From PigBoats.COM

L-4 at an unknown location off the New England coast, summer of 1916. This photo was likely taken during her post-commissioning shakedown cruise from May 4 to June 22, 1916.

Photo in the private collection of Ric Hedman.

L-4 shown alongside L-9 in the summer of 1918 near Queenstown, Ireland. The post like object sticking up from the deck forward of the conning tower fairwater is the 3"/23 caliber Mk 9 deck gun, retracted into its watertight housing in the superstructure. The letter "A" was added to the exterior identification to identify her as an American submarine and to avoid confusion with the RN L-class submarines.

In the late summer of 1918 while on patrol, the L-4 spotted a German U-boat on the surface charging batteries and lying motionless. The commanding officer, LCDR Lewis Hancock, Jr., fired a torpedo at the submarine. The Germans saw the torpedo and quickly sped forward and dived, evading the torpedo. In a later incident, the L-4 later had almost the same situation and the same result, the torpedo missed. The Mark 6 and 7 torpedoes in use at the time were known to be touchy. If bumped hard the gyro would malfunction and the weapon would stray off course.

Photo in the private collection of Ric Hedman.

The attractive young woman is unknown but she has taken the time to note on the back of the photo that it was taken aboard the L-4 and the vessel had spent four days “...in the dock here...” that has implications of dry docking. It is possible the photo was taken in England as the L-4 and other U.S. submarines went to Portland, England and were dry docked before making the return trip to the US. She arrived at Philadelphia, PA. on February 1, 1919.

The young woman has placed her left hand on the top of the 3”/23 caliber deck gun of the submarine. The curved disk is the gun's splinter shield and the gun as a whole, when not in use, would rotate to a vertical position and retract into the superstructure into the gun's water-tight housing. The curved splinter shield would mate with the housing's top edge making the breech water-tight.

Photo in the private collection of Ric Hedman.

The back of the above photo states: ”This isn’t good but historical. Taken on the Submarine AL-4. It was in actual service. It was here in the dock here (sic) four days.” Note that L-4 was referred to as AL-4 while in European waters.

Photo in the private collection of Ric Hedman.

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