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Old 01-25-2017, 03:03 PM   #1
CaptBones
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Icon9 German "MK-18" problem?

Back to my SH4/OM career after a l-o-n-g break and encountered something very unpleasant. Just wondering if anyone else has had this happen, particularly in SH4 with OPMonsun/ATO.

Underway from St. Nazaire on 21 April '41 for my second patrol in command of U-96. First patrol was not particularly noteworthy, only 25K tons after 1-1/2 months cruising the Western Approaches; heavy air patrols and only two well-guarded convoys, no loners or stragglers. So, I hope for better luck in new patrol area south of Iceland.

Anyway, 0-dark-thirty in the early morning of second night after departure, sighted a good-sized steamer (5500GRT, keel depth 7.3m) running at 10kts, without nav lights, on an east-northeasterly course towards St. George's Channel. Set up a good surface torpedo attack position and observed a Red Ensign at 1500m. Fired one G7e at 1100m, depth 8.5m, magnetic pistol. Did not get a red line (time of impact) on my chronometer when the eel left the tube, so went to the attack map to see if the torpedo was tracking to the target.

Mein Gott! It's only 200m off my stbd side, circling to the right, heading astern of me and will spiral right into my port side. Damn the torpedo, full speed ahead! Too late; the fish swims below me, dead center under the control room.

But, no detonation...right full rudder, ahead flank, let's get away from this thing...and done. The British steamer must see the commotion, he's starting to zig-zag and firing a deck gun in my general direction. That's enough excitement for one night; we clear the area and resume our course to the assigned patrol grid.

In the wardroom for a "hot wash-up" to figure out what happened, all I can come up with is that the depth setting for the eel must have been too deep to activate the detonator some 3.5+m below my keel. Had it been a daylight submerged attack, we'd have been just another boat that failed to report.
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Old 01-25-2017, 10:38 PM   #2
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Default That sucks.

That is called a circle runner. That was how the USS Tang was sunk and probably a few other Boats. And I am sure the U-boats had their share of them as well.
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Old 01-26-2017, 05:59 AM   #3
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Yeah the Germans had their torpedoes veer wildly off course too. I seem to remember a story similar to the one you described where the boat was saved only by the ineffective detonators
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Old 01-26-2017, 11:37 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J0313 View Post
That is called a circle runner. That was how the USS Tang was sunk and probably a few other Boats. And I am sure the U-boats had their share of them as well.
Thanks...yes, I know; I met and knew Dick O'Kane and several other notable USN WWII commanders and leaders. Since I've been playing SH4 for almost ten years now and have never, ever, seen this before, I was just wondering if anyone else has had this happen to them in the game (either stock SH4 or OM or TMO, for instance).

...and thank you also Barkerov. I've never heard that story before, but there were at least two U-boats that were sunk by their own torpedoes, though the circumstances were not the same as the USN MK-18 "circle runner" problem. Those two known instances were cases where the T5 G7s Zaunköning (Wren) homing torpedoes homed in on the boats that fired them instead of their intended targets.

Last edited by CaptBones; 01-26-2017 at 11:56 AM. Reason: Afterthought
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Old 01-26-2017, 01:25 PM   #5
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In the ten years I've been playing the game, I've had it happen three times that I can remember, and that I know of. Once in stock, on the surface, and I had no idea it could happen then. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out where that torpedo had come from. Saw it from the bridge, just couldn't believe the game had something else that could shoot one at me... Once in TMO, also on the surface, and while attempting to get out of it's way, I actually ran into the torpedo... I would have been best off staying where I was. And now once in Fall of the Rising Sun, Ultimate Edition, just a few weeks ago, at periscope depth, and I wasn't paying attention. I heard the screws myself, but I was intent on watching the torp impact the ship I'd shot it at... Instead, it "impacted" my periscope. I was using the "proximity fuse", and it "proximated" just above me... I had a heck of a time getting the sinking under control, finally getting leveled off at about 3 and a quarter. Survived it, only to get slammed by every DD within an hour's travel time of where I was... I think there probably was like 6 of 'em up there, taking turns at dropping cans on me... Nothing like the detonation of your own torpedo to give your position away... I could have sworn though, that the crew used to warn you of a torpedo coming at you, but maybe I'm thinking of a different game...
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Old 01-26-2017, 02:40 PM   #6
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I've had circular runs after a torpedo leaves the tubes many a time. On one occasion I was hit in the bow by the torpedo. I was never more happy to here those immortal words "Torpedo is a dud, Sir"
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Old 01-26-2017, 03:53 PM   #7
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... - that one that got me in TMO? I'd had a run of six torps in a row just before that that had been duds... not the one that got me, of course...
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Old 01-27-2017, 05:06 PM   #8
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Default Many thanks all...

Good to know it wasn't a bug or some other random fault in the program.

I guess I'm now surprised that I haven't seen it before and more often, although it might explain one or two other unexplained "misses" way back when; I just didn't think to look on the attack plot on those occasions.

But, it also reminded me of a real-world incident. Acting as a target for MK-48 torpedo tests on the underwater range in the Straits of Georgia at Nanaimo, BC, we were "advised" by the test firing barge, using underwater phone ("Gertrude") that the barge had "lost contact" with the weapon and they recommended we sound collision alarm and set Material Condition Zebra.

Oh really, did they think we hadn't already done that in anticipation of being the first maneuvering target ship to have a 3500lb torpedo travelling at 50kts being wire-guided to pass two yards directly under our keel?

The next helpful report I heard was from Sonar..."high speed screws passing close overhead from the port bow, fading in the baffles, heading away off the starboard quarter." The weapon had apparently gone into a weaving search pattern with random depth changes, and the loss of guidance had not switched on active guidance sonar...thank you God.

The Test Director and I, with several others, found a quiet tavern in Nanaimo that night and we all had several calming beers.
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Old 01-27-2017, 07:21 PM   #9
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Bloody oath. I feel like I need a beer and I only read your story.
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Old 01-27-2017, 08:45 PM   #10
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Default Almost forgot...

Probably not the first time an entire crew needed a change of underwear, all at the same time. But might have been the first time that the crew of the "attacking" ship (well, barge anyway) also needed to change at the same time. We certainly all had a grand time gripping about it at the bar!

Now back to the original post...my hands and one leg/knee, were actually shaking during that brief episode and I got a headache and neck-ache from being tensed-up beyond belief. I wonder if the event actually triggered a subconscious recollection of the "real deal" back there in Georgia Strait?

Should have gone straight upstairs to the fridge and gotten a cold one!
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Old 01-27-2017, 09:42 PM   #11
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Default Hmmm.

My Grandfather was a plank owner on the USS Grenadier, SS210. And was on her till the bitter end when they had to scuttle her and became guests of the Emperor. Nuff said.
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Old 05-09-2017, 12:42 AM   #12
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This happened to me several times with TMO. My response was always "Back emergency!" That is why your sonar operator in Dangerous Waters always calls out "unit is running normally."
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