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#4512374 - 03/23/20 02:35 PM The War Patrols of U-46  
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Once more in to the breach. After a number of years away from sub sims, I've returned to take command of U-46, a Type VIIB out of Kiel in September of 1939.

Mod

This one will be played using Silent Hunter 4, with the Operation Monsun mod, for using German boats in SH 4. It's a fantastic mod, with a few wrinkles too. One issue is that superstructure upgrades can cause crashes and prevent progression. The Type VIIB does not get these upgrades, so is immune to this particular problem. For this reason I will sail one, and to the end. SH 4 was released in 2007. The mod enhances the graphics to a degree, but it's still a 13-year old sim.

Install Order

OpsMonsun_V705
OMv705_to_V720
OMv720_Patch5
OMEGU_v300
OMEGU_v300_Patch7
KiUB_English
Magnified Hud Dials for OM+OMEGU_Medium
OM Metric Nomograph

The nomograph was made for me years ago by Subsim member max-peck, and special thanks to him. I have a particular attack method, which requires a nomograph to determine speed, and this version is metric, larger, and easier for these old eyes to read. I would struggle without it. The larger HUD dials serve the same purpose, and the KiUB English is an attack persicope for skippers using manual targeting, it really is a fantastic periscope/TDC/UZO type mod.

JSGME should be used to install, and setting the SH4 exe to Large Address Aware is required as well. This is true of any significant SH 4 mod. Failing to set LAA will lead to CTDs, especially near convoys and port. This allows 32-bit SH IV to address 4 GB of RAM. In 2014 I did another one of these AARs, in command of U-47. The images have the photobucket nonsense on them now, but the reports can be read, and there are download links to each of the mods I use. Subsim.com membership is required to get them, and members who donate get unlimited downloads. Others may need to wait to grab all files.

War Patrols of U-47

Realism Settings

I'm a bit obsessive about this in submarine sims, it's sort of sacred ground. Which settings a player chooses have far-reaching consequences. Placing, or not, a checkmark in a box can fundamentally transform the experience. For me, my aim is to simulate the role of the skipper. I've read dozens of sub books, and hundreds of patrol reports over the years. And of course I have watched Das Boot biggrin. So I know what I am shooting for. To achieve this in SH 4, all realism settings are checked, aside from map contact updates. The most important one to give the proper perspective is turning off external cameras. This simple setting completely transforms the game. When everything you see and know comes from the boat's viewpoint it adds a level of challenge and authenticity you cannot get by watching from afar. No evading destroyers by watching from above. No far-range recon to identify a ship. No event cameras showing your miss or dud. Once submerged all you have is a periscope and a soundman. For me, this is the right way to play. I'm usually not elitist when it comes to these sorts of things. But something about submarine sims is different.

The second important thing about these settings of course is manual torpedo targeting. It's up to the skipper to achieve results. No simple lock and los. There are as many methods as players I think. Over the years I have developed my own method which I call steady-wire firing technique, which even comes with an acronym, SWiFT. Clever, eh? I'll describe it in detail later, but the idea is that I predict ahead of time the firing bearing, and after inputting all relevant data in to the TDC, I place the scope on that bearing and fire torpedoes as the target crosses the steady persicope wire. No math is used. It's simple and very effective. From my view, successfully torpedoing ships in sub sims is primarily a matter of positioning. By placing the boat in the best position, the rest becomes academic. Having a simple, reliable way to fire fish accurately means a high hit percentage. And then it's down to fate and dud rate.

The third point I want to make is about the concession I allow, map contact updates. I've seen many debates, especially on Subsim.com, about this setting over the years. For me though, it's a necessary evil. The truth of the matter is that a fleet submarine in WW 2 had a tracking party. A group of men whose job it was to run the plot during an approach or attack. Since I wish to simulate the role of the skipper, and not every man on board, I feel it necessary to leave this setting unchecked. The plain problem with this is that MCU has unfailing accuracy. It eliminates the error possible with a plot run by humans. For me though, not having this on is far LESS realistic than having it on, at least from the skipper's point of view. I can see the other side of the argument, and I wish there was some sort of variance possible here, maybe according to the accuracy of the skipper's observations or the experience and ratings of the tracking party. But if my choice is between having it or not, it seems simple, and I allow it. As will be seen, my targeting method does take advantage of this map accuracy. There is no doubt my shooting would suffer without it. In Operation Monsun the direction 'tail' is absent, the contact is simply a square. No color revealing friend or foe is used either. it simply shows position.

And along those same lines, simulating the role of the skipper, I don't man the guns. The crew is left to do all of the shooting, under my direction. It can be pretty frustrating as the crew shoots like it's their first time on the seat, but I'm the skipper, not the trainer and pointer. I can understand some wild ranging, but it's when the crew suddenly shoots 30 degrees off azimuth that I despair and regret lack of training haha. Gun actions are rare for me anyway, but it's all part of how I approach the sim, and again, the role of the skipper.

The Plan

When I do these careers I have no long-range plan. Along the way I may switch up the narrative and deploy to the Med, or be a Drumbeater, or see if I can reach Penang. I'll just drift with the current. The fact I am limited to a VIIB means my options are more limited than if I could take over a Type IX for example. The overarching goal though is survival. I've played around one hundred German careers in the various Silent Hunters over the years, all dead is dead. Of those, exactly ONE has ever reached VE day. That was in SH3. Every decision I make will be done with surviving the war in mind. I want to put ships on the bottom, but I want to make it to the end. Odds are stacked against that happening. But if it means aborting an unfavorable approach or letting a convoy sail on while I seek safety in the depths then so be it. This mod is hard, and the enemy is skilled, and I respect their ability. My previous runs in Op Monsun showed that it very authentically portrays the enemy ASW capability as the war progresses. All of them do to a certain extent, but Op Monsun struck me as one of the best, and as a result I need to be wary and take no unnecessary chances.

The Boat

U-46 is a Type VIIB, the early version of the main fleet boat of the German navy in WW2. These are famous of course and anyone reading this AAR will know of them so no need to recount in detail here. To get a VIIB I must choose the 7th Unterseebootsflottille "Wegener" based in Kiel at the start of the war. Once France is overrun, operations will shift to St Nazaire. U-46 was built by F. Krupp Germaniawerft AG, Kiel (werk 581), and was a famous boat, most notably captained by Engelbert Endrass (Knights Cross) during the Happy Times of 1941. She survived the war, conducting 13 war patrols before being removed from front line service to be a school boat. U-46 was scuttled on May 5, 1945 to prevent capture. In all, U-46 was credited with sinking 22 ships for around 120,000 tons in post-war accounting.

So let's see how it goes. Oberleutnant zur See Otto Popp has received orders to set sail on September 3, 1939.

Attached Files FirstOrders.jpg
Last edited by DBond; 04/08/20 08:15 PM.

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#4512415 - 03/23/20 05:45 PM Re: The War Patrols of U-46 [Re: DBond]  
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War Patrol 1, September 3 to October 16, 1939


U-46 was provisioned and ready to set sail as ordered on September 3, 1939. War was afoot, although we would not learn of our enemy until we had taken to the sea. Orders were to patrol grid AM75 in the Western Approaches. It was decided to go round-about to the north of Britain, rather than risk a Channel dash.

All torpedo slots were loaded with TI steamers. We will take advantage of their higher speed and more reliable detonators until the time comes when the enemy ASW skill forces us to go electric. The flak gun was changed to a double-barreled 20mm Zwiling mount. The 88mm deck gun was retained forward. No other modifications were available.

U-46 leaves the pen at Kiel

[Linked Image]



Leaving Kiel, U-46 headed north through the Katterat and Skaggerak and then in to the North Sea, turning northwest to hug the coast of Norway and the deeper water here. As we passed south of Stavanger, the watch spotted smoke and we went to battle stations. We had been informed by radio that we were at war with England, but that was all. I plotted the ship's course, clocked her speed at 8 knots and made a periscope approach in heavy seas on what developed in to a stack-aft freighter of around 1800 tons. Outer doors were opened and we were all set to fire upon identification of her ensign, which showed through the swells to be Norwegian. Unsure if Norway was enemy I chose to withold fire, close the doors and retire northwest. This was good practice setting up an approach on a medium speed target. She was a dead duck.

The Norwegian coastal freighter

[Linked Image]



U-46 continued on northwest through the North Sea, rounding the Shetlands and turning southwest in to the Atlantic toward our patrol area. Speed throughout was maintained at 6 knots to conserve fuel. Periodic trim dives and sound sweeps were conducted. Weather was mostly clear, with alternating heavy and calm seas. U-46 reached the patrol area without contacting any worthwhile targets. We did make one long approach on a ship which proved to be a trawler, a sailing ship not worth torpedoes. I declined a gun action to remain undetected. It was another valuable practice approach in heavy seas. Oddly, our orders for patrol grid were for AM75 south of Rockall Bank in the Western Approaches, but the icon was in AM84. U-46 patrolled each location without contact until mission complete. We had burned a quarter of our fuel reaching the patrol area, and another quarter conducting the assignment. Upon completion I decided to start patrolling homewards to ensure we had maximum time on station considering the fuel situation and the fact we had yet to fire a torpedo.

U-46 took up station in the deep water just southwest of the Hebrides. On October 5th, after a month and two days at sea, U-46 made contact with a viable target during daylight in clear skies and heavy seas in grid AM52.

[Linked Image]


I plotted the target's base course, turning the boat on to normal approach and took a five-minute speed reading. By measuring the distance traveled over a known time, I can use the nomograph to determine a speed. In this case 9 knots which gets inputted to the TDC, With marks I can use the ruler to lay down a line on the map tracing the target's current course. Once I have this I can conn our boat to a normal approach, 90 degrees to the target's course line. Depending on the relative range and speed of the two boats here, I will adjust how to approach the target's course to remain unseen until submergence. I might have to run up-course for a bit to allow me to reach an attack position. Each encounter is different. but the earlier you can spot and plot, the easier it is to reach the right position for attack. The faster the target, the less time to react. Low visibility is another factor, and sometime a ship emerges from the fog at short rage, leaving little time to gain good position. In which case I'll usually opt to attempt an end around rather than take a poor torpedo shot. In most cases I want to reach a position between 800 and 1000 meters abeam the target's course to allow it to cross in front and give my shots the best chance of success.

But here, U-46 spots the target at long range, nearly 14 kilometers so we can dictate events. As long as the target does not change course (which can and does happen, often at the crucial moment!) we can choose our attack position and get our boat there to await the target. This screenshot shows my attack plot. The target is the square, and she is riding the course line to the northeast drawn with the ruler. U-46 is the circle with a course set to approach at 90 degrees. At the bottom end of the target course line are two X marks. These show where the speed reading was taken. The lower X marks the position when the chronometer was started, and the other X where the ship was when the watch reached five minutes. Using the compass, I measure the distance between these two marks, in this case 1750 meters. On the right you see the nomograph. Using any straight line, I use the ruler again, I can drawn a line from the known time on the right (5 min), through the known distance (1750m) and the line will intersect the speed column on the left to reveal the target's speed, in this case 9 knots. Nomographs are gold.

[Linked Image]

Barely visible just above my boat's course line you can see a short line running parallel. I draw this to show the distance I want to position my boat from the target's course, in this case I set it to 850 meters. This is just a visual reminder of when and where to submerge and stop in preparation for the shot. With this measurement I now have my shot range.



By having speed and range all that's left is angle on the bow. And because we will position our boat at 90 degrees, AoB is simply the scope bearing relative to boresight (0 or 180 for stern tube) subtracted from 90, but be sure to get port or starboard correct! Set the scope 10 degrees toward the target and the AoB at firing will be 80. Shoot 20 degrees off-boresight and the AoB to enter in the TDC is 70 and so on. The guiding factor is gyro angle. Sometimes curving torpedoes is necessary and sometimes preferable. But under most circumstances I want them to fly like an arrow. This means the faster the target is traveling, or the longer the range, or the slower the torpedoes, the earlier the shot must occur, resulting in scope bearings further off boresight. Using the TDC's calculated gyro angle, I can set the scope bearing where it results in the smallest gyro. Gyro angle is always my last check, and a failsafe against errors. With experience, you know what gyro angle to expect, and finding it different will reveal errors.


With the plot done and the firing point selected, U-46 submerges and comes to a stop 850m from the expected point of impact to allow the freighter to come on. In OM, ordering periscope depth is agonizingly slow. Instead, I order crash dive and then periscope depth when the gauge reads 10 meters. This has the effect of leveling the boat just right and quickly at 14m. In heavy seas, I order 13m to get a little extra height out of the periscope to help see over swells. Without external cameras, this is the only view you get, and glimpses can be very short when the sea is angry.

I plan to fire two torpedoes at this ship, if it proves to be enemy. Tubes 1 and 2 are opened, and both torpedoes are set to run fast with impact pistols and a depth of 3 meters. I continue to watch the target to identify it's allegiance and detect any course change. She is flying a Commonwealth flag, Australia, Britain, Kiwi?. Confirmed enemy regardless. When the target does not alter course and nears the firing point I swing the scope on to a 010 bearing, resulting in an AoB of 80 port and a gyro near zero. A perfect setup. I select the bridge and stack as aimpoints. Spreading the torpedoes can help to cover error as well as spread flooding.

The fish are fired as each aimpoint crosses the wire. In this shot you can see the TDC setup a few seconds after the second torpedo was fired and the scope has not been moved. The dials on the right reveal everything about the shot. I use the English version of the KiUB periscope mod, so the labels are self-explanatory. However, the 'larger dials mod' covers the Gyro Angle label. Gyro Angle is the dial directly below the Range label. In the center of this group of dials is a blue light. In order to manually input data, you click this to turn the light off, and then 'twist the dials' to input known data. You can see the speed from the reading obtained early in the encounter set at 9 knots. The range is set at 800. The scope is on a bearing of 010 and as a result the AoB is set to 80 port. When set, click the blue light again and the bearing and gyro dials will snap to, passing the data on to the torpedoes and setting their gyros. Here you see a gyro of zero (pointing straight up), which is what we want. This will cause the fish to travel straight, and if the speed and range we calculated are correct, will hit the target. The Impact-A dial shows the torpedoes should impact at a perfectly square 90 degrees if all of our data is accurate, giving the fish the best chance to detonate.


[Linked Image]



In the event both torpedoes hit on their aimpoints, our data was good. Short range and high-speed torpedoes help to mask errors.


Here the medium freighter of 5000 tons absorbs the second torpedo and is destroyed. This shot shows the challenge of restricting your view. Sometimes this is as good as it gets.

[Linked Image]


After sinking our first ship of this patrol, U-46 remained in the area and two days later made contact with a lone freighter making for England. Got the plot and the contact developed in to an Old Raked Bow Split Merchant making 10 knots flying a Greek flag. I decided that Greeks are enemy (I still had all these torpedoes!) and set up an approach in clear night weather in moderate seas. Using the same methods described above we put two torpedoes in to it, the second one being a dud. She swung out to the south, leaving U-46 in left field. I ordered battle surface guns and we took her under fire. The crew is green I guess and after a hell of a lot of rounds fired the target finally gave up the ghost.

Here the freighter takes a torpedo

[Linked Image]


And slips below the sea after a prolonged gun action. Tough old ship, she was.

[Linked Image]


At that moment the watch spotted a ship coming up astern. I spun the UZO on to the bearing to see a destroyer with a bone in her teeth.

We turned to put the DD directly behind us and made flank speed to the south. the destroyer was coming on, but didn't seem to see us. Was he called to assist the freighter we had been attacking? We stayed on the surface until we might be forced under. After just a few minutes the watch spotted more ships. We were smack in the path of a massive convoy bearing right down on our position. Soon I was forced to submerge and attempted to work my way inside the convoy. We had ten fish left and aimed to shoot them. Once under I lost sight of the destroyer but attempted to keep track of him by sound, but lost it in our baffles. The convoy was coming on and we were in very shallow water. The gun chase of the freighter had carried us in to shoal water, barely 40 meters deep. It was a bad place to be frankly.

U-46 slipped inside the two port columns of the convoy and set up on a tanker in the third. After getting the plot two torpedoes were fired at a 8,500 ton tanker in the near column and a third at a 8,000 ton tanker in the next column, these shots coming from 500 and 1400m. The first two hit the near tanker, and the other one struck the far tanker. Neither looked to be sinking so we put one more in the closest, blowing it up and using up all foreward tubes. The far tanker sailed on and nothing we could do about that. I then spun the scope and fired the stern tube at a tanker of 7,500 tons, stopping her. After reloading tube 1 we shot one more at a 9,000 ton tanker, causing it to slow and take on a heavy portside list. Both of these cripples were then finished off as the last of our torpedoes were loaded.

Here's the situation as U-46 runs south away from a destroyer, straight in to the path of a convoy. You can see I've plotted a couple of course lines for two of the columns and ran a speed plot. The light blue color indicates shallow water. This shot is just nine minutes after the one above showing the sinking freighter sunk by gun.

[Linked Image]

I apologize as the entire escapade took all of my attention and I got no screenshots of the convoy attack. It happened suddenly, while being chased by a destroyer and in shallow water with escorts everywhere. It's only because it's still 1939 that it all went so well. Later in the war and I would have been in a very difficult spot. With just a single stern torpedo left we evaded to the southwest and once clear of the screws we surfaced and began the long trip back to Kiel, arriving on October 16th after six weeks at sea. In all, U-46 sank five good ships for 37,000 tons, all in the space of two days and in the same grid.


[Linked Image]






Attached Files attackapproach.jpgcaptainslog.jpgconvoy.jpgLeaveKiel.jpgmediumfreighter.jpgnediumhit.jpgnorwegiansteamer.jpgTDCshot.jpgbowsplit.jpgbowsplitbino.jpg
Last edited by DBond; 04/04/20 08:32 PM.

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#4512587 - 03/24/20 01:54 PM Re: The War Patrols of U-46 [Re: DBond]  
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War Patrol 2, November 3, 1939 to January 12, 1940

U-46 set sail on her second war patrol on November 3 after a two-week refit. Our 37,241 tons on the first patrol was just 200 less than the leading skipper, Schultze of U-48. A very successful first foray. Our second patrol would once again be to the Western Approaches.

All tubes, internal and external torpedo slots were filled once again with the T I G7a steam torpedo.

In a pattern similar to the first patrol, U-46 proceeded to the patrol area at 6 knots to conserve fuel, with periodic trim dives and sound sweeps along the way. In order to maximize our time on station, U-46 passed between the Shetlands and the Orkneys as we rounded Britain to the north. The water here is shallow, and air patrols are heavy, forcing us to dive again and again. We do not take the time to identify the aircraft, and some could be German.

After rounding Britain, we had some success in the Atlantic while enroute southwest to the patrol area.. On November 12 in grid AM33, the watch spotted a medium mast-stack-mast freighter of 5,400 tons making 7 knots. Conducting a normal periscope approach, U-46 fired two torpedoes from a range of 800 meters and she blew up, our first kill of the patrol.

The medium freighter shortly before sunset


[Linked Image]


The target takes a torpedo below the stack and explodes


[Linked Image]


At 7 AM the next morning, November 13, we found a 4,600 ton merchant and sent her to the bottom with two torpedoes in grid AM26. That same evening, U-46 spotted smoke and went to battle stations, developing an approach on a big tanker sailing alone and making 8 knots. We fired two torpedoes at this target in a normal periscope approach, one hit and detonated amidships, the other a dud. I decided to shadow the ship for a bit and see what happened. She had slowed to 2 knots with a moderate port list. With no other ships in the area we could take our time and hope the damage was enough to eventually sink her, and saving another torpedo. After a few hours she had appeared to settle slightly lower, but looked in no danger of sinking. I ordered battle surface gun and took the tanker under fire. The crew shot a little better than back in October and the tanker blew up in a huge fireball. This ship was 9,300 tons. A fine kill.


Here the tanker takes the first torpedo, the second was a dud.


[Linked Image]


The tanker explodes after a short gun action. The conning tower fairwater blocks the view down to the deck and gun crew below.


[Linked Image]


A week later, U-46 torpedoed and sank a 5,800-ton freighter in grid AM13, and finally, on December 7, a 5,300-ton cargo ship in grid AM49. U-46 was getting low on fuel, though we still had six torpedoes on board, five forward and one astern. We returned to the North Sea as we worked our way home, slowly patrolling to the southeast. We developed no more contacts aside from a freighter south of Kristiansand as we neared Kiel. But it was night time in a howling storm and I could not get a good enough look to identify. With collision more likely than success U-46 aborted the approach and returned to Kiel on January 12, after nine weeks at sea, a record endurance for a Type VII.

The December 7th target, a medium freighter of 5,300 tons flying a Panamanian flag takes a down angle and slips below the sea. Two torpedoes were fired at this ship but only one hit. I assumed the other missed ahead and I had her speed too fast. Spreading torpedoes helps to cover errors and here one hit near the bow, causing enough damage to flood the forward holds and down she went, twenty-four minutes after being struck by the torpedo.

[Linked Image]

Despite returning with many torpedoes, U-46 still managed to put five more good ships on the bottom for 30,000 tons. Our 67,000 tons to this point ranks U-46 second in the U-Boat force, now 10,000 tons behind Shultze.


[Linked Image]





Attached Files firsttarget.jpgfirsttargethit.jpgp2log.jpgpanamanian.jpgtankergun.jpgtankerhit.jpg
Last edited by DBond; 04/04/20 08:37 PM.

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#4512649 - 03/24/20 09:18 PM Re: The War Patrols of U-46 [Re: DBond]  
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Great AAR DBond, thank you and keep them coming.

Cheers

#4512651 - 03/24/20 09:25 PM Re: The War Patrols of U-46 [Re: DBond]  
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Thanks. Third patrol is done and dusted, report written, and just have to get the images done. Should be up very shortly. At this point my reports will have caught up with my sim. Thanks for the comment!

Patrol 3 went very well indeed, but it's still 1940 isn't it? smile


Animals flee this hell, the hardest stones cannot bear it for long. Only men endure
#4512652 - 03/24/20 09:32 PM Re: The War Patrols of U-46 [Re: DBond]  
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War Patrol 3, February 17 to March 31, 1940

After patrol number 2, several ratings received promotions, and and a few decorations awarded. Otto Popp received his second Iron Cross Second Class. U-46 was armed with another full load of steamers and sailed on February 17th, 1940, once again bound for the waters of the Western Approaches. With two successful patrols under our belts, the crew of U-46 is improving, teamwork and cohesiveness resulting in better efficiency in each compartment. A few more patrols should see the crew reach peak profficiency.

The transit to the patrol area was the same as patrol 2, speed at 6 knots with periodic trim dives and sound sweeps, and again diving repeatedly as we passed between the Orkneys and Shetlands to avoid the numerous air patrols encountered. Once U-46 reached the deep water of the Atlantic, we turned southwest once again in to the AM grid. We encountered no worthwhile targets enroute so remained fully armed.

On February 27th, our tenth day out, the watch spotted smoke of a lone merchant in grid AM35 in clear skies and rough seas. U-46 conducted a normal approach periscope attack on this ship, a freighter of 4,200 tons. Two torpedoes were fired, one at the leading edge of the bridge and the second at the stack. The first torpedo struck with a terrific whack, cracking the ship in two. The second struck moments later but was no longer needed.

This ship is finished, split in two

[Linked Image]

After that success, U-46 continued southwest to the patrol area. For a little more than two weeks, U-46 patrolled the assigned area without developing any suitable contacts. Weather remained clear but windy, with moderate to heavy seas. This is submarine weather. Calm seas may be pleasant, and make for a good gun platform. But heavier seas offer safety. Sonar conditions are much more favorable for a submerged submarine. And the high seas help mask a surfaced one. So much so that I will sometimes choose to shadow a convoy waiting for worse weather. And if this career makes it in to 1942, this AAR will be showing exactly that. The effect is nicely done in OM. Eventually, attacking escorted formations in calm seas is exceptionally risky except in the most favorable circumstances, like a screen out of position. But in heavy seas, the odds are evened some.

But this is early 1940. With the combination of heavy sea state, clear skies with max visibility, and the enemy ASW effort still in its infancy, conditions are still favorable for a convoy attack. I knew where we were patrolling was a good spot. The AM grid covers the entire west of Britain, and the area around grid AM52 is the chokepoint for most east-bound traffic heading for ports on the island's west coast. One convoy had gotten past us earlier in the patrol. We received a radio report, but were too far out of position to intercept before it reached shallower water near Britain. If possible, I want to make contact farther west, in deep water and away from all but the long-range airborne ASW patrols.

Then, on March 15, BdU sent a radio report of a convoy in grid AM55, roughly 160 kilometers southwest of U-46. A quick plot showed we could easily intercept this convoy provided it did not alter course. The radio report gave the convoy's course as due east and it's speed of 6 knots. I plotted an intercept, at a point on the convoy's course 80 km form our position, but 110 from the convoy's. Since I could easily outspeed even at standard, we were guaranteed to reach this point first, even if we were held down by surface or air patrols for any length of time. Once reaching the intercept point, we could then trace the reciprocal of the convoy's course. As long as it did not alter course, I felt we were assured of contact.

Here you see the contact report, with rough lines drawn showing the interception plotted

[Linked Image]

U-46 turned around and headed SSW on the intercept course, although several aircraft contacts forced us to dive, slowing our progress, but I felt we had a buffer built in with our superior speed. I saw one aircraft, a Sunderland, at uncomfortably close range, but it was not heading at us and we got under quickly with no ordnance dropped. Just before midnight we reached the predicted convoy route and turned due west to attempt to meet it. Because the convoy could be some distance north or south of our course, every 15 minutes we dove for sound sweeps. Eventually this paid off and revealed the convoy was still west of us, but some distance south. U-46 was out on the port quarter, a good place to be.

The dashed lines indicate sound bearings detected by hydrophone, showing our position relative to the bearings when the convoy was first detected

[Linked Image]

I ordered a new course of 180 to try and reach an attack position. After running on the surface for a few minutes at ahead full, the watch spotted a ship. Using a high periscope I identified it as a C-Class fleet destroyer. It was nearly abeam of U-46 and, based on the sound bearings from the hydrophone sweep I determined it was the lead port flank escort. Seas were heavy and night time, so I elected to remain on the surface and began backing down. I wanted to reverse for two or three kilometers, allow this escort to go past, then thread the needle between it and what I expected would be a trailing port flank escort, which if it existed, remained unseen. But I had to assume it would be there. If either of these escorts had radar, the jig would be up in short order. I was banking on the fact they did not.

The atmosphere on the bridge was hushed and tense as the lead escort sailed past in front of the reversing U-46. But we remained undetected, and on the surface. As soon as it was past, I ordered ahead full to penetrate the screen and get in on the convoy, some ships of which were now in view. We neatly bisected the portside screen, the trailing destroyer now in view. Neither flank escort detected us, and we were now in on the convoy. It was massive one, probably forty ships of all types and tonnage, with escort ahead, trailing and on the port flank. I expected there was a starboard flank escort as well, but that side of the formation was too far to see! Both portside flankers were fleet destroyers.

With no external cameras to just show a bird's-eye view, map shots are the next best thing I reckon, This one shows the penetration by U-46 of the port side screen. The course line at the top with two squares on it shows the position of the leading and trailing flank escort. U-46, the circle, has split that gap and got in on the convoy.

[Linked Image]

Having penetrated the screen, I began plotting and identifying as many ships as possible. Surface attacks from inside a convoy can quickly turn chaotic, so I wanted to ensure I had as much worked out beforehand as possible. I could see no deck guns on the merchants, but that possibility had to be reckoned with too. U-46 threaded it's way through the first two portside columns to begin attacking from near the center of the formation. partly this is due to having targets available for the tubes at either end, and mostly due to complicating the reaction from the escort, who need to negotiate the milling and scattering merchants.

Once set, all outer doors were opened, all torpedoes set to run fast, with impact pistols at 4 meters depth. Convoy was making 6 knots, so it was just a matter of getting range and choosing targets. We had 12 fish left, one still in a topside cannister. The first target selected was another Old Raked Bow Split Merchant, like that sunk by gun before running in to the convoy on patrol 2. Two torpedoes were fired at this ship, and two more at a big, valuable 10,000-ton freighter. Each ship was hit, but neither went down, but they slowed and heeled out of line. This threw the convoy in to mass confusion. Collision alarms sounding, ships scattering in all directions, escorts lobbing star shells over the fray. U-46 was right in the middle of it. I said that caution was my overarching guiding principle. Yeah, maybe not so much. i was grinning ear to ear as my boat cut a path through the mayhem. But I calculated this. The combination of the raw escorts, heavy seas and nighttime made it seem to be safer than submerging, conceding my maneuverability, and possibly getting trapped by echo-ranging escorts.

Here the first target is hit.

[Linked Image]

U-46 has sown mass confusion

[Linked Image]

As we arrived near the far side of the convoy it felt like we had found the tanker wing. We were suddenly in the midst of a number of big tankers, who had all been sailing on the starboard side for whatever reason. Finally spotting the starboard flank escort, another fleet destroyer, I turned back in toward the center of the convoy when I heard a high velocity round overhead. It's possible it was just a star shell, but taking no chances we pulled the plug down to 110 meters while the reload was underway. No echo-ranging was heard and once a couple tubes were reloaded we came back up and began firing at this mass of tankers. A number of big ships were hit, stopped and sunk by torpedo, and one polished off with the gun. The two ships hit but not sunk in the opening salvo both went down during this time. A destroyer came ripping past so close I thought were were dead, but it kept right on going and we surfaced to download the topside torpedo, firing it at one last tanker, this one a massive ship at 11,000 tons, which blew up and sank and marked the end of a spectacular attack. In all seven big ships went down, for 64,140 tons. Added to the sinking back on February 27, a total of eight ships for 68,338 tons. From the time U-46 penetrated the destroyer screen to the time when the final ship went down, ten hours had passed. Out of torpedoes, U-46 headed for the barn.

One of the tankers takes a torpedo

[Linked Image]


And another, the final target sunk with the topside torpedo just after first light. this tanker was over 11,000 tons.

[Linked Image]

We still had half of our fuel oil, but I proceeded at ahead two-thirds all the same. Approaching the coast of Norway on March 24, U-46 was nearly run over by a Royal Navy task force. We spotted two Repulse/Renown class battlecruisers with three destroyer escorts. I'm sure a fourth manned the far flank but we did not spot it in the fog. We are lucky these ships seemed to have no radar, or we certainly would have been given some attention. As it was, in the light fog, we got very close, within 1500 meters of the battlecruisers, and would have had a great shot if not out of torpedoes. Such is war.

Here, the Repulse is barely visible in the fog well within torpedo range, but none to shoot.

[Linked Image]


U-46 tied up at Kiel on March 31, after nearly six weeks at sea.

Upon our return, Otto Popp was promoted to Kapitänleutnant. The crew have been calling me Herr Kaleun all along. But now it's official (Citation attached below)


U-46's spectacular third war patrol vaults us to the top of the list. Captain's logs are attached below but not enlarged in the AAR

[Linked Image]







Attached Files firstkill.jpgconvoyreport.jpgpenetratescreen.jpgsonar.jpgORBSMHit.jpgmayhem.jpgclearingout.jpgleaderboard.jpglog1.jpglog2.jpgrepulse.jpgpromotion.jpgtankerhit.jpganothertankerhit.jpg
Last edited by DBond; 04/04/20 05:08 PM.

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#4512763 - 03/25/20 08:37 PM Re: The War Patrols of U-46 [Re: DBond]  
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To fill the void until the next patrol is up, some odd & ends about U-46.

I mentioned in the OP, that U-46 was credited with sinking 22 ships for around 120,000 tons. I pulled that data off uboat.net. But I noticed last night that Blair says Endrass alone sank 24 ships confirmed for 132k. Endrass relieved Sohler, who was luckless, but still managed to put two ships under before relinquishing command to Endrass. So that's 26 ships between the two. And perhaps more after Endrass left U-46 to take over a VIIIC, it's not clear to me what she did after that point. More research!

Hard to know what is true. Regardless, it's an interesting discussion and U-46 was certainly successful.

Another interesting thing is that Endrass was first watch officer on Prien's U-47 when she made her famous penetration of Scapa Flow to sink Royal Oak. It was Endrass who painted the famous snorting bull art on the conning tower. After taking command of U-46 he painted the same bull on her. It proved so popular that it was adopted by the entire 7th Flotilla and was eventually painted on 22 boats.

Amazingly, Endrass' first patrol in command of U-46 sank five ships for 35k, including the 20,000-ton armed merchant cruiser HMS Carinthia . On the very next patrol, U-46 again sank five ships including another armed merchant cruiser, HMS Dunvegan Castle , 15,000 tons. U-46's luck certainly improved with Endrass in command!

Endrass was sunk with all hands in his new VIIC, U-567, to depth charge attack by the British sloop HMS Deptford and the British corvette HMS Samphire northeast of the Azores on 21 December 1941.

From uboat.net, here is the U-46 page. As I noted, there are questions surrounding the final tally for this boat, which is very common of course. Post-war accounting is valuable, but cannot be 100% accurate.

https://uboat.net/boats/u46.htm


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#4512886 - 03/26/20 05:45 PM Re: The War Patrols of U-46 [Re: DBond]  
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Very nice stuff, neat pictures, too! WELL DONE!

#4513037 - 03/27/20 01:28 PM Re: The War Patrols of U-46 [Re: DBond]  
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Thanks very much. It's fun to get back on the bridge after such a long time. It had been years since I played a subsim. After reinstalling it I did the stationary target tutorial just to see if I could remember how to shoot torpedoes. The first four missed because I didn't remember I had to click the blue light to send the data to the torpedoes. But the fifth one hit! Haha. After that it was off to war. My shooting has been good so far, the torpedoes reliable enough (maybe a 30% dud rate with the G7a), and we've had good success. As the war enters 1941 though things will begin to change. Maybe this will be the second career to make it to the end. Yeah, right.


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#4513054 - 03/27/20 03:28 PM Re: The War Patrols of U-46 [Re: DBond]  
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War Patrols 4a and 4b, May 4 to September 17, 1940


Note: This patrol was double-barreled. Having played OM before, I knew the base transfer date, when 7th Flotilla moved to St Nazaire on the coast of France in September of 1940. I also knew that clandestine supply ships would become available in Spain in June. So I planned to sail on the patrol, refuel and rearm when low of fish or fuel, and then resail to conduct a second patrol until 7th Flotilla relocated in France.

War Patrol 4a

U-46 set sail from Kiel on May 4, 1940, with a special assignment. With the invasion of Norway, submarine support was needed, and we were assigned as distant cover to patrol in the northwest North Sea, just east of the Shetland Islands. If the British contested it with their fleet, our patrol area would be a good spot to intercept ships sailing from Scapa Flow toward Norway. The crew received more promotions and decorations, and several obtained special abilities, which aid in things like rest time and wound recovery, diving time, engine repair and so on. As the crew gain experience the boat becomes more efficient. it's the best thing about starting in 1939. By the time the allies get their sh!t together, our crew will be honed to their finest edge.

U-46 crossed the North Sea and arrived in our patrol area in a driving rain, visibility virtually nil. The weather cleared with heavy seas and we completed our assignment having encountered no ships. Moderate air contacts forced us under time and again, but we have yet to have any ordnance dropped. It suggests to me that we are spotting them first, allowing escape. Airborne radar will flip this.

The watch keeps vigil in a storm

[Linked Image]

After completing the objective, U-46 sailed north of the Shetlands to see if we could find any elements of the Royal Navy who may be supporting the defense of Norway. The days are exceptionally long at this latitude in May but we again developed no contacts and moved south to patrol off the west coast of Scotland. Here we found a route merchant ships were traveling toward Iceland. Patrolling on the surface along this route, over the next two weeks, from May 25 to June 11, U-46 sent five lone freighters to the bottom, all by torpedo. three in grid AM33, one in AM36 and one in AM35. All were medium freighters of 4,500 to 6,000 tons. Two were sunk with single stern torpedo shots.

Here, U-46 crosses the T, passing in front of an oncoming freighter in order to bring the stern tube to bear

[Linked Image]


Here, a stern-tube shot hits a medium freighter with a terrific crack, destroying her

[Linked Image]

We then moved farther south with a view to eventually putting in to Spain or France for resupply. Arriving in the BE grid at the western approach to the English Channel, U-46 patrolled with the assistance of the Luftwaffe now based near Cherbourg. The range of these patrol planes was a little too short to cover the deep water where we were, but it could reveal traffic exiting the Channel and heading our way. Too far really to be useful. We would need to have squadrons based near Brest to have the range to help cover the western half of BF grid. On June 21, we sank a lone 4,300 ton freighter in grid BE63 and on June 30, a 3.600 ton passenger-freighter in the same spot, both by torpedo. BdU had informed us by radio that clandestine supply ships were in several ports in Spain. On July 1st, our brothers in the 2nd Flotilla relocated to Lorient. Low on fuel, I elected to head for El Ferrol on the northwest coast of neutral Spain. On July 12, U-46 replenished from the supply ship Max Albrecht, taking on a full load of fuel and torpedoes.

The passenger freighter sunk on June 30

[Linked Image]


War Patrol 4b

After leaving El Ferrol, U-46 returned to the BE grid at the western exit to the English Channel. Again we used the scout planes as distant recon, but still mostly useless aside from reassuring me there were ships out there. We developed no contacts in BE grid so I decided to shift east to grid BF which I reasoned would be a more likely convoy route, the one traveled by Britain-bound convoys from Gibraltar or Freetown. On July 27, two weeks after resupplying, we made contact with a good medium freighter of 6,200 tons in grid BF45. U-46 put this ship under with a normal periscope torpedo attack using two torpedoes. Every attack so far in this career has been by torpedo. Three ships have been polished off by gun, but only after being crippled by torpedo. In most cases I shoot two torpedoes, to cover error and duds, except in the case of stern-tube shots. Creating opportunities for effectively deploying the stern tube are important. There are only three torpedoes back there, and a single tube. But it represents 20% of our striking power so I think it's important to use it well. That said, it's also an important defensive weapon. If I am ever forced to attack a hunting escort, it will almost certainly be with the ass end pointing at it. So I try to retain at least one stern torpedo through the patrol, firing it off near the end if the opportunity presents itself. Returning to port with only a single aft torpedo is fairly common. Later in the war I like to load acoustic torpedoes in the stern, but we'll need to survive to 1943 to use those.



The leading edge of the bridge has proven to be a deadly aimpoint. Many ships break in two when struck in this spot in OM. So yeah, I shoot at it. Here, a freighter is lifted while cracking in two.

[Linked Image]




Another ship slips beneath the sea. One ship being struck by a torpedo looks a lot like any other ship being struck by a torpedo, so I will start to limit those sorts of shots from here on

[Linked Image]


Two days later, on July 29, we detected warship screws during a routine sound sweep in grid BF44. Closing the bearing on the surface, we spotted a corvette, sweeping in a serpentine fashion escorting what became another big convoy. It was dark, but dawn was near, with light fog and overcast. Seas and wind moderate. I attempted to plot the course of the corvette, bu it's constant helming made it difficult. Eventually we worked out the base course and submerged to allow it pass in front. Based on the constant sound bearings of the merchant ships, I could tell we were in it's path, and that the corvette had been the lead escort, not flank. That meant we were already positioned inside the convoy, we just had to wait for it to arrive and sail past.


The Flower class corvette at the convoy's van

[Linked Image]




Everything about our setup was good. The position, the weather and sea state, darkness, and ten torpedoes remaining. As the convoy came on and the corvette weaved away I plotted courses of the convoy columns, having determined early in the contact the speed of 6 knots. Having the columns plotted allowed me to get range on impact points for the various ships around U-46, not unlike an artillery crew pre-registering target reference points. All outer doors were opened. We have only loaded G7a steamers in this career and here they were all set to run fast, with impact pistols at 4 meters depth. Two big tankers were selected as the first targets for the bow tubes. I would hold on to the stern torpedo for a bit. Two torpedoes were fired at each tanker, the first blew up in a fantastic blast, and the second staggered, fell out line and kept on with a moderate port list. Almost as soon as the torpedoes hit the second ship, we were pinged. I spun the scope around to find a fleet destroyer with a camo paint scheme very close with searchlights blazing. She was firing star shells and zigging towards U-46. How did she find us so fast? I immediately dialed in a solution for the stern tube to fire at this destroyer. With the target zigging it was a difficult shot. As soon as the torpedo was gone I ordered deep submergence to 120 meters and altered course to take us beneath an oncoming freighter in the next column. The torpedo impacted and exploded as U-46 passed through 40 meters but the echo-ranging did not stop. We must have hit a different ship.

Going under the freighter may have blocked the destroyer from following and as we passed through 90 meters the escort lost sonar contact. Perhaps an inversion layer. Whatever the cause, the destroyer had lost us for the moment. I altered course back to the north to trace the convoy's route while remaining deep and reloading the torpedoes. Perhaps we can find the second tanker straggling. After gaining separation from the warship screws and reloading the torpedoes, we returned to periscope depth to see the destroyer, now joined by a corvette, searching the area where we had sunk the tanker. After extending the range to around 4 kilometers we surfaced and chased after the convoy. The combination of heavy seas, low light and fog kept us hidden. After running up the starboard flank of the tail end of the convoy, a destroyer turned around ahead apparently to investigate us, or perhaps it was routine and only appeared that way. Regardless, we went to periscope depth and turned back in on the stragglers. Three more ships went down. including two 9,000 ton fleet oilers four minutes apart. The torpedo that had missed the destroyer when we went deep had instead hit a 3,800 ton passenger-freighter, which sank. In all, five ships from this convoy went down for about 38,000 tons. With at least three escorts looking for us I elected to go deep and evade east toward the Spanish coast. Once clear of the screws we surfaced to exchange the air and put more distance between U-46 and the scene of the attack.


If you've seen one exploding tanker you've seen them all haha. But here's my scratch after the convoy attack as I head toward Spain. It shows where the attacks originated and where the ships went down as the attack continued. The passenger-freighter sunk by the torpedo meant for the destroyer did not appear, I guess since we were deep and didn't actually see it sink. So there are just four ship sunk icons not five.

[Linked Image]




After this we moved farther south off the coast of Portugal in the CG grid. On August 5 and 11, U-46 sent two more medium, lone freighters of around 6,000 tons to the bottom. Out of torpedoes, U-46 headed for the barn, putting in to our new home of St. Nazaire on September 17, 1940. In all, between both barrels of this patrol, U-46 sank fifteen ships for 91,000 tons. Seven in the first leg and eight in the second. More than four months elapsed from the time we left Kiel until arriving in France. Captain's logs attached below. Upon arrival in St Nazaire, Kapitänleutnant, Otto Popp was awarded the Ritterkreuz. Ritterkreuz holder Otto Popp has a nice ring to it.



This shot shows where the ships were sunk. West of Scotland on the route to Iceland sunk during barrel 4a. Those in the center in the western edge of BF and eastern edge of BE grids sunk over both legs, including the convoy attack. And finally the two ships sunk to the south off the coast of Portugal in August.

[Linked Image]


Attached Files aimpointgood.jpgcamopassfreight.jpgCL1.jpgCL2.jpgCL3.jpgconvoyscratch.jpgcorvette.jpgcrossingtheT.jpgsinkloc.jpgslipastern.jpgstorm.jpgwhack!.jpg
Last edited by DBond; 04/04/20 05:20 PM.

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#4513249 - 03/28/20 11:22 PM Re: The War Patrols of U-46 [Re: DBond]  
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War Patrol 5, October 26 to January 28, 1941

The Ritterkreuz awarded after the last patrol. The one depicted has Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds, making Otto Popp the first to go straight to the top smile The Silent Hunter series has always had poor awards systems, and OM is no different. I expect to be awarded the Knight's Cross on many occasions, if that isn't tempting fate too much. It's just one of the quirks you put up with playing the series. Still, Kapitänleutnant Popp wears it proudly, as it's the mark of the aces, and drinks are always free at the casino when the Ritterkreuz hangs at your throat.


[Linked Image]


U-46 set sail for war patrol 5 on October 26, 1940. Now based on the coast of France, we received orders to patrol off the coast of Iceland, in the AE grid. With our patrol area 3,000 kilometers from port, U-46 cruised west to the BE grid, then turned north for Iceland through the middle Atlantic, arriving in early November. Patrolling very close to the southern coast we developed no contacts other than a 6,500 ton freighter that was put under with two torpedoes in grid AE76 on November 12. After fulfilling the objective, U-46 turned south and developed no suitable contacts all the way to the waters west of Gibraltar, where on November 28 we made contact. On that date we found a 3,900 ton steamer in CG54 and sank it with torpedoes, and then a week later a 6,500 ton freighter in CG85. While just west of Gibraltar strait, U-46 made contact with two big convoys. Both contacts were made in daylight, with calm weather and table-top seas. In each case our approach was detected, the first while surfaced, and the second submerged. In each case U-46 was forced deep, held down and driven off by echo-ranging corvettes and destroyers. In both cases depth charges were dropped, two strings close enough to shake the boat, but no damage. These encounters were the first indication we have had that the Allies are getting it together. Caution is called for as we move in to 1941.


We then turned north and returned to the BE grid on the western approach to the English Channel, finding a 4,800-ton Hog Island freighter and sent it to the bottom. Nearly a month passed with no further attacks, when on January 14 we sank a 5,700-ton cargo ship in grid BF47, then a week later a big, valuable 10,000-ton freighter in grid BF74 and finally 5,000-tonner back in BF47 on January 24.

As U-46 headed to the objective in late October, we made an approach on a big, fast tanker in the BE grid. It was a bluebird day, the sea glass. The tanker was making 12 knots and we made a long approach to excellent position for an attack, remaining unseen as we made an end-around, pulling the plug ahead to turn in for a periscope attack. As the tanker's angle broadened we spotted the big American flags painted on the hull, and then the ensign itself. As we are under strict orders not to provoke the Americans, we had to close the doors and let her go. Later in the patrol we made two more approaches on ships that flew Stars and Stripes. All were allowed to sail on.

The Amerikaner sails past, unaware she was in our crosshairs.

[Linked Image]

U-46 tied up at St Nazaire on January 28, having been at sea for more than three months, and having sunk seven lone ships for around 42,000 tons, all by torpedo. Captain's logs attached below. Upon our return, Otto Popp was promoted to Korvettenkapitän. Honestly I just wanted to keep on being Herr Kaleun.

Attached Files amerikaner.jpgP5CL1.jpgP5CL2.jpgRitterkreuz.jpg
Last edited by DBond; 03/28/20 11:48 PM.

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#4513262 - 03/29/20 01:28 AM Re: The War Patrols of U-46 [Re: DBond]  
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War Patrol 6, February 28 to April 12, 1941

After a refit lasting exactly one month, U-46 set sail on her sixth war patrol on February 28, 1941. After considering our experience with the failed convoy attacks near Gibraltar in December, the decision was made to switch to electric torpedoes. The T II G7e electric torpedo has no tell-tale wake, leaving no tracks pointing at the submarine's firing location. That is a very valuable advantage. Set against this is the fact that the G7e is unreliable, and can only be set to 30-knot speed. Slower torpedoes complicate targeting, and the G7e has a higher dud-rate than the 30% rate we experienced with the G7a steamer. With a view to survival, the lack of wakes was the decisive factor, even if I expect our successes to tail off until the defects can be corrected.

U-46 was assigned to patrol in the BE grid, familiar hunting grounds by now. Despite our local knowledge, no suitable contacts were made. Scout aircraft were now based in Brest, and had the range to reach our patrol area. They were useful in putting us on to the trail of a few ships, but we were unable to make contact. After completing the assignment, U-46 headed south, away from Coastal Command for a while. We returned to the narrow waters just west of Gibraltar. We have yet to have a crack at any heavy men-of-war in this career. And our only sighting was of the two Renown class battlecruisers off the coast of Norway back in March 1940. Gibraltar of course is a naval base, and other warship traffic will pass though on the way to points in the Med, like Alexandria and Valetta. And considering the two convoys we found and fled last patrol, I knew it was a good spot to find targets. Before taking up a patrol position, U-46 cruised south to the Canary Islands, refueling from the clandestinesupply ship MV Corrientes. After taking on the fuel, we headed north to take position well west of the strait, away from the air patrols from the Rock. With the waters here widening in to the Atlantic, we developed no contacts worthy of a torpedo.

Vexed by the lack of contacts, we shifted north a bit, to see if the traffic might be cutting the corner as they rounded the southwest tip of Iberia. On March 29, one month and one day after leaving St Nazaire, the watch spotted warships emerging from the light fog in grid CG81. I ordered flank speed and turned around to take up a leading course while we determined what we had found. The initial sighting was at a relatively close 4000 meters due to the fog. Seas were raging and it was daylight. As we came around I saw a fleet destroyer and began a speed plot. It was clear it was moving fast, as the range was decreasing quickly. A second ship emerged from the fog in line astern of the destroyer. I turned the binoculars on it and saw it was a Renown-class battlecruiser. After 3 minutes I took the speed and entered it in the TDC as 14 knots. Never fully trusting a short speed plot I let the stopwatch run in case I could use it for a longer plot.

A third ship emerged behind the battlecruiser, an Illustrious-class fleet carrier. U-46 crash dived on a beam approach, ordering periscope depth at 10m and leveling off in the churning sea at 14m. I set up all four bow tubes for impact pistols and four meters depth. These were to be the first shots with electrics in the war, and they can only be set to slow speed. Outer doors were opened, and I quickly went back to the map to take a five-minute speed reading on the still-running watch. The battlecruiser was almost at the firing point and the new reading revealed the speed was 18 knots, not 14. I quickly double checked it, found it satisfactory and re-dialed a solution to reflect the faster speed. I decided to fire two fish at the Renown/Repulse and two at the carrier, then go deep.


This is the attack plot, showing U-46's position as the task force raced out of the fog at close range. A destroyer leading, the battlecruiser highlighted, and the carrier following line astern. Dashed lines show hydrophone bearings to the flank escorts, still hidden in the fog and heavy seas.

[Linked Image]


The lead escort did not detect us as it passed, and as the battlecruiser crossed the wire, two torpedoes were fired from a range of 1100 meters on a 070 port track, tube one aimed at turret number two and tube two at the superstructure. Wavetops were so high that these shots were taken on glimpses of masts and the fighting top. Before I could shoot the second salvo, the first torpedoes struck. The first was a dud and the second detonated, but again the waves were so high I could not see where the ship was hit.

Knowing the exploding torpedo would alert the other ships, I dialed in a slower speed for the carrier, reducing it to 15 knots. There was no time to take a speed plot, but I expected the carrier to begin evasive maneuvers. I didn't expect she would slow, but by zigging or turning at all, the ship slows along her base course,even if she doesn't make less speed. And the base course is what the solution is calculated on. So the TDC was dialed down to reflect this. It's akin to Kentucky windage, or a sailor's eye. Again we got brief glimpses of the carrier as it crossed the wire, shooting when I predicted the aimpoints would be in line. I ordered ahead standard to build speed to go deep and waited for the torpedoes to hit home. The port flank escort began echo ranging.

Told the chief to make depth 160 meters and stared through the periscope. Both torpedoes hit the carrier and she exploded at once. I could see only the flames shooting up, the carrier was hidden by the swells. Just before the scope went under I caught a glimpse of the Illustrious and she was aflame stem to stern. I swung the scope back toward the Renown or Repulse but could not see her as we went deep. Two escorts pinged us as we dove, and over the next five hours U-46 evaded at 160 meters while the escorts dropped string after string. Each one fell farther than the last however and there is no sweeter sound than distant depth charges. After six hours were were finally free of the destroyers and returned to periscope depth. Seeing no threats U-46 surfaced to secure the recharge and exchange the air. We searched up and down the track for a few hours, hoping to find the battlecruiser damaged and straggling but could find no sign of her. She had escaped. The carrier, 23,000 tons, went down, just nine minutes after the task force was first sighted.



This is what I saw when the carrier blew up. The text shows the first torpedo did the trick and the second hit soon after.


[Linked Image]



Illustrious is aflame and on an even keel moments before she went under.

[Linked Image]

Almost two weeks later, on April 9 in grid CG19, we found a convoy heading north off the coast of Portugal. It was sunset with moderate seas. I conned U-46 to an attack course that split the starboard side screen. slipping in between two corvettes on the surface. I elected to shoot from range, outside the convoy, and then reverse course at flank speed, firing off the stern torpedo as we came around. With overlapping targets I thought we could score some hits and escape at high speed on the surface. If these were fleet destroyers on this flank instead I might have elected to submerge. Corvettes though have no real speed advantage over our VIIB. Their guns do, however. When we reached a point about 2200 meters from the outboard convoy column, we fired off all four bow tubes at the overlapping freighters. U-46 reversed course and headed out at high speed, firing off the stern tube as we steadied on the reciprocal. After a run of several minutes the torpedoes began striking. All four bow tubes hit ships, but two for duds and no ship went down right away.

The stern tube also hit but again did not sink anything straight away. After hauling away and reloading, we turned back in to find the convoy in disarray. U-46 sank a big, 9,600-ton freighter with two bow torpedoes, while a small freighter hit with the initial salvo went down. As we were shooting at the big freighter, a fleet destroyer caught our scent and began zigging our way, searchlights blazing. We turned to put the destroyer directly astern and as it kept coming, submerged to periscope depth. It kept echo-ranging but seemed to lose us and just about stop while listening on the hydrophones. Because it was no longer zigging and had slowed so much I decided to fire on it. A stern torpedo was fired at this destroyer from a range of 1400 meters. Unaccustomed to the slow torpedo speed I guess, after a few minutes I assumed we had missed and was just ordering the boat on to a new evasion course when the torpedo hit with a terrific whack. The destroyer exploded in a flash and was gone in thirty seconds. Shortly after this a big tanker straggling after being hit with the initial salvo was given a finishing shot with the last bow torpedo.


The ships in convoy presenting overlapping targets

[Linked Image]



The destroyer burns intensely in it's final moments

[Linked Image]

With only a single stern torpedo left, U-46 ran for the barn at ahead full as we still had 3/4 of our fuel oil. We tied up at St Nazaire on April 12 after nearly six weeks at sea, having sunk five ships for 45,000 tons, including two warships. Captain's log attached below.


Attached Files TFScratch.jpgIllustriousHit.jpgIllustriousBurning.jpgDestroyerBurns.jpgconvoy.jpgPL6CL.jpg
Last edited by DBond; 04/04/20 05:33 PM.

Animals flee this hell, the hardest stones cannot bear it for long. Only men endure
#4513495 - 03/30/20 01:07 PM Re: The War Patrols of U-46 [Re: DBond]  
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kilosierra Offline
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Nice AAR!

I`m thinking about reinstalling SH4 too. I looked at SubSim, seems the Dark Waters Mod is hte way to go today?


Greets

karsten


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#4513500 - 03/30/20 01:49 PM Re: The War Patrols of U-46 [Re: DBond]  
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Thanks kilo, I appreciate the comment. These AAR are a lot of work and I wonder if anyone is reading. So thanks for taking the time.

Honestly, I didn't even know about Dark Waters, having been out of the sub game for so long. I checked it out and my heart sank when the first post said basically it's an updated Operation Monsun! Skimmed through the thread and I'm really not sure what exactly the differences are, but seems mostly to be a different environment. My AAR is using the OMEGU environment mod. So yeah, DW may indeed be the way to go. I'd be interested in what you think if you do try it. Based on the mod description in the DW release thread at subsim though I'm not sure it's a better mod, just different, though there may be fixes the author didn't detail. Like he/she says that the objective map locations are more accurate, which is an issue I noted in this AAR. The requirement is to stay with 200 km, so even if they aren't precise, it's posed no issue for me in completing them.



Animals flee this hell, the hardest stones cannot bear it for long. Only men endure
#4513510 - 03/30/20 02:23 PM Re: The War Patrols of U-46 [Re: DBond]  
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I doubt I would notice any differences since I`m out of the loop for quite some time too. I never installed it on this machine and it`s been around two years since I bought it IIRC.

I even have to buy SH4 again.

THX for the good read.


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#4513589 - 03/30/20 07:38 PM Re: The War Patrols of U-46 [Re: DBond]  
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War Patrol 7, May 21 to August 7, 1941


U-46 set sail on her seventh war patrol on May 21, 1941, again with a full load of electrics. No other modifications or installations. A number of promotions and decorations were handed to the crew while in port. They are really rounding in to shape. We need it, as the war is beginning to turn. The Allies are getting their act together, and our boat is increasingly subject to attack, both from the air and from surface ships. Together with the disappointing performance of the G7e torpedo, a shift is required. Attacks need to become more cautious, and more torpedoes fired in a salvo to cover the high dud-rate. Conducting patrols submerged, at least some of the time is becoming ever more necessary. We may need to shift our searches farther off-shore to limit the threat from the air, which takes us farther from the choke points where merchant routes converge, making finding ships more difficult.

After leaving St Nazaire, U-46 crossed the Bay of Biscay on the surface without incident at ten knots, toward the assigned patrol area in the BE grid. These are the waters just west of Biscay, so quickly reached. We chased radio reports, scout plane sightings and dove from air attacks. A new squadron of scout planes was now based on the coast of France. With about double the range of the other squadrons, these can easily cover parts of the BE grid. To use them, you simply click an airbase, and then click on the map on the course you want them to fly leaving base. They will fly out to a preset distance, then fly a ladder search pattern back to base, revealing on the map a position report of whatever ships they overfly. So with a pulse effect as they fade from the map until the plane flies near again, they come and go and we try to plot intercepts to those nearby or closing. It's not easy in such a big ocean, but sometimes it works. The scout planes are also quite vulnerable it seems. They are lost often. I attribute it to Fighter Command patrols, but who knows. I assume the long range new squadron are Condors, but I really don't know. The names of each Gruppe is on the map so I can look it up and see what they flew in the war.

After a few weeks in the BE and BF grids without an attack, U-46 shifted south to the waters where we had sunk the Illustrious on the previous patrol off the southwestern tip of Iberia. Because we had been patrolling for nearly a month without firing a torpedo, I elected to return to the Canary Islands and replenish the fuel. As we got to within 400 km of the supply ship the icon disappeared. She must have been sunk or set sail elsewhere. So we needed to turn around and put in to Cadiz, which lies on the southern coast of Spain, very close to Gibraltar. Concerned about air attack and surface patrols west of the strait, we spent the days submerged as we approached Cadiz. Three times we narrowly escaped damage when aircraft were spotted and they attacked. I never mount a flak gunner as I think it will tempt me to fight it out. I always react by diving as quickly and steeply as possible. After ordering crash dive, I turn the boat in to the attacking plane, to increase it's angular rate of change, making dropping accurate bombs or depth charges more difficult. Aircraft attacking from directly astern are the most dangerous as we can't foul their approach with maneuver. A fleet submarine is not very nimble.

Looking up to see the aircraft already diving and firing machine guns makes me think they have radar now. Before, when we would spot them they were never coming directly at us. Now they are. This is now the biggest threat to our survival. Mostly they appear to be flying boats like the Sunderland. But more dangerous ones will surely begin to appear. As a result, more time needs to be spent patrolling submerged, particularly within 500km of the coast. The real effect will be to push us farther offshore. In OM, aircraft can attack submerged submarines, so even being at periscope depth is no guarantee of safety. Years ago I played a career in OM, also in command of U-46. It ended when we were sunk by aircraft in grid BF24 on maybe the fourth patrol. In the U-47 career, we were damaged by aircraft on numerous occasions, and even sunk once while at periscope depth. But in shallow enough water we could do a Das Boot and save the boat. That encounter is described in the War Patrols of U-47 thread linked in the OP. So I know how dangerous aircraft are. Not that I didn't already from reading all those sub book and patrol reports, but I have first-hand experience getting smoked by airplanes in OM. I need to be sure I take the proper precautions whenever possible.

After refueling in Cadiz, U-46 returned to the CG grid west of Portugal near where the carrier had gone down. On June 10, we finally found a target and sent a 6,700-ton freighter to the bottom. After two more weeks of no contact U-46 shifted back to the north back to the BE and BF grids. This is well within range of Coastal Command, but it's also a high-volume chokepoint, with convoys, task forces and many single ships reported by radio or spotted by the scout planes, which were helping us again. Finally, on July 8, nearly two months out, one of the Condors spotted a Task Force, just to the south of us, on a 045 course headed for the western entrance to the English Channel. The report gave a speed of 12 knots. Because our our position, we would need to haul the taskforce down from behind, overtake it and submerge ahead for a periscope attack if possible. The weather was dead calm, seas like glass, and morning. The worst possible combination frankly. At flank speed U-46 makes 17 knots, giving us only 5 knots of overtake. I turned on to a parallel course and attempted to get out in front. The scout planes were instrumental as they gave us several position updates as we made the dash ahead, but keeping outside of any possibility of detection. In these conditions, the escorts will pick us up on the surface at very long range, and if they have radar, even that doesn't matter.

After a long end-around I felt we were ahead and turned in to see if we could pick up the composition of the task force. Soon we spotted a destroyer coming up on the flank. I could see what looked like a destroyer and what was certainly a flattop at extreme range, but too far to identify. The carrier appeared to have no superstructure, like Japanese carriers. I conned U-46 on to the same course as the task force, running on the surface 14 km ahead, matching their speed to maintain visibility at max range while taking the speed plot. Soon we had this at the reported 12 knots and I altered course to gain separation from the task force's base course to give some room to shoot. I looked again at the task force and saw that one destroyer's bow angle didn't match the rest of the task force. This one had zero angle. Were we spotted? Or routine?

When the destroyer kept her angle I assumed we had been detected, whether by radar or sight I don't know. We pulled the plug to periscope depth and kept speed high. The destroyer had over 13km to go to close this position and in that time we could move away from it. I've been in this spot before and I knew that if we could slip away, and remain undetected, the escort would concentrate their search around the spot we had submerged. If this works, the convoy is stripped for a while of it's escort, leaving them out of position while looking for us in the wrong spot. And that's exactly what happened. By the time the destroyer arrived we had moved 2500 meters farther upcourse and the escorts began depth charging while we turned in on the task force, now without three of it's four escorts, who were all pounding our swirl.


The escorts mill around behind U-46, depth charging the spot we submerged, with the carrier and one of the troopships seen in the distance

[Linked Image]

As we turned in I saw that what I had earlier though was a destroyer was actually a Fiji-class light cruiser, and the carrier was HMS Furious. Behind these ships sailed two troopships of around 7,700 tons, all in line astern. Only the far-flank escort remained in position, otherwise the task force was bare. Because of the still seas and calm weather I elected to fire at the Fiji. The carrier was much larger and a bigger prize, but I realized how vulnerable we would be after any torpedoes exploded. So I wanted to get the shooting done while the escorts were still looking for us. At any time they could give up and return to position, bringing them right past the spot we were lying in wait. I considered firing at both the cruiser and the carrier, but with our high dud-rate I decided to fire all four bow tubes at the Fiji.

The task force was now constant helming a little, which slowed it along its base course. When the cruiser crossed the wire, all four bow electrics were fired along her length, set for impact at four meters depth from 1100 meters. I prepared to go deep while waiting for the torpedoes to hit, and to see how the escort reacted. I still had a stern tube loaded and if the escort didn't find us right away I planned to sail right across the base course astern of the carrier and put the stern fish in to one of the following troopships. The first two torpedoes hit the cruiser but did not detonate.The third exploded below the after mast, and the fourth hit, also a dud. Three out of four duds, dammit. We need better torpedoes.



The text shows dud, dud, boom. Here the third torpedo hits and works as designed. The fourth would hit seconds later and not explode

[Linked Image]


The spot struck can be seen on the water line below the aft mast. this time, one hit was enough

[Linked Image]

The Fiji took on a heavy port list and down by the stern. We lost sight of her as we passed behind the carrier at close range, and turned attention to the first troopship. At this time the cruiser sank. The stern torpedo hit right on the aimpoint on the troopship, which exploded but did not start to go down. With the escorts now on to us we went deep to 150 meters and evaded to the southwest, some strings falling astern, some fairly close. They sounded close anyway but no damage. The troopship also went down and after running away for a few hours we surfaced to secure the recharge and exchange the air. Low on fuel and with plenty of torpedoes left we remained in the BF grid, sinking a medium freighter five days later and heading for the barn with three forward and one stern torpedo remaining. Just as well, on average only on or two of them would explode smile

The Fiji lists in her final moments

[Linked Image]

U-46 tied up at St Nazaire on August 7, 1941, after ten weeks at sea, having sunk four ships for 31,000 tons including the light cruiser. Captain's log attached below.

Attached Files DDBehind.jpgDudDudBoom.jpgFijiDamaged.jpgFijiFire.jpgFijiList.jpgP7CL.jpg
Last edited by DBond; 04/04/20 05:40 PM.

Animals flee this hell, the hardest stones cannot bear it for long. Only men endure
#4513611 - 03/30/20 09:28 PM Re: The War Patrols of U-46 [Re: DBond]  
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kilosierra Offline
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Hi,

THX again.

I bought and installed SH4 again today, then added the Dark Waters Mod, worked like a charm. Now I have to relearn the sim. Started on june, 2nd`41 in command of U-74 of VII. Flotilla in St. Nazaire. Will most likely be a short career. :-D


Last edited by kilosierra; 03/30/20 09:30 PM.

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#4513620 - 03/30/20 10:14 PM Re: The War Patrols of U-46 [Re: DBond]  
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Ah yes, Kentrat's boat, U-74, another VIIB. This was one of the submarines that rescued survivors of the sinking of the Bismarck.

I am also based in St Nazaire, although one or two months ahead. 7th Flotilla yes?

Maybe if I slow down we will run in to each other in the officer's club smile

Starting in summer of '41 is not bad, but after the easy time of course. I'm in the same summer and the enemy is ramping up his game in a serious way. I'm thinking of transferring to the 29th at La Spezia. I saw so many radio reports of task forces in the Med during my last patrol it was crazy. I'll kick the transfer around a bit. I'm on patrol 8 in the Atlantic at the moment.


Animals flee this hell, the hardest stones cannot bear it for long. Only men endure
#4513814 - 03/31/20 10:22 PM Re: The War Patrols of U-46 [Re: DBond]  
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May I ask a possibly dumb question?

So around two weeks into my first Patrol I spotted a large convoy in AM52. I managed to get into a good position to attack. But now, trouble with the recognition manual, it Shows only Japanese warships. How can I switch to merchants?

TIA

Karsten


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#4513821 - 03/31/20 11:14 PM Re: The War Patrols of U-46 [Re: DBond]  
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I have not played Dark Waters, but it is based on OM so I would expect it to work the same.

There should be an arrow you can click on either side of the word Japan that will shuffle through the different recognition manuals. One will be for merchants. If these do not exist I don't know how to change it.

Which periscope do you use? I don't think they all work this way in every mod, but if you have an Identify Ship/ ID Target command in your watch/bridge orders, you can click the name of the ship that appears at the bottom of the scope when you have one locked. That will take you straight to the correct page of the manual if it's open. This is easy mode, so some skippers won't want to use this.

AM52 was a grid I spent a lot of my early patrols in, as you saw in the AAR. And it just happens to be the grid U-46 was assigned for the current patrol. We got a wolf pack brewing smile


Animals flee this hell, the hardest stones cannot bear it for long. Only men endure
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