I just discovered that the Battle of the Atlantic campaign incorporates historical events. I got to June 1940 and saw this..
...so now, I have friendly ports closer to my route out into the North Atlantic, and I don't have to sail my ships all the way back to German ports, to re-arm and repair.
And I love these set-piece screens! They are a treat to look at, and a set of them in sequence would make a great screen saver (does anyone use these ,anymore???).
After putzing about for a while, I finally realised that I ought to be spending some of the 'renown' points I earned on building up my fleet. Bismarck isn't available for another year, but anyway, I decided that fun and sexy though surface ships are, I would start taking winning the campaign a bit more seriously (instead of treating it as a fancy battle generator). U-boats are what's really needed to clear the seas of enemy convoys so I 'bought' a bunch of them, a mix of Type VII and IX, saving some 'Renown' for a rainy day...or Bismarck. So, the war against the convoys has now begun in earnest.
I split my new U-Boats, dividing them into two packs, and moving one astride each of the main North Atlantic convoy routes. It wasn't long before the first pack met and mauled a convoy. I ended up firing fans of torpedoes from both sides at longer range than I'd have liked, but it was a daylight encounter, and even zig-zagging, the convoy was rapidly drawing ahead of my submerged boats. This had the desired effect and I got the sole escorting destroyer, as well as a couple of merchantmen.
After that, we came to the surface and hunted down the defenceless shipping with our deck guns, with only a fast frieghter managing to out-run us.
In a U-Boat encounter, I almost invariably ignore destroyers on their own, but will tackle them if a good shot comes my way, or as a last resort in self-defence; the 'down the throat' shot being quite effective, as practiced by US subs in the Pacific:
Back on the surface, 'pocket battleship' Lutzow ran into the heavy cruiser Berwick and fought a stiff night battle. I faffed up the gunnery, failing to change over to AP rounds from starshells in what should have been my first full salvo. I did that twice, believe it or not.
Berwick took full advantage, and with some holes in my hull and the pumps damaged - which seems to be a vulnerability, in this class of ship - I thought I was destined for Davey Jones's Locker. The shame, six 11-inch guns beaten by eight 8-inch! But I found the range and down went Berwick, instead, leaving Lutzow able to make an ultimately-successful run back to a home port, for the much-needed repairs...
The Royal Navy in Atlantic Fleet seems to replicate the unsuccessful early-war tactic of anti-submarine sweeps by destroyers, with fewer dedicated to escorting convoys. I don't know if this will change as the war develops, as it did in real life. I ignore these partols when I meet them with U-Boats, but though I have reduced my German Bight surface patrol to one light cruiser and four destroyers, it is still more than strong enough to snap up an RN destroyer patrol, when it ventures too close...
Earlier, I had lost Hipper when she was chased down and smashed up by battleship Queen Elizabeth. My heart was in my sea-boots when the same powerful ship intercepted Gneisenau and the damaged Scharnhorst, on their way back to port via the Denmark Straits. I had the faster ships but less well protected and with lighter main guns. This time, I decided to fight it out, rather than run. From line astern, I swung my two battlecruisers left and right, opened my 'A' arcs right away, and began raining 11-inch shells down onto Queen Elizabeth from two different directions.
My shooting was not too bad for once, and I managed to get the range first. My Scharnhorst evidently isn't the lucky ship the real one was, by repute, for she drew the enemy's fire and took some 15-inch hits, adding to her existing damage. But between us, we soon had the big British warship reeling. Scharnhorst had to jink left and right to 'chase the shell splashes' that fell all around her - those 15-inch AP rounds hit the sea with quite a whack! So I was mightily relieved as our fires began to pummel the enemy battleship. After several minutes of this treatment, she lost way, listed to starboard and then rolled over, burning, to sink by the stern. Revenge for Hipper was sweet! And 'Salmon and Gluckstein' then made it back to Wilhelmshaven, where no doubt the RAF will bomb them, as happens in this game.
Atlantic Fleet doesn't have the more sophisticated ship or division handling and gunnery systems of Fighting Steel, and apart from anything else, this can increase the workload in multi-ship battles or wolfpack attacks. However, it has more than enough content (not least, the subs and planes, as well as surface ships) and depth to be a terrific WW2 naval battle wargame in its own right, with delightful visuals, sounds and effects, all presented in a polished and well-designed package, a good old-fashioned PC-sim-sized package for the price of a mobile app. Top notch stuff.