View Full Version : War Story (long post)

05-03-2005, 01:17 PM
I am a freshman at a small Mid-Western university, and I didn't think it could happen to me, but when my sexy female room-mate and her sister --

Oops. Wrong story. That's for a different forum.

Anyway, I thought I would never do this, but I had a patrol so visceral, so full of drama and action, that I felt compelled to write a story around it. I am no expert in the German culture (I keep wondering why my officers have this fixation with "hair cologne" whenever they respond to my orders), nor do I know a lot about the German navy beyond what is presented in the game. Add to that, I had to use the excellent services of Babel Fish to get some German words, and you get the idea that I am writing about stuff I really don't know enough of. Still, the story had to be written, and good, bad, or ugly, I'd like to share it with you.

It's a long post (co-incidentally this is what Mrs. Twelvefield says about my bed-time baby-making prowess -- sorry, wrong forum again!) so I hope I've made some reading that is worth your time:

05-03-2005, 01:18 PM
Even before she was lowered into the brine, she had tasted mens' blood. Two welders, Heroes of the Reich, were crushed under a diesel block when a poorly-seated engine mount gave way. The boatyard at Brest had a nickname for her: "Schwartze Katze". Bad luck.

Yet, her price, paid to her commander, was a bottle of Gewurtztraminer and a fillet of turbot, both dry and rather cold. The bones of the fish lay bare on the Konteradmiral's best tableware. I was to take the U-499, a new Class-VIIC, having completed her final fitting and shakedown cruise, and as Judas was rewarded the token of forty pieces of silver, so was I to accept the fish and the wine as the price of leaving my veteran VIIB behind.

"Schwartze Katze" at sea became "Neptune's Trident", the new name transferred from the old boat, along with the majority of the crew. The men certainly knew of U-499's widow-making reputation, and were eager to leave premonitions of death churned in the wake of her screws. She was a new boat, with a handsome, responsive bow that dove and rose like a dolphin when so commanded. Such a clean, rust-less, sweet-smelling boat should not be made to suffer the superstition of her crew.

So, on the third evening of our maiden cruise to the north, did we come upon an unexpected enemy convoy off the south-west coast of England, in the ink-black mouth of the Channel. The U-499 curse slipped out of sight as the hull of the boat submerged beneath the calm waves. The night bore on, and so did the convoy, heading directly over us. Navigator Mannesmann gleefully pencilled a giant spider on our map. This spider had eleven legs, some short, some long. The body of the arachnid was the U-499, sitting dead center of the display. The eleventh, and longest leg, trailed over a kilometer and a half behind the convoy to the west: a lone Flower destroyer, inattentive, or perhaps injured and limping.

Periscope depth, all torpedoes away, the juiciest target a British troop transport. Massive hull-breaking sounds reported from the radio room. Miraculously, a merchant and two tankers have ceased to exist from the first volley. The troop transport endured a hit at her waistline, but continued to sail.

Ninety meters of ocean shielded us from the Flower. We escaped easily, and under flank battery speed, kept up with the convoy. Torpedoes reloaded, and we resumed periscope depth. The convoy breaks up. Firing solutions are more difficult as the British ships scatter like dandelion seeds in the wind. A small merchant erupts in flames and sinks quickly. A C2 cargo cruiser burns and heels to starboard. The troop transport steers her bows directly away from us, a poor-angled shot. The Flower is still trailing, too far away to be effective.

The exhausted torpedo crews must load weapons from the reserves. The troop ship, even with the wound in her side, still has at least a knot over our flank speed submerged. I decide that firing the deck gun would be worth the risk. A shot in the troop ship's screw, or in an engine compartment might be able to slow her down enough to drop from the convoy. We should have enough time to make that shot and dive again before the Flower catches up. With the troop ship cut-out from the convoy, we could sink her at leisure in the morning.

We have no need for the star-shells. I bring up the observation scope to quickly make sure we will not surface under an obstacle, and the glass is shot out. We must make this shot quickly! The convoy hs noticed the wake of the scope, and when the U-499 surfaces, they are prepared to open fire. Orange flashes as bright as day burst open the sky, and glowing shells careen over our hull like comets. The ocean erupts in hot salt foam around us as ranging shots from the remaining convoy vessels hit nearly abeam. Small arms fire nosily rakes our bows. A fiery shell whistles through the cold air not five meters above the conning tower. Another passes alongside the deck gun, obliterating Leutnant Baum's right leg.

Gunner's mate Vogel wrestles Baum down the hatch, in the red night-lighting both men glisten darkly. Under the pale bulb of the sickbay, we see they are both coated with Baum's blood. Baum is dead, exsanguinated. Overhead, our 88 thumps and booms answering fire, attempting to hull the troop transport with armor-piercing shells. The Flower, charging madly after us, is trying to hull us.

We dive, but the damage has been done. Water streams into the U-499 as the Leutnant Hummel calls the alarm. We steer under a group of merchants to lose the Flower, and through mighty efforts, reverse the flooding. The hydrophone reports a large boat dead in the water, but no hull-breaking noises. My hunch is that we have hobbled the troop ship, so now we slowly leave the convoy behind and wait until dawn to surface.

We surface out of sight of shipping and re-arm torpedoes from the external stores. Submerged, we advance on the contact, the wounded troop transport. In the scope, I can see the insect-like forms of the British crew as they crawl over the stern of their ship, trying to jury-rig a repair. The torpedo rocks the troop ship almost to the point of capsize. The decks of the ship collapse on top of one another as would layers of a too-massive wedding cake. Flames spurt out from between the crushed decks and superstucture, and a wall of bright orange and smoke erupts from the hull. Two minutes of Hell for the British, and then cold seawater envelopes the doomed ship.

We sail away. Funken, the radioman, apprises BdU of our status. A lone destroyer appears out of no-where to harrass us, but the U-499 dives out of harm's way. Again, we surface, and under the cover of night, a lone spotlight seeks out the conning tower. Another dive, another escape.

A third surface encounter. This one drops charges, and through luck and determination, she makes the connection from the position we crash-dove, to our current location. Water streams into the command room, but the engineering crew quickly puts up a brace, and we are safe.

I decide that we must run sumberged for the day, and run deep, as the lattermost destroyer still lurks on the fringe of our hydrophone range. In my bunk, I write the events of the convoy attack in my journal, so that this is what you are reading now. Once we are certain our surface escort has finally abandoned us, Leutnant Mannesmann will bring us to periscope depth, and then we can continue to our patrol sector.

And now, Mannesmann is blowing the ballast, and we are rising. The cabin tilts agreeably upward in the bow. But there is a noise, a rattling, and then a sudden crashing tearing sound, loud as thunder. Water rushes into the ballast tanks, whooshing like the Teufel's lungs. At our depth, and with our low hull integrity, the ballast tanks are completely rent, and the ocean takes command of the bow. The light flicker and die out. Men howl.

I find I have time for one final breath. How long can I hold

05-03-2005, 01:30 PM
brilliant. Really very good. I especially liked the ending.

05-03-2005, 01:56 PM
This was great.!!!! Makes mw wish I was home on the sim and not at work....

05-03-2005, 02:16 PM
Very well written! Thanks for sharing it.

05-03-2005, 02:28 PM
I think this story is the most detailed, interesting story ever known to me and has a great ending.
Too bad those guys died at the end.

05-03-2005, 07:51 PM
http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif Lemme guess... You were going to submit it for English Comp 1, but you decided to test drive it here first. Not bad. It'll fly ok. So whatcha gonna do...?

05-03-2005, 08:14 PM
Well, I thank you for your kind replies.

As for English 101, I'm probably a little old for that by now. When I was in school, we had mandatory classes like Wheel Shop and Introductoty Fire. My student number was in Roman numerals. But it's nice to know that if I had to go toe-to-toe against an eleventh grader for an essay competition, that I would still have a shot at victory.

As for the ending, everyone dies because that's how my SHIII patrol ended. Probably, on a real sub, someone would have said, "Captain, if we don't relieve the pressure on the hull, we're all going to die," but the game doesn't really give you that. The death screen seemed so inadequate an epitaph for that mission. So, I wrote the story. That, and all of the typing made me look like I was really busy doing something important.

05-03-2005, 10:08 PM
http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif No, No. English comp 1. As a college freshman, this is one of the first classes they hammer you to take. They want you to sharpen your writing skills asap because its 90% of what you will do for the next four years regardless of your major. Hell, I wouldn't expect THAT level of composition out of a high-schooler -even if he was bright. Your short story is typical of what we were asked to submit for comp 1 when I was a freshman, and the story length is just right for what an English prof would demand -short & sweet.

It was just a wild-*** guess. The story is great.

05-03-2005, 10:21 PM
Bubblehead English Comp 1 and English 101 are pretty much the same thing. English 101 is a college level English class. At a two year junior college it might be called English 111 and then the next semester you would take English 112. It the same thing as a four year school or University, First you take English 101 and then you take English 102. Anything after English 102 or English 112 is usually an elective credited class like Journalism or something that involves writing.

05-04-2005, 08:39 AM
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-indifferent.gif Do tell. If you review twelvefield's last post, you will see that he got the idea I was dissing him and regarding his work as high-school level; hence the referrence to 11th grade. Not the case. I know college level writing when I see it. His is a good example of what might be submittted to a comp 1 class and the story would have probably recieved a rather good grade.

05-04-2005, 07:22 PM
Well, I don't much want to stretch out a silly argument, but on the other hand, how can I resist?

I did get my degree in the 1990's... the very early 1990's. My freshman year is a pretty foggy memory. I do remember now having to take a couple of English classes... some great skirt in those classes... . I think I confuse my real campus activities with the movie "Animal House". I'm pretty sure I conked an ROTC on the head with a golf ball, but I think it was John Belushi that stuffed his cheeks with mashed potatoes to do his imitation of a zit.

Delving deeper into the scholarly stuff, I do remember doing a fair amount of reading in University, and becoming allergic to the dust in the library stacks. And my writing style, judging by the stuff that I've saved over the years, was competent enough, but really, really raw. And often quite wierd.

So now, after all of these years, I can finally ace the English 101 exam! Yeah! Maybe by the time I look like the dude at the end of the 2001 movie, I will actually be able to write My Great Novel.