I only seldom play maritime wargames. This one though made me curious as there are quite a few play through videos on the internet. The game concept seems to offer a narrative experience with few tactical decisions to take. Anyway, the U-Boat warfare was an important element of German strategy in both world wars. Everybody probabely knows the film DAS BOOT, several U-Boot captains are legends. So why not give it a go?
For my first game I chose U28, a Type VIIA U-Boot, and membetr of the 2nd U-Bootflotille. Its wartime Kommandant was Kapitänleutnant Günther Kuhnke, so he is going to be our hero in this naval campaign.
1st Combat Patrol – Sept 1939 – British Isles
U28’s first combat patrol leads it to the British Isles, an area west of Ireland. The transis is uneventful, so the U-Boat reaches its patrol area AM without any complications. Here the U28 has its first wartime encounter, the unescorted small frighter Daphne with 2.000 BRT. Two torpedoes sink the frighter resulting in its first prey.
After more patroling U28 receives a report from a long-range reconnaissance aircraft. It has identified an unescorted single target ship, the small frighter Aenos with 3.600 BTR. In the attack the crew experiences problems with the Type G7a steam driven torpedoes. Only one explodes resulting in a minor damage that slows down the frighter but does not sink it. Kaleun Kuhnke decides to risk a second attack on the ship. This succeeds raising the tally to 5.600 BRT total.
During the transit back to Wilhelmshafen U28 encounters an enemy patrol aircraft but avoids combat by successfully crash diving to safety. With 5.600 BRT sunk and no damage incurred Kaleunt Kuhnke and his crew return from their first successful mission. Refitting will take but a month so U28 will be ready for its next combat patrol in November 1939.
2nd Combat Patrol – Nov 1939 – British Isles
U28’s next assignment again takes it to the British Isles. After an eneventful journey to its patrol area U28 encounters the unescorted large frighter Rodney Star with 11.800 BRT. With the experience of unreliability of the G7a steam torpedoes in mind Kaleunt Kuhnke decides to use a full fan of 4 torpedoes at close range. all hit, but again two turn out to be duds. Nontheless the damage dealt by the remaining two torpedoes suffices in sinking the frighter.
Next U28 encounters the unescorted tanker Nina Borthen with 7.000 BRT at night. Two G7e electric torpedoes and one G7a steam torpedo hit and again one G7e torpedo turns out to be a dud. Anyway, the damage is enough to sink the tanker.
After another uneventful journey U28 returns to Wilhelmshafen with 18.800 BRT of shipping sunk and no damage to boat or crew. Kaleunt Kuhnke has accomplished his second successful combat assignment. The sunk shipping tonnage on his record stands now at 24.400 BRT total.
3rd Combat Patrol – Jan 1940 – Spanish Coast
For the third mission assignment Kaleun Kuhnke gets to couse his huntig grounds. Opting for wormer realms for this tour he asks for and is granted an assignment to the Spanish coast. After an uneventful transit U28 makes a night contact with the 5.400 BRT frighter Harlingen. Kaleun Kuhnke decides to start a night surface attack using the 8.8 cm deck gun at close range. U28’s deck gun cripples the hapless frighter and a single torpedo gives it the coup de grâce.
Some days later U28 has a night contact with another ship the 4600 BRT frighter Delcroy. It is escorted by the British destroyer F91 Kipling. U28 fires vour G7a steam torpedoes from medium range. All but one hit sinking the frighter. U28 slips away into the darknes of the night and remains undetected.
Nearing the end of its tour U28 makes night contact with the 10.000 BRT frighter Bretagne. Kaleun Kuhnke ops for a night surface attack using the deck gun and torpedoes from the front and aft tubes. After a prolonged combat the doomed frighter is first crippled and finally sunk.
U28 has by now used up all its torpedoes and most of the deck gun ammo. Therefore its time to return to Wilhelmhafen. Thanks to the sharp-eyed lookout on watch U28 can again escape detection by successfully crash diving to safety. Late in January U28 returns from this most successful of its combat missions so far with 20.000 BRT of enemy shipping sunk and again no damage incurred to boat or crew.
U28 has completed 3 successful missions with no damage to the boat or injury to the crew. The total tonnage sunk amounts to 45.400 BRT. Kaleun Kuhnke obviously has so far had the portion of luck necessary for a long term career as a successful U-Boat Kommandant. The crew is now eledgible for advancement. Oberleutnant zur See Heinrich Schonder the 1WO has attained expert status and can now take command of the U-Boat with no penalty. Also he may receive his own command as new U-Boats become available.