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The Hunters: German U-Boats at War, 1939-43» Forums » General

Subject: First impressions of The Hunters rss

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Fran Thorne
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Well my first impressions are what an amazing game this im totally hooked. Got to say i pretty much enjoy every aspect of the game and roleplay.

Not knowing much historical detail on the subject matter i have noticed that in the four sessions ive played the game changes very quickly. I can be making good tonnage but as soon as i get detected by either escots or aircraft (aircrafts keep wiping me out...you think youve got home and then bang !!) then its pretty much game over i get wiped out in one encounter.

Was wondering if historically this is what happened with uboats in this era. They didnt often survive an encounter with the enemy once detected ?

Could any one recommend any good books to accompany this game ?
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Estonia
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Welcome! Nice to hear you like the game.

I'm not a specialist either, but broadly speaking, yes, The Hunters gets the historical vulnerability of U-Boats right.

I think the standard recommendations are:
* Das Boot, novel by Lothar-G√ľnther Buchheim. A movie based on it is a cult film (should be available also in Youtube).
* Iron Coffins, (semi)biographical novel by Herbert A. Werner.
* Hitler's U-Boat War: The Hunters, 1939-1942 and Hitler's U-Boat War: The Hunted, 1942-1945, by Clay Blair Jr. Probably the most comprehensive history books about U-Boats in WWII, very detailed.
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Rich Dodgin
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Iron Coffins is a great read.
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POUM
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Clay Blair Hitler's U-boat war has it all! Very comprehensive.
And yes, don't miss Das Boot the movie.
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Nicola S
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Off the beaten track, my standard recommendation in these forums has been:

Another Place, Another Time: A U-boat Officer's Wartime Album by Werner Hirschmann and Donald E. Graves. ISBN-13: 979-1591140138
This is late-war but you get lots of pictures (including many from a Type IXC) and the perspective of a LI (engineer).

Another that delivers good impressions on what it was like to live and fight in the boats is:

U-boat Combat Missions: The Pursuers and the Pursued - First-hand Accounts of U-boat Life and Operations by Lawrence Paterson. This is a large size book with a lot of pictures from inside the only surviving Type VII (U-995 at Laboe Naval Memorial) intermingled with operational pictures and vivid descriptions of everything from meals, to storage of food in the boats etc. It is OOP, but in my opinion well worth the money. VERY visual!

By the same author, though I don't have it, you may also want to check:
U-Boat War Patrol: The Hidden Photographic Diary of U-564
Some of the pictures in this book have been used in the previous one I mentioned, yet many are unpublished. Again, this is OOP but well worth it in my opinion. Again, VERY visual.

HTH!

Edited for spelling
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Estonia
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frant101 wrote:
Not knowing much historical detail on the subject matter i have noticed that in the four sessions ive played the game changes very quickly. I can be making good tonnage but as soon as i get detected by either escots or aircraft (aircrafts keep wiping me out...you think youve got home and then bang !!) then its pretty much game over i get wiped out in one encounter.


By the way, if you say that as soon as as you get detected in your games you get wiped out in one encounter, it suggests you may be using too aggressive attack tactic - close range, day attack with G7a torpedoes or night surface attack on escorted targets etc - and activate too many unfavorable escort detection die roll modifiers as a consequence. Which means you get trapped in an Escort Detection / Depth Charge Cycle. (The fact that you are making good tonnage rather confirms this.) It shouldn't be that deadly as you described, at least before 1942. If you balance torpedo accuracy / escort detection properly and go for a long run result, you should have a fair chance to survive a couple of dozen Escort Detection / Depth Charge Cycles (many with the escape before any damage taken) and even survive the whole period until June 1943. (Of course, that doesn't mean you can't play bold and take risks - it might be more fun and even get you better results.)

---

frant101 wrote:
Was wondering if historically this is what happened with uboats in this era. They didnt often survive an encounter with the enemy once detected ?


One more thing, to be more concrete about historical accuracy... I found a report Antisubmarine Warfare in World War II, published in Washington D.C. in 1946, written by the Operations Evaluation Group in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations in [US] Navy Department - fascinating stuff. Among many other problems and aspects they analyzed how effective US aircraft attacks were depending on a degree of submergence of targeted U-Boat; attacks were categorized into 9 groups. Data was available for a period from July 1942 to July 1943, I looked at the second half of it (Jan-July 1943).

If the boat was fully surfaced, decks awash, or only stern and/or conning tower on surface while being attacked (something one might call in The Hunters's terms "missing a Successful Crash Dive"), the U-Boat was sunk in 17% of cases. So one could say that the air attacks were quite deadly in 1943. (As there was a constant technological and doctrinal race between adversaries, survival rates and other stats varied and depended on the phase of the campaign.)

Curiously, in the game, the mathematical probability that in year 1943 an aircraft sinks U-Boat (after unsuccessful crash dive) in one attack is (with rounding) also 17%. (That perfect match is probably partly coincidence and can partly be attributed to interpretation of report data, but nevertheless... quite impressive. And this isn't the only surprisingly good match between the game and a historical data.)
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Greg Lott
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frant101 wrote:
Well my first impressions are what an amazing game this im totally hooked. Got to say i pretty much enjoy every aspect of the game and roleplay.

Not knowing much historical detail on the subject matter i have noticed that in the four sessions ive played the game changes very quickly. I can be making good tonnage but as soon as i get detected by either escots or aircraft (aircrafts keep wiping me out...you think youve got home and then bang !!) then its pretty much game over i get wiped out in one encounter.

Was wondering if historically this is what happened with uboats in this era. They didnt often survive an encounter with the enemy once detected ?

Could any one recommend any good books to accompany this game ?


From what I've read, it's extremely accurate. You can go from easy pickings to being in pure survival mode in zero flat. And things got much worse for the wolfpack as the years rolled on...
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Fran Thorne
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Thanks all for the great responses and the list of books, looks like some reads that are going to really inhance the atmosphere of the game.

I find that im pretty cautious in my game play and i can avoid detection most of the time. Just once i am detected i get hammered normally by aircraft !!!!

Cheers all for the books and advice
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Neil Stevens
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Just make sure you watch 'Das Boot' in German with subtitles. The British dubbing is not a patch on the original.
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