When commissioned, the S-3 Class coastal and harbor defense submarine was 231′ in length overall; had an extreme beam of 21’10″; had a normal surface displacement of 876 tons, and, when in that condition, had a mean draft of 13’1″. Submerged displacement was 1,092 tons. The submarine was of riveted construction. The designed compliment was four officers and thirty-four enlisted men. The boat could operate safely to depths of 200 feet. The submarine was armed with five 21-inch torpedo tubes: four installed in the bow; one installed in the stern. Fourteen torpedoes were carried. One 4-inch/50 caliber deck gun was installed forward of the conning tower. The full load of diesel oil carried was 36,950 gallons, which fueled two 1,000 designed brake horsepower MAN (Maschinenfabrik-Augsberg-Nurnberg) type diesel engines manufactured by the New York Navy Yard at Brooklyn, New York…which could drive the boat, via a direct drive propulsion system, at 15 knots on the surface in relatively calm seas. Power for submerged propulsion was provided by a main storage battery, divided into two sixty-cell batteries, manufactured by the Electric Storage Battery Company (EXIDE) at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania…which powered two 600 designed brake horsepower main propulsion motors manufactured by the Westinghouse Electric Company at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania…which turned propeller shafts…which turned propellers…which could drive the submarine at 11 knots for a short period of time when operating beneath the surface of the sea. Slower submerged speeds resulted in greater endurances before the batteries needed to be recharged by the engines and generators.
Following commissioning, USS S-13 (SS-118) operated in waters off the northeast coast of the United States for the remainder of 1923.
USS S-13 visited the Panama Canal Zone, Saint Thomas in the United States Virgin Islands, and Trinidad…from January into April of 1924.
Departing the United States Naval Submarine Base at New London/Groton, Connecticut, on 24 November 1924, the S-boat proceeded, via the Panama Canal and California, to the Territory of Hawaii…which she visited from 27 April to 25 May in 1925. The submarine returned to New London/Groton on 12 July 1925.
In addition to operating in New England coastal waters from July of 1925 through 1928, USS S-13 exercised in Panama Canal areas from February through April of 1926; visited Kingston on the southeast coast of Jamaica from 20 to 28 March of 1927; and served, again, in the Panama Canal Zone, from February into April of 1928.
From 1929 into 1936, USS S-13 operated almost exclusively in the Panama Canal Zone areas, although she visited Baltimore, Maryland, from 15 May to 5 June in 1933, and New London/Groton, Connecticut, from 15 May to 1 June in 1935.
On 13 June 1936, USS S-13 departed Coco Solo and transited to the Philadelphia Navy Yard at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and, upon arrival, prepared to go out of service.
USS S-13 was decommissioned on 30 September 1936 and placed in the reserve fleet at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
With United States involvement in the Second World War becoming more likely with each passing day, USS S-13 was recommissioned on 28 October 1940. The S-boat then made several voyages to Bermuda.
The United States became an active participant in the Second World War following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in the Territory of Hawaii on 7 December 1941.
USS S-13 (SS-118) conducted patrols in the coastal waters of Panama from December of 1941 into June of 1942. She then operated out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, from June into August of 1942. From August of 1942 into January of 1944, USS S-13 conducted patrols in the water approaches to the Panama Canal. The S-boat patrolled out of Trinidad from February into May of 1944, out of Guantanamo Bay from May through July of 1944, and out of Coco Solo in the Panama Canal Zone during the remainder of 1944.
USS S-13 departed Coco Solo on 3 January 1945 and transited to the Philadelphia Navy Yard at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Upon arrival, she commenced preparations to go out of service.
USS S-13 (SS-118) was decommissioned on 10 April 1945 and struck from the Navy List on 19 May 1945.
The Second World War officially ended on 2 September 1945 with the signing of the instruments of surrender by the Japanese on board battleship USS Missouri…which was anchored in Tokyo Bay, Japan, for that occasion.
On 28 October 1945, Submarine S-13 was sold to the Rosoff Brothers of New York City. They resold the submersible to the Northern Metals Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for subsequent scrapping.