First patrol of my new career aboard U-358 (continued)
I now rue my decision to waste three torpedoes on that tugboat.
Before I am in position to use the stern torpedo, the C2 is hit midship and explodes into a massive fireball lighting up the night and as quickly as the night turned from pitch black to day the C2 disappears under the waves.
Firing my last torpedo at a Small Merchant I make my escape. The Small Merchant ship never stood a chance…
After radioing the convoy’s position, I plot a course for home. The Navigational Officer says that I will have 200 kilometres to spare if I proceed at 1/3 speed. I hope he is right.
Shortly after clearing the convoy the radioman shouts “Radar contact, sir! Bearing 280! Long range”. I submerge and turn away. Nothing eventuates and after several hours submerged, we again surface and make our way home.
A successful patrol! The men busy themselves with 5 pennants totalling 28,955 tons.
On the way home, I have to let a Medium Tanker go by unmolested; I can only hope that by reporting the sighting that another U-Boat or the Luftwaffe will sink it.
The U-Boat sailing model shows some sophistication about it as it takes into account the sea state. For example, the waves will affect your ability to maintain periscope depth. No longer will you be able to hover at periscope depth in huge swells, as now your U-Boat will be carried along in the huge swells and will possibly broach the surface, especially if you are not moving forward.
Another example of how the environment affects your U-Boat is on a glassy ocean with no wind, I am able to achieve a top speed of 13 knots in my Type IID U-Boat. However, once the sea state was increased, the maximum speed that I achieved was 11 knots. I do feel that the effect on your speed is not severe enough, especially in very heavy swells, but at least your U-Boat is affected.
Your U-Boat can accelerate from stand still to maximum speed within a minute and come to a stop within two. Obviously, this is quite unrealistic.
The way in which your U-Boat submerges both normally and in a crash dive feel to be very well modelled as does the changing of direction when submerged. Changing depth does seem a little slow, but that is only a feeling and has no basis in fact. Overall, it is a realistic experience.
The effects of your U-Boat getting heavier by not pumping out the water during ‘silent running’ are not modelled.
A lot of the sophistication of the u-boat sailing model will go unnoticed by most players. Such as when the amperage of your batteries drops so does the maximum speed, or the pause between when the diesel engines stop and the electric ones start can feel like forever as you attempt to crash dive as an escort bears down upon you.
The sea state effect upon merchant ships and escorts does not exist. Simply put, merchants and escorts can travel at top speed even in the worst North Atlantic storm. This is very disappointing as escorts had a very difficult time in rough weather, especially compared to a U-Boat. The only time you will see a ship lose a knot or two of speed is when making an evasive manoeuvres.
The change of speed for merchant ships and escorts is unrealistic. Any surface vessel, including battleships, can accelerate from stand still to moving within seconds and to maximum speed within a minute. This very situation is amply highlighted in the Torpedo Tutorial. In the tutorial, the ship directly ahead of the player is a Small Merchant at a stand still. Firing from a distance of less than 500 metres, the ship accelerates away causing the player to miss. This has led to a lot of frustration for players who have no idea why they keep missing and think they are doing something wrong.
The effects from a collision are very well modelled with each object behaving as would be expected. On the surface, the U-Boat will make way for the larger ships and when submerged, if an escort the rams you, the escort will be lifted up in the water and your U-Boat will dive deeper, if, for example, it is hit across the bow.
I have had a torpedo go under a ship in very heavy swells as the ship in question rode up upon the wave. The ships if anything may be just a little ‘up’ in the air in heavy swells, not a great issue, more of an observation.