Anti-Destroyer Tacticsby Kofi Horberg
Read with great interest your advice
on subsim tactics. Here an additional one that I developed on my own and tried
with overwhelming success.
attacking whomever, first to concentrate on the escorting watch destroyers.
Go to periscope depth (never dive deep!) and proceed head on towards the
closest one, accelerating my sub to flank speed when coming closer than
1,500 yds/mtrs. In such position the adversary will find it extremely
difficult to make use of his asdic/sonar, because (a) I show him only my
front profile, (b) on a target close to surface (periscope depth!)
asdic/sonar was rather inefficient because of the shape of its ultrasonic
beam, (c) he will be compelled to reduce his speed to meager 12 knots, if he
wants to detect anything at all, say with his passive listening device (his
active asdic/sonar he can forget for most of the time under such
conditions). Hence, he may detect that something is in front of him, but he
will find it hard to determine what is really going on there, where and how
approach distance of 900 yds/mtrs I take a sharp turn of 70 degrees to one
side, often to the side where the second-next destroyer is approaching,
depending on his distance. There will be now a total of 3 alternative
scenarios that will happen next: In each case, it will take at least 30-50
seconds before my adversary can detect that I was taking the sharp turn to
one (which?) side. (This has confirmed technical reasons.)
A: He will proceed straight ahead, ignoring my turn. After further 30
seconds or so he will then cross my sub's rear extended axis at a distance
of about 500-600 yds/mtrs. In such position an air-powered torpedo from my
stern tube will hit him without fail in about 18-20 seconds in the middle of
his broadside and at an angle of said 70 degrees (whether it also detonates
is another question).
B: He will not ignore my turn. After he has discovered the same, he will
follow my turn in a w i d e curve. After further 30 seconds or so he will
thus cross my wake/keel water at a distance of about 300 yds/mtrs. Again, my
torpedo from the stern tube hits him at the middle of his broadside after
some 11-12 seconds and at a rectangular angle.
C: He will follow my turn in a narrow curve, thus trying to intercept my
course. In that case, I swing back more or less to my original heading,
depending on how sharp he turns towards me, my sub can turn even sharper
(that is so with subs!). As a result, he will inevitably cross my wake and
receive the stern torpedo in the middle of his broadside and at the closest
thus attacking a whole group of destroyers, sinking them one after the other
- I do that frequently and with great excitement - it can happen of course
that my stern tube will be empty (not yet reloaded) for the next candidate
(in SH this is not much of a problem, because most US-subs had 4 stern tubes
and fair reloading reserves; in CAOD, with a type VIIB/C having only 1 stern
tube and 1 reserve stern torpedo, the issue can become really exciting!). In
such case I describe a full circle turn as narrow as possible with my sub
so-to-speak a horizontal "Immelmann"-turn for subs - and thus get
my candidate conveniently into the range of my front tubes, if his turn was
not too sharp as well. If his turn was too sharp actually (really sharp
destroyer turns will also result in further speed losses), the result will
be that I come too close to him (below 250 yds/mtrs) to launch a bow
Not much of
a problem: At such short distance, his asdic/sonar cannot detect anything at
all, I show him in such situation only my front profile towards his
broadside, and I can decide, according to the given circumstances, whether I
turn away again sharply - not through his wake! - or dive through under him.
Usually I prefer the former.
advantage is that my sub at 7 knots submerged can describe sharper turns
than the much longer destroyer at his superior asdic/sonar-using speed of 12
knots, hence I can out-maneuver him with circle turns until I get him at
minimum distance in front of my bow tubes or until my reserve stern torpedo
is reloaded. One torpedo is usually enough to destroy a destroyer or at
least to cripple him to such extent that he is no longer a menace for my
method I use to bottom usually whole destroyer groups, max. 6 so far with a
Gato (SH), and 5 with a VIIc in CAOD. All readers are invited to try this
method and to report your results on this site. I am quite curious to read
how others will do with it. Would be interesting to know, what Capt.
"Johnny" Walker on his HMS "Starling" would have done,
if he and his successful "creeping attack" method on German subs
would have been confronted with this counter-attack method before his
support group could really unfold.
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