine boats contracts with the U. S. Government, including the G-2 (The Tuna) and the G-3 ( The Turbot).

   The Lake Torpedo Boat Company built mostly Lake design submarines with the exception of the S-14,15,16,& 17, which were government designs. They were contracted by the U.S. Government to be built at various locations: The Portsmouth Navy Shipyard in New Hampshire (PNS), The California Shipbuilding Co. of Long Beach California (CS), Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. of Newport Virginia (NNS&D), and The Lake Torpedo Boat Company (LTBC) of Bridgeport Connecticut. [Color coded for each sub below]
   Below are some examples of the various series submarines built by The Lake Torpedo Boat Company between 1911 through 1921.

  DID YOU KNLW... that Simon Lake claimed  he had never received full compensation from the United States Shipping Board for contracted vessels and that to this day, the government still owes Simon Lake $1,000,000.00, ...                                                  ...  plus interest, of coarse!

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