A U-Boat full of them, all with their own unique name, skill sets and experience. No longer will you sail the Seven Seas alone.
Your crew are an integral part of your U-Boat and can have an influence on your overall career and can even be the difference between being on an eternal patrol or coming home.
The makeup of your crew is in most part entirely up to you. While in port you can use your ‘Renown’ to recruit better crewmembers immediately or as you successfully complete a patrol, you can promote and qualify existing crewmembers who will also have gained experience after each patrol they complete.
The way that crewmembers advance is a bit off skew. The crew gain experience each patrol, after they have attained enough experience they are then eligible for promotion. The first problem is that it will take a seaman about 100 patrols to become a Chief Senior Warrant Officer and another 50+ patrols to become a Sub-Lieutenant. The second problem is that the ability to promote crew is tied to your success. If for example you do not ‘perform’ during a patrol, then when you get back you will not be able to promote any crewmembers, only one per patrol can be promoted as far as I am aware. I have had 10 men awaiting promotion.
I would have preferred that crew members get promoted automatically and when you get too many of a certain rank due to promotions you have to let one go and replace him.
As your crew gains both skills and experience, they can perform their tasks better. Having a skilled machinist in the engine compartment will result in less crew members required for that compartment and he will perform the task for longer before requiring rest. There is a quirk with this setup concerning the function bar, whereas I was able to run the diesel engines with just two men due to the high renown they had.
Another quirk is that you do not require crew in the torpedo room to launch a torpedo, only to load one.
The basic stats of each crew member are Morale and Fatigue. A third state Resilience does not appear to have any function under the current incomplete Crew Management. Morale will be affected positively by your success and negatively by your lack of it. Morale has an impact on crew performance.
Fatigue will affect your crew’s ability to perform their tasks. If for example, you were able to have the engine room function with only four of the six positions filled, after a period as the crewmembers of that compartment tire you will have to add another crewmember for it to continue to function.
It is possible for a crewmember to be wounded or even killed. Having crewmembers wounded and/or killed impacts you in several ways. First and foremost you will be short on crew members for the rest of the patrol. Secondly, this will impact your crew’s morale.
As you can see, your crew are very important to your success.
While there is a possibility that during a depth charge attack you may lose one or more crewmembers, you will find that when surfaced the crew on the conning tower are safe and as far as my tests have shown, they are unable to be killed or wounded. It is only once they operate the AA or Deck Gun are they in any danger. Due to the way crew damage is modelled, the gun they are operating can receive a direct hit and the crew will most likely not wounded or killed, eventually after several hits, yes crew can and will be wounded or die.
The inclusion of a Crew has greatly added to the Silent Hunter III experience by bringing a new aspect to a naval combat game, that of being a Captain. The 3D crew add depth to the experience of being a Captain by their presence. Having a crew that can die also adds a cause and effect in which your reckless actions will now have consequences above that of a slightly bent U-Boat. Again making you take the role of a Captain.
“Stop looking at me like that!” How often have you felt like that when you see one of your crewmembers on the deck or in the command room looking at you? He can stare all he likes as he is going nowhere because I love having a crew. Finally, I feel like a Captain.
It all sounds so great — and it would have been — if the Crew Feature had been finished. However, what we have is a crew management system that requires you, as captain, to micromanage your crew. That is, you have to move every man into and out of every compartment. There are a couple of quick fill buttons for when submerged or cruising but they do little to relieve the manual management required of you. Nor can it be guaranteed to put the best man for the job in.
Apart from the Officers, there appears to be no endurance or performance benefits between a lowly seaman and a Chief Senior Warrant Officer.
This issue has been made worse by how quickly the crew will tire, some in as little as 1 ¾ hours and all, apart from officers, within 2 ½ hours. The torpedo compartment, which is where the torpedo crew slept, was not a hive of activity outside of reloading torpedoes after/during an attack, is not exempt from the excessive fatigue. This issue coupled with the fact that, as in reality, there were never enough beds for everyone, just sitting on the bottom of the ocean you will end up with a very tired crew in very little time.
Mercifully, at 64x time compression (and above) they have put the crew fatigue on hold.
As it is now, when below 32x for attacks and the evasion of escorts etc., you will need to constantly keep your crew under observation to keep your boat running. Else, you might suddenly find that you have not been moving forward for the last few minutes, as the Electric Engines have stopped due to crew fatigue.