Online since 1997


Silent Hunter III


There has never been anything as complete a subsim as Silent Hunter III: dynamic campaign, interactive 3D crew, populated ports, crew management--this puppy has it all.

     General tips - stuff that you need to know

  • Some menu options require a double-click to execute, such as the "Save" game feature and "Accept New Profile".
  • Some stations are most easily accessible by the hotkey:
    • M  :Radio Messages
    • H  :Hydrophone station
    • U  :UZO
    • B  :Binoculars
    • Q  :Open outer torpedo door
    • K  :Captain's log

    There is a Quick Reference Guide with the game that details all the hotkey but these are the ones you will use most frequently.

    Keys and features that are not in the manual

    While on a mission check the help screen (F1) it lists a couple of interesting ones. Some keys that are not even listed there are:

- Shift+F2: Free roam in command center and conning tower. Just don't try to roam out of the sub. You will get graphic messups.
- Ctrl+P: To solve (toggle) Nvidia particle bug.
- Shift+PageUp/Page Down: Increase/decrease the Glare feature (software antialiasing).
- Ctrl+Leftclick in Navigation map: Center the map on that spot.
- Chat in multiplay: Numlock to start chat, type text, then hit ENTER. But be careful: if you hit ENTER 2 times, you fire a fish!
-Shift+F11: Take continuous screenshots, press again to stop. Of course you better use the "one screenshot a time" option instead (Ctrl+F11).
Ctrl + Page Up or Page Down, raises and lowers attack scope fully. Sam with Ctrl + Insert and Delete for the Observation scope.


  • When moving through the U-boat compartments, don't forget your right-mouse button.
  • Early in your career, your crew is green; they get tired easy and dangerous action affects their morale. Be a good and supportive skipper and they will rise to the challenge. Be sure to rest them during engagements when they are not needed.
  • Torpedo reload times: Your men will post their estimate for how much time till a tube is reloaded. If you look closely at the torpedo icon, you can see the color change as the tube is loaded.


If you choose to use Manual TDC only in the realism settings, be aware that you must use the Ship Recognition Manual as the first step in targeting a ship. Open the manual, find a match, and send the info to the TDC by clicking on the checkbox. If you fail to use the Recognition Manual,  TDC will not accept range and speed estimates. And no, Lanzfeld, no red triangles live in Manual TDC only Land.


If you choose to use the Realistic Chart option (no god's-eye view), get ready for a whole new challenge in subsimming. The Realistic Chart option never marks down ship icons or contacts, it does not show little planes diving on you, and it does not put handy sonar bearing lines down for you. No WWII subsim has ever had anything like the Realistic Chart option. Get familiar with relative bearing concepts and the chart drawing tools, and with a little practice you can be operating like the real U-boat commanders did!


The Hunt: Making contact at high realism levels
Another aspect of playing SH3 with high realism options is the game more accurately models real life in regards to making contact--actually finding ships in the great, wide ocean. As Crisitan of the dev team told Subsim: "The SH3 world is alive and is huge (that means that the player may miss ships that are at only 20 km by him just because of the 100% realism settings). The game is far harder to play at 100% realism than the casual settings (the sensors are reduced dramatically both of the sub and crew and are weather dependant). All the time the ship lanes are alive (that means that ships go and came on those ship lanes)... One of the most crowded areas is the west of England (and costal lines of England in general)." So, remember: high realism in SH3 is just that--realistic and challenging. To get the kind of gameplay you may remember from Aces/SH1 you have to play a more casual game in SH3!

I remember when I created the Second Kampaign series for SH2 that the same thing was true--I would script ships to travel back and forth through the player's patrol zone and up and down the route to and from his patrol zone. But once the "Show All" option was turned off, the player would not know where the ships were and missing a ship by 20km was the same as missing it by 200km, the player never knows it was there. But, the important part is--the ships are there, it's up to the players luck and skill to find them.

While on this note: it is more important than ever before (when playing at high realism) to use the submerged, stop, and listen tactic frequently while on patrol. To avoid passing by ships just over the horizon, go to 30 meters and order All Stop, and give your sonarman a couple of minutes at 1x to detect enemy ships. I can say I have tried this several times during the review and it works.


Time between patrols
Silent Hunter III uses the following conventions to evolve time during the career:
a. Changing or acquiring a subsystem/weapon on your U-boat will evolve time with 1 to 3 days of game time.
b. Changing to a new U-boat will evolve time with up to 2 months of game time.
c. Changing the conning tower on your U-boat will evolve time with 3 weeks of game time.
d. Repairing each hull damage percent at return from patrol will evolve time with 1 day of game time.
e. Even if you don't have damage or you didn't modify/improve your U-boat, the minimum time you have to spend in base between patrols is 28 days.


Resupply in patrol
The resupply feature is not available for this installment. This issue will be addressed in the first patch.
You should always pay attention to your diesel fuel and try to avoid running out of fuel in mid-ocean. That's the life of a U-boat commander, no BP petrol station on every corner!


Renegade Status
When attacking neutral units, your status will change to "renegade" for AI. All neutral units belonging to the nation of the attacked neutral ship will treat you as enemy for the next 24 hours. Note that this includes aircraft and coastal defenses, in addition to civil and military ships. Example: attacking a US merchant before January 1942 will cause all US ships to treat you as an enemy for 24 hours after the attack. Besides the status change, any neutral unit sunk will earn you negative renown during the career mode.


AI Support
Engaging enemy ships in well defended areas is very dangerous. As soon as the attacked ship detects the presence of your U-boat, air patrols and surface military ships will converge on the area of the reported U-boat contact. Good luck, Capt. Prien!


Crew Management Made Easy
One of the new features introduced by Silent Hunter III is crew management. You're not alone on your sub anymore and as Captain, you have to deal with the crew, rest them, assign the best guys where they are needed, etc. But the dev team included a useful shortcut menu of standard crew configurations. Just one click and you have guys where you need them. You may not have that really good machinist Karl in the engine room so it's your prerogative to tweak the crew assignments. But is you're too  lazy for that, remember the CM shortcut menu.


When  you click a guy from the barracks pool to your boat, notice a small glitch that makes the scroll bar drop down to the shabbier sailors. You have to drag it back up to the top to get another skilled guy.


How to Disable Auto Identify
Go to the "SilentHunterIII\data\Roster" folder and open the English.cfg file. Then look for the following entries:

Type0=Patrol Craft
Type3=Destroyer Escort
Type6=Light Cruiser
Type7=Heavy Cruiser
Type8=Escort Carrier
Type9=Fleet Carrier
Type13=Auxiliary Cruiser

;Merchant ships
Type103=Troop Transport
Type104=Coastal Vessel

If you replace the ship names with "Unknown" all contacts will show as "Unknown" in the periscope/UZO notepad when the reticule passes over them..

Better still if you replace the names with a dash "-" (which is the default in the UZO/periscope notepad), nothing changes when you sweep your periscope/UZO over the target.

With this mod, the actual names of the relevant ship types will *still* display after you have ticked the box in the Recog Manual


Additional Resources

Drebbel's SH3 FAQ - not even the smallest trick escapes the Wild Dutchman's notice!!

Wazoo's Manual Plotting & Targeting Tutorial

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NVIDIA GeForce6800 GT & some Geforce raphics cards  do not render the sea spray effect well when using the binoculars or UZO and looking forward while the submarine is moving. The image becomes foggy and the frames per second drop. Nvidia is aware of the problem and it may be solved in the future driver versions. In the meantime, the SH3 dev team is adding a workaround in the first patch that will allow you to use the binocs and UZO without the spray effect.
UPDATE: 3/11/05 - It is Official from the Romanian SH3 dev team:

We found a workaround for that NVidia bug (that will not allow you to use UZO and Binoculars) . We assigned a key (Ctrl+P) to temporary disable the particles from game (like an on/off button). So anyone will be able to see through the UZO and binoculars now  and is available in the first patch. You could switch on/off the particle effect at any time in game.

On ATI Radeon 8500,9000,9200 there are graphic artifacts consisting in missing triangles from the game sky.

7th Flotilla Radio Bug
There is a bug with the 7th flotilla whereby if you are in 7th Flotilla in September 1940 and thereafter the game will keep telling you "New Base Kiel" and then "New Base St. Nazaire" whenever you load up the career. The problem is that the Flotilla.cfg lists 7th Flotilla as being in both places during that month. To fix the bug, go into Flotilla.cfg and scroll down to the 7th Flotilla listing. There you'll find the following lines:

Emblem2=data/Emblems/SubEmblems/Flotillas/7th flotilla.tga

The last number - the 9 is what needs to be changed. Change it to 8 and that should solve the problem.

BE SURE to check Subsim Downloads for the latest patch for Silent Hunter III

  Yes, we still feature helpful info on classic games like this, that's why we are Subsim--we never quit. Help out with a small donation. Keep Subsim Review strong with your support! Thanks!!

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2003 SUBSIM Review
Do not copy without permission.


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