U-Boat 2: Drumbeat
Tips & hints
About target encounters
There are two ways of encountering targets:
The first type is the "non-directed ship encounter", or chance encounter, announced by a lookout calling "Captain to the bridge", or, if submerged, by the sonar operator reporting a sound contact.
The second type is the "directed ship encounter". This is via a radio message appearing at the top of the screen. This message is from a Packmate who has seen a ship, or shadow, on the horizon and gives latitude, longitude and course of the ship. Your navigator will soon announce "I have it plotted, Captain" and a "+" symbol will appear on the chart.
Keep the terms "directed and non-directed ship encounters" in mind. They will be referred to many times in the following text.
Tactics for warships
There will come a time in your career, when attacking a warship gives perhaps the only chance to live for another day. Let's set up a scenario..... you hear the lookout say "Captain to the bridge". You go to the bridge and are informed there is a vessel bearing green 30 degree. Looking through the UZO (binoculars) you see the ship coming straight for you. In this scenario diving and sitting on the bottom is probably more hazardous, to survival, than attacking.
What I do:
1. If I am not already at flank speed, I click on "all". (This gives me the speed to get down fast).
2. Click on dive
3. Click on "green flank" to start turn toward the target.
4. Watch both the depth gauge and the gyro compass.
When you have turned about 30 degree green, click on the "half, full,flank" box to stop turning.
When the needle of the depth gauge is in the "green" then click on the periscope. Clicking on the periscope is a shortcut method to both stop the dive and raise the periscope.
5. Make any adjustment by turning until you have the ship centered in the crosshair of the scope. If not exactly centered then use the "red, green" adjustment on the scope.
6. Once you have identified the ship, go to the TDC and put in all pertinent data. At this point, preset the divisions at which you will fire the torpedo's. Always fire 2 torpedoes, this gives a better chance of one hitting the target.
7. When the firing point is reached, drop the scope and then click on the "fire" button. Click on "all" to go to flank speed, and turn "red or green" 90 degree "flank" to get out of his way. Which way to turn is always a crap shoot. He might turn in the same direction.
8. If you get a hit you are home free. If you miss ... then try to evade. Dive, all ahead flank, turn 90 degree red or green and level out at about 220 meters and stop engines.
Whether, in deep water, you should shut off the electric motors or not, is somewhat of a Catch 22. With the motors on you might evade, but the motor noise provides the warship a greater possibility of detecting you.
If the warship stays overhead and makes many repeated runs at you with depth charges, then it is probably best to try to escape by going to flank speed. Go to the chart and see where the U-boat is in relation to the circle. If the sub is near the edge of the circle, go flank speed toward that edge. If you are dead center in the circle, then which way to go can be determined by the "target bearing reports". These reports are of great value in evasion.
Evading warships prior to detection
Most non-directed encounters are in fact warships. This is especially true if you are away from shipping lanes.
If it is daylight, you should treat each non-directed ship encounter as a warship, go deep before he has detected you. Never, ever stay on the surface. If you know his course, turn away 180 degree. Take heed of all "target bearing" messages, change course based on the messages and evade.
One very important thing to keep your eye on while submerged, is the remaining battery capacity as shown by the ammeter. If the batteries are sufficiently drained, you will be forced to the surface and it takes time to recharge them.
If you are cruising on the surface at night and have a non-directed ship encounter, go to the bridge. At night he seldom spots you immediately. You will be told what his bearing is. Go to flank speed and turn away 180 degree from his bearing so that his silhouette is off the stern of the U-boat. Keep a close watch on him.
If he is coming directly at you and growing in size, dive and go deep. If he is moving to the right or left, make rudder adjustment to keep him off the stern. His image will gradually decrease in size until he disappears over the horizon. At this point you can resume your original course.
Intercepting a target
In the "directed ship encounter" you will have to, in most cases, chase the target. This action will be initiated by a radio message (from a member of the "Wolfpack") of a ship, or shadow, sighted on the horizon.
The message will give the latitude, longitude and course of the vessel (and sometimes the name and/or type). If you are not in chart mode, the chart will come up automatically and the Navigator will report "I have it plotted, Captain".
At this point a "+" will appear on the chart moving in the direction reported in the radio message. You will now do an "end around" to gain attack position.
Your immediate action is to set a course that will intercept the track of the target, ahead of the target. Below is an example.
Many times when you get close to the target track, you will still be behind the target. If so, set a course parallel to the target track until you are far enough ahead, and then turn to intercept the track and target.
A chase, to intercept a target, can last for a long time. If, for example, the target speed is 14 knots you will only close the range at a rate of 2 knots each hour at flank speed of 16 knots. Depending on the initial distance to the target, and the course the target is sailing, it may be best to abort the chase.
Another perishable to monitor is the amount of diesel fuel you have left in your bunkers. If you are late in your patrol and your fuel is getting low a long chase might result in sinking a ship - and insufficient fuel reserves to get back to port or rendezvous with a tanker.
Approaching a target
Once a target has been intercepted, the problem becomes how to get within torpedo range (under 5000 yards).
Fortunately, in this simulation, we can use the UZO if on the surface or the periscope if submerged to quickly determine whether the target can be brought within torpedo range.
The symbol in the periscope view depicts a target. Go to "all ahead flank speed" (8 knots). You can determine the course to intercept, and whether an intercept is possible, by following the steps below:
1. If the target remains centered in the crosshair of the scope then the target is coming directly toward you (0 degree) or going directly away (180 degree).
If the target gets larger he is coming toward you, and you only have to wait until he gets within range to set up and fire. If the target is getting smaller - forget it, you can't catch him.
2. If the target drifts to the left (red) then turn the boat a few points to the left (red), re-center the target in the crosshair using the periscope controls and watch for further drift. Repeat until there is no further drift.
If the target remains stationary then you are on a collision course and will, if he doesn't spot you and turn away, be assured of getting into torpedo range.
If the target can not be brought to a stationary position but the drift left is very slow then you will still have a good chance to get within range.
If you can't stop the drift, or reduce it to a very slow rate then you won't catch him and you will cross his track well astern. Continuing the chase at this point will only waste battery power. Break off and wait for a better opportunity.
If, as you get close to the target, it starts to drift to the right of the crosshair (green) then you can bring him back by reducing your speed. If you don't make some adjustment you will cross ahead of the target.
Surface torpedo attack
We haven't made reference to surface torpedo attacks in any of the tactics yet. The reason is SURVIVAL. A daylight approach where the target turns out to be a warship is suicidal. And if the target is a merchant ship ... the chances are better than even that he will spot you and turn away before you can get into torpedo range.
The night approach to firing range could be even more deadly if the target is found out to be a warship. The possibility of getting into torpedo range before he spots you is very remote. And even if you did, he would spot the torpedo tracks and start firing on you before you could get under.
It simply means that he is closer to you when he detects you and starts to fire. You might get into range at night on a merchant ship but it is most likely he will spot you very near the time you reach the maximum torpedo range and turn away.
The greatest asset of the U-boat is stealth ... a surface attack deprives you of this cloak of invisibility and makes you a 1 gun surface warship.
Avoiding air attacks
Aircraft can appear any time during daylight hours in the areas within the circles on the chart. Always assuming you have time to dive after an aircraft is spotted is dangerous. An aircraft coming head on can be dropping bombs before you can get under.
Also, in some areas near shore there might not be enough depth to dive. When you are ready to leave port, go to the chart and wait until 1800 hours. Click on all ahead flank, while in chart mode, and come out running at top speed.
Go as far as you can, and if you are still within the circle of aircraft coverage, dive the boat at 0500 hours. Run submerged at 1/3 (this will leave you with battery power when you come up) until 1800 hours and then surface and go again to flank speed.
Doing this will deprive you of coming out of the pens, hearing the horn sound and the seagulls complain about the noise ...but you will be in deep water by daylight and much, much safer. On the first submergence be sure to go to the log and read you patrol orders from Bdu. Remember, when in range of aircraft ... down at 0500 up at 1800.
Avoiding air attacks
The deck gun is primarily used to slow up a merchant vessel that has turned away. The gun has a greater range than the torpedo, but it may take several rounds to get a hit. Each hit will slow the target by half. Two hits will slow the target enough for you to overtake and get into torpedo range.
This is the one time that a surface torpedo attack is called for. Close the target until you are well within torpedo range, then set up and fire. One thing you should keep in mind ... if you get within 500 yards of the merchant ship ... he will fire on you!
This is a good opportunity to gain experience in using the aft torpedo tubes in an attack. You can sink a merchant ship with the deck gun alone. When you get him stopped, or under 2 knots, the next hit will sink him.
However, you have a limited supply of rounds for the deck gun (40) and one torpedo, when close in, will do the job. I keep count of the rounds for the deck gun. Unlike the torpedoes, whose inventory is kept in the TDC, the deck gun ammunition is not accounted for. I like to know how may rounds I have left.
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