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paulhager
08-20-2011, 10:56 AM
My latest German career is nearly at an end: patrol 12 begins in March 45. In the course of the first 11 patrols, I had a couple of near fatal encounters with enemy destroyers. The first, most serious one resulted in heavy flooding in two compartments as well as some destroyed items. Fortunately, there was no hull damage. The second produced minimal damage but the observation scope was destroyed. In both of these incidents, the possession of key specialists allowed me to extricate myself from jeopardy and survive to fight another day.

In fact, specialists are essential to a successful career. Herewith is my list of most important specialists, in order of importance (refer to this screen capture of my crew):

http://i1084.photobucket.com/albums/j408/paulhager/01_12-09-44_Crew_BG10.jpg

<UL TYPE=SQUARE>
<LI>Engines Expert/(temporary boost). The Engines Expert has a green prop. He gives a speed boost, both surfaced and submerged, and decreases the dive time. The speed boost effectively increases the range of the U-boat. The Engines Expert MUST be in the Engines Room. There is a yellow variant that costs 2,000 or so renown more – I don’t recall the name. Although this specialist may operate from the Command Room as well as the Engines Room, he gives only a surface speed boost for a few hours (six?). I don’t see any advantage to the yellow guy.
<LI>Overcharge. The symbol is a yellow torpedo with a “+”. The Overcharge specialist may be in either the command or torpedo rooms. For a few minutes (five?) he eliminates duds and torpedoes do more damage. Duds may be less of a problem with the German (though I’ve found that unless I disable TMO before starting a career, the dud rate is elevated) but the guarantee of zero duds PLUS more damage is a potent combination, particularly when you are firing a homing torpedo at an approaching DD.
<LI>Master Machinist/Quick Repair. The former has crossed green tools – the latter has a yellow version of the symbol. Both of these specialists can repair destroyed components, reduce repair times, and reduce flooding. Green operates only in the Control Room and Engines Room – Yellow can operate anywhere but only for a limited about of time per day. In this career I actually acquired the green specialist but switched to yellow. There was no benefit to being able to put him anywhere. I’d say, save your renown in favor of green.
<LI>Watchman/(yellow guy). The Watchman has green binoculars – there is a more expensive, time-limited specialist with yellow binoculars. Green (and, I think, yellow) must be part of the Deck Watch to function. This specialist increases the visual range and reduces the detection time. The time limitation is severe enough that I don’t think the yellow guy is worth it.
<LI>Expert Radar Man/(yellow guy). He functions just like the Watchman except with radars. He must be situated in the radio room. The yellow guy is time-limited and, therefore, undesirable.
<LI>Riposte. His symbol is a yellow torpedo with a stopwatch. This specialist cuts reload time in half, boosts the speed, and increases the damage. I would be willing to part with this specialist in favor of, say, the guy who increases renown and rate at which experience is gained.
[/list]

NOTE: the specialists I didn't mention (e.g., the Medic) I don't think are worthwhile.

Most of my specialists I obtained through promotion. This is the best way to acquire them. I did purchase Mr. Quick Repair to replace a Machinist – in retrospect, a mistake. Being willing to dismiss a large chunk of one’s crew in order to get a key specialist is a good maneuver early on. The odds of getting one of the key specialists is very high in the beginning. As you fill out your specialist roster, duplicates become increasingly likely. Generally, duplicate specialists, even when the benefit they confer is additive, aren’t worth the loss of the abilities other specialists bring.

One specialist I dismissed in order to obtain another was a green sonar expert (don’t recall the name). There is a yellow counterpart which I eschewed as a matter of course. German passive sonar capability is so good that there is no real benefit to having this specialist.

Readers will recall that, when playing American, I like to make night surface attacks. I also like to report to HQ, which produces a new objective at least half the time. Night surface attacks by the German are nearly impossible in U-boat missions except right at the beginning of a career. However, getting that bonus objective is very desirable. Extra renown will buy you more goodies and lead to higher level medals – there may be other benefits as well. The Watchman is essential in making reports, especially late war where the range of allied radar and sighting makes it almost impossible to send in a report without him. Let me amend that to say that one CAN send a report but the odds of being spotted in turn are high.

The value of the Watchman late in the war can be illustrated by a couple of attacks I made in my last patrol (number 11). The first objective was to ambush a TF that was headed to Cape Town from Australia. To intercept this TF required a fast run to the south. This is easy to do in a Type IX but the Type XVIII has a limited range. Fortunately, I had the Engines Expert, which made it possible to reach the ambush point in time and still have enough fuel to return home, with a good safety margin.

Contact was made at night. Skies were cloudless but there was a light haze – no wind. Of course, every enemy platform has radar so the approach must be made decks awash with as small a cross-section as possible. The Type XVIII’s anti-radar coating helps to nullify the allied advantage. The Expert Radar Man increases the range enough so that it is possible to refine the target track and (if necessary) compute the speed. In this instance, I already knew the speed was 17 knots from the position updates I received as the TF sailed toward Cape Town.

Once I had the track in hand, it was time to begin my approach to the firing point. I ran on the electrics at 3 knots and periscope depth. Periodically, I’d pop up to decks awash and see if the contact report icon was solid. The rule of thumb here is to ascertain if it is possible to pick out at least one of the escorted ships using the periscope and the lock “L” key. The first time you get a lock, go to decks awash (select 8 meters). The sub will begin to rise. At around 10 meters the radar clears and you’ll probably get a partial picture of the TF. A 8 meters the radio antenna clears. Selecting 8 meters actually will result in the sub rising to 7 meters. The instant you get to 7 meters, if you are in visual contact range of a target ship, the contact report icon will go solid. Hit pause, select the icon, go back to TCx1 and immediately go to p-depth. This approach has never failed for me.

For objective 1, I saw there were two red star targets. The lead was a KGV BB – I didn’t bother to look at the trailing ship. I dived to 100 meters, engaged the Walter turbine, and closed to 6,000 meters. I went to p-depth and set up the shot for a salvo of Walter torpedoes. Just before firing, I selected the Overcharge specialist.

(NOTE: with 0 wind, I would not have attempted to spot the TF. I don’t think I’ve ever managed it before in such ideal ASW conditions without the Watchman.)

Once the salvo was away, I ordered 100 meters and lined up my Wren II in tube 5 on the near escort. Descending at 2 knots, silent running on the electrics, I did a final check on the sonar AoA trace from the near escort, activated Riposte, and made a bearing shot with the Wren II.

As I crossed 35 meters, the first of 4 torpedoes struck the KGV – I was dead on target! I secured from silent running, deposited a decoy, and went to 20 knots on the turbine. The Wren II bore in on the DD at a higher than normal speed. This actually made the attack more likely to succeed. As the sub crossed the thermal, the Wren II hit and sank the DD. That ended the only real threat. About 2,500 meters from the decoy, I slowed to 10 knots silent running. I easily withdraw 10,000 meters from the scene at which point I went on the electrics. An hour later I surfaced and headed north.

The second and last attack was fortuitously on the way home. I was to make way to Quadrant XL 52. Once that was achieved, I was to sink 10,000 tons of enemy shipping. If I could send in a contact report, I would achieve the coveted trifecta – so long as I sank 10,000 tons.

Using scout planes, I found a target “large” convoy headed in the right direction and, most importantly, on the way home. It was a simple exercise to track it. Once my radar warning sensors activated, I went into approach mode: decks awash, slow speed. I was about 10,000 meters off the track. Time was midday, light haze, 7 m/s wind.

I remained at decks awash – mostly at 8 meters (entails ordering 9 meters) with the occasional swell reaching the top of the conning tower (9 meters) and trough exposing the deck (7 meters). Just as soon as I got a warship spotted message, I went to p-depth. As before, I waited until I was able to lock on to a target (in this case) merchant. I ordered decks awash (order 8 meters). The report icon went solid and I clicked it.

Once I’d reported and returned to p-depth, I headed for an attack point nearer the track and farther ahead. Below the thermal, I engaged the turbine and cranked it up to 20 knots.

I received a “sink enemy freighters” order: the trifecta! All that remained was to sink 10,000 tons. As luck would have it, on the far side of the convoy was a T3. Sinking it would fulfill both open objectives.

I made it to 3,800 meters off the T3’s track and targeted it with 4 Walter torpedoes. I clicked on Overcharge and fired the salvo.

My firing position actually put me inside of a very dispersed screen. There were 5 escorts in all. About 2,000 meters behind my sub was an approaching DD but it was beyond the gyro setting. Instead, I targeted a V&W that was about 1,000 meters off the port (near) side of the flank escort. My plan was to escape toward the enemy convoy, cruise under or to the side of it, and exit to the rear. Riposte activated, I fired a Wren II at the V&W and ordered 120 meters.

I got off another good spread – all four torpedoes hit. I went to flank on the turbine and laid a decoy. Speed topped off at an incredible 26 knots! As I closed in on the convoy, I returned to silent running and slowed to 10 knots. Most of the torpedoes had already reloaded in that short period of time, courtesy of Riposte.

This was the point where I committed a near fatal error. The Wren II never homed on the V&W. I had apparently screwed up on my bearing shot. My high speed run had actually brought me directly into the path of V&W. The sonar trace showed a nearby warship closing at medium speed. I turned toward it and goosed the turbine. As the DD passed overhead I heard a “Pfft-Pfft-Pfft-Pfft”. That was worth a look on the external camera. HEDGEHOGS! I hate those Verdammte things! Fortunately, my speed was such that I was behind the V&W before they were at my depth. Likewise, the depth charge pattern missed behind me. I dropped another decoy, waited 30 seconds, then slowed to 5 knots and returned to silent running.

All 5 escorts pasted that decoy for the better part of an hour. Meanwhile, I withdrew, then returned to base.

http://i1084.photobucket.com/albums/j408/paulhager/02_02-26-45_Dock_BG11.jpg


As you see, I only got 3 ships but I managed 5 objectives – two more than would have otherwise been the case - because I was able to make reports.

I hope folks find the above information/accounts useful.

MWolfe1963
08-20-2011, 12:07 PM
What is your exact mod setup?

Comparing US escorts, can you really notice a difference, course mods could effect that.

If you could only have 3 specialist, which would you choose. I sometimes find the speed reloads unrealistic, dang helpful. Have you timed the difference.

paulhager
08-20-2011, 01:49 PM
Originally posted by MWolfe1963:
What is your exact mod setup?

Comparing US escorts, can you really notice a difference, course mods could effect that.

If you could only have 3 specialist, which would you choose. I sometimes find the speed reloads unrealistic, dang helpful. Have you timed the difference.

Mods:

http://i1084.photobucket.com/albums/j408/paulhager/My-Mods.jpg


NOTE: this is an old screen shot and does not reflect that I removed the standalone 3D TDC mod.

Fletchers are monsters. The V&W seems to be easier to elude but if one of those Hedgehogs hits, you're in a world of hurt. I normally take special pains to eliminate the V&W precisely because of those forward throwing Hedgehogs.

My top three would be the first three listed above. It's more likely that I'll suffer serious damage in a Type IX than a Type XVIII, hence the machinist. If you play the XVIII correctly, you should be far away before the enemy even twigs to your presence.

Actually, I kind of like having the renown booster (don't recall his name). Because the crew gains experience more rapidly, I get to use more promotions which can, in turn, give me free specialists.

MWolfe1963
08-21-2011, 10:19 AM
I figured you would be using OM, have you tried that yet?

paulhager
08-24-2011, 09:08 PM
Originally posted by MWolfe1963:
I figured you would be using OM, have you tried that yet?

Nope. What does it offer and what mods should it be used with? Can it be used with TMO 2.2?