Damage Model – Shipping
The damage model for the merchant ships and escorts when torpedoed is very well done and quite believable. Critical hit areas such as the fuel bunker, engine room, rudder, propeller, the keel and the magazine storage have been included. Hitting one of these areas could result in a one shot kill even on a battleship.
On one side of the coin the fuel bunker explosions and the effects are over modelled resulting in a disproportionate number of spectacular one hit kills and on the other of the coin the effects of a hole 20 metres in diameter in the side of the ships is probably under modelled. Would be nice to see these fixed, thankfully, they are not showstoppers.
That said, when hit, ships will list, settle or sink in a manner that corresponds to where they were hit. That is, hit a ship in the front port side and the ship is likely to settle down in the front and/or list over to the port side or having a torpedo explode under the keel could see the ship break in two.
If a ship does not sink immediately, it does not mean that the ship will not sink. Sometimes a ship will sink without further intervention. If a ship has not sunk within ½ an hour, it will require you to assist.
Unfortunately, the Ship Damage Model does not extend any further. No credit is given for damaging a ship and you will not see ships taking hours or days to sink. This would have added great depth. Of course, only if the ridiculous notification by the Navigational Officer of “Enemy Unit Destroyed”, even when submerged at 50 metres is removed and updates to your tonnage log is not done.
There are rare times that you will be left cussing, such as after having three magnetic detonated torpedos explode under the keel of a T2 Tanker only to see it sail away at 5 knots. Thankfully, this instance is an exception.
The predictability in previous U-Boat/submarine simulations of ‘Ship A’ will always be sunk with two torpedoes has been thrown out the window. Ships of the same class, for example, a Coastal Merchant, may be sunk with anywhere from one through to three torpedoes. If you are too conservative with your initial salvo, you may miss some all-important tonnage against your name after the ship escapes. If you are lucky, the ship will stop or slow down enough for you to have a second attempt at sinking it.
I am unable to comment on the damage model of the merchant ships and escorts when up against a deck gun, as the deck gun on your U-Boat is so greatly overpowered it could be related to ‘Big Bertha’. As a result a 2000+ ton Coastal Merchant ship can be sunk in as few as 4-5 shells and a 10,000+ ton Large Tanker can be sunk with as few as 15. With your 8.8cm deck gun, you can sink 10 7000-ton C2 Cargo ships totalling over 70,000 tons.
Ships have destructible parts, such as the masts, lifeboats, funnels, deck guns, the bridge etc. All destructible parts explode in an over-the-top way. Destroy the destructible parts of the bridge leaving the remainder in flames and the ship will continue to sail its plotted course.
Fires are only an indication of a certain level of damage and will burn forever without consuming the ship.
There is room for improvement, however, for the most part the damage model is very well done and quite believable. Moreover, it will rarely leave the player feeling cheated and has enough depth to keep you asking, “Can I use just two torpedoes this time?”