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Threadfin 10-05-2014 05:49 PM

[OM] War Patrols of U-47
This is also being posted at SimHQ, but I thought I'd put it up here as well. OM is a great mod, and I've enjoyed it so much I decided to detail some of my experiences and share some of the highlights -- and lowlights! -- of my career. This career is in the 7th Flotilla using a September 1939 start., in U-47 a Type VIIB. It is being played dead is dead, no reloads, at 88% difficulty with only map contacts enabled. My main goal is to survive the war, if that's indeed possible. With that in mind, the decisions I make are tempered with caution, though when a major warship is encountered, caution is sometimes thrown to the wind. I am playing OM 7.20 with OMEGU, the KiUB mod and Webster's no plankton.


U-47 set sail from Kiel on Sept 3 1939, bound for grid AM52, on the western approach to the British Isles. Enroute between Scapa Flow and the Shetland Islands, we encountered a huge Dutch freighter of 9,000 tons, and another ship, west of Stornoway, a 5000 ton Panamanian steamer, both of which were sent to the bottom in straightforward periscope attacks.

After sinking the second ship we surfaced to put distance between U-47 and the scene, expecting aircraft to arrive shortly to investigate. Soon, we dove to avoid it's arrival, and as we did so, warship screws were detected closing from the south. Once the aircraft had departed, surfaced and made a flank speed surface dash to close the track and pulled the plug upon sighting a flank escorting destroyer. Continuing to close submerged, a fleet carrier emerged from the light fog 3500 meters distant.

Slipped inside the port screen, and using the pencil, stopwatch, compass and nomograph, determined a speed of 18 knots after a 3 minute plot. A ship making 18 knots covers 1650 meters in 3 minutes, so I quickly spun the dials, set the torpedos for 4 meters, fast, impact, and opened all four bow tubes, which were loaded with steamers. Dialing in an AoB of 72 port, bearing 020, range 700, speed 18 knots, resulting in a gyro angle of triple zeros, I placed the scope on 020 and 2 minutes later the Illustrious crossed the wire. All four tubes were fired at intervals to spread the torpedoes along it's length. Fortune was with us as all four struck the carrier and detonated, and the Illustrious, 23000 tons, plummeted to the bottom of the ocean, 6 minutes after sighting.

We did not see it sink as we were already on the way down to 160 meters. The escorts were not able to find us despite their best efforts, and we slipped away to the south. A good start to the career of U-47, 3 ships for 37k in the first 10 days of the war, but I know it is unlikely to last.

Threadfin 10-05-2014 05:49 PM

After the success of the first patrol, U-47 continued to makes forays in to the Atlantic from Kiel. Three more successful patrols followed, including the fourth, in support of the Invasion of Norway. Averaging about 50k tons per patrol, we found mostly lone merchants, with the occasional convoy to pick a target or two out of. The waters northwest of Loch Ewe, off the coast of Stornoway proved most productive.

A few task forces were sighted, but we were unable to close to an advantageous position, and in each case they got by without an attack being made. In the fourth patrol in the Norwegian Sea, a task force of one troop ship and many Armed Auxiliary Cruisers was found lying to. Made a submerged approach and torpedoed the troopship. Follow up attacks against one of the Auxiliaries failed as torpedoes striking the ship caused a crash to desktop. After two more attempts I gave it up as a bad job, but something is not quite working right with these ships. I don't reload in sub sims, but the crashes forced me to.

Later in the patrol we sank a large tanker escorted by 4 patrol boats, who evidently were not equipped with active sonar. Finally a convoy was sighted heading for Russian waters and several ships went to the bottom from this.

Countermeasures so far have proven ineffective, but airplanes are a real threat, and one needs to be ever vigilant and quick on the diving alarm. However I know this will not last for long, and more destroyers are being encountered as we head in to late 1940. In June of 1940 U-47 departed on her fifth war patrol. As I mentioned in my previous posts, I hoped starting at the beginning of the war would allow the crew to gain more experience, and many of the crew have seen promotions and have acquired specialties as I believe that only a highly experienced crew might allow us to survive the war, insofar as that may be possible.

After departing Kiel, U-47 sailed to the north, passing Scapa Flow and entering the Atlantic. We managed to put a 6000 ton passenger/freighter on the bottom near our objective in the northeast quadrant of the AM grid. After several weeks of fruitless searching I decided to move south, in to CG grid off the coast of Spain. This is a common route for ships coming up from Gibraltar and the Med. Eventually a convoy was spotted, and in one of my most successful attacks in German boats, all 5 torpedoes were fired. The stern tube sank a 5000 ton steamer, two bow tubes sank a 7000 ton freighter, and the final two tubes were fired at an 8300 ton tanker in the far column. The first torpedo hit, but the second was a dud and she sailed on, with a slight starboard list and with flames visible near the forecastle. When moving in on this convoy, the lead escort had been too far out to port as we closed from starboard, and the starboard escort too far out of position to the rear and way out on the flank, leaving a yawning gap for us to slip through.

We dove to evade, and after being held down for 5 hours, we surfaced to trace the convoy's route and hopefully find the tanker straggling. After running up their track for 30 kilometers, the tanker was sighted and we made a submerged attack, first firing the stern tube for a dud, then another dud from a bow tube, and finally one the hit near the stack and the ship exploded and sank.

Cleared the area to the south. As the U boat Flotillas were in the midst of shifting to French coast bases, I decided to make this a double-barreled patrol, and put in to Lorient for a reload, with the view to patrol until our new base would be ready in St Nazaire in the middle of September. The we left for the waters west of Gibraltar in the hopes of making contact with heavy men-of-war.

Soon after arriving on station, the bridge watch spotted the tops of warships on the horizon closing from the east. Ordered a flank speed surface dash to close their track, and plotted their speed at 19 knots. If they kept on, the best I could hope for was a shot on a broad angle at around 4000 meters. However, in the clear weather in bright sunshine we were spotted and as the destroyers escorting the heavies showed a zero angle and bones in their teeth I pulled the plug and continued to close, albeit at a much slower speed.

But after being sighted, the big ships, which we now identified as a battleship or battlecruiser and a heavy cruiser, slowed and began that constant helming that alerted ships in Silent Hunter do. Soon our plot showed them at 12 knots along their base course, which would allow us to reach a suitable firing position. As the lead ship's angle broadened slightly we were able to see she was the majestic Hood.

We continued to close the Hood's base course and set up the shot. Here is a water-lapping exposure to check bearing and AoB.

All four bow tubes with steamers loaded were opened, depth 4 meters, impact, fast. AoB 80 starboard, bearing 350, speed 12 knots, range 600. As the Hood crossed the wire, all four tubes were fired at intervals to spread the torpedoes along her length. Firing torpedoes like this is also a fail-safe against speed or range errors, and it virtually ensures that at least three of the four eels hit, unless the data is very far off. In the event, all four hit and detonated, and Hood exploded.

With the escorts still off depth charging the area where we submerged after being sighted, I lingered to observe our handiwork and watched as she began to slide below the waves. Then we started the descent to 160 meters and began evasion.

Here the fourth and final torpedo strikes Hood near the stern moments before she went under.

It appears to be business as usual for the crew of U-47 despite the sinking of the 48,000 ton battlecruiser.

Threadfin 10-05-2014 05:52 PM

U-47 was now based in St Nazaire, France. This allowed direct access to the Atlantic, shortening the route, and allowing us to remain on station somewhat longer. However, it also means we have to traverse the Bay of Biscay, which is heavily patrolled by Allied aircraft, and so far we have managed to spot them in time, but it will only take one moment of relaxed vigilance to end the war for us all.

War patrols six and seven were successful, with a number of merchants sunk, and we made several surfaced attacks on convoys. Doing so requires firing from longer range, but we can attempt to escape at high speed on the surface. It is risky, but if the shot can be taken without being spotted it is worth the risk as we aren't subjected to counterattack. I look for overlaps and fire all four bow tubes then get the hell out of there, usually firing off the stern tube as we come around. I will only attempt this in heavy seas, and thus far it has worked very well. But as we move in to late 1941 I will have to consider curtailing surface attacks as I expect the escorts might soon begin to be equipped with radar.

U-47s eighth war patrol left St Nazaire for the AL grid south of Iceland. After several weeks chasing convoy reports without success I made for our old hunting grounds west of Stornoway, as this is the route ships travelling to and from Loch Ewe tend to use. And sure enough, soon after arriving on station, the bridge watch spotted a destroyer standing out in to the Atlantic. Soon after I spotted the faint outline of a battleship and began the plot and ordered flank speed to get in position. A Kaleun needs to be quick and measured in such situations, as ships moving this fast will get by quickly, particularly so when they emerge out of fog, which drastically reduces the range at which they are first spotted. We clocked the force of one battleship and four screening destroyers at 21 knots and closed the track, attempting to get in ahead of the port side screen.

I use what I call a 'steady-wire' firing technique. That is, I plot the target's course and speed, and then attempt to predict the firing point and position. I then dial in the solution for this spot and place the periscope wire on that bearing. As the target crosses the wire, the torpedoes are fired, usually with specific features of the target used as aimpoints, such as leading mast, bridge, stack, after mast, etc. In the 3 attacks shown in this thread, I instead fire all torpedoes considering the size of the targets and the improbability of follow up attacks, and fire them at intervals to spread the eels along the target's length. As mentioned before, this sort of 'single-shot salvo' provides a failsafe against targeting errors. For example if I have the speed too slow, the first 3 should hit with the fourth missing astern, or too fast and the first will miss ahead but the remaining three should hit.

In this case I dialed in an AoB of 80 port, bearing 020, speed 21 knots and range 1200 meters. The AoB was a mistake, as I meant to put it at 70 port which would match the 020 firing bearing since U-47's heading was at a 90 degree angle to the target's course. This introduced a 10 degree AoB error that fortunately didn't come back to haunt me. In such conditions, and with the target moving so fast, there is little time for double checking, and the mistake was mine.

As the battleship, now identified as Queen Elizabeth class, 36000 tons, filled my scope and crossed the wire, all four bow torpedoes were fired, set to run fast, 44 knots, with impact pistols and depth of 2 meters. After a run of about 24 seconds, the torpedoes slammed in to the battleship and she exploded.

As soon as the torpedoes hit the escorts began pinging U-47, and I swung the scope to starboard to see the port screen coming on at zero angle with a bone in her teeth and I ordered crash dive to 160 meters as we performed a corkscrew evasion to hopefully throw off the aim of the charging destroyer. As we passed through 70 meters a string hit close, causing moderate damage and minor flooding that we were able to get under control, but at the expense of silent running. Using the hydrophones (I don't use external cameras), we attempted to evade by reacting to the course changes of the escorts, but this is a real challenge with four of them up there. Eventually we were able to slip off to the northeast and after being held down for three hours we managed to lose them and surfaced and got the hell out of there.

Later in the patrol, with just three fish left and low on fuel, we encountered a group of HMS Repulse (battlecruiser), HMS Argus (escort carrier) and two huge liners northbound in column making 20 or 21 knots in the CG grid off the northwest coast of Portugal. Initial sighting was at 12,000 meters, and the force already showed a fairly large angle. Our flank speed allowed us to close to 9,000 meters before I felt it prudent to dive, less the Repulse open broadsides on us. Able to get no closer than 7,000 meters, the remaining torpedoes were fired at the battlecruiser, but all appeared to miss ahead and we headed for the barn, arriving at St Nazaire after 2 months at sea.

Threadfin 10-05-2014 05:54 PM

U-47 left St Nazaire on her tenth war patrol in late September 1941, bound for BF24, near Crow Sound in the western end of the English Channel. It did not escape me that this was the exact grid objective that saw the end of my previous career in U-46 as mentioned earlier.

This location is relatively shallow, with depths averaging about 110 meters. In addition, it is heavily patrolled by enemy aircraft. Aircraft have been very dangerous in recent patrols, and we have taken damage on no less than four occasions from near misses. As a result we have been spending more time conducting submerged patrols, which drastically limits our search radius, but spares us the calling cards from above. The hydrophones have good range though, and it is not a terrible disadvantage as we search for targets.

After completing the four days in BF24, we headed west to deeper water and came across a 5000 ton freighter which was sunk in a periscope attack. This is the first patrol in this career I have opted to carry G7e electric torpedoes. Recent patrols have seen the convoys escorted almost entirely by destroyers and Black Swans, replacing the patrol boats and corvettes of the early war. As a result we are making the switch to electrics to hopefully mask our position when making these attacks. The faults of the G7e have not been entirely worked out though, and our dud rate with these torpedoes is noticeably higher than with the G7a steamer. And of course they are slower and have a shorter range, which adds some complication to torpedo attacks. But the 'Happy Times' are over, and survival is the first consideration.

U-47 surfaces after torpedoing a British freighter of 5000 tons in the BF grid

As we have moved in to late 1941, finding lone merchants is proving difficult as the Allies utilize their convoy system more thoroughly. After conducting a mostly submerged patrol for close to a month in the BF grid south of Ireland, we finally detected a merchant heading for the Channel. It proved to be a small 1800 ton mast-stack-mast steamer which we hit with a stern torpedo that proved to be a dud. We extended, surfaced and ran an end around to submerge once again and sank her with a single bow torpedo at first light.

A few minutes after surfacing following this attack, the bridge watch spotted a destroyer closing from the northeast. I quickly plotted it's course and speed and took off ahead on it's track, hoping it may be the screen for a task force and heavy men-of-war. Curiously the destroyer was making just 12 knots by our plot and our flank speed quickly extended the range. After running ahead for five minutes, the watch spotted another ship off our starboard bow. Looking in the direction indicated, I could make out the faint outline of a fighting top in the light fog. We had found another battleship.

I plotted it's course and kept flank speed to pass her by and submerge ahead for an attack. The destroyers escorting were trailing by a considerable distance, effectively leaving the battleship unescorted as far as our approach was concerned. As we drew along her port beam, the battleship suddenly changed course to the south and headed straight for U-47. As she emerged from the fog, there was no mistaking the distinctive features of HMS Rodney with all of her main batteries forward.

As the situation presented itself, I imagined that the task force had encountered one of our kameraden, though there are no AI subs in this mod, but it gave the impression the destroyers were behind searching, and the battleship went ahead, and was zigging at 12 knots along her base course. U-47 submerged and closed the track, which swung from 135 to 160 degrees true.

We were able to close to 700 meters and using the same approach and firing technique outlined in previous posts all four bow electrics were fired on a 075 starboard track. Luck was with us as all four hit and detonated, but unlike other successful attacks on capital ships in this career, Rodney did not explode, but staggered and continued on, down noticeably by the bow and assuming a starboard list.

Ordering flank speed I maneuvered U-47 for a stern shot to finish her off. But I underestimated her speed and this torpedo missed astern. Our highly experienced crew had reloaded tube 1 quickly and we spun around to fire this torpedo before the escorts could close, but as we were ready to fire, Rodney capsized to starboard and slipped below the waves.

It's true that we have encountered and have sunk far too many capital ships in this career (three battleships and a fleet carrier) to be considered realistic in any way, but I must admit I absolutely love it. And for tonnage it's just way over the top, U-47 having surpassed even Lothar von Arnauld de la Perière, the top scoring submarine skipper in history, who was credited with 453,000 tons in WW1. I am generally a stickler for realism, but it's just so damn fun to sink ships in sub sims :)

Here is my view as I relax that evening in the Captain's bunk as the the radioman pulls his shift.

After sinking the Rodney we remained in BF grid to hopefully rid ourselves of the few remaining torpedoes and found a big 9000 ton Panamanian freighter making for England and sank her with two electrics.

The Panamanian freighter, broken in two and sinking (hopefully the night time shots show up well)

U-47 returned to St Nazaire after two months at sea. All in all I am pleased we have survived this far, and we move on in to 1942. Transfers are available, and I am considering a transfer to the 23rd Flotilla in the Mediterranean, out of Salamis.

And this isn't from Operation Monsun, but a screen of my boat, USS Searaven in the South China Sea, in a recent TMO or RFB career. I like the shot so thought I'd share. It's my current wallpaper.

Threadfin 10-05-2014 05:55 PM

U-47 left St Nazaire the day after Christmas, 1941 on her eleventh war patrol, again bound for the BF grid south of Ireland on the western approach to the English Channel. We managed to put a 5500 ton freighter on the bottom while waiting out the objective. But targets were scarce. Aircraft seemed to be everywhere, and the patrol was conducted largely submerged. Coastal patrol vessels, mostly armed trawlers, crisscrossed the area. It was frustrating, because I would often make an approach only to see a target not worth a torpedo, and at the same time I hoped to avoid them as much as possible to reduce the likelihood we would be spotted, which always brings a swift reaction from Allied surface and air ASW assets.

After completing our objective, I decided to head south off the coast of Spain in the CG grid. This has proven a lucrative area, with essentially a convoy highway, and occasional heavy warship traffic. We managed to contact two convoys, but each time our approach was detected and we were driven off or held down as the convoy steamed past. We then moved west into the open Atlantic in the western edge of the BE grid. Did not make a single contact. Chased a few radio reports without success, then decided to head to the western approach to Gibraltar, thinking the bottleneck would aid us in developing contacts. And sure enough it did. Again, we made contact with convoys, but they were heavily and effectively escorted. More modern destroyers are being encountered, as well as Black Swan Frigates. In SH3 I developed a particular fear of Black Swans, they are exceptional ASW vessels, and I will not attempt to tangle with one. So again, we were driven off or held down and hunted each time we try to find an opening in the escorting screens of the convoys we found.

In addition, aircraft seem to be finding us much more easily, and it is very dangerous to be surfaced. Twice, we were damaged by near misses as we attempted to crash dive after sighting one of these Angels of Death. One more convoy was spotted and I got in great position, submerged ahead and lay quiet, still and with the scope down as we traced their approach by hydrophone. But that allowed an escort to get very close, and suddenly we were being short-scale pinged. I went deep, but not in time and we took serious damage from depth charges but we managed to get the flooding under control and limped off to live another day.

Feeling we had worn out our welcome, we headed north to patrol off to the west of England, and on the way stopped in Portugal to top off the tanks. The patrol was six weeks old and I had managed to fire two torpedoes. We spent another 3 weeks in the AM grid without reaching position to attack. More convoys, more failed approaches. As they say discretion is the better part of valor, and as I hope to survive the war, I won't press my luck against alerted enemy destroyers. No lone merchants were found at all. It was frustrating the hell out of me, but it is what it is (and quite frankly I love it :) ).

Perhaps I let it all get to me, and I decided to try to sneak in the back door, headed for the waters inland of the Hebrides. I thought if I exercised caution, and stayed submerged, I could find some targets and maybe take the enemy by surprise. But soon, it was the enemy who would surprise me.

One morning in early March we had just submerged for the day when a merchant was detected on the hydrophones closing from the north. Soon the course and speed were plotted and we surfaced to flank speed to get ahead and submerge for a periscope attack.

U-47 makes the flank speed dash as the sun comes up with the 9000 ton British merchant visible on the horizon.

Our flank speed of 17 knots allowed us to reach the attack position and we submerged and waited for the ship to come on. I had plotted it's speed early after sighting, and had her at 9 knots. I dialed in the solution and prepared to fire two bow electrics, one aimed at the leading edge of the bridge and the second at the stack from a range of 500 meters.

It seems too serene and peaceful. The scene belies the fact that two torpedoes are on the way at thirty knots to destroy this beautiful ship

Either the ship had increased speed, or more likely my initial plot was incorrect, and the first torpedo struck near the after mast and the second missed astern. But one was enough and the ship blew up and went down by the stern. The mistake was mine in only getting her speed once. When time allows, multiple speed readings should always be taken to make certain, but perhaps my success had gone to my head, and frankly I'm lucky we hit her at all.

We then cleared the area to the north, submerged at periscope depth at 2 knots. After running for about 12 kilometers, an aircraft was observed through the periscope. I put the scope down and waited for it to clear the area. But this particular pilot had other ideas. Three minutes later U-47 was rocked by explosions as we were hit hard by either bombs or depth charges. Damage was severe and two men were killed instantly. U-47 plummeted to certain demise as the after compartments flooded. I looked at my diving officer and thought so this is how it ends. He screamed 'we are diving too deep!' and I looked at the depth gauge as it passed in to the red and neared our crush depth of 220 meters.

At 186 meters, a loud crash and we hit bottom. So I have I will have plenty of time to think about dying, I would have preferred it to be quick. But my crew was not about to give up so easily. Damage control parties went to work, and soon machinery was being repaired. After three hours on the bottom, the pumps were repaired, bulkheads shored and I decided to try and blow ballast. It was just like the scene in Das Boot, and I actually let out a cheer as the depth gauge started to move. We surfaced in a still sea and we cleared to the north hoping to recharge the batteries and fix anything we could and most importantly, not be caught on the surface. Soon I felt we were able to submerge and we headed for the open sea west of the Hebrides. But sure enough, in the restricted waters, a convoy came on heading straight for us. This time the escorts did not detect us and we sank one huge freighter and damaged a tanker and snuck away apparently undetected.

Later that night we reached the open Atlantic and set course for St Nazaire, arriving there after many close calls from aircraft after four months at sea.
I knew aircraft could detect submerged boats in TMO, but I didn't know it could happen in OM. Now, I do :) I have decided to transfer to the 29th Flotilla out of La Spezia in the Mediterranean. If I do not see Britain again, I will not miss it.

ReallyDedPoet 10-05-2014 07:06 PM

Nice :yep:

Threadfin 10-06-2014 09:26 AM

Thanks, patrol number twelve is in the books and I will hopefully put it up this evening. Transferring to the Med was a fine idea.

Threadfin 10-06-2014 06:41 PM

After being temporarily sunk on our eleventh patrol, I decided to take a transfer to the 29th Flotilla based at La Spezia on the northwest coast of Italy. I spent a lot of time based in the Mediterranean in SH3, and wanted to give it a go in OM. The Med in 1942 has the advantage of being surrounded mostly by German controlled territory, aside the from eastern end, Malta and Gibraltar. Though we of course could not know this, the Torch landings will begin in November, and this 'German Lake' will slowly become the property of the Allies, but in May 1942 the situation is favorable for boats patrolling here. In SH3 I had a great deal of success patrolling the bottleneck between Sardinia and Tunisia. In that sim, this was essentially a task force highway, and many battleships and cruisers were sunk here.

One shortcoming of Silent Hunter is the inability of the program to shift patrol objectives immediately following a transfer. Your objective is assigned when you return to base, and subsequently transferring does not change your patrol objective grid assignment. So it was that U-47 was to set sail from La Spezia with the objective of patrolling BF15 south of Ireland. We decided to ignore those orders and would try to cover as much of the Mediterranean as we could, to get a feel for our new environs to hopefully allow us to focus on most profitable areas in later patrols. In addition, I hoped to get a feel for those areas that the enemy could cover by air, or were patrolling with surface units.

U-47 set sail from La Spezia on May 28th, 1942. The T III version of the G7e was now available, and would prove to be a marvelous weapon, a huge upgrade over the T II we had become accustomed to. After leaving base we headed for the bottleneck between Sardinia and Tunis. Soon after arriving on station, we began to receive rapid radio reports of task force positions and courses. Most of them were reported traveling east soon after departing or passing through Gibraltar. Positioned in the bottleneck, I was certain we would make contact soon. However it became evident that these were either not passing by, or more likely were hugging the north African coast, passing just out of range to our south. I shifted to patrol closer to the coast and soon made contact with a task force consisting of many destroyers, at least one light cruiser and troopships.

As we attempted to get in on this force we were detected and the escorts charged. We were forced deep and the TGB as we crept away. This repeated itself twice more. I am finding it almost impossible to get in on TF's and convoys any longer. The escorts certainly have radar, and their ability to detect U-47 submerged is remarkable.

After several failed attempts I gave it up as a bad job and decided to head east to see what we could find and essentially attempt to reconnoiter the Med. I also planned to stick our nose in to Valetta on Malta and see what we might stir up. The next day the watch spotted a ship and we went to battle stations and began the plot. But it soon was apparent the ship was lying to in the middle of the Med. Closer inspection revealed it to be a C&D class destroyer. It seemed a trap and we crept closer, scanning the horizon for any surprises. But there were none. The ship was just stopped and we moved to 2000 meters off her starboard beam. One of the new T III's was fired with the mag/contact pistol and struck the DD amidships. The destroyer was lifted out of the water and exploded in a flash, sinking on an even keel in less than a minute.

We cleared to the east and approached Valetta in darkness. I wanted to be in position for a dawn look in to the harbor, because if we were to be held down for any length of time, I wanted it to be during daylight, so we would have the full night for recharging. As we neared the harbor I could see many cargo ships and destroyers moored offshore and in the quays.

We continued on submerged to get inside the 5000 meter circle that is the max range of our torpedoes. I selected two freighters near one another as targets and fired two torpedoes at each. I didn't know if there might be torpedo nets and I began to reverse course to head for deep water. After a long run the torpedoes began to hit. The first target exploded and the second absorbed both torpedoes and began to settle. I fired the stern torpedo and this also hit, sinking the ship but she grounded without exploding and in Silent Hunter you get no credit for that.

The two target ships, we were credited with the one on the right

This alerted the destroyers who got underway and we cleared to the north. Because of the extreme firing range and the fact our torpedoes are wakeless, they had no idea where we were and never got close. After moving well out of range we surfaced and headed for the U-Boat base in Salamis, Greece for a reload and to top off the tanks. After leaving Salamis, we headed further east, to patrol the waters between Crete and Cyprus and perhaps have a look into Alexandria.

As we patrolled here, we began making contact with lone merchants once again. I began to call this area the Mediterranean Air Gap, and it was like 1940 all over again, except now the targets flew Turkish and Palestinian flags. In the course of the next two weeks we sent six lone merchants to the bottom. One was a small 1800-tonner, and the rest were all the same exact type of ship, what is known in OM as M-KF-M (E), 5000 tons.

The new torpedoes were remarkable, as much for their reliability as for the destruction they wrought. I used the magnetic/impact pistol and set depth for impact, usually at around 3 meters. When these torpedoes hit, the ships were often lifted from the water, broken in two and followed by secondary explosions. We did have one dud, and of course it was the one time I fired a single. After seeing how effective these weapons were, I thought it safe to fire just one, and of course it did not explode. But overall, they were fantastic torpedoes, and I was very pleased after three years of firing unreliable torpedoes.

Here are some shots of a typical attack. On August 6th a 5000 ton Turkish cargo ship was spotted emerging from the fog making 8 knots. Making our normal approach, we set up the attack as she came on.

Here, the first torpedo hits the below the stack

The second torpedo hit below the after mast

I really like the Operation Monsun Mod, lurker did a great job with it. But there are a few wrinkles. One is the fact that when submerged, the watch crew is not automatically moved to the interior of the sub. As a result, you can cruise around below the surface with your crew members exposed as though they were still on the bridge, though they are not shown on the bridge, but are considered to still be there from a damage and danger perspective. Further, it isn't only the crew members on watch at that time, but all three watches are considered exposed. When there is a possibility of counterattack, I place each of them inside the boat, with six going to the conning tower and the rest in the crew's berth. But I admit I don't do this when attacking lone merchants, as I don't expect depth charges, though if a plane happened by they would be in serious peril. And I paid the price for this laziness.

As I watched through the scope waiting for this ship to sink, the gun crew on the fantail spotted my feather and opened up with small caliber fire killing my XO! and wounding the rest. He was easily my best watch officer, with a watch rating of 103. I was devastated. We had now lost three crew members killed and many wounded in the past two patrols. I admit it was entirely my fault, but moving the crew one by one gets old and I didn't do it.

After this the ship suddenly exploded. And not just any explosion. A massive blast that broke the ship in three!

After the ship exploded we headed for the barn, with many watch crew wounded, I didn't want to risk losing any more of these men I had worked so hard to train up to the level they were now.

Here are my poor watchmen doubled over in pain after being wounded.

The remnants of the Turkish freighter that killed my XO

U-47 put in to La Spezia on August 15th having put 8 ships including the destroyer on the bottom of the Mediterranean. In a sense it was a patrol back in time. It was a good not to be hunted and hounded constantly, but I know this too won't last.

Here is a shot of the eastern Med, and you can see the location of our base at La Spezia as well as those at Messina and at Salamis, of the destroyer sinking near Sardinia, and the area east of Crete/south of Rhodes that became a Turkish ship graveyard.

Threadfin 10-09-2014 07:14 PM

Niklas Baumann and U-47 continued to patrol the Mediterranean. Patrols twelve, thirteen and fourteen were all successful. Patrol twelve left La Spezia in late May 1942, and U-47 returned from patrol fourteen in March of 1943. I am quite pleased to have survived this far, and transferring to the Mediterranean has certainly had a large role to play in that. After the Torch landings by the Allies in November of 1942, there has been a marked increase in Allied air patrols, but during refit before war patrol twelve, U-47 received an upgrade that may prove to be the most important of the war, the Metox radar detector.

The Metox proved invaluable time and again, giving advanced warning of approaching destroyers and aircraft, giving us ample time to dive and avoid, or get in better position. I can't say whether the enemy will employ radar wavelengths not detectable by the Metox, so we cannot rely on it exclusively, but the value of the warning it gives of approaching aircraft is beyond measure. Very happy to have it mounted it on our boat.

War patrol twelve saw U-47 return to the waters between Crete and Cyprus, patrol thirteen was largely conducted in the Aegean Sea near the southern approach to the Dardenelles Strait, and patrol fourteen was actually conducted in the Black Sea. Patrolling in the Mediterranean and Black Seas offers several advantages, not least of which is the relatively restricted area means that using aircraft as scouts is effective and useful. In the open Atlantic, scouts aren't very practical, in part becasue one tends to patrol so far from any German air bases. But in the Med, patrols are often well within range, and I found that utilizing the scouting system was very beneficial.

Here you see the numerous contacts that the scout has revealed for us. The scout is the black dot just west of U-47

The combination of the scouting planes and the lack of enemy ASW in this area along the Turkish Black Sea Coast meant the Happy Times returned for U-47. In a matter of just 2 or 3 weeks, eight merchants went to the bottom.

In this shot you can get a feel for the size of the search circle for the airborne scouts (500 km radius). Here, a patrol from Crete flies out over the sea in support of U-47

Other highlights of these three patrols include a look into Gibraltar during the twelfth patrol. Our assigned grid was off the Moroccan coast, and after completing it we set course for Gibraltar, hoping to catch units of the Royal Navy at anchor. And we certainly did! We had to dodge patrols and dive to avoid planes, but we slowly made our way toward the anchorage. A daylight periscope approach revealed two battleships, a fleet carrier, two heavy cruisers, and two light cruisers. U-47 made an approach to 2300 meters, and prepared to fire torpedoes at a Revenge class battleship and an Illustrious class fleet carrier. As they were at a zero angle to our boat, I planned to fire two torpedoes at each with depth set to run under with magnetic pistols. This type of attack had served me well in SH3 in Loch Ewe and Scapa Flow, but as we were ready to fire, U-47 bumped into the sub net protecting the harbor. I could have attempted to search for an opening, but felt that was an omen, and with patrols in the area we made for the open Mediterranean.

Here you can see our periscope picture just prior to running in to the sub net. On the right is the Revenge and the Illustrious is on the left.

At dawn the next morning we made contact with a large convoy that had just passed through the strait. As chance would have it, this convoy was unescorted. We got in to ideal position and toredoed three ships. One 5000 ton freighter went down immediately, and a large tanker and another medium freighter continued on damaged, but slowly falling behind their friends. AFter reloading the torpoedoes, we surfaced and ran end arounds on each straggler, sinking them both, though interrupted by radar equipped aircraft several times which forced us to dive.

Here U-47 reaches ideal position off the starboard beam of two overlapping freighters. The near ship was the first out of this convoy to go down. The far ship was damaged and sunk later that day in a follow up attack after an end around.

On December 9th, after the thirteenth patrol, Niklas Baumann was promoted to Fregattenkapitän.

As we enter mid-1943 I realize that our time in the Mediterranean is nearing an end. The enemy are slowly closing the ring around the Sea, and their ASW effort is increasing quickly. It won't be long before our base at La Spezia is no longer tenable, and eventually we will be forced back to the north, likely to Bergen if we survive that long. But this transfer has been a reprieve, and I have enjoyed the respite. It will only become more difficult from here, but the end of the war is in sight, if still a long way off. Quite frankly, I did not expect to survive this long, and as detailed earlier, we came very close to the end on more than one occasion. If we do return to the Atlantic, I will do all I can to make it to the end, though it may not be entirely up to me!

Threadfin 10-10-2014 09:21 PM

I've been playing submarine sims for almost 25 years. The first one I can remember was Silent Service around 1990. Various early PC sims, like Aces of the Deep, Nintendo and Sega titles followed, and then in '96 Silent Hunter was released. Blown. Away.

Almost 5 years would go by before SH2 was released. In the interim I devoted my time to flight sims, titles like Falcon 4, EAW, MiG Alley. And shooters like Half-Life, Operation Flashpoint, and Deus Ex. Strategy games, tactical games and even surface sims like Destroyer Command. But through it all submarine sims remained my first love. SH2 introduced me to the fascinating world of German U-Boat Operations. Pacific Aces brought me back to the Pacific (still hard to believe that PA was 144 MB!). And of course SH3 was for me a seminal moment in the course of my sub sim odyssey. Now I play SH4, and with all of the fantastic mods we've talked about in this thread, it's as though all of those titles that have come before are forged in to one great sim.

I don't know if I can pinpoint it, but I tend to be drawn to games where I am alone and hidden, stealthy, sneaking. I like to play the sniper, the Apache pilot, the Thief, the Black Ops man invisible behind the lines until it's time to strike. Of course this is the essence of submarine warfare, and this is a large part of the allure of the Silent Hunter series for me and submarine warfare in general.

One aspect of submarine sims that I find appealing is you never know what will happen when you set sail on a war patrol. It could be fantastically successful, with ships seeming to go down by your mere presence. It could be a slog, with contacts scarce, and endless storms, and little or no success after months at sea. It could result in a battleship falling to your torpedoes, or it could end after being hounded for hours when depth charges finally find your boat.

When I set sail on U-47's fifteenth war patrol on March 31st, 1943 it would prove to be the shortest war patrol I've ever conducted in sub sims and survived. The actual shortest patrol was in SH3 when my boat was sunk by an aircraft less than an hour after leaving Brest. But U-47's fifteenth last all of eleven days port to port.

U-47 left La Spezia on March 31st, with a full load of TIII electrics and the trusty Metox. Our objective grid was off the Algerian coast just to the north of Algiers. This is dead on the convoy route from Gibraltar, and I was sure we would make some contacts, expecting that the Metox would be our first indicator that one was approaching.

As we passed off the southern tip of Sardinia, the weather closed in and a raging storm tossed our boat and reduced visibility to less than 1500 meters. In this weather, the radar detector is even more valuable than usual, and I waited for the first contact. The storm raged for a week, then suddenly the skies cleared, the seas moderated and a light fog opened visibility to 3500 meters.

Here the the watch crew keeps vigil in the heavy weather

Shortly after dawn on April 8th, during a routine trim dive and sound sweep, we detected merchant screws closing from the west. A convoy was closing, and the hydrophones revealed the bearings were constant. We were right in their path. No warship screws were heard, and we surfaced to see if the Metox detected any radar. It did not. This convoy had no escorts. Soon the first merchant appeared in the fog and we began a plot, clocking the convoy's speed at 8.5 knots. U-47 submerged and got between the oncoming center and starboard columns. I planned to fire bow and stern torpedoes at the same time. One thing I really like about OM is the behavior of convoys after they are aware of an attack. The ships scatter in all directions, it isn't like SH3 was as the ships start constant helming and parade past your periscope. So therefore the attacks need to be swift and as many torpedoes should be in the water at one time as possible.

So we tried to identify a good target forward, and would also fire at whichever target was abreast in the starboard column with our stern torpedo. The first ship to emerge in the center column was a medium 5000 tons freighter, and then I saw the third ship in the same column was a T3.

I haven't seen a T3 since my SH3 days. In the 15 patrols in this career, at 13000 tons this is the largest merchant I have seen aside from the two liners that were accompanied by Repulse and Argus off Portugal in 1941 during our eighth patrol.

The T3 tanker emerges from the fog.

We set up the shot, planning to fire two torpedoes at this ship and the stern at a 6000 ton freighter that would pass astern at the same time. Both shots would be 500 meters, and as the T3 crossed the wire the fish were fired, and I quickly spun the scope and the dials to send the stern torpedo on it's way. As I swung back to the T3 both torpedoes hit and it burst into flame from bow to stern.

The tanker is aflame and the spots the torpedoes struck are visible along the waterline.

I then spun the scope back to the ship astern and saw the torpedo explode below the leading edge of the superstructure. But as I realized my sound man did not report 'Torpedo Impact!', I realized it was a premature that exploded so close to the target that I thought it was a hit.

Swinging the periscope back to the front, and again resetting the TDC as quickly as I could, a single torpedo was fired at an American cargo ship of about 3300 tons from 800 meters. She had begun to turn away, but this torpedo struck near the after mast and soon she would be dead in the water with a slight list but not showing any sign of sinking. As we moved to fire a coup de grace, tubes one and 5 were reloaded. I maneuvered to shoot bow tubes at another medium freighter that happened to cross our bow, but as I fired she saw my periscope, opened fire with machine guns, and combed the tracks causing both torpedoes to miss. We then got in position to fire the stern tube at the stopped American and sent her to the bottom.

In a furious span of about 30 minutes we had fired seven torpedoes for 4 hits, 2 misses and one premature, but with only two ships sunk for about 16,000 tons. I secured from battle stations and waited for the ships to go over the hill and surfaced for an end around.

After surfacing we kept a sharp eye for aircraft and bent on flank speed for an end around as the convoy reformed. I kept U-47 about 4000 meters off the port side of the convoy, where the ships were just visible in the fog, but far enough away that we remained unsighted.
Here you can see one of the columns as U-47 dashed ahead at 17 knots for another attack.

Five hours after the last attack, we submerged once again and torpedoed a big 9000 ton freighter which blew up and went down in minutes in the last light of the day. I swung the scope and the dials to fire at another ship off the bow, but inexplicably set the scope to 010 but the bearing dial to 350, introducing a 20 degree error and of course missed with both torpedoes. Could have kicked myself, but that's how it goes sometimes. As darkness fell, we surfaced once again and ran ahead. Eleven hours and 120 kilometers after the first attack against the T3, we again positioned the boat between oncoming columns, the last stern torpedo was fired at another big 9000 ton merchant which blew up, and the final bow torpedoes were fired at an 8400 ton tanker. Both hit and the ship assumed a port list and fell to 2 knots as the rest of the convoy went over the hill. In the darkness we surfaced and I ordered battle stations guns. The crew fired about 30 rounds and the tanker exploded with flames a hundred feet in the air. Out of torpedoes, U-47 headed for the barn, having fired all 14 torpedoes in 11 hours, for 9 hits, 4 misses and one premature, sinking five good ships for 42k, and returned to La Spezia after just 11 days at sea.

U-47 ties up at La Spezia

iambecomelife 10-13-2014 06:56 PM

Nice patrols. May I ask what medals and promotions you've received, and when you got them? I've never completed an OM career. In my opinion, some of the supermods for the American campaign don't seem to award quite enough of the more prestigious medals (I keep getting the silver star) - Just wondering if Monsun has a better award/promotion system.

Thanks a lot.

Threadfin 10-13-2014 08:03 PM

Thanks very much. I don't think I have been satisfied with the awards system in any version of Silent Hunter that I've played. For example in TMO, if I sink 40k in the first patrol, I should be getting a Navy Cross, but the sim insists on starting you at the lowest award and working up.

In Operation Monsun it isn't as bad, but the awards for U-Boat skippers should include the Knight's Cross, then with Oak Leaves, then Swords, then Diamonds and finally the Golden Oak Leaves Swords and Diamonds. The Knight's Cross is awarded in OM, but the succeeding grades are not represented. However, the actual medal as shown in the sim is indeed the Golden Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds. But there is no progression of each grade, and it is described as simply the Knight's Cross. In addition, you can win it repeatedly.

Here is a breakdown of each of the 15 completed patrols in this career so far with starting and end dates, ships sunk/tonnage (with capital ship sunk), rank advancement if applicable and award.

Patrol 1 (Kiel) -- Sept 3, 1939 to Oct 22, 1939
7/57,305 (Illustrious Fleet Carrier)
Oberleutnant zur See (starting rank)
Knight's Cross

Patrol 2 -- (Kiel) -- Nov 6, 1939 to Dec 18, 1939
Knight's Cross

Patrol 3 -- (Kiel) -- Jan 16, 1940 to Mar 6,1940
Knight's Cross

Patrol 4 -- (Kiel) -- Apr 10, 1940 to May 22, 1940
Iron Cross 2nd Class

Patrol 5 -- (Kiel) -- Jun 26, 1940 to Aug 25, 1940
9/97,115 (HMS Hood Battlecruiser)
Knight's Cross

Patrol 6 -- (Kiel) -- Sep 15, 1940 to Nov 9, 1940
Knight's Cross

Patrol 7 -- (St Nazaire) -- Dec 14, 1940 to Feb 23, 1941
Knight's Cross

Patrol 8 -- (St Nazaire) -- Mar 12, 1941 to May 13, 1941
3/42,340 (Queen Elizabeth Battleship)
Iron Cross 1st Class

Patrol 9 -- (St Nazaire) -- Jun 21,1941 to Aug 24, 1941
Knight's Cross

Patrol 10 -- (St Nazaire) -- Sep 28, 1941 to Nov 23, 1941
5/56,315 (HMS Rodney Battleship)
Iron Cross 1st Class

Patrol 11 -- (St Nazaire) -- Dec 26, 1941 to Apr 24, 1942
No Award

Patrol 12 -- (La Spezia) -- May 28, 1942 to Aug 15, 1942
Knight's Cross

Patrol 13 -- (La Spezia) -- Sep 20, 1942 to Dec 8, 1942
Knight's Cross

Patrol 14 -- (La Spezia) -- Jan 12, 1943 to Mar 16, 1943
Iron Cross 1st Class

Patrol 15 -- (La Spezia) -- Mar 31, 1943 to Apr 10, 1943
Iron Cross 2nd Class

So the awards are a bit unpredictable. The Iron Cross on patrol 14 is a bit puzzling as it was the most ships sunk during any patrol and the second-most tonnage. Patrol 10 was considerably better than patrol 9, but the award much lower. And I would prefer to have the Knight's Cross be awarded in grade, as opposed to it being awarded again and again. It appears the German Cross is not in OM, or perhaps I just haven't qualified at any point for this medium-grade award.

There is one rank I have not attained, Kapitän zur See.

iambecomelife 10-14-2014 11:22 PM

Thank you for that detailed reply; it was more than I expected. I am trying to see if the German or American award progression system would be best for my World War I mod (Wolves of the Kaiser).

Threadfin 10-15-2014 08:36 AM

No problem, hope it helps. I have been following the progress of your mod and would like to add my voice to the encouragement. It looks great and I will definitely give it a go.

Threadfin 10-15-2014 07:02 PM

U-47 continued to patrol out of La Spezia in the Mediterranean through the summer of 1943. Unless we sail east of Crete we are finding no lone merchants. But convoys come along frequently, and maybe I was fortunate, or maybe I've learned how to attack convoys in Operation Monsun. Regardless of the reason, U-47 had great success in getting inside the screens and putting torpedoes on target during patrols sixteen and seventeen. Our Biscay Cross continued to be the most valuable installation on our boat. Time and again, it's warnings were quickly heeded, and we managed to avoid attacks by the many air patrols that were encountered. On one or two occasions the aircraft dropped their ordnance, but we were already heading deep and their attacks were ineffectual. On the whole though, the Cross allowed us to avoid detection.

In addition to aircraft, it also gives bearing to radar equipped escorts, which allowed us to essentially home in on the signal, and get below the surface before we can be detected. For whatever reason, the dive time upon ordering periscope depth in OM is excessively long. And this is with a highly experienced crew, and with quite a few diving experts, crewman who have attained that special ability. So my procedure is to order crash dive, then order periscope depth upon reaching 10 meters. This has the effect of leveling off right at the proper depth and we can get under in very short order.

Patrol 16 left La Spezia in the early hours of May 9, 1943, loaded with a full complement of TIII electrics. I had hoped to have available some G7e/T4 'Falke' acoustic homing torpedoes by now, but none were available. I would like to load all forward slots with TIIIs and all after slots with Falke for defense against searching escorts, but that will have to wait. This was my preferred late-war loadout in SH3, and proved very successful.

Our patrol grid was once again off the Algerian coast, and for what it's worth, every Med objective in this career has been off the Algerian or Moroccan coasts. Several contacs with convoys were developed, and we were able to create enough of an advantage to get in on two of them. The first was found with the help of aerial scouts running the route from Alexandria to Malta. Slipping inside the portside screen in very heavy seas, U-47 torpedoed the first Liberty ship we have seen from the point-blank range of 400 meters.

Here the first of the two torpedoes fired at this ship strikes MOT, below the stack

As we pass astern in search of the next target, a quick look at the Liberty shows her heading for the bottom with her ensign flying.

These shots hint as to the challenge of attacking targets in heavy seas. Those who have followed any of my posts know I play without external cameras. And it's not just to blow my horn, but to emphasize the fact that playing Silent Hunter this way fundamentally changes the way the sim is played. The first screenshot above shows what was probably my clearest look at this target. When the seas are rolling, and your view is restricted to 6 inches above the water, you are presented with very brief snapshots of the target ships as they appear and disappear through the swells. And moreover, riding out evasions from within the control room or conning tower is far more challenging than when you can watch the escorts from above the water and react to what they do. Once your scope goes below the surface, you are blind, and it changes the way you think, what you know, and the decisions and actions you take. Something as simple as checking a box in the difficulty menu has a profound effect on how you approach the game and the decisions you will have to make.

After sinking the Liberty, U-47 continued at ahead slow looking for another target to appear in the glimpses through the troughs. But what we saw was a destroyer coming on with a bone in her teeth and I ordered crash dive as she began a short-scale ping. As we passed through 70 meters, a string of depth charges landed close aboard, causing moderate damage and U-47 sprung a few leaks.

Here you see the control room of U-47 with some leaks that have not been fixed.

As mentioned in earlier posts, the crew of U-47 is highly experienced. Every crew member has been promoted several times, and all have specialties, and many have Special Abilities. With such a crew, repairs are often quickly made, and here too, and we sought safety in the depths, hoping we would be lost in the many merchant screws above. We kept going down to 160 meters, and the combination of this depth, the sea state and the many screws in the area all allowed U-47 to slip off to the north and evade successfully as the destroyers lost track. After all screws were lost on the hydrophones to the west, we returned to periscope depth. A quick look revealed nothing in sight, and we surfaced and headed north to the waters between Crete and Cyprus that proved so lucrative in our early forays in the Med.

Over the next 2 or 3 weeks, we made contact with several merchants steaming alone. We managed to put five on the bottom, 2 of the small 1800-ton M-KF-F freighters, and three of the medium M-KF-M (E) freighters of 5000 tons, all of which flew Turkish flags.

With fuel dwindling and torpedoes running low, U-47 set course back to the west to patrol the bottleneck between Sardinia and Tunisia. Only July 3, we again contacted a convoy with the help of the Cross, and managed to slip inside the screen of very modern DDs and DEs. Once inside, we torpedoed two more freighters of 9000 and 5900 tons and evaded the searching escorts. Out of torpedoes, U-47 ran for the barn and put in to La Spezia on July 9, after exactly two months at sea, having sunk 7 ships for 35,745 tons.

During refit, U-47 saw the installation of a new decoy, Bold 1, which is a canister of calcium hydride that can be ejected from the submarine, and when mixing with seawater, produces a large cloud of hydrogen bubbles to provide a false sonar target for searching enemy ships.

U-47 left La Spezia for the last time on August 15, 1943 on her seventeenth war patrol, again bound for the waters off the Algerian coast. Soon after departure, we received a radio message to shift base to Toulon, located a short distance to the west on the French coast.

Several days after arriving on station, and having dived many times to avoid prowling aircraft, the Cross once again alerted us to the presence of a radar-equipped enemy warship. We homed in and dove in a raging storm, heavy fog, 15 m/s winds and heavy seas. Visibility was around 1500 meters. In what would become on of my most successful convoy attacks ever, U-47 sank 5 good ships in 30 minutes. The storm and the sea state seemed to prevent the enemy escorts from being able to find our boat as we fired torpedo after torpedo at ships that emerged from the fog. The first two fish were fired at an 8300 ton tanker. But something wasn't right with my setup, and the first torpedo missed ahead, and the second struck the tanker, damaging it, but she kept on. Fortune was with us, as the torpedo that missed continued on to strike a ship in a far column, a 4100 ton freighter that blew up and sank. Because of the fog, this was out of our view. Two 5100 ton cargo ships went down in short order, as we fired torpedoes as soon as they were reloaded as the convoy paraded past, seemingly unable to determine where the attacks were coming from.

Another big tanker of 8500 tons hove in to view and this ship too was sent to the bottom, having broken in two after being struck by our second torpedo. Soon after, the tanker that was the first target went down. In a half hour, five enemy ships for 32,860 tons went to the bottom of the Mediterranean.

Here the second tanker settles having broken in two

After the two tankers went down, we dove deep and slipped away, with distant pinging heard for a long while afterwards. Finally clear of the screws, U-47 surfaced to exchange the air and recharge the batteries. Several weeks went by, and the weather turned clear and very calm. Again and again, we dove to avoid aircraft. Two more convoys were contacted, but experience has proven that attacking in calm seas hands the initiative and advantage over to the enemy escorts. Unable to find a clear opening, I elected to run away. Keywords discretion/valor. In the second of these convoys, I had noticed a Bogue Escort Carrier sailing in it.

I've now done 17 patrols in OM. If there is one key I have found to success, it is sea state, sea state, sea state. For anyone else playing this mod, all I can say is that sea state is the most important factor in getting in on escorted enemy formations. From the surface attacks I was doing in '41, to getting in submerged on the convoys in this post, heavy sea state is the key. Attacking escorted formations in calm seas is asking to be sunk. Bide your time, and take advantage of heavy weather when the opportunity arises.

On September 5, with the weather having turned once again, U-47 made contact with a convoy about 100 kilometers east of Algiers, near the coastal city of Bone. I attempted to home in on the radar signals, but by the time I was able to sight the convoy, it was evident we were trailing, and they had gotten by. We surfaced , extended away to the south at flank speed. I plotted the convoy's course, and made a flank speed dash for 150 kilometers to the west, turning back in on the course after having dived for aircraft many more times. I would like some stock in the Metox company :)

Once positioned near where I expected the convoy to come on, we waited. Before too long, the convoy was detected on the Cross and then on hydrophones, but tracking the hydrophone bearings revealed I had dived a little too far to the north of their present track. Turning around, we moved cautiously at ahead full to close the track and get a shot in. Again, we were able to penetrate the screen and get inside the enemy formation.

As the ships came on, I began identifying them and looking for big ships. After choosing a likely target and plotting the convoy's 6 knot speed, I prepared to fire. Just before pushing the plunger, I saw a carrier emerge from the fog.

Here is the convoy and U-47's position relative to the Escort Carrier when first sighted.

This convoy is scattered I think in part due to the heavy seas, and in part I believe due to the fact that the escorts had detected me on radar a few times as we made the 150km flank speed end around, causing the ships to zig and as a result, their station keeping went astray.

Here is another shot that shows how heavy seas affect the ability to track targets.

Here is a good look at the Bogue 10 degrees before firing

That screen shows the setup just before firing. The solution has been dialed in. Looking at those dials, we can see a perfect setup, assuming I have the speed and range correct. You can see the speed at 6 knots. The 'Impact A' dial, shows the expected impact angle of the torpedoes, which is an ideal 90 degrees starboard. AoB is set to 80 starboard, since U-47 is on a course 90 degrees to the target's course and the scope is set to 350, which subtracts those 10 degrees from the 360 bearing intersecting the target course at 90 degrees. Range is 1400 meters. And the gyro angle is 000, which all adds up to a perfect torpedo shot.

As the carrier crossed the wire, three torpedoes were fired at intervals to spread the torpedoes along the length of the target. Looking at the left side of that screenshot you can see the torpedo settings. I have all four bow tubes opened and depth set very shallow, 1.5 meters. I have set the pistols to impact to eliminate the chance of prematures in the rough seas. Each fish is fired single in accordance with the procedures and thinking outlined in previous posts, so the salvo options are unused.

All three torpedoes hit the carrier and detonated. Fires were visible, but she didn't immediately appear to be sinking.

Here the second of the three torpedoes strikes below the superstructure.

I suspected that the three hits would be enough to cause this carrier to eventually sink, but taking no chances I fired the 4th bow tube on a 010 track, which would cause the torpedo to approach abaft the beam, but this torpedo hit and exploded, and so did the carrier. You can see I adjusted the speed and range down slightly due to expected slowing of target after hits and having closed somewhat since the last shots. Note the change in the 'Impact A' dial.

I fired the last bow tube and the last stern tube at two more ships, but both of these torpedoes missed, probably due to the ships turning away after being alerted by the demise of the Bogue, or perhaps I just got it wrong.

Out of torpedoes, U-47 headed for the barn, putting in to Toulon on September 7, having sunk 6 ships for 46,915, after a relatively short three weeks at sea.

I am very pleased with these two patrols. Making that many successful attacks on convoys well-escorted by the latest in American destroyer hardware is very satisfying indeed. The success is due, I think, in large part to choosing to attack when the conditions were relatively favorable, and knowing when the setup wasn't right and sailing away to fight another day.

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