Silent Hunter III Career Patrol II

The second patrol of Lieutenant Jr. Klaus Walther begins in Wilhelmshaven, Germany on September 11, 1939. After making it back alive from the first patrol in the U-2, a Type IIA “Duck”, I opt to change out the entire stock of T I (G7a) gas/steam torpedoes for five T II (G7e) electronic propulsion fish which leave no visible wake in the water.

The main drawback to these new torpedoes is they only have one speed setting, 30 knots and a range of 3 km. No Hail Mary shots from over 10 km away can be taken as was with the T I’s, however the tradeoff is more than worth it. The only difficulty is tactical employment: the 3 km maximum range of these fish can put the boat in some tight spots, literally.

The T II (G7e) torpedo had issues with depth-keeping equipment in the early war period which caused a great many of these fish to simply drop to the bottom of the ocean.

The magnetic influence mechanism (or pistol as it is referred to in the game) was so flawed it would detonate prematurely giving away a subs position, or not detonate at all. After U-39 was sunk when premature detonations gave away her position to the HMS Ark Royal, BdU ordered all G7e/T2 torpedoes to be fired with the contact pistol only.

The crews’ hopes are high as we head out to sea towards patrol grid AN-56 in the old rust bucket.

I have the Navigation Officer plot a course out of the docks and out into the North Sea.

Two immediate places where the game (stock version) fails: there is no option to ignore friendly map contact updates while under time compression, which makes trying to get out of and into your home port to dock the boat somewhat a pain in the ass (this was somewhat rectified in SilentHunter IV with the option to begin the patrol at sea).

The other nuisance is that when you come up from periscope depth, only the watchmen "man" the conning tower. You have to manually place the Watch Officer up there to augment their abilities.

Once we reach the patrol grid I have the Navigation Officer plot a search pattern. With it only being 09:14 at this point and the ship running underwater at periscope depth (and at ahead slow once I set that), the 24 hour requirement will be met long before we make the first turn north in the pattern.

With little room to maneuver I have to be careful of enemy destroyers as there is no opportunity to crash dive in this environment.

With the Primary Objectives of BdU satisfied I technically could return home without firing a fish; however I decide to go hunting.

I set a heading towards the enemy port of Hartlepool: raiding these things are touchy subjects in any condition, however they seem to be a tad bit safer early war.

The ruler is set out to 3 km, the maximum firing range of my torpedo load out.

While heading towards the port, I pick up a destroyer on my port side. I mulled this over for several minutes and decided any kill of an enemy ship should help the war effort, even a broad daylight attack on enemy defenses.

The first tube is set to a 3 m depth with an impact firing pistol. With the destroyer 1 km away and sitting at 105stb Angle on Bow, I release the torpedo, which fails to detonate as the ship sails on.

With the first fish gone, the next one is set for a 5 m depth and a magnetic pistol. The draft of the now identified V&W Destroyer is 3.2 m, so the hope is the torpedo will run under the ship and explode on their keel, breaking its back.

A perfect strike thanks to the Weapons Officer handling all the difficult matters and allowing me to press the big red button.

The log book entry has the ship going down at 15:02 on October 14, 1939 for 1,188 tons.

I am not sure if this game models survivors but there should have been some from this as the vessel is still intact.

The approach into the docks at Hartlepool was somewhat dicey as I had to dodge a mixed bag of coastal defenses, such as this destroyer unwittingly shadowing me.

It is situations such as this that make me miss the mods that I have with the game on my other machine (SH3 Commander is one of the best that I have used). Entering combat conditions the crew is in complete shambles needing rest.

Shut up and fish!

Playing the game at 100% realism prevents the ability (external view) of attaining screen shots such as this one for blog posts. It is a cheat however as I now know there is a big fat C2 cargo ship at the docks making the very real risk somewhat more worth the potential reward.

The torpedo is set for a depth of 8.5 m with a magnetic pistol and does hit home, however with the angle of the shot it was not effective in doing anything but damaging the merchant, for which this game gives no credit.

Having enough of the perils swirling all around in an enemy port, I turn back towards the sea and pop above water to recharge the batteries on the trip back home.

Down to 50% diesel fuel and two torpedoes, I should be sitting off some shipping channel waiting for a contact, but I still head home. The patrol report that I send comes back with the response of “Keep up the good work!” from BdU. In real life if I showed back up with half a tank of gas and two fish, I would be severely reprimanded if not shot.

On the way back to Wilhelmshaven, I pick up an enemy contact with a promising trajectory which I sniff out to no avail. Note that the French ports are still in enemy hands: these will be seized later in the war and become operational sub bases for BdU which I can transfer to if I live long enough in this career effort.

Back home for rest and refit.

After-action Reports

I am awarded the U-boat Front Clasp for my patrol results. The awards shadowbox employed in the game is wiped clean of any Nazi Germany symbols, but still is a nice touch.

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