Destroyer Command

You’re lean, mean, and loaded with things that go “boom.” Gear up for a sub hunt, swat some pesky planes, or host a battleship bash.  By Neal Stevens, Subsim Review

___________________________________________________________________________general tips

While flight sims offers fast-paced and straightforward action, naval sims tend to lend themselves to more of a cat-and-mouse, hunt-and-be-hunted kind of dynamic. You’ll need patience, spatial orientation, and keen operational skills to successfully wage war on the open seas. Destroyer Command places you in control of the greyhounds of the seas. Fast and maneuverable, destroyers are equipped to tackle all sorts of difficult situations.


Helpful Websites
Subsim Review has been around forever. Patches, mods, tactics, tips, news, and busy forums will aid in your training.
Battle Below is a terrific place to get information about Silent Hunter, Silent Hunter II, and Destroyer Command.
The Danish center for all things Silent Hunter II (the DC companion).
Eagle League has 6,000 members and is the web’s No. 1 online naval community.  

When operating in conjunction with cruisers, battleships, and aircraft carriers, remember to know your place. A destroyer is considered expendable and is expected to protect capital ships. When your battle fleet encounters an enemy force, you have one primary decision to make: Which quarter should I attack? 

A close-range torpedo attack is your most devastating tactic. Use a narrow track when at short range.

Proceed at flank speed. Check the engine-room screen to ensure all boilers are online. When you’re within range, use the map screen to select a target (go for the biggest ship in the opposing fleet), then right-click your ship and “Attack Selected target.” Your AI crew will commence firing your five-inch guns. If you prefer, you can switch to the battery director and handle the targeting chores yourself. Just remember that Ultimation built realistic wave-motion into the game, so while you may appreciate the added thrill of watching your ship pitch back and forth, it’ll make hitting your target appreciably more challenging.

Use the rudder to make 10-degree course changes: it’s your only defense against close-in fire. Try to veer in at an angle because you don’t want to offer the enemy a full-length target. Close range to 3,000 yards and then release a narrow-angle torpedo attack — your most devastating weapon. 
< Planes often attack in waves and pose a kamikaze threat. You’ll need steady aim and generous leads to bring them down.

Once you’ve taken out the heavy targets, it’s time to switch to the lighter ships. Single out enemy destroyers that are within range of several of your DDs and instruct them all to focus their firepower on one vessel at a time. Remember, every enemy tin-can you sink is one less ship that can fire back at you.

When the battle requires binoculars, you haven’t done your job. This carrier is about to catch a couple of well-placed torpedoes.   >

In case of enemy aircraft attacks, a destroyer captain must not only engage the planes at maximum range, but also position his ship to block any torpedoes that might get launched at the capital ships he’s protecting. If you decide to man the AA guns yourself, use the (Z) key to zoom in, and keep a finger on the (.) key to switch gun stations when reloading. A glance at the light green “ownship” silhouette on the left should help keep you oriented.

At times, you may be tempted to hang back and save your own hide, but if you want to play a historically correct battle, you should keep yourself in the thick of the action. It’ll likely give you an appreciation for some of what the real sailors and tin-can skippers had to deal with.

<   Careful coordination with the other DDs in your division can produce searing results.




Destroyers were crucial to convoy protection in the famed Battle of the Atlantic. Slow, unprotected freighters, passenger ships, and tankers sustained the British war effort. So protecting your fleet should always be your main priority.

The beleaguered U-boat (red) launched two torpedoes. Both missed. The destroyers (blue) are ready for payback.   >

In single-player games, you’ll normally be one of several destroyers escorting a convoy. Destroyer Command‘s AI U-boats usually aren’t serious threats to the convoy. They’ll appear from time to time, and your AI destroyers will engage, often with no signal to you. You may choose to join such an attack, but leaving the convoy unguarded can be dangerous. It’s wise to resist the temptation. Some scenarios throw in surface raiders, and they’re the real menace. Attack them on sight.

_______________________________________________________________multiplayer tips

Convoy duty in multiplayer games with players commanding Silent Hunter II U-boats is where things get really interesting. People will outperform the game AI in most situations. Your task is the same — to protect the merchants — but your tactics will have to improve dramatically if you want to win.

U-boat players will first have to find you and your convoy. You have no control over the course of the merchants: that’s coded in the scenario. If it’s everyone’s first time playing a given scenario, you may be able to slip by the human U-boat players. Silent Hunter II players who don’t know where the convoy will pass must run on the surface to maximize their visual-detection range. Running on the surface enables the Silent Hunter II player to cover more ground at higher speeds (16 to 18 knots) and allows them to make up for being out of position. This tactic also makes them susceptible to radar detection, however (if you’re playing in an appropriate time period). Human Destroyer Command players should stress heavy rear and side convoy protection on new multiplayer scenarios.

<   Destroyers possess good speed and maneuverability. Use both to your advantage at all times.

If your human enemies know the scenario, they’ll position themselves along the convoy track and lay in wait. Expect a savvy U-boat player to be at periscope depth to avoid radar and visual detection. In this situation, your job becomes more difficult. A U-boat will always detect a surface ship before a surface ship detects it. You’ll need to cover the leading edge of the convoy and occasionally make a sprint down the sides. Try to look at the CIC map and visualize what you’d do if you were a U-boat captain laying in wait. Is there an opening? A weak spot in the coverage? If you can see these things, expect the sub skipper to see them, too. If you’re the gambling type, it may pay off to leave a sector unguarded for a stretch and then sprint to it to see if a Silent Hunter II player has taken the bait and moved into the opening. U-boats can chat to ALL players only if they are submerged. If they’re on the surface, they’re able to chat to other U-boat players in TEAM mode — but at the risk of giving the Destroyer Command players a HF/DF contact.

Once you detect a human Silent Hunter II player, you must alert your Destroyer Command mates and call for at least one of them to assist. Drop a map note on the CIC chart to indicate the target’s position.

During depth-charge runs, expect to lose contact periodically. The game code is designed to replicate the real-world combat conditions of the time. When you’ve closed the range and your depth charges are exploding, don’t expect the map contact to be accurate (when you’re playing with high levels of realism enabled). It helps to have a buddy dump ash-cans on your helpless foe. When estimating the enemy’s course, remember that the U-boat player will try to keep his stern pointed at you to minimize his sonar profile.

Manual use of the battery director is challenging and fun. Time wave action to increase accuracy. >  

Expect an aggressive U-boat player to take a shot at your destroyer as soon as he gets a chance. This maneuver works to your advantage in two significant ways. For one thing, he’s wasting torpedoes on you instead of the lumbering merchants. And since you’re at the helm of a narrow, shallow-draft, and highly maneuverable destroyer, he’s not very likely to score a hit on you. That said, never hold a steady course: change speeds frequently.

To make your sonar effective, you’ll need to run at 20 knots or less. To stay clear of the blast radius of your own depth charges, speed up to full or flank.

Remember to follow through and attack Silent Hunter II players until you’ve destroyed them or run low on depth charges, or until your convoy has opened up a good lead. In the latter case, you may elect to suspend ASW activities and race back to the convoy to intercept other possible attacks.

© 2002 Imagine Media