Helmut Grimm, Patrol 1

Wilhelmshaven, Germany: Today I started a new career in Silent Hunter III using 51% realism and SH3 Commander from JoneSoft to alter the fatigue model to GW/GWX 8 Hour (I am the Captain of this freaking boat, I have an XO to set watch schedules and make sure they are adhered to!) I was assigned to U-24, a Type II coastal boat out of the 1st Flotilla Weddigen based in Wilhelmshaven.

The first order of business was to round out the crew by adding a Chief Petty Officer and three additional sailors. When making these selections, I always pick the first ones that have zero renown cost as the game and all you can do with it is grounded in your renown score, so why waste it on mop pushers?

In the yard for final fitting out, I had the technicians replace all of the steam torpedoes with electric TII G7e's - rated at 30 knots with a range of 3km. I know these fish suck early war for the Kriegsmarine, however if you stick with 3 meter depth impact shots, they are more reliable and cannot be detected from the surface like the steam variants can.

After the yard painters finished applying the Gekreuzte Hammer to the conning tonner, we got underway 9/1/39 at 11:20 AM and set sail for grid AF-87, a barren wasteland just NW of Bergen, Norway. Perhaps BDU was aware that the last time out I died on my first patrol and wanted to royally bone me this time around with a crap grid assignment.

I had the navigator plot a course hugging the coast all the way up and us running at ahead-standard. On Day 2, at 14:07 we spotted a coastal merchant flying a neutral flag coming out of Kristiansand through the strait of Skagerrak. I made not of the traffic lane and decided to check that out on my run back to Wilhelmshaven.

On Day 3, at 12:05 we received a map contact update of an enemy vessel slipping into the fjords SW of Bergen. I was out of position to properly prosecute this contact so I let it go and continued to make my way north to the assigned patrol grid. The weather was absolutely fantastic at this point.

At 13:32 we receive the boilerplate message from Raeder to commence hostilities and at 22:55 we make grid AF-87 to begin a northerly patrol route. After the run-up at ahead-standard (10 knots surface speed), I see my diesel fuel is hovering at 1/2 tank and order the Chief Engineer to cut back to ahead-1/3 (7 knots surface speed) to conserve fuel.

On Day 4, at 04:40 I am woken up by the Chief Engineer who officially reports that we are at 50% diesel fuel reserves. This leaves little margin to chase a faraway contact and have something left in order to return to base. At this point I am absolutely certain that BDU hates me.

Late that night at 22:55 I achieve the second mission goal - patrolling the assigned grid for 24 hours, and plotted a course back to home plate that hugs the coastline down with a probe into the strait of Skagerrak. Who knows - maybe I will get lucky and finally have something to set up on (the boredom is killing the crew).

On Day 5, at 18:19 I send my patrol report and later at 19:21 BDU responds tersely, "Be More Aggressive!" Languishing along, we pick up an enemy contact on Day 7, at 14:19 who was running out of the strait and was already well past us at 119km.

At 22:22 I receive notification that we are sitting on 25% diesel fuel reserves and my navigator advises we are 500km away from the pier at Wilhelmshaven. I cancel the probe into Skagerrak and order up a straight run to the base at ahead-1/3.

We finally make it in after a 9-day patrol the netting nothing - we didn't even slip below the surface once to go to periscope depth. I picked up 442.75 renown and have 8 U-Boat War Badges to hand out, officers and petty officers first. I assign the Helmsman qualification badge to the navigator and call it a patrol.

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