You wouldn’t guess it from looking at him, but Roman, my Chief Foxer Setter, is something of a ludological pioneer. His parents were strict Bethelites, and growing up he wasn’t allowed to watch TV, read comics, or listen to pop music. Dice were forbidden, as were playing cards. Denied chance-spiced diversions like Monopoly, Mouse Trap, Newmarket, and D&D, he and his siblings began devising their own alternatives on the sly. They were ‘slow gaming’ and using ERNG* decades before the terms entered common parlance.
* Environmental Random Number Generation
Not all of their entertainments were homemade.
Roman has vivid memories of sitting on the wall at the bottom of his garden playing Car Cricket with Cheryl, his older sister. Some of these carbon monoxide-steeped test matches went on for days.
Mostly though, they forged their own fun. Lord of the Ring Pulls was a fantasy RPG played on local pavements and footpaths. Litter drove much of the action. Bottles and cans represented various monsters, sweet and snack wrappers loot and environmental hazards. Roman still mutters “Courage -1” every time he sees a discarded Quavers packet, and finds it hard to stifle a fist-pump when he spots a dropped 7-Up can.
Last Saturday, his tongue loosened by several pints of chilled Tom Tumper, THC’s indispensable foxer fashioner introduced me to Das Football Boot, a game he devised in the summer of 1983. Inspired by a playground copy of Lothar-Günther Buchheim’s famous novel, DFB is a leisurely WW2 U-boat sim in which real-world football matches act as dice, and the phrase “His number came up” is more than just a figure of speech.
It sounds a bit doolally, but having listened to my colleague talk about the fun he had back in the day, trying (and failing) to top Otto Kretschmer’s 47-ship war record, I knew I had to try soccer-powered convoy clobbering for myself.
Now Roman has tweaked the rules slightly to reflect recent changes in the world’s most popular sport (the number of substitutes your side uses during a match is significant in DFB), and I’ve picked the club on which my nautical narrative will be based (Swindon Town), I’m ready to start my first patrol.
I’ll be including news of U-52’s escapades in future A2Zs, and posting my pre-match Caution settings in comments under this article so my triumphs and tragedies can be independently verified.
If anyone fancies joining me in the the North Atlantic, be my guest. You don’t need to be a football fanatic or expert to captain a DFB Type VII – I’m neither. Simply follow the instructions below, and apply a bit of commonsense vis-à-vis Caution – the game’s solitary tactics lever – and you’ve as great a chance of glory as the next depth charge dodger.
Anyone who wants to be in with a shout of winning an end of season award (Highest Career Tonnage, Longest Career, Most Destructive Patrol…) will need to post their Caution settings before matches so that their patrol records can be checked next summer. Fail to post a Caution number before kick-off, and the one set for the previous match will be used automatically.
* * *
First off you need to select a real-world football club, ideally one near the start of its season, to act as your dice roller. To ensure theme-appropriate difficulty, this side must not be in the top six of its division when you select it.
The smaller the division, the more chance you’ll survive the season, the less chance you’ll break tonnage records. As the success of your Type VII will be closely linked to the fortunes of your chosen club, obviously it pays to pick a club with good prospects if you can.
Your Type VII’s identification number is a “U-” followed by your age (For reasons that will become clear, DFB is only suitable for players aged between 6 and 85)
Your submarine departs its base with 14 torpedoes and 36 ‘fuel’ aboard. To discover your first Patrol Area (PA) find the name of the last first-team player to score for your club and count the number of letters in his or her surname. If the scorer in question has a double-barrelled or two part surname, use the second half of the name only to establish your PA. The number of the PA indicates how much fuel is required to reach it.
Before your club plays its next domestic league match (cup games, friendlies, and play-offs are ignored by DFB) consider the opposition, and set an appropriate Caution level. Until you reach your Patrol Area, your Caution setting must be either 2 or 3.
Caution cancels out goals, and, in DFB, goals represent both your torpedoes and Allied depth charges. For instance, a Caution setting of ‘1’ would turn a 2-2 scoreline into 1-1, and a Caution setting of ‘3’ (the maximum possible) would transform 5-1 into 2-0 (scores can’t be negative). Don’t fancy your side’s chances in the next match? Consider setting a high Caution level such as 3 to minimise potential risk. Of course, if your team finishes up winning 4-0, the result will become 1-0, and you’ll kick yourself for being lily-livered.
When Saturday comes
Once the match has been played, you use the Caution-modified score to ascertain whether you’ve sunk any ships or suffered any damage.
If Caution was set at 0, every goal your team scored equates to a sunk ship. Simply take the minute each goal was scored, add two zeros to the end of it, and you have your haul. Let’s say your side netted in minutes 37, 45, 48, and 90+2. You would add ships of 3700, 4500, 4800 and 9000* tons to your tally.
* Goals in injury time are always recorded as either 4500 or 9000 ton ships.
Things are a little more complicated when Caution has modified a scoreline. When determining the ships sunk during, for example, a 3-1 win turned into a 2-0 win by a Caution setting of 1, you’d ignore your side’s first goal, and use the second and third as ship definers. Say those three goals had been scored in minutes 8, 42, and 45+1 – your two victims would weigh in at 4200 and a 4500 tons respectively.
Depth charges in the water!
Okay, now you’re ready to check for depth charge hits. When Caution is 0, all enemy goals are potential hull splitters. If you see a number that’s identical to, or within one of, your sub’s identification number on the opposition’s scoresheet*, hard luck, it’s curtains for you and your crew. Ash cans that explode more than one but less than six ‘minutes’ away from your sub’s number, damage your Type VII, assuming it’s not already damaged, in which case they’re lethal.
* Goals in injury time are always treated as either 45 or 90.
The maximum Caution that can be used by the captain of a damaged sub is 2.
When Caution has modified a scoreline, it’s necessary to ascertain which of your opponent’s goals imperil and which don’t. You do this by cancelling-out goals chronologically when your club is playing at home, and reverse-chronologically when they are playing away. See above for an example.
DFB doesn’t much care whether a depth charge or shell is delivered by an aircraft or a warship, but study the badge of the club that struck the fatal blow, and all will be revealed. If you were sent to Davy Jones’s by a side with a winged creature, or a star, moon, or sun on their crest then you were slain by one of Coastal Command’s aerial assassins.
Recording kills and checking for depth charge damage aren’t the only post-match tasks in DFB. Before you start thinking about adjusting your Caution level in readiness for your next fixture, a bit of bookkeeping is required.
Every ship you sent to the bottom during the match costs you one torpedo unless it was under 1000 tons or it was dispatched with a penalty kick in which case it counts as a ‘free’ deck gun kill.
To check whether you expended any additional eels due to misses, duds, and double hits, subtract your Caution level from the number of yellow cards your team received during the match, and, if the total is positive, subtract it from your torp tally.
Next, find out how many substitutes your team used during the match, and reduce your fuel total by that number. As fuel doubles as distance in DFB, by comparing your current fuel level to a ‘full tank’ (36), you can work out whether you’ve reached your assigned Patrol Area yet. The status of a sub that has covered the requisite distance to its PA (the voyage may take several turns) changes from ‘outbound’ to ‘patrolling’ before the next match. Assuming a ‘patrolling’ U-boat isn’t damaged, it is free to use the full range of Caution levels: 0 to 3.
This is probably the right moment to mention milk cows. While your sub is ‘patrolling’, hat-tricks scored by your side’s players completely replenish your fuel tank and stock of torpedoes.
Kiel or be killed
No DFB skipper would dream of quitting their patrol area and heading for home unless…
a) Their Type VII was damaged.
b) Their torpedo count was 3 or fewer.
c) Their fuel total* was equal or less than their Patrol Area + 5.
* Run out of fuel before reaching base, and it’s GAME OVER.
When and only when you find yourself in one or more of these states at the end of turn, are you free to change your sub status to ‘inbound’. The same Caution restrictions that apply when travelling to the PA, apply when heading back to base (Only Caution levels 2 or 3 can be employed).
Reach your base by burning the requisite quantity of fuel (your PA number), and the next match is devoted to rest, replenishment, and repair. In effect, you must sit on your hands for one fixture. Once this enforced combat-free break is over, it’s back to business. Before the next match, determine your next Patrol Area in the prescribed manner (Find the last player to score for your club and count the number of letters in his or her surname) and decide on a Caution level.
Roman says there are various ways to ‘win’ Das Football Boot. Surviving until the end of the season is no mean feat, even if you choose a club in one of the smaller divisions as your fate fount. Stay alive and sink more steel than the Kriegsmarine’s ‘Tonnage King’, and my Chief Foxer Setter will be seriously impressed!
* * *
In a nutshell
To start a game, choose a football club not in the top six of its division, use your age as your U-boat’s identification number, determine your first Patrol Area using the name of your team’s last scorer, and choose a Caution level (2 or 3 as you are ‘outbound’) for your first match.
After every match, using the result, work out if you’ve sunk anything, then ascertain whether you suffered any damage in the process. Amend your torpedo and fuel totals with the help of yellow card and substitute counts. Finally make changes to sub status (U-boats can be outbound, patrolling, inbound, or repairing and replenishing), and choose a Caution level for your next fixture.
Happy hunting, fellow Sea Wolverhampton Wanderers!
* * *
— LEADERBOARD —
Captaincabinets, the skipper of U-37 (Brescia Calcio), is using a Google Sheets spreadsheet to keep track of the DFB U-boats.
Captains are welcome to update his leaderboard and create and curate log sheets dedicated to their own vessels. To create your own U-boat log just right-click on one of the existing tabs (U-37, U-34 etc) and “Duplicate”. Then right-click on the copy and click “Rename”. Now go in and change the details on the sheet. Colours can be customised by clicking anywhere inside the table, then going to Format > Alternating Colours. Saving is automatic.
Thanks to Whistler, the table comes with a handy rules summary too.
— EXPERIENCE —
I wasn’t planning to tweak DFB’s rules mid-season, but Roman has persuaded me to make a small undisruptive modification. From here-on (October 7) U-boats will sport experience levels reflecting the number of patrols they have completed. Each experience level negates one yellow card awarded to a player who is later substituted (The yellow cards of players still on the pitch at the final whistle are experience-proof.). In other words, the longer a sub survives, the less likely it is to squander precious eels.
Example. On your second patrol (Experience = 1), you go into a match with caution set to 1, and emerge with three yellow cards. One card is automatically neutralised by your Caution setting and because one of your carded players was later substituted, your Experience also neutralises a card. Result? You only ‘waste’ one eel.
U-52 (Swindon Town) will be setting off for Patrol Area 7 tomorrow, with a Caution level of 2. Wish me luck!
Are there two minor errors in the instructions, TIm?
“Goals in injury time are always recorded as either 4500 or 9000 ships.”
Should that be 9000 *ton* ships?
“When determining the ships sunk during, for example, a 3-1 win turned into a 2-1 win by a Caution setting of 1…”
Should that be a 3-1 turned to a 2-0, or a 3-2 turned to a 2-1?
Well spotted. Text corrected!
Go on then sounds fun:
U-36 (Chelsea Football Club) will be setting off for patrol area 5 tomorrow, with a caution level of 2.
Last match would have been difficult for me…
Repeating my question from last week Tim, what happened to the mugs?
Apologies for the delays. I ordered a small run of Friday Foxer mugs earlier this week. There will be purchasing information in next week’s A2Z.
No trouble, was worried I had missed a call to pay!
AAR 1 misfire, 4 travelled, nothing sunk.
U-36 (cfc) is outbound 1 away to Southampton on a caution of 2.
The U-50 had some happy hunting!
At the final stage of U-36’s outbound leg we are caught by an unexpectedly well drilled escort. Outclassed we have to lie low and luckily escape without further incident and the expenditure of 4 fuel.
Now on patrol, at home to West Ham caution 1.
Starting its patrol for real after a fruitless run out to sea U-36 gets its first kill a lost freighter that had fallen behind its escorts at a chunky 8800 tons. Boyed by that good news we will hunt tomorrow (Fulham away) at caution 0.
The first inkling that something was amiss back home was when a bizarre radio message ordered the crew of U-36 to fire the skipper out of one of his own torpedo tubes. When the new captain was picked up from a Rettungsboje at agreed coordinates he brought even direr news, the Reichskanzler had been replaced! The ensuing chaos, and rumors of peace talks, kept U-36 from hunting for several weeks, but when it became clear that the war was still on we resumed patrol.
Engaging with a convoy in patrol zone palace we picked up two juicy targets, however the eagerness of the lads to get back at it, combined with lack of firing practice meant that three torpedoes were fired wide.
Current status – torpedoes 4; fuel 23; total tonnage sunk 21,600. A home patrol area next (Wolves) we will engage at caution 0 but highly likely have to return home to rearm after that due to our trigger happy approach.
U-36 is now heading 5 for home at caution 3 having run out of ammunition. 15 fuel remaining. 40,400 tonnes sunk this patrol.
Managed to nearly double our haul on our final jaunt against Palace, with three vessels of 45, 54 & 89 hundred tonnes sunk, with no escort inbound fire to worry about.
If we head back out to sea again our newfound experience will hopefully help mitigate our sketchy trigger discipline…
Just spotted the google doc so will add u36 on.
Two match update:
U36’s return to home port took us through the target rich environment of Villa where we could have no doubt added to our kill count if only our ammo stocks allowed. Instead we made good time and got home in one day.
Due to our poor fire discipline part of our rest period was spent practicing with the captured target HMS Brentford. We hit nothing. Skipper unhappy.
Back to sea to Patrol Zone Mount. We will head there via the stomping ground of a formally feared hunter. Caution 2.
U-35 Heads out to its new patrol area (PA MOUNT).
A frustrating duel with an ageing escort wastes just enough time to stop us reaching it in one turn. We will try again next week against Brighton Caution 2. Outbound 1 left.
The less said about that engagement against Brighton the better…
Still we are now on patrol against Arsenal with no torpedos fired, caution 2.
U-30 (Derby County) setting off for patrol area 5, with caution level 2
AAR: Due do doctrinal caution settings out of patrol areas, U-30 dove at the first sign of trouble and did not even try to engage any enemies.
Patrol area is almost reached, two to go before caution level will be decreased. For now it stays at 2.
U-30 spotted an enemy convoy, but decided to play it safe. No torpedoes fired. One enemy ship launched a depth charge, but it was far ways off, probably more of a warning shot than anything else.
Either way, U-30 arrived at the patrol area and will throw caution to the wind (but not completely) and dial the caution level down to 1.
Congratulations on your safe passage to PA-5.
A quick rules clarification (maybe Roman can let me know if I’ve interpreted this correctly or not). I think that on a turn that you reach the patrol area (or get back to base), all fuel spent is counted, regardless of whether you only needed some of it to reach the patrol area? So in your case, you only needed 2 more fuel to get to PA-5, but had four substitutions, so your fuel drops down to 29 from 33.
That’s the way I’ve been playing it, anyway. I’m open to debate and/or correction!
I double checked and I think now the fuel should be correct.
Schnapps for all!
U30 finaly had its first kills. And what fat beauties they are: one of 7200 tons and one of 8600 tons.
This of course does not lead to a raise in caution levels, the U30 thrundles ever forward!
A radio message from Admiralty informed the U-50’s captain of your recent success. He broadcast it to the whole crew and received in response many requests to share their hearty congratulations.
Tim I’ll be joining you on the way to Patrol Area 7 in U-49 (Bristol City), with what seems to be the standard caution level 2. Good hunting!
U-50 (Liverpool) – Undamaged – Fuel 36 – Torpedos 14 – outbound – 0 tons sunk
U-50 sneakily takes advantage of unexpected delays leaving the harbour (erm, bottom of the table) and cautiously (2) heads off to Patrol Area Salah (erm, 5).
Incidentally the rules feel they penalise people aged 39 to 51, as they are exposed to depth charges for anything up to eight minutes longer than those younger or older, and don’t even get additional tonnage from successful attacks in those extra minutes.
Coastal Forces Channel Cup Competition
MGB-50 (Liverpool) – 0/0 H/L damage – 0 torpedoes used – 0 patrol sightings – 0 tons sunk
MGB-50 will be representing His Majesty’s Coastal Forces in the Channel, as scored by the Cup Competitions.
Caution: Free rein in the darkness (0-3 for mid-week kick-offs) but daylight raids (any weekend game) require minimum caution of 2
Scoring Sunk ships:
– if the number of team substitutions is odd, the scoring is as per U-boats for up to two goals (in reverse chronological order), where ships are sunk with torpedoes; any further goals count as light targets (see below)
– if the number of team substitutions is even (including 0) then only light targets were attacked; all scoring is based on ‘goal minute’ plus ’00’, then divided by 5. So a 4th minute goal is worth 80 tons, and an 82nd minute goal worth just 1640
Scoring damage received:
– if the number of team substitutions is odd, the scoring is as per U-boats, it’s heavy damage and 2 damage sinks you
– if the number of team substitutions is even, the scoring is as per U-boats but damage is light; 4 damage sinks you. 2 retained light damage counts as one heavy damage on subsequent missions.
Repairs and refits: Light damage can be repaired at the rate of one damage in-between each match. Heavy damage requires a full refit, forcing you to miss the next game. This means a lightly damaged vessel can still go on raids and patrols (at greater risk), or a refit can be scheduled instead.
Fuel and ammunition are deemed fully replenished on return to base (after each match). However, enemy activity increases in a sector following too many successful attacks, so after ten torpedoes have been used, or too many patrol sightings have occurred (i.e. accumulated substitutions is over 40), the boat will be relocated to another base. This will take a game to complete, during which the boat is considered unarmed (but can still take damage in transit; proceed with great caution!)
The war continues until the season is over, but a boat with no remaining cup games will be decommissioned and sold for scrap, used for target practice, sold to an ally, grounded, paid off or otherwise put out of action for the remainder of the war.
Ha! Liverpool was what I immediately thought of too when I started reading the rules. I suspect U-50 is going to be king of the brine before long.
“Incidentally the rules feel they penalise people aged 39 to 51, as they are exposed to depth charges for anything up to eight minutes longer than those younger or older”
People aged 40 to 50 are indeed at a slight disadvantage. When Roman created FSB he didn’t think anyone that ancient would ever play it! To get around this, anyone in this range is welcome to lie about their age.
Great suggestions. I love the idea of an up-realismed FSB, but would like to see how this season goes before complicating things.
Injury time goals conceded don’t count as hits, but can use up caution points?
Something like that would be the fairest way of handling it. Can have a fluff cover of the sub slipping away from the escorts and getting a few free shots at the sheep.
You would be particularly vulnerable in the 44-46 range as your lethal hits period has been doubled or trebled…
One rules question on torpedo usage, you only count kills and cards right? So no torpedos are expended on caution saved goals?
Rules lawyer questions on cards “number of yellow cards” does a red card count as a torp? Does a second yellow that converts to a red?
“Injury time goals conceded don’t count as hits, but can use up caution points?”
Roman is reluctant to tweak rules now the game is underway, but will contemplate this change for 2023/24 DFB.
“One rules question on torpedo usage, you only count kills and cards right? So no torpedos are expended on caution saved goals?”
Correct. And yellow cards are modified by Caution too. So in a 3-0 win turned into a 2-0 win by a Caution setting of 1, you’d expend three torpedoes (2+1y) if you receive two yellow cards.
“Rules lawyer questions on cards “number of yellow cards” does a red card count as a torp? Does a second yellow that converts to a red?”
Straight reds have no significance in DFB right now. If your side loses a player to two cautions, both of those cautions (yellow cards) count for torpedo purposes.
U-50 (Liverpool) – Undamaged – Fuel 31 – Torpedos 7 – patrolling – 37600 tons sunk
A surprise start to the war for U-50, as she bumps into an Atlantic convoy gathering in wait for its escort. An escort that’s going to wonder where their charges are, as seven of them sit upon the seabed. The only thing that slowed down the successful sinkings was the need to reload the tubes, too many targets to hit them all at once.
Despite this desirable delay the U-50 has made good time and is now patrolling the designated area. Mild caution only (1) is being taken as the crew are still hungover from celebrating their early success.
Onkel Karl sends his hearty congratulations. What a fantastic start!
U-50 (Liverpool) – Undamaged – Fuel 28 – Torpedoes 6 – Patrolling – 46600 tons sunk
Caution proved necessary as the U-50 encountered a Royal Navy patrol led by a a light cruiser. The accompanying destroyer escort did at one point ping the valiant sub but its competent depth charge pattern killed only fish.
A single torpedo did for the cruiser, and the U-50 slunk quietly into the night celebrating its survival.
(Still caution 1)
U-50 (Liverpool) – Undamaged – Fuel 23 – Torpedoes 5 – Patrolling – Caution 1 – 46600 tons sunk
Moments of excitement and dread as sonar reports a contact, a large one. As the crew silently prepares for combat the U-50 proceeds at flank speed on the surface, adjusting course only slightly when a plume of smoke was spotted on the horizon.
From which ship that smoke came remains unclear as it passed swiftly across the bows, too fast to close within spotting distance let alone the range of even a hopeful G7e.
The crew were set down from action stations, although the loss of fuel expended in the chase hasn’t helped morale. The patrol continues.
Following the wargames in the Bay of Naples the U-50 had a fortuitous escape from HMS Ajax, during which sadly the engine broke.
Repairs are feared likely to take another couple of weeks, so it’s lucky that the becalmed boat is clear of normal convoy routes and outside the range of land based aircraft.
Caution remains, even as the crew enjoy the unseasonable weather and spend their time when not on watch playing volleyball on the aft deck.
(In related news, Liverpool have just one league game in the whole of September!)
U-50 (Liverpool) – Undamaged – Fuel 18 – Torpedoes 3 – Inbound – Caution 2 – 58300 tons sunk
Engine repairs complete the U-50 slunk silently sub-surface and resumed patrol. A convoy offered rich pickings so the captain used the gloom of night to overtake and lie in wait, ready to unleash carnage at dawn.
Sadly the convoy changed course shortly before dawn, a wise choice by them that took the biggest prizes out of a reasonable firing range. Even worse, the corvettes Brighton and Hove seemed to detect something and came perilously close to the U-50, depth charging nearby.
Swift evasion and a careful stalk did allow shots at a cargo vessel (later found to be 5400 tons) and 6300 tons of tanker. Angered by the loss of their convoy members the escorts then forced the U-50 to dive deep, fortunately too deep for the depth charges from the destroyer Albion to do any material damage, although the chef is distraught about the loss of his favourite mug.
Safely escaping the area the U-50 is now heading back to base to refuel and re-arm. Keen to arrive safely a caution level of 2 has been adopted.
U-50 (Liverpool) – Undamaged – Fuel 36 – Torpedoes 14 – R&R – Caution 2 – 58300 tons sunk
A close encounter with some English gunboats (type unclear but they were full of Gunners) caused some additional laundry, particularly when the machine gun fire that had forced a crash dive was followed by several patterns of depth charges.
Fortunately only dignity was lost, and the boat made its way into the safety of Brest harbour. A couple of weeks to resupply gives the crew a chance to catch all manner of French diseases while most of the officers are already on the train to Paris.
U-50 (Liverpool) – Undamaged – Fuel 36 – Torpedoes 14 – Outbound (PA-5) – Caution 2 – 58300 tons sunk
Well, Paris was a damp squib. Maybe it’s better when there isn’t a war on, but the steady autumn rain and morose French hotel staff made us glad to head back to the boat.
Not so glad to get onto it, especially when we found Spiermann had picked up something from the local French ladies. He’s been sent home for treatment with a reprimand; let’s hope his replacement is more sensible.
We’ll find out soon enough, 80m below the waves, hearing a destroyer’s engines passing overhead. You get to know your crew at those times.
At least they’re in good spirits. Someone organised a football match with the Wermacht troops guarding the port and although things got heated the crew walked away victorious. We’ll be long gone before the Hauptmann finds out what’s been done to his car too..
U-50 (Liverpool) – Undamaged – Fuel 31 – Torpedoes 14 – Patrolling (PA-5) – Caution 0 – 58300 tons sunk
Quite an uneventful voyage back out to the designated patrol area with just a glimpse of a target West of Ham. Applying sensible levels of caution the captain of U-50 opted not to waste a torpedo in heavy seas and instead completed the journey quicker than expected.
Patrolling has begun and fierce rivalry with other crews reporting their own successes has reduced caution to perhaps reckless levels.
U-50 (Liverpool) – damaged – Fuel 28 – Torpedoes 13 – Inbound (5) – Caution 2 – 58300 tons sunk
Disaster as the U-50 is caught on the surface by a Royal Navy patrol. A hastily launched torpedo had no chance of hitting the destroyer but did force it to turn sharply, which may be the only reason the U-50 survived.
The crash dive didn’t avoid all of the depth charges but did enough to avoid the dive never ending.
Eventually escaping the patrol the U-50 is now limping cautiously home for repairs.
U-50 (Liverpool) – damaged – Fuel 25 – Torpedoes 13 – Inbound (2) – Caution 2 – 58300 tons sunk
The sort of encounter the high morale crew of a sturdy serviceable Uboat begs for.
Sadly the U-50 is not very sturdy at the moment and with limited ability to submerge due to damage it’s not terribly serviceable. Crew morale can only take you so far, and the current crew morale won’t be carrying much.
This may be why a big fat troop ship out of Immingham (look, it’s near Leeds. Sort of) is still wallowing its way towards Gibraltar rather than causing a shipping hazard near France.
Too visible, too slow and too easily attacked by a rapidly summoned coastal air patrol it’s fortunate the U-50 hasn’t become a static shipping hazard of its own. Quite how the bombs failed to sink the boat may be the spark that leads the crew to recover its morale.
Getting back to Brest will surely help with that; a nice long rest while the boat is repaired. Almost there.
U-50 (Liverpool) – Undamaged – Fuel 36 – Torpedoes 14 – Repairing – Caution 2 – 58300 tons sunk
It doesn’t really matter how noisy your damage makes you under the water if nobody can attack you there anyway. Quite why the minesweepers Tottenham and Hotspur were so far from their own coast isn’t clear but after raking the bridge of the Tottenham with the 22mm a crash dive left them angrily shelling the surface of the sea and doing absolutely no damage at all.
No further encounters prevented the eventual safe arrival back in port, where some much needed repairs will be taking place while the crew catch up on sleep – gaunt faces show the stress of sailing with that much damage, so it could be a day or two before the local bars get their payday.
U-50 (Liverpool) – Undamaged – Fuel 36 – Torpedoes 14 – Outbound (PA-5) – Caution 2 – 58300 tons sunk
“We’re not sure how you got that back to port” might have been a compliment, or may possibly have been pre-emptive excuses for not completing the repairs on time. We took it as a compliment, thanked the repair team for their hard work and took a bonus six week break.
The lads were grumbling, just two days longer and they could’ve enjoyed Christmas with their families but a letter from Dönitz – hand written no less! – both made them feel appreciated and emphasised the need to get back out there.
Christmas Day will thus be spent at sea, and I imagine it’ll be a quiet one – the party the night before we depart is going to need a couple of days to sleep off. As long as the crew apply necessary caution (2) until we’re out of range of the British aircraft that will be just fine.
U-50 (Liverpool) – Undamaged – Fuel 32 – Torpedoes 14 – Outbound (PA-5) – Caution 2 – 58300 tons sunk
Heavily relaxed and finally sober the crew of the U-50 are back in the fray. Heiligabend saw a number of silly hats introduced to the boat, which now has a new standing order that they must be worn to all breakfasts until this patrol is complete.
That meant some comedy headwear was involved in a brief affray with a British destroyer. We saw it first, and were under the surface before the first of its shells arrived, and long gone before the depth charges hit the water.
We got our revenge by ambushing a pair of British fishing boats. They were allowed to sail home, but fresh fish and a new radio set are keeping the crew happy as we progress towards Patrol Area 5.
U-50 (Liverpool) – Undamaged – Fuel 28 – Torpedoes 14 – Patrolling (PA-5) – Caution 1 – 58300 tons sunk
The crew appear to be too heavily relaxed, getting caught by multiple surface attacks that were spotted only just in time to avoid serious damage. Maybe worse.
The boat survived undamaged but morale hasn’t. This terrible start to the new year has left emotions high and nerves very tense. The crew are worried, and the officers doing little to help.
Removing some caution and forcing the boat into action may do the trick. Time to show some aggression, put the Limeys on the back foot.
U-50 (Liverpool) – Sunk
Too weary, jaded from the long patrols? Too stressed, the continual pressures of a war not going as promised? Too angry, frustrated by perceived failure, months without sinking anything?
Whatever the cause, a torpedo missing without the target even evading left the convoy’s escorts eagerly tracing back along its path, their Asdic pinging mercilessly off the hull as the U-50 dove for the thermocline.
She made it, then kept going, a headlong plunge well past crush depth to the ocean floor.
The Admiralty report tells us HMS Hove claimed the kill but we’ll never know for sure. A transmission beacon told us of the attack but the position didn’t match that in the Admiralty report, so U-50 and her crew will remain lost, if not forgotten.
A very sad day for the Ubootwaffe. U-50 will be remembered in this week’s A2Z.
This kind of zany game is right up my alley. It took a while to find match reports with who scored and when for Combined Counties League Division South, but U-34 (Guildford City) is outbound to Patrol Area 5 with Caution 2. Hopefully reports are steady and there are no issues with comms.
U-34 Guildford City passed an *garbled* convoy *hiss* undetected – and she didn’t detect much herself. Halfway to Patrol Area, Caution remains at 2. *Crackling* signal unreliable. Reports *garbled* detail, so if you hear from *incomprehensible* we’re OK.
U-34 (Guildford City) saw its first action. A hapless cruiser escorting what may have been lost sheep was allowed to escape but the prizes were not. Despite our caution, both the 5200 and 7600 tonners were sunk.
Now at PA. There is a feeling that a sturdier convoy is nearby. If, however, its protectors are cut from the same cloth as what we just met, all crew are due new underpants. Itching for glory, we set Caution to 1.
ooh, nicely done
The seas stood still following the news of the passing of the Queen. The mood on board is solemn, and by way of its absence it appears convoy traffic feels likewise. Instruments picked up naught. Somewhere, a whale sings a dirge.
At conclusion of Non-random Scheduled Historical Event, resuming patrol at Caution 2.
The good news is we have contact with U-34 Guildford City. It’s a good thing the boys were cautious. While the information is incomplete, we can be sure they’ve received a walloping. Though damage to the ship can’t yet be ruled out, we do know they are alive. Aerial confirms U-34 did not sink anything in it’s perilous encounter. Worse, it is feared that, in a state of panic, the crew proceeds at Caution 0. They are expected to come upon another convoy still today.
Wish them luck.
I think you’re safe and unharmed! According to to the match report (https://guildfordcityfc.co.uk/report-guildford-city-2-tadley-calleva-4/2022/) the depth charges that got through were at 19′ and 77′, well clear of U-34.
Intelligence sharing with the Italians has confirmed that U-34 Guildford City is unharmed. We’ve since also heard from the crew directly. I’m afraid their lack of caution reaps a reprimand rather than a ribbon. All shots missed a plump convoy which even dropped a depth charge nearer than any of their opposition yet.
With stern opposition approaching and performance pressure mounting, U-34 proceeds with Caution 2.
As ever, a scolding is followed by a stand-out performance. A textbook example in how to evade all hits with caution and score a hit to boot. A 6500 ton vessel brings our total to three ships and 19300 tons sunk.
With 9 torps and 17 fuel left, emboldened U-34 proceeds at Caution 0.
Another ship sunk for U-34 Guildford City, bringing our tonnage to 25 500. The mood is sullen, however, rather than celebratory. A hit has taken out the auxiliary battery. To go on would be foolish. We’re returning to base.
U-34 Inbound, damaged, 8 torps and 13 fuel. Caution 2.
U-34 proceeds steadily toward base. PT Boat Knaphill gave chase but was avoided handily. Crew minds are now on birdsong and daylight. Expect to reach destination in 48 hours.
U-34 Inbound, damaged, 7 torps and 9 fuel. Caution 2.
Passing Farnham Town, U-34 was caught surface running with hatch open. Coastal artillery had our dented tin can ringing, but not a hit was taken.
U-34 now at base.
Reinvigorated by a dream of victory in battle, the captain gives an impassioned speech to the crew as they head out to PA-6. Caution 3, don’t nobody wanna get got just yet.
It’s been a long journey and it ain’t over yet. Just a step away from PA-6, U-34 stirred the waters around Colliers Wood. Cautious to a fault, the crew merely shined their torps, salivating.
Caution 2, coming up on Banstead and, beyond that, hunting ground.
U-34 has reached PA-6. Time has passed awful slow on this last, uneventful leg. With 14 torpedoes and 29 fuel, it’s time to make waves. Caution 0.
U-34 is hit. What looked like easy targets proved once again that the underestimated have the upper hand.
What shall we do then? Limp back to base having gained no more glory? Nuts. Come what may, we proceed at Caution 0.
The reign of aphorisms continues as U34 prove with their latest report that fortune favors the bold. Two ships sunk, 1300 and 8700 tons, bringing total tonnage to 35 500 from six ships.
We detected the first prey on sonar early. Then all fell silent. No pings, no depth charges. After an hour of waiting, curiosity got the best of us. We surfaced in thick fog. Briefly we wondered if a cloud had not descended upon us – or had our souls rather ascended on high and been left to find the gate.
Before diving, the captain ordered an inspection of the deck gun to give some purpose to our surfacing. As the team approached the gun, everyone saw it. A light flashed not far, perhaps only 300 yards away. Looks were enough to communicate the plan. Fire a round at it and dive.
The explosion of the vessel illuminated it well enough. The men are still relating tales of it, taller with each telling.
U-34 has drifted a little too far to the north it seems. Twice now, instead of a convoy, we’ve found ourselves contesting a sheet of ice overhead.
U-34 has had the encounter of its service time. Enemy torpedoes, depth charges, blasts rocking the ship on every side, all the while our amazing crew, under fire, sunk three vessels. Our bounty totals 16 900 tons, and I expect every man to get a bonus of equal amount – though just what the unit is I can’t make any promises about.
With 52 400 tons sunk, 7 torps and 15 fuel remaining, our dented sardine can declares for a belated holiday. Inbound, caution 2.
U-34 nearly home. 5 torps and 10 fuel left. Inbound, Caution 3.
What’s that, sir? Hits? Goodness, no. I won’t tell the men you’re so eager to set records. They’re eager to go out again alright, but right now they’re just relieved to be back to port.
U-34 reporting to hot showers and plentiful meals. It’s a quick turnaround. We expect to set out again on the 18th.
What was to be a relatively short stop turned agonizingly long. A screw fell in the engine – don’t look at me, that’s what the engineer’s report said -, there’s been a pernicious malfunction in the cold storage system, and just now the bay doors are frozen shut. I fear the men may be getting far too comfortable on land.
(I’ve assumed that only played matches are counted, but might it be allowed in the future to count a postponed match while at base? I’ve lost count of how many times the pitch has been frozen…)
>> might it be allowed in the future to count a postponed match while at base?
Nice idea. Expect this change in Season 2.
U-35 Guildford city at PA 8. A prolonged stay shoreside has left our crew lacking discipline, and that is why reports of our uneventful encounters on the way here were never filed.
U-34, 14 torps, 26 fuel remaining, commences patrol. Caution 0. Have at ’em!
U-34 is inbound from PA 8.
Recent encounters put our crew in a frenzy. Encountering two convoys with no sleep in between, U-34 bagged 3200 and 7800 tonnes, and then 1400 and 5500 tonnes. Living dangerously, we are now at 70300 tonnes for the war.
Why no sleep? We’re hit. It came in the midst of the first encounter. It nearly did us in in one hit. It was all hands, and all spirits for a good while still after the leaks were contained. How we didn’t shy away from the second convoy I can’t quite begin to explain. Blind bloodlust? Zombie zeal? Near-death near-sightedness?
Fuel 16, torps 6. Damaged. Caution 2.
U-34 (Guildford City), outbound to PA-8. Once more to the outskirts. Not much appetite for engagement. Brushed two convoys so far, but skirted action. Skirts of port still fresh in mind, and doubtless also the close calls of our previous patrol. Passed by in flash, they did, the skirts. Then we celebrated our kill count with drinking games, but now we would rather forget. Flasbacks have left no one alone. The end of the war in sight, the attention of the crew is turning to a time after – that there should be one.
Oh, this is fun. The perfect day to come back to the Corner after some weeks AWOL.
Just in case we forgot that there were two sides in this war:
U-37 (Brescia Calcio) will be heading (ha!) off to Patrol Area 6 as soon as they’ve finished their coffees. Caution level 2.
Good luck all! I’m personally expecting to be riddled with more holes than a plate of penne.
Insane concept but I love it
U29 setting off for patrol area 5 with a caution of 2.
Should be higher many say (given stokes recent perfomance) but high command are prepared to Chuck the sink at it.
The seas are quiet… too quiet. Despite steaming ahead this round (using up 5 fuel in the process), there was no sign of those pesky Allied forces and not even a single torpedo was wasted.
Our captain has determined that this is a cause for optimism, rather than paranoia, and will remain at caution level 2 for now.
U-37 (Brescia Calcio) – 31 fuel, 14 torpedoes – 0 tonnage
Horror stories of U-50 and the havoc it has wreaked on the Axis forces have reached Italian ears. But rather than quiver in fear, i ragazzi have decided it’s time to try and settle the scores. After firing off a couple of practice rounds at a passing shadow, we’ve reached the patrol area and have dropped right down to caution level 0.
U-37 (Brescia Calcio) – Patrolling PA-6, Torps: 12, Fuel: 27, Undamaged
The international crew of U-50 wish to reassure our Italian allies that they have only targeted and sunk ships of the increasingly depleted Britisch Kriegsmarine und Handelsmarine.
(German is just so much better at military lingo)
Thank you to the crew of the U-50, and thanks to them also for coming and participating in last night’s war games in the Bay of Naples. Lucky we weren’t using live rounds, eh?
Happy hunting for i ragazzi this week, as they found a previously hidden switch next to the torpedo tubes marked “Burst Fire”. Sure, a couple of eels may have gone wayward, but they did bag 3 of
herhis majesty’s finest, including a 9000-tonne flagship. Only the most feeble of resistance was encountered, with a single depth charge easily evaded.
The patrol continues, with at caution level upgraded to 1 as a counterattack is likely.
With i ragazzi a touch hungover from celebrating last week’s successes, the young guardiamarina, Salvatore, is sent down to man the tubes singlehandedly. For a brief moment he has another 9000-ton beauty in his sights, but with his commanding officers all asleep and a desperate wish to get back to his rosy-cheeked fidanzata alive, he hesitates a little too long and the moment is lost. He fires a couple of rounds into a blank sea, just so he can claim that he saw some action, then heads off to bed himself.
The patrol continues, staying at caution level 1. 5 torps and 18 fuel left.
Chaos in the North Atlantic. Comandante Carlo is having his usual dream, in which he is forced to recite several cantos of Dante’s Inferno naked in front of his classmates, when suddenly his teacher turns and drags her manicured nails down the blackboard. He awakens with a start, only to discover it’s not just a dream: his crew are standing there in deathly silence, frozen by the horrible sound of a naval mine scraping all the way down their hull!
Somehow, grazie a Dio e tutti i santi, it does not go off. But there is no time to pull out the rosary beads and kiss their dog-eared icons, as the sea comes alarmingly alive with a whole school of depth charges.
Carlo closes his eyes, thinks of Rome, and takes charge of U-37 like he would his Fiat 500 Topolino through the winding streets back home. When he opens them again the sailors have him on their shoulders and they are in the clear, miraculously undamaged. And even better: Salvatore took advantage of the madness to have another go at the tubes, bagging a 9000-ton beauty in the process!
With the eel tank now empty and no way of defending themselves, i ragazzi turn back towards BETASOM at caution level 3.
U-37 Inbound, Undamaged, 0 torps, 14 fuel, +1 Ship sunk (9000 tons)
A surprising display of discipline and diligence from i ragazzi this week, as they encountered Cittadella but slipped quietly by without fuss. They are rewarded with the welcome sight of BETASOM just over the horizon, and R&R no more than a day away.
5 fuel spent, everything else unchanged. Caution level remains at 3.
It’s a fairly uneventful final stretch back to BETASOM, with watchful eyes skilfully evading a couple of small gunboats loitering just off the coast. The lid has barely peeled off their diesel-powered sardine tin by the time i ragazzi are sprinting out the back of the base, grumbling something about the U-60 crew snapping up all the best diseases.
(U-50, that should be)
After a quick whip round the local bars, billiard halls, bordellos, and A&Es we manage to find enough of the U-37 crew to launch our second foray out into the Atlantic. After a series of hairy encounters on the last return voyage, i ragazzi aren’t overly excited to climb back into the sardine tin, but morale perks up when the orders come in and they find out they only have to go as far as PA-4.
Unfortunately, one of the crew members lost to Gallic temptations is Massimiliano, our chief engineer, and his understudy is enthusiastic but hopelessly inept. We blithely cruise through an encounter with Venezia at caution level 3, keeping the muzzle doors firmly shut, but somehow only manage to make it halfway to our destination.
Caution level now set to 2. 14 torps and 34 fuel remain.
Slight concern as i ragazzi made no attempt at communication home last week, and even more consternation at HQ when it’s revealed they certainly didn’t spend that lost week polishing the eels and recalibrating the periscope. The latest engagement at Ternona is a squib damper than the surrounding waters, with a couple of lazy torps fired at nothing in particular, and a passing enemy warship more interested in using their depth charges to rustle up some stunned cod for tea.
Caution level goes down to 0 at the urging of HQ. The patrol continues with 11 torps and 27 fuel.
With all periscopes swivelled towards the blood-slicked Persian Gulf, i ragazzi decide to take advantage of the diversion and go for a spot of fishing. Luckily they nab a couple of tiddlers, 1400 and 4100 tons, without much effort at all. Better yet: dad says they don’t have to throw them back.
A keen eye spots the unmistakable splash of a sailfish… or was it a swordfish? Chissenefrega. They hare off in pursuit of the big fella at caution level 0.
How fare the ragazzi? What happened to the big fella?
My sincere apologies. Due to a technical error, for two whole months communication from i ragazzi was rerouted through various random countries in Africa and seemingly, although not unsurprisingly, lost in transit.
This error has now been rectified but the shock of returning to The Glorious Motherland has got the Chief Comms Officer in quite a tizz. Once he has adjusted to the old normal we anticipate a flurry of updates.
Alright, seems like I finally needed to create an account here, so, Hi everyone!
Anyway, U-33 (Karlsruhe) will be operating far from home in Patrol Area 10 and is trying to get there with Caution Level 2.
After the 6-0 sweep they managed last week I have high hopes, but alas, Rostock is no Regensburg, so we’ll see tomorrow.
Happy hunting all!
U-33 has erred on the side of caution and thus no kills to report, but she is making good progress towards the PA.
Caution continues at 2, fuel 31, torpedoes 14, undamaged, outbound.
U-33 is continuing her march to the assigned PA, and this time her cautious approach is at least somewhat justified, as a single depth charge going off in the middle distance can be heard, but the lack of any follow-up makes it clear that this foe is blissfully unaware of our whereabouts. At the end of this turn, the PA would be visible on the horizon if it didn’t look like any other stretch of open sea, and U-33’s status is as follows:
Caution level 2, torpedoes 14, fuel 27, undamaged, outbound
After a final leg totally free of any interesting events, U-33 finally reaches her PA and begins patrolling.
Eager to finally see some action, Captain Kienzle (originally from a remote valley in the black forest, but the sea had always captured his imagination) orders a relentless hunt for any target, aware that his fuel reserves don’t allow for a prolonged and cautious hunt.
The current status of U-33 is thus:
Caution 0, fuel 24, torpedoes 14, undamaged, patrolling in PA 10.
After a long and uneventful journey far out into the north Atlantic, U-33 finally sees her first kill this turn, a vessel of 5400 tons. A second torpedo that was sent on its way was shot in the direction of a hapless seal that could luckily escape at the last minute.
The less than cautious approach U-33 displays in her patrolling led to some enemy action, and one depth charge detonation made some of the cadets a bit uneasy, but no damage was reported.
Caution 0, fuel 19, torps 12, undamaged, patrolling PA 10, ships/tonnage sunk 1/5400
Hooray! I admire your doggedness…. if I had found out I was heading to Patrol Area 10, I would have quickly and quietly chosen another team!
Darn tootin’, and he can’t spend long there either before needing to return. Me thinks it’s going to be a fire-at-will in PA10!
Thanks! Captain Kienzle isn’t much of a strategist, and if the OKM decides that area 10 needs to be patrolled, then area 10 it is.
(Also Karlsruhe was more or less the last team I cared about at least a little, all the others were a bit too high in their respective leagues at the time)
The Atlantic positively swarming with submersed dangers has shifted convoy routes further and further north. Thus, just as Captain Kienzle starts to eye the fuel gauges wearily, the sailor manning the periscope alerts him of a series smoke trails on the horizon.
With no combative protection in sight, U-33 quickly launches 5 torpedoes, of which three head to their, and their opponent’s explosive end.
Three vessels in service of the war effort find their doom, among them two prized bulk carriers of 7800 and 8100 tons, and one ship carrying bales of cloth intended for new uniforms weighing in at 4500 tons.
With the fuel reserves now seriously depleted, and a gross sunk tonnage of 25800 tons to report, Kienzle decides to head home and hopes to be appointed a less remote and less freezing patrol area on U-33’s next tour.
Caution 2, fuel 14, torps 7, undamaged, inbound.
Ships/tonnage sunk: 4/25800
Fantastic stuff, and well deserved. The leaderboard is getting crowded now!
The first leg of the march back home of the Karlsruhe turns out fairly uneventful, with only a few hours of dived cruise necessary to remain undetected. Captain Kienzle even finds time to commemorate the ‘Pride of Aberdeen’, whose voyage he brought to an abrupt stop so recently, in a ship in a bottle.
As U-33 now gets in waters closer to home, and not wanting to squander his chance for a few bottles of Chateau d’Yqem, Kienzle gives the order to proceed with the highest level of caution.
Status: Caution 3, fuel 9 (home at 4), torps 7, undamaged, inbound.
Ships/tonnage sunk: 4/25800
Thanks to a high caution level, the second leg of U-33’s march home is entirely uneventful. After deftly evading the hunting destroyers at the outer edge of the Bay of Biscay, the Karlsruhe reaches her home base in Bordeaux unscathed.
A week off rearming, refuelling and relaxing will surely do wonders for the morale of the crew, even as it really wasn’t low to begin with after a first successful patrol.
Status: At base with 4 fuel and 7 torpedoes remaining, ships/tonnage sunk: 4/25800
U-38 (Minnesota United) is off to patrol area 7 with caution 2.
We’ll see if we make it there and back with the tail end of the MLS season.
What news from the land of the free and home of the brave, SpaceCowboy? We need Uncle Sam!
Just doing the bookkeeping following Bristol City’s 3-3 draw away against Blackpool. With my caution set to 2 the goal that counts for tonnage happens to be an own goal by Blackpool – couldn’t see this covered by the rules but surely this shouldn’t cost me a torp? Feels more like they hit an iceberg during evasive maneuvers or a depth charge exploded in its launcher or something!
Sorry. Rules arbiter Roman is unmoved. Your kill cost you a torpedo.
After the first day’s action U49 (Bristol City) is: Undamaged – Fuel 33 – Torpedos 10 – Outgoing to PA 7 – 70000 tons sunk
Sadly your nomination for some new jewellery has been rejected by the Admiral due to an unlikely claim for tonnage.
I suspect you meant to type 7000 instead?
Thank-you for spotting the mistake. Oberfunkmeister Schmidt blames a fault in the comms gear. Our correct sitrep as of 04 September is below.
Would anyone be interested in a communal Google Sheets to keep track of the results? I feel like this comment section is going to get out of control, and I’d also love to easily watch what happens with everybody else’s subs!
The skipper of U-52 would greatly appreciate this. I contemplated integrating a table into the article, but feared – with foxers, features, and Operation Oryx reports already on my plate – I’d struggle to keep it updated.
Done. Well, it’s a work in progress, but it should suffice for now. Fellow skippers, please check that I’ve put in the right information!
Ok, ‘fess up, who added the image?
It made me giggle, even if it is a Type XXVII rather than the Type VIIc I suspect we’re all in.
That was me, in a moment of madness 🙂
It is indeed a type XXVII. Unfortunately I did try on the VIIc for accuracy’s sake but it was too big and I kept on tripping over. And heaven forbid that happens in a football match!
Jolly good! U34 reporting on this channel as well. We’re having some trouble – match reports can be spotty. The last one did not include minutes for opponent scores. While these were cautioned out this time, in the future I will assume that the boys are OK as long as reports keep coming.
To help with the post-match process, I summarized the rules for myself and thought I’d share. Do as you like with the rules tab, captaincabinets.
That’s very helpful! Thanks.
Excellent stuff, thanks for that!
Due to a propeller shaft issue, U-52 (Swindon Town) made very slow progress last week. We are currently 5f from Patrol Area 7 and carrying all 14 of the eels we loaded at Kiel. Whatever tomorrow brings, we’ll face with Caution set to 2.
U-52’s prop shaft problems persist despite the best efforts of my Chief Engineer. At the close of Week Two we are still 3f from our Patrol Area and have yet to flood a tube or sight a worthwhile target. Rolf, the boat’s Funkgast and resident artist, took advantage of one of our unplanned stops to paint a splendid cartoon picture of Lothar the Tortoise on the side of the conning tower. Never has a U-boat’s mascot been more apposite!
We go into Week Three with Caution set to 2, and 14 torpedoes and 32 fuel remaining.
Rolf added a sinking ship silhouette to U-52’s conning tower on Wednesday morning. Our first victim was the Balochistan Star, a British freighter of 9000 tons. Judging by the spectacular way she went down/up, she was carrying munitions.
Touch wood, Kurt’s prop shaft repair seems to have done the trick. We made relatively good progress this week finally joining U-49 in Patrol Area 7. Two of the crew have birthdays tomorrow which is surely a good omen!
Current status: Torpedoes 13. Fuel 28. Caution 1.
I could blame last Saturday’s missed opportunity (Doncaster 0 – 1 Swindon) on poor visibility and a convoy chaperone with a sixth sense for trouble, but the truth is my circumspection cost U-52 a second scalp. After a disappointment like that it’s tempting to throw caution to the wind. However, I’m convinced better opportunities will present themselves if we’re patient, so, for the moment, our approach (C1) will remain unchanged.
Qualified success this week. Two of our G7eT2s cleaved a zagzigging 4400 ton freighter, but three others either missed or failed to detonate. I’ve asked Hans to check the magnetic pistols again as I’m convinced at least two of those wasted fish were dead certs.
Morale is high aboard U-52 despite our ‘torpedo crisis’. In the light of recent successes I see no reason to alter our tactics at present. Caution will remain at 1 for the time-being.
Apart from the gruesome one-metre-long scabbardfish we discovered writhing about in the conning tower after surfacing on Sunday evening, we ‘caught’ nothing last week. C’est la guerre. If the gen U-49 kindly supplied us with yesterday is accurate, I’m optimistic we’ll add to our tally tonight. U-52 hurries towards its next engagement with 7 eels, 19 fuel, and caution set to 0.
The Tregowan Castle (5100 tons) has docked for the very last time. Last night U-52 sent her to the seabed with a brace of hull holers fired at relatively close range. Sadly, a second attack came to naught, our intended victim – a cargo liner – ‘combing’ our eels as deftly as any destroyer.
U-52 hunts on with 3 torpedoes and 16 fuel remaining. Caution is at 1.
U-52’s celebratory schnapps bottles remained firmly corked this week. Harassed by energetic destroyers we had a go at a distant escort carrier without success. If we fail to bag something this week it won’t be from lack of commitment. Our patrol continues with Caution set to 0 and our last two torpedoes tubed.
An unidentified 6400 ton freighter obligingly detonated U-52’s last two eels. We turn for home in high spirits with zero torpedoes and 8 fuel remaining. Caution will remain at 3 for the return trip.
How strange it is to feel terra firma underfoot once again! The crew of U-52 celebrated the completion of their first patrol in the traditional manner. Lots were drawn and ‘lucky’ Lothar got to ‘inspect the anchor’. Later, in the bar of the Shy Mermaid, on-the-house ‘depth charges’ left everyone (except armour-plated Kurt) reeling. Training and boat upgrades means we could spend as long as three weeks ashore. I’d have preferred a shorter turnaround.
Superstitious Kurt reckons we should play it safe this Saturday. He says the omens aren’t good:
As Kurt also believes you should never put a shoe on a table, whistle when it’s foggy, or step onto a gangplank with your left foot first, I’ve decided to ignore his hunch. U-52 will operate at Caution 1 this weekend.
Unfortunately U-49 (Bristol City) has been plagued with communication kit problems resulting firstly in an incorrect report of 70000 tons being sent back to HQ following our first engagement – it should of course have been 7000, thank-you Cederic for spotting this.
We then proceeded to an uneventful encounter against Huddersfield with no torps expended nor damage taken but this did allow us finally to reach our patrol area. Alas, more sea water seeping into the the comms equipment meant I was unable to change the crew’s orders in time for the next encounter with Blackburn so on we went with a perhaps overcautious default of 2.
At least my trigger-happy crew have learned to be a bit more economical with the torpedoes, bagging another 7300 tons for a single eel expended and no damage taken.
Current sitrep: U49 (Bristol City) is Patrolling PA-7 with Caution now set to 1, 9 Torpedoes, 25 Fuel and 14300 tons sunk. HMS Preston has been spotted on the horizon…
(I’ve also updated the Google sheet)
The encounter with HMS Preston was not to be but instead we stumbled upon HMS Norwich, managed to avoid a couple of depth charges and bag another 7700 tons for a single torp.
Current sitrep: U49 (Bristol City) is Patrolling PA-7 with Caution remaining at 1, 8 Torpedoes, 22 Fuel and 22000 tons sunk.
A fairly uneventful encounter with HMS Burnley served only to burn some precious fuel.
Current sitrep: U49 (Bristol City) is Patrolling PA-7 with Caution remaining at 1, 8 Torpedoes, 18 Fuel and 22000 tons sunk.
The killer instinct my crew possessed earlier seems to have deserted them. Two more encounters have passed (QPR, Coventry) with no more tonnage to show for. Our meagre supplies of torps and fuel are slowly dwindling away.
Current sitrep: U49 (Bristol City) is Patrolling PA-7 with Caution now set to 0(!), 5 Torpedoes, 11 Fuel and 22000 tons sunk
Disaster! Despite throwing caution to the wind we were thwarted in our attempts to add to the tonnage total in our latest encounter with Birmingham. Even worse, one of three Wasserbomben sent our way exploded just close enough to do some damage.
With supplies of fuel and torpedoes also running low it’s time to limp back to base.
U49 (Bristol City) is now Inbound PA-7 and DAMAGED with Caution set to 2, 3 Torpedoes, 6 Fuel and 22000 tons sunk
Sadly the damage caused by the depth charge seems to have caused a fuel leak. As we limp towards home encountering Preston & Web Brom with no more tons for our tally it’s become clear that we’re not going to make it back to base before our diesel is depleted.
So here ends the glorious career of U-49 Bristol City:
Out of fuel in PA-7, 1 unspent torpedo and 22000 tons sunk.
(*Note to self: re-read the rules on how fuel works!)
Noooo! Devastating news. Maybe Roman could turn a brief blind eye, if you misread the rules? I assume that if you turned for home at 11 fuel left, as you were allowed to do, you would have made it to port just fine.
Gasp, the depths claim their first! U-34 flying the flag half submerged for you today.
Commiserations. At least you can take to the small boats and the crew should be able to make it back home for another go, or enjoy a relaxed war in Canada (depending who finds them first).
Perhaps an appeal to the Seenotdienst will see the senior officers rescued and returned to service in another craft.
Or, failing that, strap the commander to the last remaining torpedo and fire him towards a friendly coast.
After numerous self-destructive false starts, U-64 (Villarreal) is ready to leave port to the fond farewell of hostelries and allied trades that cater to submariners in a harbour-town; and the barely-concealed mutterings of ‘good riddance’ from the repair crews.
The U-64 has: sunk itself driving forwards hard into the dock, fired a torpedo forwards into the dockside damaging the dock and itself, launched an experimental missile into the pen yet again rendering U-64 unseaworthy. But finally the captain has realised that the way out of port is in reverse.*
*(Based on personal experience trying to play Ocean _something_, a knock-off of Sea _somethingelse_, a wire-frame subsim. I dread to think how many times I loaded that game (From TAPE!) before I realised that you started in a pen and had to back out. As many as twenty?! And with multiple attempts on each loading. Urgh!)
Villarreal, currently ninth in the table having conceded only 3 goals, but with a GD of +7. Eight games played and thirty left in the season.
Last scorer, Baena on Sept 18 -> Patrol Area 5
Home to Osasuna next Monday 17th -> Caution level 2
Away to Barcelona on Thursday 20th -> Caution level 3
Turns out Villarreal’s nickname is The Yellow Submarine and they have an anthropomorphic submarine (Groguet) as a mascot. Could the omens be any better?
– – – – – – –
The game was Ocean Conqueror on the MSX and it was not a knock-off.
Hooray! Welcome to the
junglebarbarous blue, Colonel_K. So happy to see you in the fight. Mighty fine omens indeed!
A peril-free leg for U-64, burning fuel and covering a good deal of distance. Just need to sneak past Barca (maximum caution to avoid wasting torps) and we’ll be in our patrol area.
Capitán Emery ran an exercise and adjudicated that Danjuma was likely to be on target both with torpedoes and the deck-gun. Sadly, those victories will have to remain hypothetical.
U-64 skillfully sold Captain Manuel of the Barcelona a dummy, and left him depth-charging shoals of fish.
Was expensive on fuel though, which might prove a deficiency preventing a long run of success; but we are now in our assigned zone.
– – – – – – –
Caution level 1 for the next game: avoid picking up small fry now in the hopes of having torps left to take out big fish later.
A confused skirmish that I don’t envy command trying to make sense of (how did Manu Morlanes get a red card while sitting on the subs bench?), but that ended with a 9000 ton prize for the yellow submarine.
– – – – – – –
A cagey affair with the Almería that U-64 was on the back foot for much of. The turning point was a torpedo strike on the Almería that later showed to have only caused minor damage (spare eels were lost in this moment of excessive jubilation). With both vessels in the act of breaking contact as darkness fell, we will never know what caught Capitán Emery’s eye; possibly the light from an incautious repair crew. The stern tube was fired, and the Almería sunk; U-64 claims its first scalp.
– – – – – – –
Maintaining Caution level 1 for the match away to Bilbao.
The final action of the Yellow Submarine under the guidance of Capitán Emery who has been poached, erm, ordered to transfer to the Villa Aston.
The slightest level of caution kept the U-64 safe, but again, a profligate use of diesel. Do the batteries not charge properly?
– – – – – – –
Freed from the leash of Capitán Emery, the men might run rampant at home to Mallorca: Caution level 0.
The crew of U-64 Villarreal have been captivated by the exploits of their former commander, Capitán Emery, and his new vessel, the Villa Aston. In his first action he lay in wait for a convoy coming from the red half of Manchester, letting them move over his position before engaging – historically, very much a losing proposition.
Surfacing among the leading ships, he immediately sent his opposition into disarray. One enemy vessel sunk by deck-gun and another by torpedo in quick succession. In hindsight this was probably an ambush sprung too early: the larger vessels in the middle and rear were able to scatter or divert, and only one further target was dispatched to the briny depths.
Shambolic Convoy Manchester Red will be easy pickings for waiting wolves: U-36, U-50 and U-65 will be licking their lips.
The men of the U-64 feel some credit is owed to them. Will they be able to perform as well in the waters off Mallorca?
– – – – – – –
With their heads full of glories being earned 1500 kilometres away, U-64 goes into action full of confidence. That lasts for half an hour when discipline evaporates. Strategic planning is non-existent and four eels are loosed for no result. There is a close call from a depth charge: not close enough to cause damage, but maybe sufficient to focus minds?
Instinct would say it’s time to return to base, but adequate supplies would be hard to put over command. Remaining on patrol, Caution level 1 for away match at Espanyol.
– – – – – – –
Acting Captain Quique boasts of his time as Supreme Admiral of the Navy of Spanish Guinea. The men don’t know but are beginning to suspect the truth: he didn’t last 3 months in the role.
Acting Captain Quique closes his eyes and rests his forehead on the periscope. Two torpedoes fired at the 6400 ton Espanyol: the first failed to detonate, the second struck a bucket that a deckhand was using to draw up water. Yet another unsuccesful attack.
– – – – – – –
Returning to base, Caution level 2.
(The camera pans out from a glazed eye. It belongs to a body lying face up on the submarine engine room floor. Recovery crew in gasmasks move around, picking it up and moving it to another part of the ship where they commence resuscitation, massaging the chest and arms.
It becomes clear that the past seven weeks were but a matter of moments, the chaotic discharge of neurons in an oxygen-deprived brain. How else to explain the bizarre vision? A World Cup held in a sandy sheikdom in winter; the absence of booze; Germany eliminated in the group stage for what commentators claim is the second time in a row; Argentina beating a free France in the final?)
The inefficient diesel engines have been leaking their exhaust and are running on the last dirty dregs at the bottom of the tanks. Luckily, just one man was totally overcome. Acting Captain Quique feels numb relief to be back in port, where he will have to account for U-64’s performance; the men are rather more ennervated at the thoughts of what awaits them ashore.
What of U-64 Villarreal’s last action? ‘Ships that pass in the night’ would be a half-accurate cliche. The Valencia gave a volley but otherwise maintained its’ position next to the convoy. “We could take you if we chose” thought Acting Captain Quique, “if only we were in hunting mode and not so close to home.”
– – – – – – –
At base, next home match against Real Madrid void.
Capitán Quique stops the ball with his boot atop the penalty spot. A few paces back and a short run-up. He feels the sweetness of the contact, and the ball passes the keeper who barely moves. He’s done it! He’s scored the winner against Real Madrid!
The ball bounces back off the brick wall and a child dashes after it. The other children fail to share Capitán Quique’s jubilation and go back to their game. The squiffy captain puts his hands back in his pockets and continues towards the pens.
“Is this the way to El Submarino Amarillo?” he asks a confused stevedore, mangling a number of languages, his good mood impregnable.
U-64 Villarreal departs again well laden with good spirits, both liquid and mental. The men are keen to get back in the fray, but discipline dictates: get to your patrol zone first.
– – – – – – –
Last scorer, Moreno on Jan 7th -> Patrol Area 6
Away to Celta Vigo on Friday 13th, Caution level 2
It’s probably not worth tinkering with the rules again at this stage, but I could do with a quick adjudication on whether Experience applies to substitution of substitutes.
Kiko Femenia – ON in the 65th minute, back OFF in the 70th
At the end of the game there were 7 players on the pitch who started, and 4 substitutes.
– – – – – – –
U-64 Villarreal chugs on towards its’ patrol zone, the crew enjoying barely-disturbed slumbers.
Maintaining Caution 2 for home match against Girona on the 22nd.
Apologies Colonel_K, I’ve only just noticed your XP-related rules query.
“At the end of the game there were 7 players on the pitch who started, and 4 substitutes.”
I think this is covered by the “The yellow cards of players still on the pitch at the final whistle are experience-proof” rule clarification? In the Celta Vigo match, Villareal got two yellow cards both of which were – for torp bookkeeping purposes – negated by your Caution setting (2). If your Caution had been set at 0, then your XP level (1) would have negated the yellow card of Trigueros because he was substituted. Had Trigueros and Morales both remained on the pitch, then you would have had to reduce your torp tally by two.
Sorry, Tim, I should have made clear that I wasn’t concerned about yellow cards, but rather substitutions as they relate to fuel consumption.
If experience were to apply to subs/fuel in the same way as it does yellows/wasted torps, then U-64 would have consumed only 4 fuel instead of 5. (So far as I understand the rule).
Experience potentially reducing fuel consumption is an interesting idea. Obviously it could only apply while patrolling and would need some other conditions – we can’t have experienced subs expending no fuel on ‘match days’.
“Aren’t these Spanish meant to be on our side?”, Captain Quique asks himself. The Girona has been stopped and boarded, having failed to give a credible account of its’ course and destination.
The national policy may be ‘non-belligerence’, but proper belligerence breaks out in a scuffle where one of the Girona’s able seamen finds himself thrown overboard. The cargo manifest has inaccuracies but the boarding party are unable to find contraband. With no mandate to sieze or sink the vessel, Captain Quique informs his superiors and considers the ball no longer in his court.
The Girona departs with the added slogan “Groguet was here” across its’ stern.
– – – – – – –
Now in patrol area, caution level 1 for home match against Rayo Vallecano.
Capitán Quique balefully considers his booze stash. Consume it over the next week and make that time fly by pleasantly? Or eke it out over the remaining patrol time? The latter would be more rational, but rationality doesn’t get you anywhere.
Fundamentally, he can’t understand why his crew mis-fires so. A week ago, they relished the brawl with a freighter’s spanish crew. Now, they were unable to surface and ready the deck gun to picket the english freighter Ray Vallecan.
– – – – – – –
Next match away to bottom of the league Elche, goal difference -27 and only 6 points; the match up I’ve been waiting for since this adventure started.
Good sense would say Caution Level 1, but dammit, I need some scores to count:
CAUTION LEVEL ZERO!
(For bandwidth purposes, I wish DFB had been split into a couple of pages so the pictures don’t have to be downloaded each time).
– – – – – – –
(Well, that was a debacle. Elche now have their first win of the season, and it was just as well I didn’t go for caution level 1. It’s bleedin’ U-50 all over again).
– – – – – – –
Five days ago, U-64 came away from its’ encounter with the Ray Vallecan with nothing but its’ galley waste and the jeers of its’ crew.
Now, stalking convoy Elche…
Capitán Quique has difficulty breathing as the metaphorical noose around his neck becomes much more vivid. Does he have a saboteur onboard? Will someone with Der Fuhrer’s ear decide he is the saboteur and needs to be made an example of?
Convoy Elche was a hush-hush, breakaway part of a larger convoy; it changed course for Gibraltar, was lightly guarded and expected to rely largely on speed for protection. U-64 Villarreal was tasked with its’ destruction, but only claimed one escort.
Set out so baldly, the prosecution’s case seems sufficient to do for Capitán Quique.
Elsewhere in the eastern Atlantic, Captain Manuel from the sub-hunter Barcelona receives new instructions…
– – – – – – –
Welp. Villarreal managed to beat Real Madrid 2-1 in the league at home. Can they repeat that with Barca?
Maintain Caution Level Zero !
(Tho’ I might reconsider later in the week).
A better performance than their last encounter. Acting towards getting a result, and with less consideration of their own well-being, might’ve raised the U-64’s effectiveness to barely adequate. Captain Manuel from the Barcelona probably has more explaining to do to Commodore Fawlty.
The Barcelona’s barrages were nowhere close; the U-64 Villarreal’s squandered eels were nowhere close.
– – – – – – –
Away match to Mallorca; maintain Caution Level Zero !
Then it’ll be time to turn for home and hope we have the fuel to get there.
It was not until the wrecks were discovered off the Balearics 70 years later that researcher-enthusiasts could claim to have solved the mystery of U-64 Villarreal to general satisfaction. A final two kills have been ascribed to the U-64, doubling its’ tally, before its demise.
Bad luck? Of a sort: a careless, self-inflicted accident meant that the U-64 didn’t have a full complement of able-bodied crew to man its stations.
– – – – – – –
Caution level 1 would have saved U-64 but, languishing at the foot of the table, she was always going down one way or another.
Rust in Peace, U-64. A wreath has been laid on the closest thing THC has to a cenotaph.
After action report
After a few weeks of silence we finally have confirmation that U29 was sunk by the HMS Sheffield United
After bagging 38,000 tons it is thought the skipper got over confident – with zero caution he sprang an attack on a convoy. In spite of 3 confirms kills a lone depth charge run dispatched him out of hand
Another sub rides soon.
Dreadful news. There will be a minute of silence followed by 240 minutes of grappa aboard the U-37 in your honour.
Would you care to update the Google Sheets with your results? Or if you tell me how many ships you bagged, I can update the sheet as well.
And do let us know when a new sub is launched. I don’t know about everyone else but reading the weekly action reports from everyone are one of the most fun parts of this game!
After weeks of distraction undergoing repairs the crew of U-50 have only just heard this terrible news. Commiserations, and be assured that the officers and crew will drink a toast in memory of the U-29.
Which, given we’re still weeks away from setting sail again will be followed by another 28, just to be sure onlookers understand which boat we’re mourning.
U-150 (Liverpool) – Undamaged – Fuel 36 – Torpedoes 14 – Outbound (PA-11) – Caution 2 – 0 tons sunk
Fresh off the slipway the U-150 used its sea trials to train the crew and they’re desperate to get into the action. They’re also looking forward to La Spezia, well out of range of British bombers and that lovely warm Mediterranean weather.
First is the perilous journey through the Strait, a long trek going under the codename Operation Oxlade-Chamberlain.
A Captain eager to make his mark, an inexperienced crew and the full weight of the British Mediterranean Fleet constantly shifting its position makes the U-150 unlikely to contribute heavily to the war effort, but every little counts.
[For scoring and other purposes, only the final two digits of the U-150’s designation will be used]
U-150 (Liverpool) – Undamaged – Fuel 31 – Torpedoes 13 – Outbound (PA-11) – Caution 2 – 0 tons sunk
Uneventfully sailing past France seems to have bored the skipper of the U-150. Spotting a lone Royal Navy destroyer patrolling just outside Spanish waters the U-150 gave chase on the surface.
Night attacks are never easy and when the target is moving faster than you are, failure is guaranteed. This certainty failed to daunt the daring U-Boat boss who decided to try a torpedo anyway.
As the funnel smoke stopped appearing in the moonlight it was clear that the inevitable had happened: A miss so wide the destroyer didn’t even notice the attempt. It had kept going, disappeared over the horizon, lost from view.
The crew celebrated anyway. They’d made an attack, forced an enemy to flee, survived to continue their voyage. The voyage continues..
U-150 (Liverpool) – Undamaged – Fuel 26 – Torpedoes 13 – Outbound (PA-11) – Caution 2 – 0 tons sunk
Not even in the Gibralter strait yet the U-150 is already struggling with Navy patrols wandering across her preferred path.
Crash dives in shallow water to evade wandering aircraft. Anxious hours below periscope depth listening to wandering wolves floating overhead. Occasionally opportunities to take on fresh air in the dark stormy nights, too dangerous to go on deck but finally free of the stench from the blockage in the main toilet.
That’s been the biggest danger to morale on board. Not the hopeful bombs that landed almost a kilometre away, not the depth charges that may have been targeting someone else, not even the frustration of having to duck under food hanging in the main gangway to allow use of the reserve toilet in its design role rather than its normal use as spare storage. No, that awful rank reminder of the broken main toilet until the septic tank could be flushed, the toilet repaired and fresh cool night air allowed to flood the boat.
So the voyage continues, reaching its most dangerous moment with the crew freshly buoyant despite their recent hardships. Sometimes being able to breathe clean air is all you ever want.
U-150 (Liverpool) – Undamaged – Fuel 21 – Torpedoes 13 – Patrolling (PA-11) – Caution 0 – 0 tons sunk
It’s hard to say whether the Captain of the U-150 was just unimpressed or if he has nerves of steel. The crew certainly liked “Das Gibraltar Strait? Geht so.”
They didn’t like the tense passage through the straits that preceded that dismissive comment. In the end they stayed undiscovered, but only through a level of caution that chafed at them all more than the patrolling MGBs passing overhead. Twice a different engine note was heard, the periscope confirming both times it was a juicy merchant, ripe for the taking. Firing solutions were straightforward, conditions were good; this should’ve been two easy kills.
Sadly the orders from Admiralty were clear. No hostile actions while passing through the straits. The patrols too frequent, the air full of British sub hunters, the mission doomed to failure if a floundering merchant gets a radio message off.
So caution (2) prevailed and the U-150 stealthily slipped through the Straits. A long passage remains to reach port on the Italian coast, but in the meantime the leash is removed, caution can be thrown to the wind and the game is on!
U-150 (Liverpool) – Undamaged – Fuel 17 – Torpedoes 10 – Patrolling (PA-11) – Caution 0 – 2700 tons sunk
Free from the shackles of the strait the U-150 sailed atop the warm Mediterranean like a basking Great White, enjoying the sun while watching for its prey.
That prey proved slow, lazily wallowing its way from Malta out towards the Atlantic, clearly unaware the seas contained a new threat. The prize was their escort, a Town class cruiser, confidently claimed by one of the engineers as the Newcastle. As he’d been in the engine room the entire time the rest of the crew mocked him, but who knows.
Three torpedoes went towards the cruiser. Sure, the small convoy had merchants that should be sunk but the captain of U-150 was thinking strategically and not seeking personal glory. Removing a lot of the convoy’s air defence would leave them vulnerable to his colleagues, so really attacking the cruiser was a selfless act and not at all so his crew could paint a martial silhouette on the conning tower.
That wasn’t how the radio report phrased what happened. It claimed that the tiny merchant ship two thirds of the way to the cruiser – so small it hadn’t even been spotted – had been targeted, and that the torpedo that sank it had been aimed at it. The cruiser’s response, rapidly going to full speed and turning towards the U-150 hadn’t even been mentioned. The other two torpedoes missed as a result, passing through the cruiser’s wake, where one of them found its destiny in the side of another small merchant, this one hidden by the cruiser until its surprise reveal and swift demise.
No, the report just highlighted two targets sunk, the position, the successful evasion of an angry escort. The crew celebrated their first victory too, a rousing song filling the night air a few hours later. They’d get that cruiser next time!
U-150 (Liverpool) – Undamaged – Fuel 13 – Torpedoes 5 – Patrolling (PA-11) – Caution 0 – 2700 tons sunk
Stormy weather prevented the crew of the U-150 enjoying the Mediterranean sunshine but didn’t stop them detecting a magnificent prize. The battleship was moving fast but the Captain couldn’t pass up a chance to sink it.
All four torpedoes launched from the bow, a fan to compensate for uncertain readings caused by the heavy seas, the lashing rain. Too many destroyers in escort to stick around and the U-150 couldn’t keep up with this naval fleet if it was on the surface, let alone at mostly periscope depth, so the Captain ordered the boat to turn and move away. A final farewell from the aft torpedo tube for good measure and the U-150 silently left the scene.
Sadly so did the naval fleet, not a single torpedo hitting. With just five torpedoes left the Captain is frustrated by the lack of success but crew morale remains high. They’re undamaged, they’re in the Med and they’ll soon get the chance to meet some of those renowned Italian beauties. Except the cook, who the crew have promised to find a middle aged balena, whether he wants it or not.
U-150 (Liverpool) – Undamaged – Fuel 9 – Torpedoes 1 – Patrolling (PA-11) – Caution 0 – 17700 tons sunk
“Gott im Himmel!” exclaimed the Captain of the U-150. This wasn’t a celebration of the successful sinking of two bewilderingly unescorted oil tankers, two torpedoes apiece filling the sea with burning petroleum.
His shock was at find that the fuel gauge had been stuck [on a rules misinterpretation] and, now discovered and rectified, the boat had no hope at all of making it to their new Mediterranean base.
There is just one chance left for the crew of the U-150, still on its maiden voyage, and the Captain has gambled everything on it. By staying in the patrol area he retains that slender lifeline of finding a Milchkuh and refuelling.
With just one torpedo remaining the odds aren’t great, so the crew of the U-150 haven’t been informed. This could be an inglorious end to their new careers, or the start of a heroic tale of survival against the odds.
The Captain pauses from updating his log as word reaches him that the hydrophones have picked up the sounds of a convoy, and scurries to the con. This next encounter has everything riding on it.
U-150 – Scuttled – 22000 tons sunk
The Captain of the U-150 is not happy. He’s also not sure when he ceases to be the captain of the boat he just ordered to be scuttled.
The convoy was a beauty, rich pickings. Six times perfect shots were lined up but not taken, the sole torpedo left eventually sinking a mid sized freighter. The crew stayed quiet in their despondency, allowing a safe escape with the convoy escorts pinging half the sea. The wrong half the sea.
But out of torpedoes, almost out of fuel, out of luck and entirely out of hope, the Captain set course for a deep trench. A final signal to Admiralty, the rotors removed from the enigma machine and sent with that overboard.
Now the scuttling charges have done their job, the captain and crew can no longer do theirs. Perhaps they’ll be found and rescued quickly..
[As there was just one torpedo left I’ve treated the other six goals as lost opportunities that sadly didn’t sink ships. Also three players on two goals each and none of them could muster a third to restock. I ended up on -8 torpedoes. Bah.]
U-30 ran out of fuel during the last engagement, home port was in sight, but could not be reached.
Re Tims last a2z: I have checked and double checked everything and I can’t find where I went wrong. Also reading the ‘experience’ rules did not make me any wiser regarding why my previous two kills would have been illegal.
It does not matter anymore since U30 is lost, but I would like to understand for a possible next time.
Roman is a higher power than the Court for Arbitration in Sport, but for the Morecambe game you might be able to claim:
– two of the claimed scores at 50 and 66 minutes were penalties, and therefore deck-gun kills
I was going to add “a McGoldrick hat-trick (IF two goals plus one penalty counts) means you found a milk-cow”
BUT that’s only valid while patrolling.
Going further back to the away game at Cheltenham, you’ve claimed an 800 ton deck-gun kill.
HOWEVER, I was under the impression that it’s ONLY enemy goals that are cancelled out by Caution reverse-chronologically when away.
Whether home or away, Caution always cancels out YOUR OWN goals chronologically.
As a result, that should be a 5500 ton torpedo kill.
(Colonel K is not a source of legal advice)
“HOWEVER, I was under the impression that it’s ONLY enemy goals that are cancelled out by Caution reverse-chronologically when away.Whether home or away, Caution always cancels out YOUR OWN goals chronologically.”
>> Re Tims last a2z: I have checked and double checked everything and I can’t find where I went wrong.
Apologies, mverdo. Looking at U-30’s log again, I fear I may have been misled by the score format you’ve used. I interpreted “Score (For – Against)” as meaning Derby’s goals tally was always listed first in your scoreline column, when, in fact, you’ve gone with the more traditional home-team’s-goals-first format. In the next A2Z I’ll point out that the BdU investigation found no evidence of reporting errors!
I’ll also mention that, next season, DFB will include a rule that gives U-boats that run out of fuel close to port a chance of making it home under tow.
Late in the game and in a desperate attempt to alter fate, U-63 Wycombe Wanderers is deployed. Despite having a u-boat callsign, U-63 actually consists of Neger manned torpedoes
with their delivery ship. The expendable crew are petty convicts: swan-botherers and ‘chairboys’ (?!).
With little time left, U-63 has one aim: most destructive patrol; consequently Caution will be minimal.
– – – – – – –
Wycombe Wanderers, currently 7th in english League One.
Last scorer: Wing against Bolton => PA-4
Caution level 2 for tomorrow’s game away at Shrewsbury.
(As seems to be the way with my pick of teams, the manager signed with another club last Tuesday).
A target of opportunity was identified in the minesweeper HMAS Shrewsbury. An impromptu attack was launched but aborted after half an hour when issues with one air supply became evident. All craft were recovered, but unfortunately the affected involuntary seaman could not be revived. Let it be a reminder to the others to double-check their equipment.
U-63 Wycombe Wanderers returns to its’ planned course: next week’s Raid on Exeter!
– – – – – – –
U-63 has reached its’ designated Area of Operations; Caution level Zero.
(Men lost: 1)
Have you heard about the Raid on Exeter?
I don’t blame you, it barely woke any residents.
The Raid went ahead as scheduled; I avoid the word ‘planned’ as the Royal Navy was absent (tipped-off by Bletchley, perhaps?). The harbour was infiltrated successfully but the only sinkable targets were a floating jetty and a couple of motor boats – with some creative accounting these were written up as 200 tons. Charges laid on a fuel bunker failed to detonate properly.
With nothing to torpedo, the weapons were ridden back to the mothership…
…At which point defensive emplacements opened up. No men or equipment were lost but with a 6-pounder round skipping on the water U-63 now has a hole where U-63 didn’t want a hole.
– – – – – – –
The tiddliest of tiddlers!
Let’s hope for better luck with another harbour raid far up the coast against Fleetwood: maintain Caution level Zero.
Finally, a moderately successful attack for U-63 against the cod-botherers of Fleetwood.
A 6600 ton ship at anchor was torpedoed. Sadly that torpedo hadn’t detached from its’ pilot, so that ‘chairboy’ was taken on a wild final ride.
400 tons of cod were blown up in their fishing vessels. Fortunately for the residents of Fleetwood, the deep dockside meant the plumes of disarticulated fish rose and fell vertically, the beneficiaries being the gulls.
And, to make sure they really got the message, TWO floating jetties were damaged.
– – – – – – –
Away at Burton Albion, maintain Caution level Zero.
(Men lost: 1 ; Total men lost: 2)
While it would theoretically be possible for U-63 to reach Burton from it’s position in the Irish Sea (Mersey, Mersey-Trent canal, Trent), lurking off the Wirral in ambush-mode is deemed a better move.
The sluggish Albion enters attack range and a moonlit assault is prepared. Unfortunately, unable to submerge, the first wave is spotted and two Negers blown out of the water. Hunting for more attackers, the Albion unwittingly leaves one of the scattered torpedoes on its’ moonward side. The weapon detaches successfully and the Albion is struck amidships. Those not killed in the blast will evacuate and abandon ship in good order, being rescued a couple of hours later.
U-63 Wycombe Wanderer decides the jury-rigged repairs won’t hold and that it’s time to return to base.
– – – – – – –
Inbound, Caution level 2 for match away at Bristol Rovers.
(Men lost: 2 ; Total men lost: 4)
While I hesitate to deter you from your enthusiastic navigational innovation might I draw attention to an unfortunate but no doubt surmountable dimensional challenge, to wit the possibly overlooked length of a Mark VIIC being just over twice that of almost all of the 76 locks on the Mersey Trent Canal.
Stupid Imperial measures.
They talk a big game, but really they are a little peoples.
Traversing the Bristol channel and a Rover comes out to play.
U-63 decides upon stealth, and initially this seems a good move as HMCS Rover hunts high and low without picking up the scent. U-63 may not be in peril, but it costs what she and the Kriegsmarine most need: time. Two torpedoes are launched at the departing warship, tracking its’ propellor, but run out of fuel before they can hit their target. HMCS Rover is none the wiser.
U-63 Wycombe Wanderer only managed to cover a quarter of the distance to home port, and the decision to return looks like a mistake.
– – – – – – –
Damaged and inbound, the only available Caution level is 2.
Another test of U-63’s patience, crossing paths with HMNZS Barnsley. U-63 dives well in time, but brushing a seamount causes a torpedo guidance unit to topple of a workbench.
Then it’s waiting. Waiting. Waiting.
The relative safety of port looks as far away as ever.
But finally! An opportunity, and U-63 makes a dash for it: deeper water and beneath the thermocline. HMNZS detects her and comes across her estimated position dropping depth charges, but U-63 Wycombe Wanderer is well clear.
– – – – – – –
Repairing, refitting and re-arming.
A quick turn-around for U-63 Wycombe Wanderer; though it’s not actually a turn-around as men are moved rather than materiel.
With their base threatened, the crew and convict torpedo-riders are transferred to Germany, meaning a longer journey back to the Channel. They will be utilising new Marders in place of their Negers. Instruction is minimal: why waste time on dry land, and when the attrition rate will be so high? There will be time to revise as they cruise to their Patrol Zone.
– – – – – – –
Last scorer: Forino-Joseph against Charlton => PA-6 (Double-barrelled rule)
Caution level 2 for next match against MK Dons.