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Old 03-19-2020, 06:49 PM   #1
Macgregor the Hammer
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Default Earning My Dolphins in FotRSU

I bought Silent Hunter 4 from Steam a number of years ago. I played with it a bit and ended up with more frustrations than gaming satisfaction. Due to family and work obligations, I really didn't have the time to sit down and sink my 'teeth' into it. Now that I'm retired, I am able to pursue all my hobbies I had to set aside.


I found the subsim forum in a search and found a wealth of information and quite a number of very well constructed mods. I chose Fall of the Rising Sun as a starting point and focused on learning how to be a be an effective sub Skipper. I wanted to make my sim play as authentic as possible. Iíve been reading books on fleet boat history and strategy; famous boat commanderís tactics and mind set. Iím currently reading ďSink Ďem AllĒ by RADM Charles Lockwood which is a great account of how we got our crap together after Pearl Harbor and bringing the fight to the IJN. IMHO, our fleet boat commanders were as good or better than Germany and Great Britain. The common traits of effective commanders are agression, ingenuity, creativity and unpredictability. This is the mindset I started to use.


Authentic game play is an important mindset for me. How I interpret this is playing the hand your dealt. I donít start a mission then messing up my attack, then restarting because I know what the enemy is going to do. I play it out. Thereís a lot of value in mistakes. Iíve been sunk a couple times playing missions like this. As for reality settings in the game, I play at 100. The only check box I have problems with is Ďdudí torpedo's. The Mark 14ís are bad enough as it is without adding the risk of duds.


So, I have been playing the school and mission scenarios to refine techniques and sorting out what mods I want to play with. The bread and butter for everything I do is the sensor suite. One of the most effective is the SJ radar. It's modeled well and I can start to sort out targets at the 20 nm range. At this point, I have singled out ship that Iím going to attack. As the target gets closer, within the 4000 yd. range, I'm submerged. I dive or submerge to radar depth at about the 3 nm point. Visual detection by the enemy depends on many variables: day or night, weather, sky clarity, etc. just like real life. Iíve found that 3500 yds or greater is a good rule of thumb for being outside visual detection.
Using radar is fairly straight forward: focus on a target with the PPI then move to ĎAí scope to get the range. The radarman is also very good at calling out contacts. Iíve found sonar is just as much an art as it is a technical discipline. After going though a few school missions depending on sonar, I find myself fairly competent at this point. The sonarman is very good at calling out range an bearing. I find it curious that the enemy doesnít seem to react to active sonar.


Intercept:
I am of the belief that the attack set-up starts as soon as I receive information on the convoy location. When I have data on the target group, I set the intercept vector. I use Sub Buddy. I orignally bought for SH3 to help determining AoB. I found that I was terrible at 'guesstimating' AoB and I like the 'full emersion' factor it provides. The German style of Vorhaltrechner attack disc is different than the US Submarine Attack Course Ďwizzer wheelí or Ďbanjoí, but conceptually it's in the same spirit. The back of the Sub Buddy tool is a disk they call a TADS; which stands for Time, Angle, Distance and Speed. It's a very handy tool and once you get the hang of using it, I'm able to solve many problems associated with navigation. Using both sides of the disk, you can quickly solve the lead angle needed for the intercept vector. I went through avionics "A" school in the Marines using a slide rule. That's what we had. It's also a 'geeky' toy for me to play with.


By the time the convoy is at the 25 mile mark, I am firming up the convoy course, speed and true course. I am dialing in the zig-zag timing of the target ship and watching the destroyer behavior. Hopefully, the convoy stays on course and there shouldn't be any surprises. By this time, I'm at my ambush point and using the navigational tools to dial in my attack angle. I have chosen a target on one of the sides of the convoy, aft of the destroyer. If I can, I set up to fire after one of the zig turns with an AoB no more than 80 degrees, maneuvering as close to perpendicular as I can. I do a quick 'up scope' to identify the ship, with a forward speed <3 kts. The destroyers are very good a seeing the periscope wake, especially in day time. Periscope discipline is paramount! I avoid using the position keeper, seems to be more of a hindrance than help. I manually enter the AoB, measure range with the compass tool and by this time, the target speed is known. I've found the O'Kane deflection shooting is the most effective and very forgiving.


The Attack:
If all goes as planned, Iím station keeping <1000 yds and my shot is set up. Iíve found that Japanese convoys often have strange behavior. For the most part, Iím depending on sonar to keep me abreast of the ship distance. I raise the scope briefly to ensure nothing has changed. Torpedo's are set for contact detonation, high speed and depth, mid-draft. I havenít had any deep running problems had IRL, but I have had problems with the influence exploder. One of the Ďcheatí mods I do use is Websterís Torpedo Mod v2. I does make for a more powerful torpedo, but not over the top.
At the calculated lead point, I fire the torpedo's. I donít use spread offset. I just fire as the ship moves along. The effect is the same as a spread. I focus on one target, fire and hopefully hit and sink the target. I fire on one target only. Getting greedy never seems to work out. If I miss or the ship doesnít go down, I escape and evade and come back.


Escape and Evasion:
ve been using a technique that many will find tantamount to suicide. As soon as Iíve fired my torpedo's, I crash dive to 140 ft and work my way under the convoy then go to silent running, heading in the same direction as the merchants. All the merchant props moving is a great cover. Destroyers rarely move around in the convoy looking for a sub. As soon as the destroyers give up the pursuit, I let the convoy pass over head and if Iím lucky, I can get off one more shot on the tail end of the convoy. I know diving under a convoy sounds insane, but itís worked well for me except for the time I had most of my conning tower torn off by a sinking ship!



I know some of what I've said here is controversial. I have sunk a lot of tonnage using these techniques. I would like to hear feedback
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Old 03-22-2020, 10:21 AM   #2
Vox165
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Thanks. I enjoyed reading. It seems you found a nice balance between difficulty and authenticity in your game.
I agree with you about fleet boat commanders, by the end of the war they were efficient professionals. I'll have to check out Sub Buddy. Judging AOB has always been tricky for me. I guess its one downside of interpreting 3D depth on a monitor. Aging eyes don't help either, I'm another member of of the old "slider ruler" club too.
Im enjoying FotRSU too. Eventually, Ill probably look for ways to make the AI a bit more aggressive since that's my personal game preference.
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