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Design and Construction Notes

S-2 was one of the three 800 ton S-boats authorized in Fiscal Year 1917. They were to be pathfinders of an entirely new class of open ocean patrol submarines. S-2 was a unique design by the Lake Torpedo Boat Company of Bridgeport, CT. It incorporated all of the lessons that designer Simon Lake had learned over the years, for better or for worse. S-2 was not a successful boat, and for several reasons, no further copies of S-2 were authorized by the Navy. For further information on this unique submarine, please read the article at this link.

S-2 surfacing after a diving test alongside the pier at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, ME., spring or early summer 1921. S-2 had just been modified by her builder Simon Lake to correct a deficiency shown during trials where she had a tendency to burrow into the waves while running on the surface. She lacked reserve buoyancy forward. Lake added a buoyancy tank above the main deck at the bow in an attempt to correct this problem. This was not a common feature of U.S. submarines, but it is reminiscent of several British designs. Just visible in the background on the other side of the pier is the German U-boat U-111. It was surrendered to the Allies at the end of WWI and turned over to the U.S. for testing and evaluation. It was sunk as a target in the Atlantic in July 1921.

A special note about this photo: An email correspondence on July 7, 2001 about this photo was the beginning of a 20+ year friendship between the webmasters of this site, Ric Hedman and David Johnston.

Photo in the private collection of Ric Hedman.

These photos show S-2 in drydock in Tsingtao, China, mid 1920's. Her raised bow buoyancy tank, torpedo tubes, anchor, and bow planes are visible here. The second photo shows both the motor room and engine room hatches open.

All photos are provided from the private collection of the late Rick Larson.

The crew of the S-2 gathered around the deck gun for a formal photograph, July 12, 1921. The location is likely the Portsmouth Navy Yard in Kittery, ME. The crew was finishing up final preparations for a homeport change to the Asiatic Fleet in the Philippines. S-2's commanding officer, LT Lewis Hancock, Jr. is the officer in the center left. In the background is a Pennsylvania-class armored cruiser.

Photo in the private collection of Ric Hedman.

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