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Old 11-25-2008, 10:38 PM   #3
Rockin Robbins
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: DeLand, FL
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Originally Posted by 45_South
Greetings all,
I am trying to get my head around manual targeting and am currently reading Dick O'kanes' Clear the Bridge (very good read too by the way).

I started out using "the Dick O'kane' method as tutorialized (don't know if that's a real word but I'm going with it) by Rockin Robbins. I understand this method and have had some success with it - set up at 90 degrees to target track, offset aiming device 10, fire as desired points cross crosshairs etc etc.

However, every attack I read about in Dick O'kanes' book goes something like this (after the initial setup) "Constant bearing - mark!"
"Fire!" and the first torpedo went for her big stack aft. The next fish went for her middle, and the third forward.

What I don't understand is if he is firing as the target moves across his periscope crosshair, how does he shoot aft to fwd? This implies that he in fact does not hold his scope on a pre-determined bearing to fire but rather tracks with the target from aft to fwd?

I must be missing something basic here... calling Rockin Robbins to the bridge!
p.s. I tried to find the original Dick O'kane thread to post this to but failed miserably there also
The clue here is in Dick O'Kane's calling "Constant bearing — mark!" Those words have a precise meaning that cleverusername doesn't believe is historically accurate. Let me put on my professor's cap and go to work here.

There are three methods of shooting torpedoes, according to the Submarine Torpedo Fire Control Manual, which I invite you to read to verify what I say.

The first method, and the one cleverusername refers to as "historically accurate" is the check bearing method. In the check bearing method, the captain makes the announcement "shooting will by the check bearing method" or some shorthand with the words "check bearing method" in them. This is a quick up and down of the scope to get a bearing, range and down scope. This method emphasized minimal, less than 30 second scope exposures to take a snapshot that could be plotted. They developed course, speed and bearing by multiple observations and checked the actual periscope bearing method (thus the name "check bearing method") against that of the TDC with PK on. When they were happy with the solution, they took one last observation to update bearing and range and shot with spreads set with the spread dial.

The second method is the continuous bearing method. In the continuous bearing method, the periscope is left up and constant bearings are continuously fed to the TDC to keep the TDC continuously updated with real bearing and range during the shooting of the torpedoes. As long as your speed and course are accurate, this is a very accurate way to shoot. You do expose your scope for a long time though. In certain situations it is very useful.

The third method and that referred to by Dick O'Kane in his book is the constant bearing method. There are many variations of the constant bearing method, but what they have in common is that the TDC is set for a solution and the periscope is aimed for that bearing. When the aiming point crosses the bearing you shoot, knowing the torpedo is going right where you aim.

Think of it this way. If you're shooting cute birdies out of the sky with your shotgun, there are two basic ways to get the job done. One is to sweep the shotgun across the sky with the bird until you're satisfied with the lead angle and shoot any time you want. This is the analog of the check bearing and continuous bearing methods. The second way is to anticipate a position in the sky the bird must cross, aim your gun there without moving it and squeeze off the murderous shot at the correct moment. This is the analog to the constant bearing method because your gun is aimed at a constant place in the sky. Kapeesh?

Dick O'Kane would start his attack the way we do. He'd work with the PK and tweak the inputs until his TDC was following the target perfectly. But to shoot, he'd sight ahead of the target, send a new bearing and crank the TDC bearing input backwards (more details available from Nisgeis or aaronblood) to stop the updating. We can do the same thing by clicking off the PK. Then he would wait for the target to pass by the crosshair, shooting as the part of the ship he wanted was on the line. He could do this quickly enough, sighting again ahead, waiting and shooting again to shoot his stern, MOT (middle of target), bow spread. He shot in that order to give him the maximum divergence in his spread. That made the attack more difficult to avoid if the torpedoes were spotted. Check out a John P Cromwell attack in broad daylight with a perfect longitudinal spread and you can see how easy it is to avoid a spread with no divergence.

We made it very clear when we published the Dick O'Kane method that we had no proof that Dick O'Kane ever used that exact methodology in his attacks. We did know he liked to use the constant bearing method and shoot as juicy parts of the target "crossed the wire." With the goal in mind of making a deadly attack method that eliminated every possible detail, while remaining awesomely lethal, what we named the Dick O'Kane attack is an adaptation of Wahoo's Fast-90 U-boat method, but using the capability of the American TDC, which automatically calculates the lead angle and allows you to set up the attack before you even see your target.

The real Dick O'Kane and the three of us who developed the Dick O'Kane attack had different things in mind. Dick O'Kane didn't care how difficult it was. He had a highly trained crew to back him up and could do several things at once. His attack would be very difficult for a beginner to execute.

My goal was to encourage the new player who had never tried manual targeting to give it a try, with the assurance that he would be a certified killer right off the bat. Frankly, it worked much better than I planned with many experienced players using the method often. At no time have we ever claimed that Dick O'Kane used this exact procedure. He did use very similar constant bearing methods, though, and they did use the American TDC in imaginative and very unconventional ways. The constant bearing section of the Torpedo Fire Control Manual has Dick O'Kane's virtual fingerprints all over it!

OK, enough defending. How are you going to do the max divergent spread with the Dick O'Kane method. It's really not too difficult. You will have to give up an infinitessimal amount of accuracy, because we're not going to have time to update the AoB during the shooting. We'll be perfectly accurate on the second shot, OK?

Let's say our normal shoot bearing is on the 10 bearing and our ship is about ten degrees long. So we'll set up our speed. Then we'll set up the AoB for that 10 shot--90-10=80 starboard or port, depending on which side he's coming for. Our first shot will be intentionally five or seven degrees before the perfect bearing. Point there and wait for the ship.......when that fat stack on the stern is in the crosshairs, shoot!

Now aim the scope just in front of the ship and hit the send bearing/range button. When the MOT is on the crosshairs, shoot! No time to dawdle here.

Again leapfrog to ahead of the target and press the send range/bearing button. When the bow crosses the line shoot as the mast crosses the line.

You've just shot the stern, MOT, bow spread, Dick O'Kane style! Your AoB settings were slightly off, but not enough to make you miss. You have 3 hits on order, American Express overnight delivery. Splice the mainbrace!

Last edited by Rockin Robbins; 11-25-2008 at 10:48 PM.
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