Type IIa, eh? What a boat.
Just graduated the Naval Academy, on my first ever patrol, September 1939. I'm straight out of the Academy, I've played no single missions, even. I'm trying to keep it real
Never been in a Type II before. Judging by the skill levels, neither have most of my crew. The control room is tiny. Nothing is seperated by bulkheads. It's like a long closet with pipes everywhere. The map says I'm to patrol off Bergen for 24 hours, then return to Wilhelmshaven. Fair enough. I reckon I can do that. I go up top, and bask in the glow of the Frauen, the anthem, and tossed flowers. If I spit, I can hit the bow or the stern. This sub is TINY. It didn't occur to me that the training missions were in Type VIIs.
For those who don't have this game yet, the water & motion effects are very realistic. I lived 10 years in a harbour town, and learned to sail when I was a kid. The feeling of being on a small vessel in harbour is accurate. You really need other boats tied up to the mooring bollards, and some oil and dead fish in the water, but other than that... it's amazing.
So we get out of the harbour at 1/3. I plot a course for the Nav to follow, and follow it he does. Straight for the nearest lighthouse. Oops. The map doesn't show the harbours. I order emergency astern, and the benefit of the Type II appears - it stops and turns on a dime. I head us out further, and order the Nav to hold course. And it begins. The lads break out the binoculars, and off we go into the evening light. It really does feel like you're at sea. I'm so impressed with this sim. I head below, make sure we're on course, and hit the skipper's bunk. I notice that the sink in the galley opposite my bunk has a pile of dishes sitting in it (it actually does, too). My crew are slobs. I sleep by time advancing a few hours at 1024.
Dropping back to time x1, the control room has the red nightlights on. It must be dark. I notice the deck is swaying in the swell. A lot. I head up top, and lo and behold, the sea is dog rough, and my poor watch crew are standing in their shirtsleeves, with the conning tower drenched in spray, and even submerged by times. Feeling like a total swine, I F7, and notice red exclamations all round. Oops. I switch my watch crew, and drag my Watch Officer out of his bed, and put him up there too. I hit the deck again, and my new watch has their rain slicks on. That's better. But the Watch Officer isn't watching the horizon. He's staring at me with this filthy look on his face! I stare back at him and he finally turns his back on me and watches off the port bow.
Damn right, boy.
I proceed through the next 48 hours at about 6 knots to my patrol zone. The weather worsens. Nobody sees anything. The map shows the occasional contact many miles away (Gods eye view). At one point, I try an intercept on a vessel about 5 kilomters away. I can't catch him. This sub has no speed, and small batteries. The weather is horrible. I'm being led too far away from my course, so I drop it and resume my trip across the North Sea.
F7 shows me the crew is rapidly exhausting. Except my chief engineer. He's a machine. He tires but slowly. I play musical bunks with my crew. It helps a little. The weather is so lousy! It's the evening of the third day out of port, and the sky to the East is lit by lightning flashes. We're drowned in spray the whole time. After the third time in a minute looking at the surface of the sea from UNDERNEATH, I decide to take a hint, and order everyone off the conning tower, and Dive. At 12 metres below the surface, the swaying of the deck drops away. Peace at last. I'm then told there's not enough men to run the engines. No wonder it was quiet. F7. Red exclamations all round. We're dead in the water. I drag a few swabs out of the bunks, replace the engine crew, and we're on our way again. After a few minutes I notice the music is getting very dramatic and the helmsman keeps looking at me. What's your problem? I happen to glance at the depth gauge, and we're at 90 meters and diving. Oops. I didn't notice that when my engines stopped, we were pitched down. When they restarted, the sub just continued on its vector. Sorry, lads. Quick as a flash, I set a depth of 50 meters. I run a skeleton crew of the wakiest men, and send everyone else to bed.
I have about another 2 days sailing before I reach my patrol zone. I hope we make it in spite of my poor skippering... And I hope the weather clears up. I don't know what I'm expected to do in this little boat in these conditions.