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Old 01-09-2019, 11:52 PM   #1
XanderF
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Default Active sonar is KILLING ME (literally) - how to survive it in this game?

Basically as above. Playing a bunch of the missions, and it's frustrating as you spawn into the mission and *immediately* are hearing active pings from the enemy. Moments later, torpedoes in the water nearby from missile drops.

It's not...impossible to survive their attack that always starts every encounter, but you sure aren't in a position to return fire with any effect.

Any suggestions?
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Old 01-10-2019, 07:46 AM   #2
CDR DPH
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If you speed across the map using the left mouse button, when you enter combat (visible or invisible targets) the enemy already knows you are there. Try positioning yourself so that the enemy bumps into to you while you are motionless on the map (best) or at the very least when moving using the right mouse button. The very first thing you do when an engagement starts is go ultra quiet. Do not take time to sneeze or go get a cup of coffee, get quiet, and see if you need to move to break detection. Coming to all stop in addition to ultra quiet can further reduce your detectability while you assess the situation.

If you allow aircraft or satellites to pass over your boat when traversing the map, you'll notice the enemy begin to close on your position - they know you are there and are coming to kill you - pinging like mad.

Classify your targets either manually or using the radar or periscope (be quick with these as using them makes it easier to find you). Check the data on the signature page for the contact. Positive numbers mean they can see you. If this is the case, you need to lose their track. Constant pings mean crews are loading weapons soon to be delivered with intent.

Enemies talk to each other. If one knows you are there, they all do. If aircraft locate you, they tell the ships who then tell the subs and vice versa.

When the enemy fires down your bearing, you have lots of time to avoid the torpedo before it goes active, but you must act quickly and decisively. If being shot at, your priority is to avoid the inbound weapons and hide again, not go sailing into the firestorm. Subs will eventually lose against a concerted air/sea attack. Subs have to play the long game if they wish to survive or they fire everything they have and run away as fast as they can to avoid the return fire that is certain to come. Cycle through F3 weapon views. If you see inbound airdropped torpedoes you have minutes not hours to move your sub from where you are to somewhere other than where those torpedoes will enter the water.

There are tactics subs can employ to minimize the danger of return fire when the enemy detects inbound weapons, but those are not what you are referring to in your post.

The single biggest necessity for a sub to survive an engagement is to kill the enemy without them ever knowing for certain exactly where the sub is.

If you are dropped into an engagement and the enemy already knows you are there, you are doing something wrong.
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Old 01-10-2019, 02:06 PM   #3
XanderF
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Interesting - didn't realize that about the map movement making a difference on contact. In-game training sessions didn't cover that part.

It doesn't help a lot with the 'single missions', though - I've come to the conclusion that the 'Against the Odds' mission is basically impossible. LOL

I did try switching over to the 1968 period rather than the mid-80s I was more interested in, and have to say - it's a LOOOOOT easier. I mean, my own weapons are ****e of course, but at least the entire enemy fleet isn't constantly banging away with active sonar immediately and no missile-dropped torpedoes to worry about. It feels a lot easier to watch and manage the enemy sensor strength to get a good approach in '68. (And I guess coming from so much time in WW2 sims, "end around to intercept position and fire wide torpedo spread" is second nature enough that it's easy-mode when you've got a nuc powerplant rather than diesel-electric....)
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Old 01-10-2019, 02:48 PM   #4
CDR DPH
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Escort ships protecting merchants in a convoy are always actively looking for submarines. Just because you can hear (see) their sonar pings does not mean they are getting a return from your sub. The numbers in the signature panel will tell you if active sonar from a particular target is likely to be showing your position.

Active sonar is all about distance, layers and the shadow zone. Passive sonar, is a different beast and is listening for noise that can identified as a target. Usually the passive towed arrays are what find you first with subs. Ships are noisy and easy to find so they aren't so concerned with stealth but are more interested in finding you and preventing you from having the time to target them first.

At least that's the way it's supposed to be. :-)
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Old 01-11-2019, 01:55 AM   #5
XanderF
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I get that, but still...

Tried out the 84 campaign again, today...orders on a surface convoy. Okay, keeping in mind your pointers on the map - got myself in position in front of them, no overflights, slow maneuvering and then stopping...annnnnd...CONTACT! Great!

Mission starts and...I've actually got range on the target! Fantastic! IMMEDIATELY drop to 1 knot to improve solution and reduce detection, pick the closest (looking) contact, it's a Udaloy, and...oh, 10 seconds in and he's already got me at 15 signal strength on his active sonar and....yyyyeah, there's the missile coming at me.



(To be fair, your tip on positioning on the strategic map did help - at least I was able to get a decent long range on the convoy, and even classify the closest contact before it was able to get the missile off, so...a solid 5 seconds more reaction time than I was getting before, but I mean...)
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Old 01-11-2019, 03:04 AM   #6
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Default Welcome back!

XanderF! after a seven year silent run!
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Old 01-11-2019, 11:58 AM   #7
CDR DPH
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Your thinking may be 1 dimensional.

The ocean is a 3D work space. To kill a contact, you do not need to be directly in front of it and probably shouldn't be there anyways. As distance between you and the enemy gets smaller, their potential to detect you goes up.

It is a misconception that being deep offers you any more stealthiness than being at 50 feet when it comes to sonar detection if there is no strong layer and/or strong duct involved. It can be a complicated discussion but CW vastly simplifies this in the game. It's all about numbers.

Your sub is given noise coefficient in its settings file. The various sonar detection rigs are given a signal recognition coefficient. When you make too much noise, or are too close or are improperly positioned in the water column or when you are broadside to an approaching warship or..., you get seen. Once you are seen you can't be unseen until you do something that reduces the enemy's sonar reading to a negative number as displayed on the signature screen. Even if you reduce the towed array signature to -10, if the active sonar from an Udaloy is still at a positive number, you are still being seen. The Udaloy is a terrific sub killer and one of the bad boys that you need to watch out for. Kill them fast if you can do so safely.

Think of the game of detection as being similar to Star Trek's 3D chess. You may be golden on two levels, but a misstep on the third level still leaves you vulnerable.

As above, in front of a group of targets is not really a great place to be. They are closing distance on you at a steady rate. They are pointing their most powerful acoustic detection equipment right at you. Aircraft are out in force in advance of a convoy along the intended path of travel. You are a sitting duck.

Experienced players can make an attack from this position work and it is easier if you have lots of tubes to send torps at a bunch of weaponized targets simultaneously. Even the best skippers know they can't fire and remain at the launch point for very long. Your torps are noisy, they are easily detected and the game always sends return fire down the bearing of your approaching weapons. You cannot be there when the return fire arrives which means, you should have gone somewhere else or better yet, not be in a location to be on the receiving end of the inevitable return fire in the first place. Hint: Dog legged torpedo attacks.

Now this is a game so KFG has taken some liberties. The idea of the game is to shoot and kill. If you don't shoot first, at some point the enemy will. No matter how good your positioning, if you just sit there long enough the game decides, "peek-a-boo I see you" and the battle is on.

It's like juggling 3 or 4 balls at the same time, You can't sit still forever, so you have to move, but you can't move too fast or in any old direction. You have to kill the enemy before they kill you but each weapon makes noise, or smoke and more than one weapon at a time makes more noise or more smoke. Against surface ships, you can expect return fire just about every time. From subs, the same thing, even the perfect shot from 10,000 yards in a sub's baffle will produce return fire eventually - the game does not reliably allow otherwise. Sometimes you can take out a ship or a sub and for some reason they do not fire back but I have yet to figure out any way to create this scenario. So I just chalk it up to random luck.

Your position in the water, your depth, above or below the layer, using the shadow zone, speed, direction of travel, good luck as well as bad luck and the characteristics of your own sub all determine how well you are managing the variables to limit the ease with which the enemy sees you. Adjusting depth has an influence, as does speed, as does the type of sub you are in, as does the capabilities of any single enemy. There is no perfect solution that will allow you to do nothing but fire and kill everything. That is not the how the game is intended to work. This drives the SimHeads crazy. Being perfectionists, they do everything right just like they were taught in Dangerous Waters and they get pummeled for it.

You can mange to a large degree how much of a potential pummeling is coming your way but you cannot take out everything with one hand and get away scot-free. You are going to have to run away and set up elsewhere, you are going to need a moss or two get get the majority of a torpedo swarm to go in another direction. You are going to have to cavitate at times and once and awhile you may even need to breach the surface at flank speed while dodging some dogged USET-80 torps.

Your sub and its capabilities determine how long you can outrun something or at what point the odds are just so stacked against you that you should abandon ship before everyone dies.

On the other hand, as you get better at juggling and weighing the costs of one course of action over another, recognizing the in game reality you are being presented with, if you can make a bunch of good compromises in a row, you can win. The best of us still take hits now and then. Being alive at the end of the mission and completing the primary objective is the goal. Killing everything all the time is nice but doing that and surviving all the time just is not possible in this game on the highest settings.

Dealing with 6 airdropped torpedoes, closing escorts and aircraft is not an easy thing to do but like riding a bike, with practice and experience you will develop your own sense of what works best for you, most of the time.

Eg. Playing a free roam campaign within a mod two nights ago - I had to replay a particular mission 6 times before I finally lived to the end. Each play thru was a little different but the "oh sh!t" moment was always the same no matter how I set it up - too many inbound torps, too many efficient warships, too many unseen hostile subs and 3 aircraft that never seemed to cut me a break. Lots of running and dodging. Some quick stops mid-escape to launch a torp at a ship that was just too close, not enough water to move in and a long time to lose the aircraft and get clean so that I could set up another attempt to take out the targets.

Lots and lots going on all the time. It slowly got better as I reduced the threats one by one. It was really fun, its was really infuriating around try number 4. I was forced to try different things in a different order and eventually just take some offered luck and get through it.

You will always experience the same thing in Cold Waters. If the missions become too easy, up the realism factor. When you are comfortable, force yourself to get better, to juggle more at once, to make the better decision when you need to so you don't always have to spend 20 minutes fixing the mess you created. However, you will always have to move, you will always have to prioritize which threat to hit next and all the while try not to crash into the rising seabed at flank speed while trying to avoid a swarm of killer fish.

Don't give up. Don't be afraid to replay a mission you found particularly hard using the save/autosave functions. Try different things in a different order, run away in the opposite direction and get lots of distance between you and the approaching ships etc. Let me know when you someday stumble across the single mission that begins with a helicopter with its dipping sonar in the water 100 yards off your bow... Fun times right from the get-go.

Last edited by CDR DPH; 01-11-2019 at 12:41 PM.
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