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Old 01-28-19, 03:41 PM   #1
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wolf_howl15 Immersive techniques for the true subsimmer!

I have made many videos and posts regarding SH3 and I want to add to SH5. I hope this helps many newcomers to this great game.

First thing, i am about immersion. What does that mean? 100% realism, no external camera, and I attempt to apply actual WW2 rules and regulations to all U-boat situations I come across. I read the U-boat commanders guidebook, prize rules and regs, and read up on actual missions and specifications to add to that immersion.

But I have top tips of immersion to help the newcomer get started right away. Some of you will find it terrible in terms of fun, but if you want a small idea of what they did in the real boats, then try these on for size. And if anyone wants to add to this please do.

1) YOU CAN'T BRING 'EM BACK. Assume all torpedoes are heard or seen, even electric torps. If you launch a torp, you have to assume the enemy knows where you are. This means do not hang around on the surface to watch the fireworks. If you are on the surface, get your speed up and get to a new location to attack from. If you are submerged, then get to a safe depth and get away from the area you fired from.

2) ASDIC. If you hear ASDIC, it's time to go! If you hear that sound, and they are relatively close to you, get your speed up and ready to knuckle left or right. They can see you in the water, and they are coming for you. Running slow will only get you killed. Be prepared to dodge depth charges!

3) AIRPLANES. Avoid getting into a fight with a plane. I know it sounds tempting, but fighting a plane is bad in many ways. Of course the damage you incur could affect your mission, but more importantly, the plane will call in your position. And this is always bad. Just avoid it unless you have absolutely no choice.

4) THE PACT. Make a pact with yourself. Weird I know, but if you find yourself missing that juicy tanker, watching 4 torps go by without detonation, or if you were playing for several hours, and get killed because of the poor choice you made to attack that DD. LIVE WITH IT! I make a pact to "protect my boat and crew". In SH5 it is easier because they kind of have personality, and you can manage them. It may stink to start a career over, but it will teach you many lessons.

5) PERISCOPE USAGE. Get away from that periscope! You heard me! Too many guys stay on that scope for too long. Limit your scope time by a simple rule: For every km away from a target, multiple by 10 which equals the seconds you can keep your scope up! For example, if the target is 3000 meters, I keep my scope up 30 seconds and that is it. I wait any where from a minute to five minutes before I look again, unless the situation calls for more observations. Get the observations you need each time you use the scope, so your TDC solution will be ready at the final moment. If you leave your scope up too long it will be spotted. In your report message box, there is an arrow at the bottom, click that and you can select "inform of sub sighting messages". Wolfram will then inform you if you have been spotted. See separate thread below for further.

6) HYDROPHONE USE DURING ATTACK. “Follow closest sound contact” will be your best friend. Just as I mentioned about the periscope, you should be utilizing the hydrophone operator to be your eyes. If you are close to a target, the last thing you want to do is start him off zig zagging because he saw your scope. Use the hydrophone operator to give you updated positional reports. You should have updated most of your TDC solution during your scope observations. And now, when the target is right in front of you with no ability to turn off, you can pop up your scope, and take the shot!

7) SILENT RUNNING. Silent running is NOT! It does not make you invisible. It lowers chances of detection. Rigging for silent running and going all stop is the best and only way to be silent.

8) BROACHING. Attacking in daylight, submerged, with a high wind and choppy sea, can broach your bridge to the enemy. Go deep say 20 meters, and use your hydrophone operator.

9) UNDERWATER PERISCOPE USE. In SH3 there was the h.sie patch that made using your periscope impossible at above 4 knots due to vibrations. This is actually true, and so you should be slowing your boat down to four knots as well so that you can also have that realism. Plus it makes it more interesting that you have to slow down when you’re trying to cut off that tanker. According to the U-boat commanders handbook, the boat should be at slow speed, usually 2 knots, so as to not create a “wasserfahne” or wave feather which can be seen in calmer seas.

10) SURFACING. When deciding to surface, a few things should be considered: a) Approaching periscope depth slowly so as to not broach the surface on accident (this can happen if going too fast!). Always go ahead slow to insure the concealment of your U-boat. b) Using the hydrophone personally to hear contacts that your hydrophone operator will miss, and he will!. I always ask him for sound contact as I am approaching periscope depth, then take over the hydrophone once I am there. c) Properly scanning the surface for visual contacts. This means using the observation periscope during night, and attack scope at day. But if you use the attack scope at day, and the area is clear... go to the observation scope to scan the sky as well... ALWAYS SCAN THE SKY!!! Once it is determined safe, you can surface, but with speed! Always surface and submerge with ample speed to get the process done quickly, then proceed on your travel speed.

11) PROFILE. Per the U-boat commander's handbook... Never leave the periscope up while on surface, or surfacing as this breaks the low profile of the U-boat.

12) DEPTH SETTING. Do not forget proper torpedo depth settings. Depth 1 (D1) is used when you need the torpedo to be closest to the surface with chance of direct impact. Usually due to the weather being somewhat fair. D1 = Windspeed X .25. Depth 2 (D2) is used more for magnetic purposes when the weather is quite bad. D2 = Windspeed X .4. Of course every situation will dictate different depths, but for immersion, it was necessary to use the right depth to prevent premature detonations or undershots.

13) DECKS AWASH. Decks awash was very possible in WW2, and was used during the Scapa Flow attack. A good engineer could most definitely do this, so there was no question as to this being a real and viable tactic. I recommend using it during the day in your patrol zone if possible, and at night if you can get real close to your target. You are almost invisible on surface with full use of your engines, at the cost of a few knots. It is also good to use in bad weather to stabilize your boat with the disadvantage of waves blocking your view on a regular interval. In SH5 TWOS if you are submerged and go to decks awash... your hydrophone operator will still be able to hear contacts: This is not realistic, and should refrain from using it! The engine sounds would naturally drown out any hydrophone contacts, unless at full stop.

14) HARBORS. When approaching a friendly harbor, there is usually an escort going in and out. These are not there for show, they are there for you! They were mine sweepers that lead shipping in and out so to avoid mines. I use them all the time even in bad weather to get into the harbors. Try it!

15) INSTINCT. There were a lot of tools and math that was used to determine a target's speed and direction of travel. However, in many books, these commanders used instinct and basic observations to make an attack. Sometimes just following a target at a distance, matching speed and direction gave more than enough information to successfully attack a vessel.

16) RISK. Determining risk versus reward. This is hard for a subsimmer! You find a juicy tanker, it is right in front of you, but Benno tells you there are warship contacts in the area. What do you do? It is daytime, the sea is calm, which makes it easier for ASDIC to locate you! These are the toughest decisions to make. I would not attack!

17) RADIO REPORTS. Someone please help, but I believe the Germans realized at a later part of the war there radio transmissions were being tracked. If asked for a status report, I sent one no matter where I was, until mid 1941. Very few people like Otto Kretschmer refused to send these reports early in the war. Enigma was in full swing, and HF/DF was not a concern to the Germans at that time. I send them for realism. If I start getting task forces shoved down my throat, then I stop for safety of the boat.

18) SALVO SHOOTING. I do use it, but I am with Otto most days. One torpedo one ship. If the weather is bad, and I cannot get a solid solution on my target, and I want that target, I increase my odds with a salvo. It uses a lot of torps, and missing hurts even more!

19) LEAVING HARBOR. In TWOS you have the option of using just your E-motors while on surface. I do this when leaving a subpen. It was customary to do this to prevent exhaust in the pens. Plus with mines in the area you want to lessen your magnetic field. I will use this option until I am out of the harbor.

20) DIVING TESTS. During my transit to my patrol zone, commanders practiced many tests, from crash dives, to torpedo loading. I practice dive tests every 12 hours to not only "test" my men, but it breaks up the monotony of traveling to the zone, and gives me a chance to hear for contacts underwater. I set the in-game alarm for this.

21) DECK GUN. This is a topic that is commander specific. Some guys love it and some never use it. I do use the gun, when it is safe to do so. Just understand that the gun is a lengthy process to dispatch a vessel. I only use it on very small vessels, or when I have hit one with a torp and she needs further convincing to sink. I will add an SH3 post i did a few years ago on this subject.

22) NEUTRAL SHIPPING. If you come across a ship and not sure if it is neutral, treat it like a target, but get confirmation. Regulations dictated to submerge, get close to identify the ship flag. Even if the ship is neutral, scan the deck for weapons or contraband that may help the war effort. I have sunk neutrals I found suspicious. I would take the hit on my points then allow allies an advantage. If the ship is neutral and not carrying weapons, remain submerged and maintain your stealth. These ships will report your position.

23) HYDROPHONE DEPTH. Generally around 30-60 meters. This allowed full sweeps around without noise of the surface wave breaks interfering. In TWOS Benno will not hear most sound contacts at periscope depth. You can hear them, but he won't.

24) UNDERWATER TRAVEL. For safety and efficiency of hydrophones, I travel at 30m on a clear 0 wind day. I set my wind at max of 60m in the TDW options. I will travel 60m deep on those days to prevent broaching.

25) PROMOTION POINTS. There are a lot of choices when it comes to promotion points. But for the sake of realism, we have to seriously consider what points we want to give to who. I have compiled a list of promotional points hierarchy. I consider these first in priority. TWOS is my mega mod.

a) Watch crew - Dieter. Being able to see the enemy coming on the surface from far distances is always invaluable.

b) Hydrophone - Dieter/soundguy. Anything that affects the distance at which the hydrophone can pick up sounds will always help when searching for targets.

c) Damage control - Josef/Motor officer. You will find yourself in a pickle from time to time. A good damage control team will get you out of said pickle.

d) Torpedo load times - Erich/torpedoman. Finding a convoy means you need ammunition. You need a good crew to load fast in order to get as much tonnage as possible.

e) Crew to bunks - Erich/bosun. With the new Wolves of steel mod, the boatswain orders crew to bunks to use less oxygen. This means you can stay under longer in case of emergency or if you just need to.

These are of course my preference, but these particular areas need attention right away. I would leave the deck gun last for all considerations.

26) TELEPORTING TO STATION. I never do this! Being able to walk to your stations is what makes this game great. If I need Wolfram to send a report I go over to him and click the options. Feels more real, instead of clicking buttons. Besides, this game is Silent Hunter 5... not Star Trek!

27) SPEECH RECOGNITION. Awesome addition. I recommend it, and it feels real. Giving orders while doing other things. That is what captains do!

28) XO HELPING OUT. I love Manual targeting, but the commander did not do it alone. In my TWOS setup, I use the XO to identify ships, and that is about it. He will give some info about the ship AOB, speed and such, but I double check everything.

29) TIME COMPRESSION. This is one hell of a topic because everyone has an opinion. I never use TC in or out of harbor (I use it in Kiel canal). I use max 128TC while traveling. I use 32TC in patrol zone. I try try try to never use TC when attacking a target. I want feel like I earned the privilege of sinking that ship! If I must, then no more that 8. It makes the game feel more longer than it can be, and when I see that tonnage, and head back to harbor I feel great!

30) REAL NAVIGATION. TWOS offers this, and I’m a complete fan. Instead of a line followed, you get a Nav fix on your map., giving you an idea where you are headed. They are not always reliable, forcing you to double check your work. I do not use the sextant though eventually I want to learn, but the captain is too busy, which is why he had the navigator.

31) CAPTAINS BED. I believe more can be done here than just looks. When I need a break, I never pause. I go here, use my iPad especially when in patrol area, and can’t leave. I read the recognition manual here, uboat commanders handbook, or to decode Enigma messages.

32) LIGHTING. My gamma is set really low, 5-7 from the left IIRC. Reason being, I don’t believe you should be able to readily see a ship in pitch black night without a moon. So by keeping the gamma low it’s forcing the player to use appropriate lighting to compensate. I’m a nerd so I will confess, I do use a red light during the night hours of the game, and turn off the light while on the bridge. If I have to look at the Nav map and go back to the bridge, I place red goggles on while using the map so I do not lose my adjusted sight. I play mostly at night so this method works better. In day time, I just cannot see the ship until it is practically on top of me.

33) WEATHER STATION. You thought you’re just going to launch all your torpedoes and then go to Port? Think again! In most cases if you have plenty of fuel and you ran out of torpedoes, or maybe had one left, you were expected to stay in your patrol zone for the assigned number of weeks. You would then become a weather station for Doenitz. If you really want realism in your game, try doing this for a patrol. And now that the wolves of steel allow for weather reports, you can do this.

34) TOOLS. On my desk I have a triangle and a pad of maneuvering boards I use regularly. You can buys these online at a cheap cost. Also I have a stopwatch with a second hand I use to time my periscope use, or get a speed calculation while the in game watch is timing a torpedo run. I find real world tools come in handy.

35) CAPTAIN’S PLACE. I never travel with the NAV map up while on the bridge. Since I don’t teleport between stations, and with the ability to run into destroyers or airplanes, I prefer my captain either be at the actual nav map table in the command room or on his bed while traveling. This prevents wasted time moving from the bridge down into the sub. Plus most days the captain is not going to be on the bridge.

36) CRASH DIVE. I make it a very regular habit to check the depth underkeel. I do this at my dive tests, when doing a hydrophone check, or whenever suits best. If I have to crash dive I want to know how deep I can go before hitting bottom. If I’m diving from an airplane, I aim for 80 meters or deeper. Another good time to test depth is at the navigation map. When you move into a section of map that appears deeper or shallower, you should check. I would also like to note that I never use the depth underkeel finder when being attacked. I find this unrealistic as sending a loud noise in the water while being hunted will help the enemy locate you. It is not modeled in the game but I still pretend it does.

37) GRAMOPHONE. This skipped a lot. Growing up in the 80’s we had a record player, and that skipped if you jumped hard enough next to it. Any wind speed 10m and over I do not use the gramophone but use the radio instead. Also I never use music while doing an attack, or being attacked. This is highly unrealistic.

38) INFO FOLDER. I have in my desk a folder with several pieces of paper. Formulas to compute range, speed, and AOB. Flags of nations and when they become enemies to the Axis. A cardinal directional rose. Speed conversions. UZO range tables. I find these help especially when I’m in a situation where I don’t want to call up these forms on my computer screen such as when I’m attacking or investigating a neutral ship. I find it very cluttered to have all of these things activated on my screen when I could have it on my desk instead. In addition I have books such as the U-boat commander’s handbook, and other planning tools I’m using real world with the game. This is very immersive.

39) HEADPHONES. The ultimate immersive tool. Over the ear headphones give you an audio 3D picture of the world around you. You will be able to hear sounds of warships approaching for a depth charge run, and what direction. This can add a bit of suspense during a depth charge attack!

40) MORALE. I am a fan of the morale system used in SH5. You learn about your crew, and gives you a sense of a living boat. Talking to the crew will give them a morale boost, but you can only do this so many times during a patrol, and then you have to depend on active abilities of certain sailors to increase it. I check with my crew during dive tests, and lulls in the game. I refrain from using abilities like Olafs special meal or Bosuns crew management until I really need it, say when I make contact with a convoy, or I know I am going to be in for a long depth charge attack. Having low morale during these situations can be deadly, so respect your men, and the system.

41) COUNTER DETECTION. The U-Boat commander's handbook states that if you are detected on the surface, you are to submerge deep, and to go full speed without worry of being sound located. In other words, the DD saw you, and is heading full speed to the last location you were visually spotted. The last thing I want to do is go slow, and worry about sound. I want to get away from the location as soon as possible. I attempt to sound locate the DD by hydrophone of possible, or listen manually. When the DD is in medium range, I contemplate going silent. It should also be noted the handbook specifically states the U-Boat should be "active" at all times. Meaning you should be moving at all costs when detected to better the odds of getting away. Do not lie on the bottom waiting.

42) CONCEALMENT. According to the U-Boat commanders handbook, this is the standard which makes the boat so deadly. It needs to be maintained at all times. This means traveling underwater when in enemy waters during the day, or declining to attack, due to air coverage or escorts. As much as we want to sink ships and gain tonnage, without concealment, we risk the boat. Better to hunt another day than risknit all.

43) HUD. It doesn't matter what HUD you use. I use the SH5 enhanced but I turned off the depth gauge bar on the right, and the fuel/battery meter at the bottom. I rather get a report from the chief by clicking his icon at the bottom. When it comes to depth, I go to the command room/Hydrophone suite to get that information. The captain should not have that information at any given moment without a little work.

44) THE ATTACK RUN. At 6000m to 4000m, the captain is afforded time to make plenty of observations to compute a TDC solution. At 4000m if I have not aborted the attack, then I fully commit to it. Once committed, strict periscope discipline occurs. One more point in periscope discipline... your scope should be covered by water most of the time. It should stick out just above the surface so you can see the target in between water spray. Use the periscope profile in the upper left corner at the periscope station to assist you. While this is troublesome to see your target, this along with short raising/lowering intervals will give you a better chance at maintaining stealth.

45) OVERHAULING. Putting your U-boat in a position ahead and abeam of your target so they travel into your firing arc. In day time, the U-boat commanders handbook section 2, B, subsection 110 tells us to keep only the masts in view during the overhaul procedure to ensure invisibility. If you can see the hull of the target, you are too close!

46) OPERATIONS NEAR AIRBASES. No doubt a commander will be tasked to a patrol area near air coverage. On the nav map, if you zoom in on Britain, you will see naval and air bases. If you click on air bases, and zoom out a little, you will see a little red airplane upper left on the map from the air base you clicked. This marks the furthest point these planes can operate. This is a great opportunity to take your compass, click on the air base, the drag the compass circle to that airplane. You now have marked the air coverage visually. Now that we can see the coverage, it should be noted, the U-boat should operate underwater during the day. The chance of detection is too great in this area of the map!

I hope these tips were helpful to give you an immersive experience. I will update this with more, but I ran out of time now. Thanks.



Last edited by bstanko6; 08-07-19 at 02:03 PM.
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