View Full Version : Got attacked by 6 aircraft at the same time!

01-24-2010, 07:35 PM
I don't know if this is common, but today I was sinking this lone merchant near Ireland. When it was sinking I was turning around and about to move on, when a destroyer suddenly showed up determined to revenge the sunk merchant. It was still far away and I dived to 100 meters. I then heard many explosions one after the other... I went to external view and saw that the destroyer was nowhere near my position, but then I saw 6 aircraft flying around and dropping bombs randomly into the water, I am glad I was 100 meters deep by then!
I have never been attacked by so many aircraft, the most I saw was 2 before.

01-24-2010, 08:13 PM
Are you playing SH3 without any mods? Your experience of such a swarming by aircraft is typical of SH3 as it was originally released by Ubisoft. Thankfully, the modding community is more intimately acquainted with historical reality than the people who coded the game.

For much of the war, at least up until mid-1943, the Allies were critically short of ASW aircraft. Bomber Command in Britain was extremely jealous of its planes, thanks to Arthur "Bomber" Harris and his obsession to prove that strategic bombing could win the war almost entirely on its own. The Americans didn't fly so many ASW missions from Britain; that was mainly the job of the British, while the Americans were focusing on building offensive air power in the British isles. The Americans flew most of their ASW patrols from the continental US, Newfoundland and Iceland, as well as from the Caribbean bases they "leased" from the British in the 1940 "bases for destroyers" deal.

In particular, there was a shortage of ASW aircraft with the "legs" necessary to reach far out into the Atlantic. The early war planes that did have the range were not necessarily ideal for attacking U-boats. Still, they contributed their part. Probably the most effective Allied plane was the VLR [very long range] Liberator. This was a variant of the Liberator strategic bomber modified for ASW work by adding extra fuel capacity and the ability to drop depth charges. Since it did not have to worry much about fighter opposition, they could cut down on defensive armament in favour of fuel and offensive ordnance.

Because of the shortage of antisubmarine warfare aircraft, the few available were forced to patrol large areas alone. Thus, it was impossible or extremely rare for them to conduct attacks on U-boats in groups. If you had only one squadron on a particular coast, for example, you had to spread them in time and space in order to cover as much area as possible. If you concentrated four or six on one U-boat sighting, you had a huge hole elsewhere in your air coverage.

As well, this game has some other flaws in its depiction of the aerial patrols of the Allies. I think it extremely ridiculous that we see swarms of Hurricane fighters hunting down U-boats, a role in real life which they didn't conduct, and then a real ASW plane such as the Beaufighter is omitted! Fortunately, the modding community has come to the rescue. Grey Wolves, as one example, has drastically rebalanced the air aspect of the game, as well as fixing the balance of ASW patrol planes. This means that you are not going to have to fight off whole squadrons of "Dumbos" and Swordfish. It will, however, make your life much more interesting later in the war.

By mid-1942 to 1943 the predations of the U-boats were making it glaringly obvious to the Allies that if they were going to be able to sustain the war effort, build up and supply an army to retake Europe, that they would have to reallocate some planes and other resources. This meant more planes, above all else, especially long range planes. Strategic bombing aircraft were adapted to ASW patrols and more squadrons were deployed to the convoy lanes, and of course, the introduction of the escort carriers. It was not until the summer and fall of 1943 that the Allies were able to start hunting U-boats in packs of planes. The main reason for this was not that they had tons of planes, but because the U-boats began to experiment with sailing in packs with "flak-boats." These were U-boats that were crammed with extra AA guns. Doenitz ordered his commanders not to dive, but to remain surfaced and to fight it out with the planes. The Allies quickly countered this tactic by pack attacks of their own. The first plane to spot a group of U-boats sailing together would stand off and call in support. When a group of planes assembled, they would attack at once from all quarters, thus dividing and diluting the amount of flak aimed at one plane. The U-boats were slaughtered and Doenitz very quickly abandoned this tactice. He soon pulled the U-boats back altogether until they could be re-equipped with reliable radar detectors and snorkels. However, these were only defensive measures and contributed very little towards the offensive other than by helping the U-boat to survive. The last hope of Doenitz was a new, radical U-boat, which only sailed right near the end of the war. Too little, too late.

Anyhow, I still love this game, warts and all. If you are playing without mods, I highly suggest you look into such mods as Grey Wolves, War Ace Campaign, Real U-boot and more. Even if all you want to do is play the original game, I would suggest you get SH3 Commander. This is an addon more than a mod. It allows you to customize aspects of the game such as crew fatigue, qualifications and many other enhancements.

01-29-2010, 05:22 AM
Thanks for the interesting info on aircraft.
The 6 aircraft attack has only happened to me once, I am now in early 1943, still using the Type VIIB, but now the destroyers are becoming far more dangerous than ever. Before I would just dive to 80 meters and go on silent running and laugh at them as they drop depth charges somewhere far away from my position. Not anymore! Now suddenly they are impossible to shake off! Even if I dive to 160 meters, rig for silent running and move at a speed of 1 knot they still detect me and decoys don't help at all! How do people avoid depth charges without external view? Do they just guess? I have not tried any mods yet, I want to complete at least this career first.

01-29-2010, 08:15 AM
I remember watching a program on TV about Uboats. One of the things Americans would do, when a patrol spotted a Uboat they would keep the location in mind (even after it dived) and then when the destroyers where near the plane (fighters) would strafe the water where the Uboat was spotted to give the Destroyers a visual of where approx. the Uboat is. The DDs would do the rest. Interesting and effective tactic. They could also drop an acoustic-homing torpedo later in the war. No clue how effective it was though.

01-29-2010, 01:19 PM
I seem to recall reading that another spotting aid used by aircraft was a dye cannister that would be dropped into the water. This had the advantage of being "stealthy" i.e. the U-boat did not know their approximate position was "marked."

The Allies deployed an air-droppable acoustic torpedo later in the war. It was known as "FIDO." Wikipedia to the rescue:

FIDO Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_24_FIDO_Torpedo)

The Mark 24 Mine (also known as FIDO or Fido) was a US air-dropped passive acoustic homing anti-submarine torpedo used during the Second World War against German and Japanese submarines. It entered service in March 1943 and continued in service with the US Navy until 1948. Approximately 4,000 torpedoes were produced, sinking 37 and damaging a further 18 submarines out of a total of 204 fired. The torpedo was also supplied to the British and Canadian forces.

01-29-2010, 02:18 PM
Dropping dye canisters in the sea?!?! Greenpeace would be mad if they were there at the time! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif They would surely have sent their ships to protest at Allied fleets and air force doing this, and thus unintentionaly help the U-boats.