The sixth of April, 1917, found the United States quite unprepared to carry on a submarine warfare in the enemy’s waters, largely because the boats in commission at the time were not capable of taking the long trip across the Atlantic under their own power and of still being in condition to carry on war operations. The United States recognized no obstacles as insurmountable and great efforts were made to send a number of submarines overseas as quickly as possible. The first submarines scheduled to make the attempt was a division of K-boats, the K-l to K-8 inclusive.
At that time the Diesel engine was very much in its infancy so far as our submarines were concerned and it was feared that our undersea craft would be unable to make the transatlantic trip unless towed part of the way by the submarine tenders, as the submarines’ engines were continually in a state of repair and the fuel capacity of the boats was small. The K-boat division was put through an intensive repair period, including meticulous overhaul of the engines and renewal of the storage batteries.