Terry Simo
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Bold (a term derived from kobold) was a German sonar decoy, used by U-boats during the Second World War from 1942 onwards. It consisted of a metal canister about 10 cm (3.9 in) in diameter filled with calcium hydride. It was launched by an ejector system colloquially referred to as Pillenwerfer (English: "pill thrower"). When mixed with seawater, the calcium hydride produced large quantities of hydrogen which bubbled out of the container, creating a false sonar target. A valve opened and closed, holding the device at a depth of about 30 m (98 ft). The device lasted 20 to 25 minutes. The Royal Navy called it SBT (Submarine Bubble Target).

Starting in June 1942, any type VII/IX U-boat can be fitted with the Pillenwerfer ejector system in the stern of the U-boat to allow a -1 DRM on [E2]Escort Detection Chart. [E4] U-Boat Damage Chart - result of 62 will damage Aft Torpedo Door and Pillenwerfer system. An Additional DR is required to repair this system separately from Aft Torpedo Door with same parameters (1-2 Fixed, 3-6 Inoperable). Use a separate chit to mark the Pillenwerfer system.

"Historical note: I was reading the U-Boat War Patrol of U564 and read about their successful use of Bold to escape from a British escort and avoid six depth charges. The war gets deadly in 1942 and the U-boats need a bit of a bonus to survive. Your crews will thank me for this installation!"
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Derek Case
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Hmmm... I like it!
What say you, Greg and John?
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Gregory Smith
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SingleHandedWarfare wrote:
Hmmm... I like it!
What say you, Greg and John?


Hey Derek,

I'd say it's a nice variant. It's certainly historical.

The issue I have with it, is it sort of unbalances things (in game terms.) Basically it gives you a whole extra six months of 1941 and makes 1943 turn into 1942. Right now the effects are "built in" but if you use this variant, I'd be afraid it would make the game too easy.

Pretty fun though, would be nice to see limitations on it (how many pills were carried? I could never find out) and really, it probably ought to last only 2 depth-charge cycles before having to launch another, if you do use it.

But I think it would be a nice house rule type of variant.

Greg
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Terry Simo
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Haven't even able to find how many were carried but reading further in U564 combat report, they continued to release multiple "bold" canisters whenever they submerged and evaded. So for the house rule, I would continue to allow use of the system throughout a patrol unless damaged. Seems the uboat had enough for a full patrol.
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Jim P
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But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you… And I will beat you.
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Sturmer wrote:
SingleHandedWarfare wrote:
Hmmm... I like it!
What say you, Greg and John?


Hey Derek,

I'd say it's a nice variant. It's certainly historical.

The issue I have with it, is it sort of unbalances things (in game terms.) Basically it gives you a whole extra six months of 1941 and makes 1943 turn into 1942. Right now the effects are "built in" but if you use this variant, I'd be afraid it would make the game too easy.

Pretty fun though, would be nice to see limitations on it (how many pills were carried? I could never find out) and really, it probably ought to last only 2 depth-charge cycles before having to launch another, if you do use it.

But I think it would be a nice house rule type of variant.

Greg
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What if it reduced the hits by one rather than the detection. Would that knock off the balance less?
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Steve Willows
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The only problem with BOLD is the widely varying reports of its effectiveness.

Some report the device as very effective, while others point out that it worked well at first, but experienced sonar operators didn't have much problem seeing the device as a decoy because it remained stationary while a real boat would be conducting evasive maneuvers. In addition, the greater the depth of the boat, the less effective it was.

I'd say that if you want to house rule it, don't use it in the face of veteran or elite escorts at the very least.

In addition, one should not presume that it was 100% effective in any case.
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Terry Simo
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Comparing uboat losses in 1941 to 1942. The majority of losses were from aircraft in 1942 while in 1941 it was from warships. Obviously bold would not be effective against aircraft. If one was to use this variant, I would keep the DRM on detection chart vs reducing hits. I would agree that allied sonar operators over time would become more effective but the 1942 loss rate to warships doesn't prove that it came anytime soon. I'll have to check 1943 losses to see if sunk by warship increases in 1943 but compared to 1941, 1942 losses to warships is very small segment of losses to total uboats operational.
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John Kranz
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Interesting thought there, Terry. Very interesting discussion (I'm learning something new historically every day!).
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Terry Simo
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From the excellent Uboat net website. Uboat losses and causes by the numbers.

In 1941 - 35 Uboats lost - 26 by Warship/5 by Aircraft/4 missing. So 74% were sunk by Warships. Average operational Uboat strength was only 20-40 uboats at sea on any given month.

In 1942 - 86 Uboats lost for the year. 35 by Warship/38 by Aircraft/13 by Accidents/Mines/Missing.

Prior to Bold - Jan-Jun 1942. 19 Uboats lost 12 by Warship/4 by aircraft/3 by accidents/mines/missing. 63% sunk by Warships. Average operational uboat strength was 40-80 at sea per month.

Bold introduced - Jul-Dec 1942. 67 Uboats lost 23 by Warship/34 by aircraft/10 by accidents/mines/missing. Only 34% sunk by Warships. Average operational uboat strength is 80-120 at sea per month.

Two things that pop out to me about the data is the once Bold was introduced, the Uboat loss rate to Warships drops by almost 50% and Aircraft tactics and capabilities against Uboats is their greatest threat at this time. Which is why you see so much emphasis on Flak capability on the uboats being developed in late 42/early 43. No real improvement in uboat technology as the Type VIIC and Type IXs were well established by this time so a combination of tactics and enhancements such as Bold may have contributed to the lower warship loss rate.

I haven't taken this data into 1943 yet to see if the trend continued or not but the data suggests a strong argument for using the Bold modifier to help escape detection from escorts in latter 1942 at least.

Greg Smith -- great game! My favorite for 2013.
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