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relcox
05-25-2007, 07:21 PM
Kiel, March 20th 1940 and U-46, a type VIIB U-boat slips slowly out of port headed for the east coast of Great Britain.

The weather is unusually calm as the last sight of the Danish coast falls from view, the following day starts to get a little rougher, however it's Commander reasons that anything that stops the RAF locating his boat is probably a good thing.

Not far from his designated patrol grid the Captain of this relatively inexperienced crew remembers the last thing his superior said "Keep your radio equipment in good order", Now he wondered if he had made some error on his last patrol in one of his reports to Bdu or maybe there was something else, whatever it was there had been no reprimand so it couldn't be anything serious.

After 24hrs uneventful patrolling off the east coast of England, maybe 100 miles out from Hull the decision was an easy one, head for deeper waters of the Atlantic and the fat convoys laden with supplies for the tommies to continue their futile attempt to stem the will of this Commander's Head of State. Not that he cared much for politics, but at least this job kept him where he was most content, the sea.

With the weather back to an unusual calm for the season the Commander decided to have a couple of days north of the Shetlands to see if there were to be any easy pickings for his eels. A couple of days into April and there was a flash signal for all U-boats in the North Sea area to head for the coast of Norway, 1hr later and a direct signal for eyes only for U-46 to Patrol the coast of Norway between the coast off Aldanes and Narvik, so with an announcement to his crew to be prepared for cold weather he issued his navigator with new orders and went to his bunk, suspecting he was going to need as much rest as possible before what was to come.

4 days later he knew what was coming, having received the signal that the Navy was to have the responsibility for the invasion of Norway to secure the routes for the vital minerals his nation needed and to keep the British from gaining a foothold in Europe, apart from that which it already had in France. The invasion force had left port and the time for action was upon his crew.

The 1st reports were very encouraging, there had been little resistance, and what there had been had been quickly crushed, but what of the Tommies? The answer was to come the following day with a signal from Bdu that a large force had left the British Home Fleet Port of Scapa Flow, it was known to include an aircraft carrier and 2-3 cruisers with a heavy escort, and making for at least 20kts. Well this commander knew that this made his things a little more interesting, with the weather good he stood a good chance of an intercept even with his inferior speed but the same conditions also gave the Royal Navy carrier aircraft the chance to spot him, nevertheless he put all dark thoughts to the back of his mind and went to brief his officers on what was to come.


April 12th, nothing but empty sea, he had been following the progress of the enemy task force through the reports to and from Bdu but so far it was just impossible to get into an intercept position; when the radio operator gave him the latest one. He looked at it and turned, nearly grinning, to the plot on the navigator's station, the Tommies were headed straight for him. "Plot course for intercept" he said to his navigator and went off to make an announcement to the crew that today was it was to be their turn to inflict damage on their tormentors.

Everything went smoothly and he had got his boat into position with relative ease with the main force sighted just after lunch. 6 destroyers, 3 cruisers and 1 carrier. the clear blue skies, seas of 1 meter and only 280m of water below gave him concern but this was his job, to sink ships, show confidence to his men and give results to his superiors. Periscope depth in 10 mins.

The lead destroyer was only 2000m away now, with the risk of detection increasing he decided to go slow, even if 20kts made his discovery less likely. The lead destroyer had now passed and the main body was bearing down on U-46, a Dido in front, and then the carrier followed by another 2 dido class cruisers. having given a great deal of thought to choice of target, the Commander decided to opt for an attack on just the carrier, it was broad daylight, with calm seas and with more than 2000m for each torpedo to cover it made sense to fire at only the prize target with highly visible wake steam torpedoes his boat was loaded with. Now all he needed to do was put faith into his decision. Arm torpedoes 1 and 2, maximum speed, set magnetic detonation, set depth for under the keel, this was risky and he knew it, given his reports and those from his fellow commanders in the mess about premature detonations, well he needed to smile.

So, with a wry smile he gave the order to open tubes 1 and 2. No 1 was to be aimed at the front third and No 2 the rear third, angle on the bow was now perfect, 1 "los" 2 "los", issue the order to go silent and dive, heading straight after center of the task force. It was a short wait; he had got himself into the perfect firing position, had been patient and taken his decisions with authority. With an air of confidence he looked at the stopwatch, times up, boom tick... tick... tick... boom, 2 hits! A cheer rose from the crew, quickly hushed by the petty officers, sonar reported no sound coming from the carrier, it was going to the bottom, by now he new he was a marked man but, he reasoned the Tommies would never have thought he would have managed to slip past their screen so why worry to much, stay quiet, stay on course, and go deep.

30 mins later and it had worked, the escorts, having to protect the remaining cruisers and having had no luck in locating the source of their flagship's demise, had gone and it was time to surface and report in.



Of course, he felt the response from the Bdu as always was rather lukewarm but there was another more pressing matter to attend to. Another task force was headed his way, and the following day he would be in position to block their path the following morning. The phrase "knife through butter" sent a chill down his spine. The next morning the lead destroyer was sighted in the light of the approaching sun, silhouetted against the opposing full moon. "Periscope depth, all head 2 thirds", shortly after the first sonar contacts came in, the news was not good, apparently the British had learned their lesson quickly, there was a single battleship escorted by no less than 9 destroyers.

The Captain of U-46 had to make his decision, attacking this force was surely suicide, was it not? Well, he reasoned his luck had held last time maybe it was time to ride it's tail. The destroyers had arranged themselves to cover all sides of the capital ship, but they had, the commander noticed with a hint of hope, left a gap on it's starboard side that if he could just get his boat into position, he would be able to slip his eels behind the destroyer at the battleships 2 o'clock.

By now the battleship was clearly identified as a Revenge class with it's 3 gun turrets all forward of the bridge. They were approaching fast, his nerves were starting to be more pronounced and his doubt needed to be more suppressed from his face. An offer of a cup of coffee provided a welcome distraction for a second, he then reprimanded the 1st officer jovially for the interruption so close to the target. Silent speed, use all 4 bow torpedoes, keel shot again, weather conditions good, set max speed open all outer doors, taking aim at each quarter section, "Fire 1.........".

The 4th torpedo was on it's way, the fate of U-46 and it's target was about to be known; "torpedo impact!" came a voice from the command room, then twice more, so 3 hits. Now it was the hunters turn to be hunted.

In the confusion that followed, the escorting destroyers had all rushed to the scene to be the one that got the assassin of their charge, which resulted in the good fortune of U-46 and it's crew being able to slip away just enough for it to be out of immediate danger of detection, there was not reason to be complacent however, it only needed one of them to turn 180 degrees and extend it's search by less than 1500m. Passing through 70m, 5mins later the Commander wondered why he had not been found, by what right or luck had he not been depth charged into the sea bed, maybe it was best to just find out, rather than run into a trap.

When he raised the periscope he could not believe it, 4 of the destroyers were burning from bow to stern and they were all steaming as fast as they could away from his boat, an increase in magnification revealed the reason. The Luftwaffe had arrived, the Commander made a mental note to send a personal letter of thanks to the Staffel Kommandant.



With that thought still in his mind, he ordered to surface and U-46 broke through glimmering sea to breathe again in the golden light of dawn. "Well done men!" The Commander went to every station on the boat and thanked each one for the professionalism and dedication to duty, before reminding them gently there was still more work to do.

A week passed by with his nation's army consolidating their gains in Norway when the Captain of U-46 received word that a British force was on it's way to try and retake Trondheim. It was once again time to put himself and his crew into danger.

After 3 days tracking the approaching fleet the Captain and his boat was in position once again to intercept, only this time he knew there would be no help from the Luftwaffe as darkness had fallen, and the Royal Navy force would not be upon him till the early hours of the morning. With slight apprehension he slotted his boat into the expected path of the oncoming invasion force, and waited.

When the first sighting came it was not from the direction the Commander had been expecting, "Ship sighted, 130 degrees, long range". "What!" the Commander barked at the helmsman "Flank speed! Come about 180 degrees" The distance soon closed and the ship in question was eventually identified at 4000m as a Fiji class cruiser, shortly after he saw what he was looking for, troop ship.

He knew there had to be more ships, but how many he could not know, but any concern he had was now put to the back of his mind with the task at hand and the knowledge of his recent encounters at the fore. He reasoned that as all but one of his steam torpedoes had found their mark, he must have been more fortunate than ever before and had received a near perfect batch of magnetic pistols with them. So again, deciding to take advantage of this great fortune, he decided his final 8 torpedoes would be fired for magnetic detonation under the keel of his targets.

By now, the cruiser was getting too near for a surface shot, so once more it was time to dive to periscope depth for firing. He could tell the crew was nervous, he figured that maybe they sensed their good luck was about to run out, however, no one was going to tell this Captain to be cautious after his last 2 victories, even the weapons officer did not express an opinion on the magnetic detonators this time, and with that thought the time for action was once again upon him.

With the firing solution on the cruiser set and still no escort in sight, the first eel was let loose at it's target. A little over 2 mins later it exploded under the cruiser's keel, and explosion after explosion ripped through it. Quickly lining up the shot on the following troop transport, the next torpedo was barely on it's way before the first escort was sighted, shortly after by a second troop transport.


By this time, U-46 was in the kill zone, it's Commander knew that provided his timing was right there would be no escape for his desperately maneuvering quarry. The second torpedo exploded beneath the first transport setting it ablaze behind the bridge. After that it was getting tense, the second transport was 1 minutes from being in a good firing solution and the first escort was closing fast, with another having been sighted racing to the area on the far side.

"Ok, this is it! Man or mouse time" thought the Commander, 6 eels left sonar shows five targets, "Not good odds....., best form of defence is attack....., I like that maxim"

At this point the second troop transport was ready to be fired on, "Fire 2!" as soon as the eel was released the Commander turned into the approaching escort, keeping the torpedoes for magnetic detonation, he waited until the destroyer was at 500m before firing, there was a loud explosion then nothing. The destroyer's engine was out but it was still headed directly for U-46 pinging at it furiously.

Quickly after it passed overhead, dropping the dreaded depth charges as it did so, but they were set too deep, maintaining periscope depth while under depth charge attack was a tactic that had been passed from U-boat Commanders to U-boat Commander, and one that the Royal Navy had yet to find an effective counter for.

This lead escort had know come to a stop but was still very much afloat, the second transport had been struck and was low in the water at the raise of the attack scope, but there was no time to watch it sink. The lead destroyer had to be taken to task and the stern torpedo was sent on it's way resulting in the total destruction of it's target.

2 minutes for the final bow torpedo to load and the stern torpedo yet to begin reloading, the commander's attention now focused on the newly acquired third troop ship. He lined it up and patiently waited for the last forward eel to be given the ready status.

As soon as it was predetermined with it's settings, it was sent on it's way to find it's mark; which after 2 minutes it duly did, breaking it's back and sending it straight to the bottom in a matter of minutes. In this time the Captain's attention had been turned to the second destroyer and then a third, as the 2nd officer was frantically using all his skills to get the stern tube reloaded in record time.

He was not going to be able to fire on the approaching angry escort in time before it passed over him. So, with no option but to go for broke as he was already well and truly marked for death himself, he ordered flank speed towards the destroyer: at 300m, with the shepherd on it's attack run "Full port rudder!" U-46 violently turned to port as the nose of the escort passed overhead, "Wasser bom" but luck had stayed with this Commander, the turn had been timed just right and none of the lethal drums struck home.
With the periscope again raised he reversed course as the stern torpedo was announced to be ready to fire. With that, the outer door was opened and the penultimate torpedo was on it's way, finding it's mark 18 seconds later; as the escort was drifting to hear the results of it's attack.

The third destroyer was still some way off, allowing U-46 to gain some distance and after 15mins it gave up. Perhaps wary of the fate of it's sister ships it chased after the still burning lead transport. After another 10mins the Captain decided it was safe to surface, ordered the last remaining stern torpedo to be loaded from it's external housing into it's tube for firing, and set to chase the still floating ships.

The weather had turned and the deck gun was just a statue of war in those seas, so once again the Commander put his trust in his weapons and luck.

The second transport was, by the time U-46 caught sight of it, listing heavily, and shortly after went down with a cry of protesting steel. The first transport was still ablaze but had now come to a complete stop and, after a wait of 2 mins just outside of it's observation range, it too gave up it's struggle and went on it's way to the bottom. So, the chase was now on!

With the bit between his teeth, the Captain ordered flank speed for the final time and chased after the remaining escort. But how was he to dispatch it with only one eel left and one that was at the wrong end of the boat?

With this thought still in his mind, the officer of the watch announced the sighting of the destroyer; the end game was near.

As he got closer, it occurred to the Commander that as it was a destroyer, should it not be chasing him? So with that, he put his boat into danger for the last time and made himself visible to his enemy.

As soon as his quarry was seen to make a course change, U-46 once again went to periscope depth, only this time there was no safety net of water, for the chase had brought the boat into coastal waters and there was only 3m of it under the keel. With that and the destroyer bearing down on him, the Captain prayed that the last torpedo would once again reward his blind faith and his previous successful tactic on the second escort would work.
......................BOOM!

The crew erupted in cheers, they had done it! Everything had worked! There would be medals, promotions and leave for everyone after this patrol. They had earned it, the Commander knew.

U-46 broached the surface at a leisurely pace, the signal was sent back to the Bdu that it was out of torpedoes and headed home.............

relcox
05-26-2007, 01:25 PM
Dear Community, this was my 1st ever attempt at writing after enjoying reading other's short stories on this forum. Any constructive comments would appreciated.

K_Freddie
05-26-2007, 02:56 PM
A pic or two would be nice ??
http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

relcox
05-26-2007, 03:03 PM
Originally posted by K_Freddie:
A pic or two would be nice ??
http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

I have no idea how take and then post screenies, sorry. but you're right, they would be nice

Scape_G
05-26-2007, 05:34 PM
Story was good but not one dud is more fantasy than story.

relcox
05-26-2007, 07:32 PM
Originally posted by Scape_G:
Story was good but not one dud is more fantasy than story.

GWX 1.03 DUDs set to on, yes, was a big surprise all but one hit, but I had good weather, and most shots were fired under 1500m.

Many thanks for the comments http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

hueywolf123
05-27-2007, 01:52 AM
Great story, no real crticism here. Good job, well set out, strong story.
Keep em coming

relcox
05-27-2007, 04:12 AM
Originally posted by hueywolf123:
Great story, no real crticism here. Good job, well set out, strong story.
Keep em coming

Thank you http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif