Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
33LIMA

SH3 - U-33's back at sea!

Recommended Posts

Aufweidersehen Bergen!

sh3-2021-05-26-23-04-56-77

While continuing my primary Silent Hunter 3 single player career as Richard Schepke in U-105 with the Doenitz Elite Flotilla (DEF), I'm also dipping back into my parallel career as Kommandant of U-33, Erich Pohl. This was started primarily as a try-out of the GWX OneAlex Edition mod before risking U-105, but that being done, it gives me an opportunity to try out shorter patrols earlier in the war, and with a smaller but handier Type VII boat. This career lacks the additional immersive features of a DEF patrol, not least a human role-played HQ to interact with, but is still fun.

It's 25 April 1940 and we're starting from the recently-occupied port of Bergen, in Norway. Bergen's U-boat bunkers weren't built at this time but neither SH3 nor my mod represents such developments. Even so, it's a nice experience as the mod I'm using starts some patrols from inside bunkers, whether or not they should really be there. Ahead of us as we slip our virtual lines is out minesweeper escort.

sh3-2021-05-26-23-04-31-67

So, where are we going@ Oor patrol area is marine quadrat BE34, which is in the Western Aproaches. For now, though, the task is to follow our escort out to the open sea, no sinecure as Bergen lies inland of several channels between high ground.

sh3-2021-05-26-23-06-19-85

As usual, the bridge watch are initially relaxed, but become fully alert as we get beyond about 400m from out berth.

sh3-2021-05-26-23-06-53-36

It would be easy to ignore the escort, plot a course and jump into time acceleration, but for me, with a mod which simulates escorts out of port, I relish navigating my boat manually,  in real time.

sh3-2021-05-26-23-32-30-14

About half-way down the channel out to the North sea, our escort turns back...

sh3-2021-05-26-23-52-37-78

...at which point, I plot my course out to our patrol area.

sh3-2021-05-26-23-54-22-17

The Western Approaches is a choke point for merchant shipping to and from the British Isles by the southern route. So I'm hopeful of a more productive patrol than was obtained by stooging about the North Sea chasing warships. Tine to start what BdU called the Tonnage War!

...to be continued!

Edited by 33LIMA
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, Goob!

As it happens, this patrol had to be delayed a month due to serious technical issues. Namely, the SH3 bug whereby on loading a saved game, you find that your boat is submerged and plunging wildly to destruction past crush depth (or on the seafloor, if in shallow water). After struggling for a bit, I found the workaround in the GWX manual, which, weirdly enough, is to change the Windspeed value from 0 to 4 in the files (in data/Campaigns/Campaign) Campaign.LND, Campaign.RND and Campaign.SCR. Then re-load the saved file. Somwhere along the line, I lost nearly a month (perhaps because of a fixed 26-day gap between patrols set in Silent Hunter 3 Commander).

And so it comes to pass that U-33 casts off and sails again from Bergen on the evening of 20 May 1940, with cloud closing in and rain beginning to fall.

sh3-2021-05-27-20-57-32-15

This time there's no escort to tag along behind, so I quickly plot my own way out to open water.

sh3-2021-05-27-20-59-58-92

As soon as we clear the harbour moles, I order the crew below decks, but keep the battle ensign at the flagstaff for the time being. And the bridge watch on the bridge, naturally.

sh3-2021-05-27-21-00-25-31

Visibility is soon down to a couple of hundred meters, as we pick our way carefully down the long fjord.

sh3-2021-05-27-21-05-31-04

The weather improves in the middle of the next day...

sh3-2021-05-27-21-24-19-41

...by which time we're about half-way across the North Sea. Our patrol zone, BE34, is down in the Western Approaches and bases in France are a thing of the not-too-distant future, with German forces steadily rampaging across France towards the Channel ports. I ignore a report of a distant enemy task force off the north-eastern Scottish mainland. My aim is to fight what Befehlshaber der U-Boote Doenitz called the Tonnage War, against the enemy's merchant shipping.

sh3-2021-05-27-21-27-13-31

As fate would have it, my first encounter isn't very far away!

...to be continued!

Edited by 33LIMA
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Clear, moonlit nights don't seem to be particularly dark, in these latitudes, at this time of year

sh3-2021-05-27-21-35-48-88

Which probably helps the bridge watch spot a ship about fifty degrees off our port bow, just before 01:20. At this point, we're north of the Shetlands.

sh3-2021-05-27-21-34-45-52

I grab my binos and have a look. Even at this distance, I can see it's a sizeable freighter with a lot of what looks like deck cargo. Despite the direction in which the wind is blowing her funnel smoke, she's moving right to left across my field of view. Possibly headed towards Shetland, or enemy-held parts of Norway.

sh3-2021-05-27-21-35-15-05

We increase revolutions and turn to intercept her.

sh3-2021-05-27-21-36-02-11

'U-zo auf brucke!' As U-33's bows come around, I order the Uberwasser Ziel Optik brought up and mounted on its pedestal at the front of the bridge.

sh3-2021-05-27-21-36-29-02

There she is! We're just past 90 degrees off her port beam at about five thousand metres - and she's doing 15 knots, no less!

sh3-2021-05-27-21-36-47-39

Decisions, decisions! On the surface I have little speed advantage and from our rather poor starting position, it'll take hours to catch her, let alone get ahead - if I can do so at all, before losing sight of her. Few merchantmen are armed at this stage of the war, so I decide to engage with our deck gun at once. The range is long and there's a bit of a roll on our boat, but if I can get some decent hits, maybe we can at least slow her down, if not sink her.

Decision made!

...to be continued!

Edited by 33LIMA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The deck gun is quickly manned and ammo brought up. By the bridge watch, leaving only the watch officer there. I've not found a mod which keeps the bridge watch where they should be, keeping a good look-out while others man the deck gun.

sh3-2021-05-27-21-38-57-29

The first round goes well wide, almost like a warning shot off the bows. But the second round hits and after that, we start scoring about every second or third shot.

sh3-2021-05-27-21-40-06-86

I've ordered fire directed at the target's waterline and can't resist a 'cheat camera' look at how we're doing. It's a pity for the target this is a cheat, because it shows she's flying the flag of neutral Eire.

sh3-2021-05-27-21-43-29-07

If I had legitimately noticed, I doubt I would have let her go. She's in a war zone, rather a big ship for the small Irish merchant marine, unlit after dark, and not carrying any of the usual prominent neutrality markings (typically, the national flag painted nearly the full height of the hull). As it is, in the dark, her tricolour could easily be taken for a French one, except at very close range.

So the battering continues. The freighter is soon burning and losing way, down from fifteen to seven knots and falling. The range begins to wind down.

sh3-2021-05-27-21-44-35-12

As we close in,sometimes hitting, sometimes missing, our victim suddenly turns on powerful searchlights...

sh3-2021-05-27-21-46-21-16

...and trains them towards us. Not very friendly! Besides, added to the smoke from her fire, the glare makes pretty sure I won't see her colours. And so, she seals her own fate.

sh3-2021-05-27-21-47-23-02

She's now barely moving, well alight, and starting to go down by the stern, from the look of it. And those lights have gone out.

sh3-2021-05-27-21-48-04-20

Yes, she's definitely sinking.

sh3-2021-05-27-21-48-24-22

We turn to port as we come up to her, just as she takes the proverbial final plunge.

sh3-2021-05-27-21-50-24-92

I don't see any rafts or lifeboats, just the usual flotsam popping to the surface.  Amongst it, something small is flopping around. A moment of horror - it's a man in the water! By the time we're on the scene, he's stopped flailing about and a few seconds later, disappeared under the surface. A sobering sight, and no mistake.

sh3-2021-05-27-21-54-18-19

I lose no time in turning back onto my original course and putting as much distance as I can between U-33 and this unpleasant encounter. I report my sinking, and we're credited with just over five thousand tons. I'd thought it was a bigger fish but I'm not inclined to dwell on this one.

sh3-2021-05-27-21-56-53-69

As it happens, soon enough, genuine neutral or flag of convenience, the Tommies will come looking for revenge!

...to be continued!

Edited by 33LIMA
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is there any penalty for sinking Neutral flagged ships? (regardless of tonnage credited)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just checked the Grey Wolves manual (the OneAlex mod I'm using being derived therefrom) and though the mod did make some changes to SH3's 'renown' system, it says points are still deducted for destroying friendly or neutral targets.

There's also the indignity of being shamed by the boss. As I found out after submitting an innocuous status report after my sinking...

sh3-2021-06-07-21-00-48-07

...only to receive this, in response. Ouch!

sh3-2021-06-07-21-01-10-24

What else is there to do, except carry on towards my patrol zone. I risk staying on the surface was we proceed through the Shetlands-Faroes gap in daylight, in good conditions - high, partial overcast, good visibility and a light swell.

sh3-2021-06-07-20-59-38-46
 
sh3-2021-06-07-21-04-48-84
 
The bridge watch maintain their vigilance as if their lives depended on it...which indeed they do.
 
sh3-2021-06-07-21-05-24-43
 
Darkness comes but slowly...
 
sh3-2021-06-07-21-08-34-52
 
...as the leisurely moon climbs up into the darkening skies.
 
sh3-2021-06-07-21-11-23-98
 
By the time it's dark, we're through the gap and change course to the south-west.
 
sh3-2021-06-07-21-11-50-85
 
We've a long way still to go and if nothing else, I'm resolved to take more care about identifying shipping...though I still have my doubts about the neutrality of the steamer I sunk - and will have no hesitation in telling Doenitz so to his face, when we get back.
 
...to be continued!
Edited by 33LIMA
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By early next morning, the weather has taken a turn for the worse, with heavy seas driven by 14 m/s winds from the south.

sh3-2021-06-07-22-37-33-64

Of course, the bridge watch is in oilskins and sou'westers.

sh3-2021-06-07-22-36-38-15

Time to drop into the cellar to give them a break, methinks. Also for some hydrophone checks.

sh3-2021-06-07-22-38-09-53

At twenty meters, the boat is still rolling underneath the heavy swell.

sh3-2021-06-07-22-39-03-55

...so I take her down to 40 metres.

sh3-2021-06-07-22-39-53-45

I cruise submerged for a few hours, making regular hydrophone checks. But there's nothing to be heard but our own screws.

sh3-2021-06-07-22-40-55-87

The last hydrophone check is still negative, so it's time to come back to the surface and get the bridge watch wet again.

sh3-2021-06-07-22-46-09-38

sh3-2021-06-07-22-46-32-95

I order the boat levelled off at periscope depth...

sh3-2021-06-07-22-46-53-71

...and do a couple of sweeps with the sky periscope.

sh3-2021-06-07-22-47-45-58

Alles klar! Auftauchen!

sh3-2021-06-07-22-48-59-41

There's no sign of any change in the weather, but at least general visibility is unimpaired by rain or cloud.

sh3-2021-06-07-22-49-09-10

We plough on, gradually working our way from south-west to nearer south as we past between western Ireland and Rockall Bank.

sh3-2021-06-07-22-49-42-35

The people on the bridge will just have to put up with it as best they can...

sh3-2021-06-07-22-50-19-84

...until the wind dies down, of which there's no sign as the day wears on.

sh3-2021-06-07-22-51-12-49

Darkness begins to fall and cloud cover increases. There's still no let-up in the wind.

sh3-2021-06-07-22-58-27-37

Just after seven the next morning, we get a report of a fast convoy to the south. I alter course and increase speed in an effort to intercept it.

sh3-2021-06-07-23-02-20-02

We do need the weather to improve. Our often unreliable torpedoes will likely be near useless in the heavy seas, while manning the deck gun will be out of the question. But first, I need to make contact with that convoy!

...to be continued!

Edited by 33LIMA
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We rattle and roll our way southward in pursuit of the distant fast convoy. We're both hindered by the heavy seas, windspeed and direction but I can barely make 10-12 knots and can't believe we'll catch up the enemy if these conditions persist.

sh3-2021-06-08-21-07-59-90

The bridge watch do a good job of stating alert, despite waves which regularly submerge them.

sh3-2021-06-08-21-08-11-73

Still no sign...

sh3-2021-06-08-21-11-36-89

...so down we go for some hydrophone sweeps, which will give the boys on the bridge a bit of a break.

sh3-2021-06-08-21-12-10-43

No joy. Even well below the swell and with the e-motors running at minimum revs, we can hear nothing.

sh3-2021-06-08-21-16-05-20

We spend a couple of hours submerged. Repeated sweeps with the sound gear reveal no trace of shipping, friend or foe. So it's back up we go, into the teeth of the gale once more.

sh3-2021-06-08-21-22-49-67

Suddenly, we have more to worry about than the weather. Aircraft, up there, fine off the port bow!

sh3-2021-06-08-21-27-47-47

...to be continued!

Edited by 33LIMA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

These are not the conditions in which I'd expect many aircraft to be operating, let alone prehistoric packing cases like a Walrus, better suited to air-sear rescue than anti-submarine warfare.

sh3-2021-06-08-21-27-57-53

No point taking chances - down we go, the boat taking a longer time than usual to 'unstick' from the turbulent surface.

sh3-2021-06-08-21-28-15-79

We make it without being bombed - he seems not to have spotted us.

sh3-2021-06-08-21-34-01-11

We make another unsuccessful series of hydrophone sweeps while waiting for the Walrus to amble off. Then it's back up into the same heavy seas.

sh3-2021-06-08-21-40-45-53

During the evening, we get a report of a convoy well to our east,  headed for the Irish Sea. Likely it's the one we chased, bound for Liverpool. No point in another stern chase, into enemy coastal waters.

sh3-2021-06-08-21-41-48-10

During the night, we et a message from BdU, ordering U-boats in the vicinity of Dunkirk to assist in cutting off the enemy forces trapped in the vicinity. Much too far away for us.

sh3-2021-06-08-21-42-47-73

Our next excitement comes in the early hours of the following day when we spot a small steamer to starboard, heading the opposite way on a roughly parallel course. By this time, the weather has finally begun to improve.

sh3-2021-06-08-21-44-54-84

As the ship passes, I can make out in the UZO sight that she's a flying the Irish tricolour and that this time, she's got lights set. A neutral, and no grounds to doubt it this time. So we let her pass, keeping our distance.

sh3-2021-06-08-21-46-06-95

The sun is coming up behind us as we press on. The skies are clearing but I'll take the greater risk from aircraft in exchange for the better conditions.

sh3-2021-06-08-21-46-59-29

to be continued!

Edited by 33LIMA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The neutral steamer slips away to the north-east.

sh3-2021-06-08-21-52-22-77

A few hours later, another aircraft appears ahead. Once again it's a biplane, this time a Swordfish torpedo bomber - complete with torpedo!

sh3-2021-06-08-21-54-13-93

I'm very doubtful of his being able to make a successful torpedo attack on us and if I really knew that's what he was carrying, I'd have been tempted to stay up and pop him off with the flak. But it would have been foolish to take such needless chances with a valuable U-boat.

sh3-2021-06-08-21-54-43-70

Half-an-hour later, after another fruitless hydrophone check, we're back on the surface...

sh3-2021-06-08-22-04-10-25

...and running southwards towards our assigned patrol area, still a long way off.

sh3-2021-06-08-22-05-09-95

Within a few hours, the winds have dropped right off and the sea is dead calm.

sh3-2021-06-08-22-09-13-27

The good weather is with us all day and sunset finds us well on our way. At last, the bridge watch no longer need their oilskins.

sh3-2021-06-08-22-12-03-84

We're now off Ireland's west coast and hopefully, Coastal Command will be leaving us alone for a while.

sh3-2021-06-08-22-12-33-82

...to be continued!

Edited by 33LIMA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Trooper! That's how playing it feels!

On the evening of 27th May, we finally reach our patrol area in BE39 and start a search pattern. We're in the Western Approaches and so should pick up shipping traffic on any of the southerly routes to or from the British Isles.

sh3-2021-06-10-17-25-22-98

I report my arrival to BdU. Happily, the conditions are still fine and settled...

sh3-2021-06-10-17-25-50-53

...and I reduce speed to conserve fuel. We may be searching for some time. 

sh3-2021-06-10-17-27-31-22

sh3-2021-06-10-17-25-30-65

Towards nightfall, one of the steady stream of incoming radio messages reveals that I'm not the only one sinking doubtful neutral shipping. Oehrn in U-33 has been at it, too.

sh3-2021-06-10-17-31-00-27

We're not far away but can neither see not hear any shipping, neutral or otherwise. And by nightfall, it's raining again!

sh3-2021-06-10-17-32-59-55

Next day, the wind has picked up again too.

sh3-2021-06-10-17-37-48-30

The day after that, May 29th, having more than completed my minimum 24 hours in BE39, I extend my search pattern in the hope of running into something.

sh3-2021-06-10-18-57-52-35

The next day is much the same. Strong winds, regular showers, fruitless hydrophone checks, empty horizons. This is past tedious; it's now wearing us down. Where is everybody?

sh3-2021-06-10-18-58-49-77

Next day, same again, though the showers seem to have decided to stop.

sh3-2021-06-10-19-09-52-25

But the wind is picking up again, and soon the bridge watch is back in wet weather gear.

sh3-2021-06-10-19-17-29-53

On we rumble, searching for something it seems isn't there.

sh3-2021-06-10-19-19-33-50

Our dreary and morale-sapping routine finally ends on the morning of 1st June. A large convoy is reported to our north-north-west. It's a long way off at 140 kilometers, moving fast and heading away to the north-east. But it seems highly unlikely the convoy intends to reach Britain by sailing all the way up the west coast of Ireland. I'm prepared to bet it will turn onto a more easterly heading to make for St Georges Channnel, bound for Bristol or Liverpool. I plot a course to the north-east, in the hope of cutting them off. Full ahead both!

sh3-2021-06-10-20-50-02-61
 
to be continued!
 
Edited by 33LIMA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Within a few hours, we are enveloped in another weather front - high winds, turbulent seas, low clouds and driving rain.

sh3-2021-06-10-20-52-40-00

About half-way to the estimated interception point, we dive for a hydrophone check.

sh3-2021-06-10-20-55-42-57

In SH3 you can hear further if you man the hydrophones yourself, but neither myself nor the regular sound man can hear any screws but our own.

sh3-2021-06-10-20-58-41-40

The next day, the weather has improved, but there is neither sight nor sound of the convoy. Nothing else for it but to resume our search pattern. The better weather holds for a couple of days...

sh3-2021-06-10-21-17-19-51

...but by 6th June, it's once again dire. The rain is staying away but the seas are rough.

sh3-2021-06-10-21-59-57-23

As this point, it seems our luck has changed. While we're back in BE39, our original patrol area, there's another report of a large convoy, this time just to our west and heading our way.

sh3-2021-06-10-21-58-18-94

We go for it at once!

sh3-2021-06-10-22-00-43-63

...to be continued!

Edited by 33LIMA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For a while, it looks like our interception has gone awry, for the second time. Then, we get a distant hydrophone contact nearly dead ahead. We surface and run towards it.

Our first sighting is an escort off the port bow, likely a ‘sweeper’ ahead of the convoy.

sh3-2021-06-10-22-22-52-21

I order a quick contact report made to BdU.

sh3-2021-06-10-22-25-43-39

Then I alter course to starboard, to open the range from the escort, then back to port.  So far, the expected convoy remains invisible, but I'm convinced it's there. And coming straight for us.

sh3-2021-06-10-22-24-41-72

Down we go again. Another hydrophone sweep picks up the swishing thump of the screws of many merchantmen, over a wide arc ahead...

sh3-2021-06-10-22-29-31-35

...with the escort we spotted off to port.  We've got them where we want them!

sh3-2021-06-10-22-33-39-85

In the convoy is an Armed Merchant Cruiser...

sh3-2021-06-10-22-31-35-86

...and a fine variety of shipping.

sh3-2021-06-10-22-34-40-16

I dive to 80 metres and slow down. The plan is to track the enemy with the hydrophones, let the escort pass over our heads, and then come up to periscope depth just ahead of the convoy itself. Preferably slightly to one side. Then, I'll let them have it!

...to be continued!

Edited by 33LIMA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By 33LIMA
      U-105 off Freetown, Sierra Leone, September 1941
      One of my favourite U-boat books is Robert C Stern's Battle Beneath the Waves (Cassell, 2002) which tells the stories of selected boats in both World Wars. He recounts that shortly before she was lost off West Africa after an unusual surface slugging match with USS Buckley in May 1944, Type IX boat U-66, harassed from the air, signalled to Befehlshaber der U-boote 'Central Atlantic Worse than Biscay'. The latter bay being traditionally where air power made life most difficult for U-boats by about 1942.
      Well, that's how I felt, not long after my role-played Flotille Chef at the online Doenitz Elite Flotilla assigned us to return to the seas off Freetown for all of two weeks, for our second full patrol.

      The full story of the first patrol, written in the form of illustrated extracts from U-105's Kreigstagebuch or war diary, you can find here: http://www.donitzeliteflotilla.com/forum/index.php?topic=3368.0 (this was recorded as two patrols as it involved a refuelling stop at a covert supply ship in the Canary Islands - all very hush-hush, or sehr Gekados if you like).
      Second patrol, things started happily enough at Lorient. Crew on deck, we slipped out of our berth, to the accompaniment of the quayside band playing and the nurses throwing flowers.

      Clear of port and with the open seas ahead, we bade farewell to our minesweeper escort.

      There was nothing much to tell for the next ten days or so, as we ploughed our way southwards at economical cruising speed, increasing revolutions to transit the Bay of Biscay and the seas west of the big enemy naval and air base at Gibraltar. Sometimes the weather was good; other times, not so good.

      Other times again, it was a bit of a mixture.

      Our first encounter came en route and in darkness, when our alert bridge watch spotted a steamer showing no lights and sailing independently. She was unarmed, so we sank her with our 10.5cm deck gun.

      A few days later, also in darkness, the tables were turned. We were surprised on the surface by two escorts, obviously radar-equipped, who drove us down and depth-charged us mercilessly. But fortunately without serious effect.

      All we could do was track them on the hydrophones, while creeping away.

      We escaped eventually, and ran into a second freighter a few days later. It didn't go well for her...

      ...and she slipped below the waves soon after desperately firing off some futile distress flares.

      About the time we arrived in our patrol area SSW of Freetown, the weather finally improved again.

      So, why 'worse than Biscay', then? Well, that'll come next!
      ...to be continued!
    • By 33LIMA
      A new standalone mega-mod that brings all that's best to Silent Hunter 3

      SH3 got justifiably rave reviews when first released in 2005. Arguably (and I'd be one of those arguing it) it's still far the best U-boat simulation. And can be much improved by the huge number of user-made mods available for it (many of which you can find in the Doentiz Elite Flotilla mediafire SH3 archive http://www.donitzeliteflotilla.com/forum/index.php?topic=1.0 ) .
      Notably, as every SH3 aficionado will know, there's a number of mega-mods available which provide a single major overhaul, often with optional submods included. One such, and possibly the most popular, is the Grey Wolves Expansion 3 (aka GWX) whose Gold edition is what I've been playing until very recently.
      Now available is a comprehensive further development of GWX - the OneAlex Edition. You can see the mod's intro video here - the download link is in its description: Silent Hunter 3 - GWX Onealex Edition - YouTube 
      This comes as a compressed file of just over three meg and unzips to under nine. While nominally a mod, it's self-contained and fully functional when unzipped - it doesn't need enabled or installed onto an existing installation. You may need to use a utility called Multi SH3 to create the dedicated subfolder it needs in 'My Documents' for career files but that can also be easily created manually eg 'My documents/SH3' if you unzip the mod to its default folder. Could hardly be simpler.
      GWX OneAlex Edition comes with:
            - the features of the GWX mod, including harbour traffic;
            - the German U-Boat Compilation mod (GUC) which greatly improves the boats themselves, including enabling off-duty crew to be assembled on deck in harbour, the battle flag flown or taken down, and victory pennants to be flown from your periscope on return;
            - many other improvements, including better crew and uniform textures;
            - an already-inbuilt widescreen mod so it's 1920x1080 compatible out of the box;
           - Jonesoft Generic Mod Enabler (JSGME), plus a set of submods including a range of skins for Type VII and IX U-boats;
           - Silent Hunter 3 Commander (SH3C), optional but regarded by many as a must-have utility for the sim.
      As an indication, this is a typical stock boat, a Type VII in this case -


      Nice, but the skin is relatively low-resolution and some details are simplified, like the insulators and tensioners on the jumping wire
      This is one of the OneAlex, GUC-based Type VIIs...

      ...and this shows the conning tower detail, albeit it's a larger Type IX...

      Skins are higher resolution and detail is much better.
      The next pics show the 'crew on deck' feature and harbour traffic, either moored like the destroyer...

      ...or moving like our minesweeper escort...

      ...which we will follow until we get into open water.

      Another nice feature, shared with some other recent mods, is the addition of animated water streams from the holes in the boats' free-flooding casings.

      The seas are often much less calm in SH3 and OneAlex Edition does a particularly good job of bringing them to life.

      Bridge detail is excellent. A nice touch is that unlike in stock SH3, the UZO binocular sight is not permanently fixed to its mount (lower right in the pic below), and when you do fit it, the UZO is animated, and rotates.

      Internal detail is also up to a high standard. In this control room view, you can just about see the open circular hatch (closed in stock SH3) into the commander's compartment...

      ...opposite which is the radio room.

      I'm not sure but I think OneAlex deliberately left out the extended interiors made for the Type VII boats, which in the base GUC mod include engine rooms, crew accommodation and bow/stern torpedo rooms.
      Torpedo impacts are also very well done, with debris flying and splashing into the sea.

      Amongst the many included optional skins is this one for a late Type IX, which has the two-tier flak platform (but kept its deck gun as many Type IXs did) and GEMA 'rigid radar' on the upper front of the conning tower. Apparently it is likely that U-boats, unlike surface ships, always had dark grey, not red, anti-fouling paint below the waterline. But red certainly looks good!

      GWX Onealex Edition also includes a fully-updated sound mod, which fans of the great movie 'Das Boot' will recognise!
      What's not to like? So far my biggest gripe is that in the 'follow your boat' external ('Ship') camera (key <), mousewheel or tab zoom doesn't work, and can't be made to, it seems. You can move the camera closer but your perspective becomes exaggerated and less attractive the closer you get, unlike 'true' zoom'.
      in action, the mod looks and feels great!



      The author is still releasing updated versions (I'm at 1.46 at time of typing) in the light of experience and is obviously very committed. There are other good mega-mods out there, but this new effort really has a lot going for it already! Highly recommended, but somebody, please fix the Ship Camera mousewheel zoom!
    • By 33LIMA
      U-33 goes to war in the epic U-boat sim - that's still being improved!

      Back in the day, I remember buying a bargain bin, jewel-cased CD release of the original Silent Hunter WW2 submarine simulation. Even then, its graphics were somewhat dated and it had no external view, however good it might otherwise have been. Besides, it was set in the Pacific, which is well and good but my main interest in subs is in what Churchill famously said was 'the only thing that ever really frightened me during the war'  - what he called 'the U-boat peril'. Hence the next in the series, Silent Hunter II, was the one I jumped at - external view AND the ability to fight the Battle of the Atlantic in one of a range of different types of U-boats.
      A few years latter - in 2005 - along came Silent Hunter III, with a similar setting and an excellent, open-ended campaign system, lacking mainly AI subs and therefore the simulation of wolf-pack tactics, where several boats would on radio orders from Befehlshaber der U-Boote (BdU), form, abandon and reform patrol lines across suspected convoy routes, ganging up on any they came across. Despite being on your own, SH3 must surely rank as one of the most ambitious, most comprehensive and most immersive sims ever made, in any genre.
      I had a few years away from simming about that time so it was only earlier this year that I dusted off my original SH3 DVD - and then bought the on-sale Steam version instead, rather than having to fiddle to get my early, Starforce-DRM protected version running on a post-Vista O/S. Like later DVD editions, Steam SH3 comes pre-patched to the latest official version (1.4b) and doesn't have Starforce.
      So there was I, happily really playing SH3 as if for the first time, and thinking how great a sim it still is, as I sailed out of port in my chosen boat, here an early-war Type VIIB.

      Heck, I even managed to sink some ships in convoy...

      ...and even escape the inevitable retaliation, here directed at my larger Type IXC from an aircraft which caught me on the surface, leading to a rapid crash-dive.

      At first, I stayed away from mods, partly as I was delighted with the vanilla game, partly because I didn't want to break anything  - having seen dark warnings of Steam SH3 needing a fix of some sort applied for some mods, to avoid subsequent issues. A widescreen mod was essential; though, and here I settled on ARB's one for 1080x1020. This needs a patch applied to enable the in-game map to display properly, but it all worked and worked well. My appetite for mods thus whetted, to my rescue came Fiedler's guide to installing SH3 on Windows 10 (I'm actually playing ATM on Win 7): How to run STEAM-SH3-V1.6b-GWX-WIDESCREEN on Win10 (donitzeliteflotilla.com) [link updated 6 May]
      Followed carefully, this led me to other indispensable tools like SH3 Commander...

      ... and the Doenitz Elite Flotilla's (DEF) SH3 front end, the former adding various goodies and the latter enabling me both to make a hassle-free second install of SH3 (to which I could apply my first choice of 'mega-mod' while not risking my near-vanilla one) and to apply at the click of a mouse the 'Steam fix' without which problems can ensue.

      Links to the stuff mentioned I'll post at the end of this thread.
      I was a bit wary of going for one of the several SH3 mega mods as I preferred to have a bit of choice in my set-up. But in the end, I went for what's possibly the most popular, the Grey Wolves Expansion 3 Gold edition, commonly known as GWX3. this comes as an easy-to-use multi-part installer and while you don't then enable it via the ubiquitous JSGME, this does create several optional sub-mods which you can enable at choice - such as a 'lite' version of GWX's excellent harbour traffic.
      GWX massively improved the already remarkable experience SH3 was giving me. The aforementioned harbour traffic (not the lite version) is probably my favourite addition; we'll see that in action soon.
      Other icing on my U-boat cake was provided by the Compulsory Head-dress mod (which makes the sloppy default crewmen wear a suitable cap) and the excellent TKSS18 German U-boat Compilation (GUC), which greatly improves the already-improved GWX boat models. On top of this there is a further GUC add-on which even further improves the early Type VIIs (but needs backed out if you survive till after about 1942, as it doesn't yet include the later conning towers for these boats).
      Finally, having happily used DEF's tools, I signed up with the online flotilla itself, which caters for single-player as well as multi-player action. This gave me dedicated storage on Mediafire to store my patrol screenshots, and the ability to role-play (before/during/after each patrol) interaction with a real human commander based on the real-life historical person, including making realistic simulated radio reports. This added a whole extra layer of immersion for me; I felt much more invested in my boat, my crew, and my mission.
      You can read and see the results here:  http://www.donitzeliteflotilla.com/forum/index.php?topic=3368.0
      As that career is still under way, with my second patrol in U-105 due to start very soon, I decided to run a second fully offline one in parallel. The main reason for doing this was to test the stability of the GUC mod, before relying on it in my next DEF patrol. I didn't want to take any chances - for one thing you can render career files un-loadable if you apply mods during a patrol. So I wanted to try out GUC before starting out again in U-105, using the GUC's Type IXB in place of the GWX version.
      Good - stock SH3 Type IXB:

      Better - GWX3 Type IXB:

      Better still - GUC Type IXB:

      My U-105 patrol started in mid-1941 and took my big-long-ranged boat down into the Central Atlantic off Freetown, where I ran into lots of aggressive and apparently radar-equipped escorts and aircraft. For this try-out career, I decided to go for the more common and smaller Type VII, choosing U-33 in March 1940, before the fall of France opened up the bases on the French Atlantic coast. U-33 was actually a Type VIIA (U-27 to U-36 inclusive) with a prominent external stern torpedo tube and the VIIB is the nearest available substitute in SH3.
      I'm based at Wilhelmshaven on the Baltic coast east of Denmark, so I won't have to sail through the Kiel Canal to get into my assigned patrol area. This is in Marine Quadrat AN21, which means I'll be operating just east of Scotland's Shetland Islands. Sadly I didn't get a screenie of the map so we'll start with the view aft from the bridge, looking towards the band which is playing us out of our berth, accompanied by well wishers who include the famous SH3 nurses chucking bouquets. SH3 fans will know all of this dockside activity is quite nicely animated.

      'Kleine fahrt voraus!' I get the boat moving, so as to keep up with the minesweeper up ahead, which is evidently our escort out of port. The GWX map has many pull-down features, which include mini-maps showing 'friendly' nets and minefields protecting our ports. I don't know if these are really simulated obstacles, but I don't plan on finding out the hard way.

      The detail on the GUC bridge is vastly better than stock SH3. For one thing, the UZO surface sight (Uberwasser Ziel Optik) isn't permanently fitted to its pedestal (the blackened peg left of centre), only when you order it brought up to the bridge. To the right is the slot for the direction finding loop antenna, which is also raised on command.
      Apart from the tensioners and insulators on the jump wires (which were used as radio aerials) being much better rendered, another nice feature is that you have a beautifully-animated Kriegsmarine war flag, which a key command enables you to take down after leaving port. In Silent Hunter 5, your bridge watch is scanning with binoculars even before you've left U-boat pen or quayside, but in SH3, they are relaxed until several hundred meters out - much better.

      The first excitement of the patrol comes unexpectedly early. My watch officer turns around and warns of approaching aircraft! Are we to be bombed before we're even clear of the port?

      I hastily grab my own binos.  Relief - that's a Heinkel III, unless I'm very much mistaken.

      The five or six Heinkels roar across the port. Happily, the flak people have also identified them correctly. And the fly-boys manage to miss the barrage balloons.

      After that, it's more uneventful. There's plenty to see, though, including the new battleship Tirpitz, which is laid up awaiting fitting of her armament...

      ...and a Hipper class heavy cruiser, led by a destroyer, which passes U-33 and our own, smaller escort to starboard, as we near open waters.

      There's also smaller traffic like fishing boats and a solitary coal barge.

      Clear of the defensive nets and minefields and anxious to be on our way across the North Sea, I plot a course to the north-west and we leave our escort behind.
      Down in the depths of the boat, courtesy I believe of the GUC's added detail, the cook stands by his tiny stove...

      ...the off-duty ratings - the 'Pairs' - relax as best they can in their accommodation in the bow torpedo room...

      ...while other crew members attend to the engines...

      ...and to our five torpedo tubes.

      What will the Tommies have in store for us? We'll find out, soon enough!
      ...to be continued!
×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..