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Old 01-28-2019, 03:41 PM   #1
bstanko6
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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.
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Old 01-28-2019, 05:36 PM   #2
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DECK GUN GUIDE PER THE UBOAT COMMANDERS HANDBOOK

I bought a copy of the U-boat commander's handbook (UCHB), and I was surprised to see such detail in how to properly handle this weapon.

Reading over other topics in SUBSIM, I noticed a lack of deck gun rhetoric. So I was hoping to share deck gun tactics I use along with the UCHB. Besides, in the movie 'Das Boot', the "old man" tells us that torpedoes are worth 35,000 marks! Too expensive!

FIRST CONTACT: Sinking a ship with the deck gun can be a long, attention-drawing, process. I choose to use flank speed, and ALWAYS point the bow of my boat directly at the target ship! I am looking to get behind the ship, not meet it head on. This gives the merchant a slim profile that is hard to spot even in clear weather, daylight conditions. Although any attack should be at night. This is not always the case. If the ship is heading directly at you, you may need to adjust your route to the target, or simply submerge until it passes you to keep the element of surprise.

Objective: Get as close as possible as fast as possible without being seen, not paying attention to where the ship is heading. You aim to be at the stern, and slightly behind the target at the moment of attack.

EN ROUTE: As you are getting closer to your target, the deck gun crew should NOT be called up yet until around 2000 meters. You want as many eyes as possible to keep a look out for airplanes and warships that may enter your combat area. If they do show up at this great range from your target, you can safely choose to abort the attack.

Objective: While traveling, you must maintain your boat's bow-facing-to-target discipline. I usually play with the manual rudder dial to find the sweet spot that allows my boat to turn with the merchant. Early war, you scan the horizon for warships and planes, but mid to late war, you are scanning the target ship for weapons. Even though merchants can't hit the ocean with three tries, they can get lucky sometimes. No need for burials at sea.

2000 METERS: I first select the WO, then select the deck gun icon. From here I make sure the "HOLD FIRE" (the little hand picture) is selected. If you do not do this, the crew will start firing as soon as you call them to their station. Call up the deck gun and AA crew. I always do this. There is no reason not to have an AA gun ready for action. If I am 2000 meters from my target, I am not diving for an airplane now, even if I have to shoot it down myself!

Objective: To be ready for action. If the ship sees you coming, it may zig-zag, or begin firing at you. You will already be in a good firing position to take her out. If you maintain your profile on the approach, then you will worry very little about being hit by incoming fire. Just remember, if you have not been noticed, do not fire too early. We want to ensure a quick sinking. If the ship has noticed you, feel free to do as you must.

800-500 METERS: This is it, what we have been waiting for. By now you should be just behind at the stern slightly port or starboard of your target if it has not noticed you. You should be close enough to identify the nationality, and be able to hit her with a stone from your bridge. What the UCHB says we should do, is aim for the command center and give it 10 rounds! Also, at this range, it is very difficult for even the greenest crew to miss. If you can park along side a ship at this range unnoticed, you will save time, and ammo sinking any ship!

Objective: To tie the toe tag on this ship as quickly as possible. Firing 10 rounds into the command center is a bit extreme for me, as I usually give it only 5 before the bridge pops off the ship. Hitting the command center gives us an advantage. It kills any search lights the ship has, and it stops the ship from zig-zagging! In some cases, it stops the engines, as this has only happened for me once. If the ship has weapons, then forget the bridge and hit that stern gun! I usually do this manually to eliminate the chance for the enemy to hit me first, or have my crew alert her to my presence with a wildly missed shot. By staying behind the ship, it cannot broad side you with it's other guns, and you can duck left and right as it swerves to protect yourself from these said weapons.

DESTROY: Once the command deck and/or weapons are out of the picture, ALWAYS aim for the water line! This is important. Hitting the hull will destroy the ship eventually and I stress eventually. But hitting the waterline lets water into the ship and sinks her quicker. You know your hitting her right, when the deck gun is fired at the ship, the round hits the water (you see a plume of water spray), and then you see/hear an explosion from the shell onto the hull! If you ordered your crew to hit the waterline, but they only hit the hull at this close range, then you are too close, steer away. If the crew (ordered to hit the waterline) hits the water and you do not see/hear an explosion on the hull, you are too far, steer in. Understand that if the water is a bit choppy, you may be in the perfect range, and still miss the ship (it happens to the best of them!).

FINAL THOUGHT: Overall, the hardest decision a commander will make when it comes to deck gunning, is position. Anyone can fire a deck gun 5km out, but getting yourself into the position I described is in my opinion the most efficient, most damaging, and safest method. Enjoy!


"The essence of submarine warfare is the offensive! he who wants to be victorious on the sea must always attack!" - UCHB

Last edited by bstanko6; 02-03-2019 at 03:23 AM.
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Old 01-28-2019, 05:42 PM   #3
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Thank You for sharing Bstanko!, Great info. ....May I ask what is the "in game alarm" you are referring to?
-Wayne, U-41 Wilhelmshaven 1941
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Old 01-28-2019, 05:51 PM   #4
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In twos the stop watch has an alarm feature. You can set for every so many hours, or a specific time locally or GMT.
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Old 01-28-2019, 08:30 PM   #5
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TY Bstanko!, I will look closer at the stopwatch next game-time. Used the watch thousands of times and never noticed this feature.
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Old 01-28-2019, 10:53 PM   #6
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If you place the mouse over the stopwatch near the center of the hands and then move slightly to the left or to the right and click with your left mouse button it will bring up a black box and you’ll have all kinds of options to choose from. Just be sure to enable the watch for it to work.
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Old 01-29-2019, 02:41 AM   #7
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Damn good post Bstanko6 !
Should be sticky
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Old 07-14-2020, 01:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bstanko6 View Post

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.
Man. BdU let you have an iPad? Psh, that's crap. They make me leave mine at home.
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Old 07-14-2020, 11:46 PM   #9
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WW2 German scientists can’t be beat!
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Old 07-26-2020, 05:14 AM   #10
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Some new ideas. I haven't implemented them all.

1) Compile your SH playing hobby to a realistic career. Consider where you are located with your skills and knowledge. Cadet>IWO>CPT>Commander. Divide the time you spend on playing, let's say 5 hours a week to priorities as per your rank. This is patrol/theory/studies/writing reports. Details below:

Cadet would spend large portion of time studying Uboat Commander's handbook, type II, VII or IX technical data, history/stories of Atlantic War and biographies by successful U-boat aces. Learn morse, enigma, navigation, mathematics... Maybe try individual things in SH/Wolfpack like navigation, TDC computer and diving.
IWO could start to participate in short patrols. Preferably playing Wolfpack as part of crew, but you could also try SH Captain and practice with Type II in Baltic Sea by identifying neutrals. Focus especially on tutorials. Balance between patrols and theory 50-50. Focus to developing your own routines for TDC, identification, navigation and such, so that you know how to apply the knowledge ingame. As when attacking convoy every minute counts and then it is too late to learn basics.
Captain is probably where most people are located. You spend 75% of your time on patrols. The rest 25% is spent at harbour, depending on U-boat/crew damage-repair and earned vacation time. That time (week or two real time) you can spend to take a break for the game and spend on compiling logbook, reports, learning from your last patrol and also new theory. A U-boat Captain never stops learning (or if he does, he won't live long as the enemy keeps improving).
Commander is the phase where you have seen so much that you would stay on land and reduce your patrols to zero. However I think many would not enjoy this, so I think that it is fair to keep them at 25% to represent how Dönitz maintained his touch to patrol life by interviewing Captains after their patrols. So this is how you maintain your touch with the bread and butter. The other 75% time you would spend at the HQ. Depending on your department is training/tactics, operations or research. So you would spend time on modding, research, writing tutorials and guides for new Captains and perhaps leading Uboat campaign and interviewing Captains like Dönitz.

How does one determine and progress from one level to the next, I think it is entirely a personal decision with no definitive answer. You can base this on years played, tonnage sunk or just on your gut feeling. If you are KIA on patrol, maybe you want to start all over or just downgrade one level (eg. CPT>IWO). It is not impossible to drop from Commander to Cadet and start from ground up, because you are always learning new info and it is best to keep humble. Again this is an entirely personal decision.

2) Another progression of career is U-boat upgrades, new torpedos and crew improvement. The game handles this as renown, but you can make up an alternative, again based on time, tonnage and other factors. For example the new type III torps are on limited supply for the best Kaleuns, so you can only requisition them after 200 000t sunk on campaign. Also if you do badly, eg: Fail to meet objectives, monthly tonnage quota or mis-ID+sink ships such as allies and neutrals, you will receive detriment, such as loose upgrades, special torpedos, specialist crew or even get downgraded from Type VII back to Type II. Since it is hard us to make such choice objectively, you can do it with random generator or scale it with your mistakes before the patrols. First time you might just get off with a warning from Dönitz.

3) Medals and ranks https://uboat.net/men/ranks/
Research how these were given. Again, you can do things differently than the game tells you. If you have earned your medal, perhaps it is possible to order replica from Ebay or similar. Or these days use 3D printer. You can them put them in some container by the fireplace and remember your adventures and kamraden when you are old.

4) Make a routine for your patrol planning and debriefing. It is just as important as the patrol itself. Plan your patrol on Kriegsmarine Grid Chart, plot down air/mine threats, convoy routes, measure distances, plan navigation schedule and fuel consumption. Look up sun/moon almanac for the season. Do you want to leave harbour day or night? What about passing enemy air bases? During the patrol maintain your logbook. It is the single most important source of detailed info.

After the patrol write a report to BDU. With basic factors eg. How did patrol go, were objectives met. What did we sink. How was the weather. How was enemy activity and skill. What went well, what went bad. What can we learn. Finally report when you are ready for next patrol, considering damage to uboat/crew and need to rest. Adjust time spent at harbour by these factors, so that it is not always random/28d but scaled rationally. I also warmly recommend making a map of your conducted patrol route, with dates, contacts and main events. U-boat commanders did this and it helps you to put individual encounters to a larger context. Keep these organized digitally/physically in their respective patrol folders. I also did a map of a convoy battle to better understand escort position, behaviour, location of neutrals/big ships and tactics employed.

This all might seem like a lot of work, but by doing this you write down the story of your patrol. So that all the effort and time you put into it is not immediately lost once it is over. Instead you build on it and can go back to see how you handled problems before which you will face again. You learn new and gather intel to plan your future patrols better. One thing Kaleuns often are on lookout for are new possible convoy routes. If you encounter convoy in a place without known convoy route, plot it down and then you have knowledge of new hunting grounds.
For planning you can also make a crew and item manifest. Who do you need, with what speciality. How much fuel, torps and food do you need. Food can be simulated well, if it is your personal rations for next month or two (see part 7).
If you simulate crew, they will get wounded or MIA/KIA. Write a report on the circumstances to BDU and families. Sometimes crew will just transfer. Also when you have medals for them, write a request to BDU who has earned the medal and why. If someone comes short of expectations, you can dismiss them.

5) Other useful material for patrol:
Make a checklist if you keep forgetting the hundreds of details. How to conduct convoy attacks, plan and prepare patrols. It is no shame, pilots and astronauts use checklists to minimize human error.
Make a target card, lots or single laminated, where you can draw ship features (funnel, hull, island...) as you ID it. Once you have ID enter parameters such as height, depth, course. That way you have the info at an arm's lenght when you are setting up TDC.
Research and make a powerpoint of enemy threats. Mines, destroyers, aircraft. What kind of armament and detection systems do they have per year. What are their strenghts and weaknesses. What kind of experiences have U-boat Kaleuns have had previously with them.

6) Adopt the tactics of an U-boat Ace. For example I have learned from Otto Kretschmer to prefer surface attack and use 1 torp per 1 ship. Wolfgang Lüth had a good view of maintaining morale during long patrols by arranging routine/events to crew and also to maintain constant study and self-development.

7) Bring life around the patrols by gathering news/music/speeches of WW2 and arranging them by timeline. Once you are bored on your patrol, follow those as their date, to know what is happening in the war around you. Even more important are BDU standing orders and situation reports. Read these for your patrol and apply the operating procedures (sinking restrictions, torpedo settings) to your patrol as per the date. http://www.uboatarchive.net/BDUKTB.htm

8) More realism is gained by visiting museums. Especially U-boats, U-boat pens, war/ops rooms and escorts. You can also build small scale model U-boats and ships. Then you will begin to understand the scale and machines. Again, maps, manuals, books, internet, archieves, serials and movies give you perspective and added knowledge. You can construct a personal archieve/library for this information. It can be just one shelf or few folders. It can also be in digital format. Share information and material with others. They might have something you don't and vice-versa.

9) Greater realism can be achieved with food. You can combine U-boat life with the diet you have always wanted! Early on the patrol, you can enjoy fresh food such as sausages and fruit. Later on the patrol you are left with canned goods. If you can safely simulate taste of diesel/mould with spices, that is extra bonus, as U-boat crews often complained about that. If you are getting sick of canned goods, maybe you can go fishing at a nearby lake or supermarket, and catch a type fish which is common in the region you are sailing at. Maybe the Captain also has secret stash of cognac for long patrols and to give some warm feeling to the watch crew at 3 am. If you have a wife or significant other, you can agree to write letters from the sea.
Once you return to the harbour for a week or two, then you can let go of all limits. Feel free to go to a nice French restaurant (similar to Lorient) with wife or significant other, as you know you will have to go back to sea in a few weeks. If you have sunk over 50000 tons, get yourself a good bottle of something. You have earned it and live only once.

10) If your patrol goes south and you are taking flooding, go to a shower/pool/lake and continue the game wet. You can also take salty water to nostrils with a straw, it feels awful but has positive cleansing health effects, and gives feeling of drowning in salt water.
If you take damage and you need to repair it, go repair something with your car or house. You can combine this with an unplesant chore and suddenly it becomes lot more fun. Maybe add time pressure also: If you don't fix it in 15 min you sink. Just remember not to combine electric tasks with water!

11) Take screenshots of the best game moments with old-fashioned photofilter. Attach those photos to your reports and make a photoalbum of your patrols in the good old days. It can be next to your medals by the fireplace... (part 3)

12) If you know a place to print large posters, you can print the large Kriegsmarine Atlantic Chart (and others) and frame it on your wall. Make a small uboat symbol out paper and attach it there with piece of tape. Now you have your very own OPS/NAV room! You can always check where your U-boat and your friends are on patrol. If you get the scale and right tools, you can even navigate with the chart.
Below it attach a screw or two to the wall. Get an old fashioned wooden writing pad mount it there. Here you can keep your BDU orders/logs and other data at hand and walk to it during the patrol. It is like the navigation table on the submarine. If you want to write your reports the old-fashioned way, get a type-writer. One can only dream of constructing an own Enigma-machine...

13) When you choose your U-boat number, check that it is available as per the date. Look up it's history when has it been constructed, has it been to patrols, who has commanded it before and does it have any special features. Read the Captain logs to notice these special features or damage you should be aware of. Once you get sunk, see if you did better or worse than the U-boat historically or it's Captains. You can also plan your own Captain Emblem (maybe it is possible to mod to game?)

14) Research the story of the convoy you just hit and even the ships which you have sunk. http://www.convoyweb.org.uk/


Some things that would be cool, but not sure how to simulate them:
1) This was in previous page: Research story and load of each individual ship you sink. So ships in game rarely display their name. As in previous page I can find "ClassName=NKPF" but I have no idea how to go forward with this information.
2) Historical handbooks are difficult to find. Many links are dead or they are rewritten in online text format and not original scan. Navigational charts are difficult to find with sufficent resolution and quality.
3) Use weather history for planning. I haven't been able to locate weather data on the Atlantic 1939-45. Ok maybe this is partly useless as I have understood that weather in game is random to a degree. But of course all weather forecasts can go wrong. So historical weather data and charts could be used in patrol planning for realism purposes.
4) U-boat's cook book? Does anyone have it?

Last edited by Storm501; 07-26-2020 at 07:19 AM.
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Old 07-28-2020, 01:06 PM   #11
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I was on patrol on international waters. My IWO sights a neutral passenger liner. I consult BdU orders as we have unrestricted submarine warfare and possibility to engage. I am also in an operation with focus on warships and troop transports. After long consideration I decide not to sink her. I only snatch a small ID photo. 15 min later it feels dissapointing to let a 8000t target go...

For some reason I keep coming back to this photo. So after the patrol I decide to try and find out the name of the ship. I Google "Swedish passenger liner". The 2nd result leads me to a Wikipedia article and the similarity is clear as day.




Just amazing. They match almost perfectly. Here is a bit of the article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Drottningholm
Quote:
The Drottningholm was one of the few passenger liners along with Cunard's RMS Aquitania, to have completed service in both World Wars. During wartime the ship was used as a mercy ship to exchange civilian internees, POWs, and diplomats. She was chartered by the American, British, and French governments for a total of 14 voyages that transported 18,160 individuals.
In March 1942 the ship was chartered by the U.S. State Department via an arrangement with the Nazi Germans and other Axis powers, facilitated with the help of the Swiss and Swedish governments, to repatriate civilian internees and diplomats from both sides of the war. Her first east bound voyage from the US, carrying Axis individuals, was from New York City to Lisbon, Portugal on May 7, 1942. On May 22, she departed Lisbon for a west bound return trip carrying Allied individuals to New York, arriving on June 1, 1942. The passengers included American Chargé d'affaires to Germany Leland B. Morris and diplomat George Kennan. She made one more east bound voyage to Lisbon on June 3 from Jersey City, New Jersey. Her final west bound exchange mission from Lisbon to New York arrived in the United States on June 30. That would be her last exchange trip from Lisbon as the Nazi government cancelled all further trades. On July 15, she left from New York City to her home port in Gothenburg, Sweden, carrying approximately 800 Axis nationals.
She continued to serve the British and French as a repatriation mercy ship. The Drottningholm carried Red Cross supplies for distribution to other nationalsstill in Japanese controlled territory. One Japanese national jumped overboard and drowned causing the exchange to be halted until an American offered to stay in captivity.
Quote:

The Drottningholm was painted white with the name of the vessel in very large letters, the Swedish flag and the words "Sverige" (Sweden) and "Diplomat" painted prominently on port and starboard. She was fully illuminated so her markings could be easily viewed. On 16 March 1944 she docked in New York after an exchange voyage that took 750
Germans to Europe in exchange for 600 wartime internees, including Mary Berg. In September 1944, she was being used by the Red Cross to transport POWs and civilians being repatriated from Germany to the UK via Sweden, under the command of Captain John Nordlander. Another voyage in April 1945 docked in Liverpool that included 212 ex-interned Channel Islanders.
This is just the ww2 history. The ship transported Canadian troops during ww1 and was involved in the disaster of the Titanic.

So now having learned the story of the ship in the sights of my UZO, I am glad I didn't sink her. Without learning the story I would have just thought "another neutral wasting my time in the game". So this brings a lot of new feeling to the game. How big of a responsibility a U-boat commander has on the decision to sink a ship or not. On that night I did not observe any diplomatic markings. Had I sunk her, I would have been in so much trouble. If it were not possible to cover the sinking as a mine.. With my decision, hang in the balance a big international incident, which would effect relations between Germany and Sweden. Perhaps on a strategical scale in ww2. But now I can be glad I made the right choice. I can put this ship in my photo album, marking down where and when I met her. Next we encounter, I will recognize her quite instantly.
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Old 07-28-2020, 01:16 PM   #12
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CONGRATS and kudos to your reticence as the anger Swedes woul blow up their iron mines and hamper the Nazi war effort in retaliation: a principle reason Hitler never invaded Sweden as with Denmark and Norway.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweden_during_World_War_II
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From late 1942 and into 1943, Germany began to meet with a series of military reverses after its losses at the Second Battle of El Alamein, the Battle of Stalingrad and elsewhere. Germany was forced into a more defensive position as the Allied forces achieved success on the battlefield. It was becoming increasingly apparent to Sweden that Germany was unlikely to win the war. Prior to 1943, Sweden's policy of neutrality had been largely under the close scrutiny of Germany. After August and September 1943, however, Sweden was increasingly able to resist German demands and to soften its stance to Allied pressure. However, despite Germany's new, defensive posture, Sweden's constant fear was that the unexpected would happen, an attitude that continued until the very end of the war. With Germany's weakening position came stronger demands from the Allies. They pushed for Sweden to abandon its trade with Germany and to stop all German troop movements over Swedish soil. Sweden accepted payments from the Allies to compensate for this loss of income through reduced trade with Germany, but continued to sell steel and machine parts to Nazi Germany at inflated smugglers' rates.
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Old 08-17-2020, 11:27 AM   #13
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Youtube is full of ambient noise videos. Including submarines.

If you listen to that with headset while the game running 1 TC or 64 TC... Amazing. You can immerse reading submarine literature. Another tip, if you have two computer monitors you can have SH5 on one screen and literature/forums on the other. SH5 works very stably windowed.
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Old 08-19-2020, 08:42 PM   #14
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I had to look at the date when I made this thread! It feels like yesterday I wrote it. Now with all the great additions people have given to it... “Immersive techniques for the true Subsimmer” is alive and well. Thanks to all who takes time out of their day to read my nerdy rhetoric!
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Old 08-19-2020, 08:55 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bstanko6 View Post
I had to look at the date when I made this thread! It feels like yesterday I wrote it. Now with all the great additions people have given to it... “Immersive techniques for the true Subsimmer” is alive and well. Thanks to all who takes time out of their day to read my nerdy rhetoric!

You are very welcome!


Using some of your techniques, such as "Periscope Discipline" I managed to complete the entire SH5 game!!

I should be the one thanking you here!

And Tbh, some of your "nerdy" things are kinda cool imo.
Your setup is pretty cool, I saw the video on your YT channel.
Your immersive techniques are cool as well.

And this is coming from a middleschooler who doesn't really like the nerds in his grade. At least, they don't do the stuff you do!

Keep it up man!
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