Silent Hunter III Narvik Scenario

Narvik is the seventh of 10 single player scenarios available in the game. It takes place in April 1940 and is based on The Second Naval Battle of Narvik, where the British battleship HMS Warspite was sent with nine destroyers into the Ofotfjord to engage the Kriegsmarine forces operating off of the coast of Narvik. In the real life operation a catapult plane launched by the Warspite bombed and sank the German submarine U-64 which I have been assigned to captain in this mission. It would prove to be the only instance of the war where a battleship launched aircraft sank a U-Boat.

At the end of the day the British would secure the naval victory at Narvik having caused the loss of eight German destroyers (several by forcing the crews to scuttle their ships) and one U-Boat, at the cost of three British destroyers damaged. Although the Royal Navy would defeat the Kriegsmarine at sea, the German land forces (consisting of mountain troops, paratroopers, and shipwrecked sailors) eventually won the land battle due in part to the Allied evacuation of Norway (Operation Alphabet) later in June 1940.

The default submarine selection is a Type IXB (1940 series) U-Boat, and as with other single player missions I am running the game at a moderately increased realism setting of 49%. The primary objective of the scenario is to sink the British battleship Warspite.

The Navigation Map interface shows the area of operations at the top of the image in the Norwegian fjords (the little black circle with a tail is my U-Boat's position).

From the outset I am plunged into the naval battle with the British Task Force operating less than 3,000 meters off my starboard bow. The surface force is already hammering away at the German destroyers trapped in the shallow waters off to my port side.

I have two T I (G7a) gas/steam torpedoes loaded into tubes one and two, and two T II (G7e) electric torpedoes loaded into tubes three and four. Oddly enough there is not a salvo setting that groups tubes three and four together, so I manually configure each warhead to run at a 9.5 meter depth with a magnetic pistol setting (there is only one speed setting for these fish that being 30 knots).

At approximately 2,000 meters I flood both tubes three and four and fire at the Warspite. The first torpedo is aimed at the forward gun emplacement, while the second one is aimed just in front of the smoke stack.

Using the Crew & Damage Management interface I stock up the aft and bow torpedo room with a full complement of personnel to increase efficiency as I am using realistic torpedo loading times.

This is just a glamour shot of the battleship mere seconds before the first torpedo explodes under the keel below the forward gun mount.

Moments after that the second fish explodes under the center of the warship severely crippling it. In the distance on the horizon the burning hulks of the German destroyers can be seen.

I would then configure a 3 meter depth impact pistol torpedo on a fast speed setting and fire it at the battleship, but by this point it is already beginning to pitch forward.

Before that fish reached the vessel it had already rolled over and began submerging in the shallow waterway.

In the Captain’s Log interface I am credited with 28,000 tons for the Revenge class battleship. In real life the Queen Elizabeth-class warship was decommissioned in February 1945, struck from the registry in 1947 and eventually scrapped during the early 1950’s. In a bit of irony (as far as this game scenario is concerned) the next British vessel to carry the designation HMS Warspite was a Valiant class nuclear-powered submarine launched in 1965.

With only one objective in the scenario I could end the mission here and be done with it, however I am trying to sail out of danger and surface to avoid the “U-Boat lost” message that appears on the after-action report when ending a scenario while submerged.

To this end I plot a course deeper into the fjords in an attempt to hide behind some terrain in order to surface and quickly end the scenario.

However I am operating in extremely compressed environments and any appearance of my conning tower on the surface is sure to bring attention by the heavy British naval presence.

While running away from the action I decided to fire off an aft torpedo at a destroyer that appears to be trying to render assistance to the sunken battleship (I am pretty sure this could be interpreted as a war crime). As gaming fate would have it the fish glanced off the hull of the stopped vessel and fell harmlessly off to the side.

This brings the pain train down on me as a hornets nest of destroyers converge on my location and pounce for the kill as I desperately try to work my way out of danger.

I should have just ended the scenario when I sunk the battleship but nooooo…

My U-Boat is slammed down on the port side and the grinding metal noise from inside the hull is deafening.

That is going to leave a mark.

And the destroyer drops some depth charges on me in shallow water as if that was not enough.

Upright and trying to creep out of this engagement I am crossed by another destroyer and have to order emergency back power again to avoid being rammed a second time.

This ends up being one of the most fraught with danger ASW encounters of my entire naval sim career as the pressure employed by the British is immense.

Using the Crew & Damage Management interface I load up the Damage Control Team and prepare to release from silent running in order to affect repairs on the damaged control room pumps.

During my efforts to break contact, several of the British destroyers inexplicably beach themselves along the shore and explode in flames.

One other destroyer crosses my path aft and takes a single torpedo set at a 5 meter depth and a magnetic pistol which sends it straight into the muddy floor of the shallow waters.

Here I change course and decide to duck into this cover in order to surface and end the scenario. At this point I have had more than enough action and want to slip away quietly.

Finally in relative safety I surface the boat to end the mission.

After-action Report

29,850 tons spread among the battleship and a single destroyer. The effort to escape the immediate area of operations to surface the boat proved to be the most perilous part of the scenario.

Post Mortem

Long story short I could have fired two torpedoes at the battleship, waited for it to sink and then ended the mission successfully without ever having to take the boat out of park.

In my opinion this is weak scenario design and the end product feels like cheap filler material to achieve a ten mission single player scenario set. With some more attention and effort this could have been developed into a multifaceted engagement with multiple objectives that put the player to a real test in operating in such shallow waters.

This mission was played on 7/30/15 on a Windows 7 machine.

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