Monday, December 9, 2013

The Hunters - The hunter becomes the hunted (Type IXA, Part 3)

I hadn't planned on reporting again so soon, but after moving into the next British Isle Patrol Box, I rolled snake-eyes - a Capital Ship!

Capital Ships are always under escort, but first we must roll to see which one. A '7' is rolled - the 31,100t BB Barham! Sink her and a Knight's Cross will be awarded upon return.

Unfortunately, we have to approach her during the day and there is no re-roll attempt on a Capital Ship. Either take it or leave it. Our Kmdt. Lehmann feeling confident after his early success, dives and floods all four torpedo tubes.


And then this... a terrible stretch of die rolls:

* G7a Steam Torpedo, G7a Steam Torpedo, G7a Steam Torpedo, G7a Steam Torpedo moves Target 1 -> Target 1 *

*** 2d6 = [6] [5]*** <Michael Collarin>
*** 2d6 = [2] [4]*** <Michael Collarin>
*** 2d6 = [4] [1]*** <Michael Collarin>
*** 2d6 = [4] [4]*** <Michael Collarin>
*** 1d6 = [1] *** <Michael Collarin>
*** 1d6 = [2] *** <Michael Collarin>

The first line of the Vassal log shows the four torpedoes being assigned a target. The next four lines are the To Hit rolls - two hits (needing '7's or less when firing G7a steam torpedoes submerged at medium range). The next two lines are the dud check rolls for the two hits... both duds! No damage inflicted on the battleship.

And then the hunter became the hunted!

A brief aside - knowing I would be playing The Hunters soon, I wanted to watch a U-boat movie. I browsed Netflix and the only worthwhile option was The Hunt for Red October. A movie I enjoy, no doubt, but it was not what I was looking for. I wanted something WWII related. Really, anything WWII related...
U-571, anything! But no such luck. I looked through another XBox app, Crackle, but no joy there either. I then tried Amazon Prime movies. And bam! Das Boot. Oh, Das Boot. A proper movie to set the mood! I tell you about this, not only because it's a great submarine movie, but if you recall the depth charge scenes, you will understand the seemingly relentless pounding you will take once the escorts have honed in on you. If you don't recall or haven't seen it or just want to recapture that feeling - watch this (same as below). It's a trailer, but it actually does a better job portraying that feeling than any of the clips I could find on YouTube.


The following is the Vassal log, starting with the escort detection rolls:

*** 2d6 = [6] [1]*** <Michael Collarin>
*** 2d6 = [4] [4]*** <Michael Collarin>
* Incoming Hits moves offboard -> 2 Hits on U-Boat *
*** 2d6 = [3] [2]*** <Michael Collarin>
*** 2d6 = [5] [1]*** <Michael Collarin>
*** 1d6 = [6] *** <Michael Collarin>
* Flooding moves Fooding -> Fooding *
* Hull Damage moves Hull Damage -> Hull Damage *
*** 2d6 = [6] [1]*** <Michael Collarin>
*** 2d6 = [1] [4]*** <Michael Collarin>
* Incoming Hits moves 2 Hits on U-Boat -> 1 Hit on U-Boat *
*** 2d6 = [2] [6]*** <Michael Collarin>
*  Damage created in Deck Gun and Flak
* Hull Damage moves Hull Damage -> Hull Damage *
*** 2d6 = [1] [5]*** <Michael Collarin>
*** 2d6 = [6] [2]*** <Michael Collarin>
*** 2d6 = [2] [1]*** <Michael Collarin>
* Incoming Hits moves 1 Hit on U-Boat -> offboard *
* Hull Damage moves Hull Damage -> Hull Damage *
*** 2d6 = [1] [4]*** <Michael Collarin>
*** 2d6 = [2] [1]*** <Michael Collarin>

The initial detection lead to two hits - one Minor Damage (no effect) and the other caused Flooding... followed by a die roll of '6' causing additional flooding.

The Hull Damage in the log was me attempting to Exceed Test Depth. This evasive maneuver causes one hull damage and requires a 2d6 die roll. However, since this was my first hull damage inflicted and it's impossible to roll a '1' on 2d6, I continued with the detection phase. A '7'. Normally, that would avoid detection (8 or less), however, there are several modifiers in play here - +1 for Capital Ship, +1 for being Previously Detected, and +1 for firing G7a Steam Torpedoes during the Day. Exceeding Test Depth provides a -1 modifier. The '7' becomes a '9' and we are detected once again.
One new hit is inflicted - the 3.7cm Flak is damaged. Hardly of any consequence at this stage. We're just hoping to evade the pigs on the surface.
We take another hull damage by Exceeding Test Depth, but this time roll to check as well now have a possible '2'. Nothing more serious due to the depth, but we are detected a third time! But with a roll of '3' and no modifiers on the hit table, the depth charges are ineffective.
We must evade soon as each time we Exceed Test Depth we take an additional hull damage and increase our chances of catastrophe. The roll of '5' causes no problems for the depth and the finally a '3'! We evade!
Unfortunately, since we did not damage the Capital Ship, we are unable to follow her and we can attempt to lick our wounds - rolling to see whether we can repair some of the damages or if they will be inoperable for the remainder of the patrol.

The Hunters - The hunting begins (Type IXA, Part 2)

The Type IXA has an impressive Torpedo Load of 22. Of those, 12 are designated to be G7a (steam) torpedoes and 10 are designated to be G7e (electric) torpedoes. However, as noted just below, that mix may be adjusted by 4. Therefore, I will equip (16) G7a steam torpedoes and (6) G7e electric torpedoes. I have also opted for the historical option, pre-loading only steam torpedoes into the tubes upon leaving port (the electric torpedoes required more maintenance and would not be pre-loaded).

We are now ready to set course for the British Isles!

The first Transit box roll is a '7' - no aircraft in sight.
The second Transit box roll is another '7' and again we have clear seas and clear skies.

"CONTACT!!! Bearing 3-3-6!"


Possible ship with escort. (Rolled a '6' on the British Isles table for patrol box three - 'British Isles')

"Take us to periscope depth."

Hmm... Looks like a large freighter. The Berganger (T2-83), perhaps. She's a modest 6,800t. You've got to start somewhere.

With the cover of night (rolled a '5'), we shall commence our attack from the surface at medium range.

"Flood tubes 1 and 3."

Plotting a solution...


Both torpedoes have struck the Berganger! (Note the '8' hits due to the -1 DRM for Night Surface Torpedo)
Turns out one is a dud... And the one that did hit only caused one damage (rolled a '5' on the damage chart). 
"Damned torpedoes!"

Her escort has not detected us (rolled a '6' on Escort Detection Chart [E2]).

"Reload tubes 1 and 3!" (Reload with steam torpedoes)
We will follow the damaged vessel and attack again under the cloak of night. 

"Sir, it appears the escort has abandoned the damaged ship!" (Rolled a '5')

"Bring us to the surface! We will finish her off with the deck gun." 
{Night; close range; surface attack vs. an unescorted target}

Two salvos of 10.5cm rounds are fired at the damaged ship. Two hits!
An unmodified '6' and '2' are rolled for damage, but become a '5' and '1' for the 105mm. Three more points of damage! (Only two were required)

The 6,800t Berganger has been sunk! A fine start for our young Kmdt. Lehmann.

The Hunters - The hunting begins (Type IXA, Part 1)

"Hostilities with England effective immediately."
the time is: 1256 hours, 3 September 1939

The Hunters (German U-Boats at War, 1939-43) is a solitaire tactical level game placing you in command of a German U-boat during WWII. Your mission is to destroy as much Allied Shipping and as many Capital ships as possible while advancing your crew quality and increasing your commander rank culminating in special decoration ‒ all while remembering you have to make it home.

The game, designed by Gregory M. Smith, is published by Consim Press and was recently released via P-500 by GMT Games. It saw a remarkable amount of pre-orders and I decided to jump aboard. I've been reading the rules via PDF posted to the Consim Press downloads website for the game -

There are also some great video tutorials by John Kranz on Screencast -

Between reading the rules on a couple recent flights and watching the videos, I feel I have a pretty good grasp on the game play without even opening the box (still waiting on delivery anyway at the time of writing this). But the Vassal Module is already out and I want to see how well I'm grasping things. So that's the next item to download (also available at the ConsimPress website - they really make it easy for you!).

Among other things available on the download site is a Kommandant name generator to help you begin - if you want a little more detail for you AARs and aren't necessarily the most creative or up to snuff on your German.

So here we are, September 1939...

I've selected the Type IXA U-boat (it has a pretty hefty payload!) and using the Kommandant naming generator, I am sailing as Kapit√§nleutnant Reiner Lehmann. My trained crew are ready to embark.

A die roll of 8 (2+6) sends us to the shipping lanes of the British Isles. As there is not an (M) after the 8's British Isles, this will be a standard mission. Had a 9 been rolled, I would be performing a mine laying mission. But alas, we are on a seek and destroy mission requiring that we sink at least one Allied vessel to be considered a Success. 

Before leaving port, I will need to refit my U-boat with torpedoes and deck gun ammo (notice the 10.5 cm on this bad boy!). Fortunately, we will not be heading through the Bay of Biscay just yet - not until July 1940 - unless of course we are assigned to the Mediterranean in the near future... assuming we make it back ;)