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

Subject: Comparing Uboot Types to start rss

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Mircea Pauca
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Yes, choosing one of the 8 types in the box is the first player decision and has long ramificating consequences.
I distill to my subjective relative ratings on 1-10 scale.

VII A Available 9/39 Limited torpedoes (11) and autonomy (3 encounter attempts, or 2 in distant areas). Starts cumulating sunk tonnage and successes to enhance crew skill from the earliest, then on 12/40 a certain upgrade to VII C. Rating:6 (was 8)
VII B 9/39 Reasonable torpedoes (14) and autonomy (4/3) again from the earliest. Strictly preferable to VII A or C. Rating: 9 (was 7)
VII C 10/40 Identical functionally to the VII B but starting later. Rating: 5
VII D (Mine) 1/42 Even more autonomy (6/4) of which the first encounter is mandatory mining. Torpedo load is unaffected at 14. More risk with the mining special action but less chance of failed patrols in 1942-3 when convoys are dangerous. Two-month full patrols. Save upgrade influence then change to VII D (if allowed on 1-2, it's rare) for most chance to make Kapitan zur See? Rating: 4
VII C Flak 5/43 Very limited ammo (5 torpedoes, no deck gun). Even the designer said historically it was a failure. Useful only if shooting down planes were rewarded by the game system, but it isn't - or considered as deterrence, indirectly easing the life of other subs. Rating: 1
IX A 9/39 THE long-range boat with plentiful torpedoes (22) and autonomy (5/5) balanced by less patrols per year [EDIT: AND harder to avoid air attacks]. Relative advantage for America/Caribbean! This A is available from the start too. Rating: 10
IX B 4/40 More autonomy (6/5) but misses a chunk of easy start. Rating: 8 (was: 9)
IX C 5/41 Even more autonomy (7/6) is too much of a good thing? Upgrade to it whan you can. Rating: 7 (was: 6)

Now to think if the IX family deserves different tactics from VII. With more encounter attempts, the same risk of Biscay passage and other transit is diluted. [EDIT: If getting an Aircraft event, the IX or VII D dive slower. 42% of actual attack on a IX vs 28% on a VII. The 'dilution' idea stays, as the risk is spread to more useful encounter chances]
IX's Torpedoes can be used with more largesse. Maybe double-sided use (4 fore+2 aft torpedoes) from the surface even against convoys/capital ships, early in 1939-40? Late war, take even less risk to still return alive since escort opportunities will come more often?

EDIT: What's forbidden is Day+Surface+target escorted (including Capital ships). I don't see anything against Night+Surface+two-ended except some extra risk. I'd take it if I see BB Nelson (or another medal-worthy prize) in the first mission of 1939, or even better, in the first mission after getting the regular Knight Cross (no accuracy penalty for the aft). 6 torpedoes vs 4 increase the chance to finish it in 2 salvoes.

Another trick with the IX or VII D would be if finding a convoy early, use most torpedoes with the _option_ to abort before the half-time for only 1 month long patrol, same as a VII. If coming up dry before half-time, prolong the patrol and still get a Success.

Please comment if your experiences tell more.

[EDIT3: DOH, some misremembered stats]
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James Moore
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There are a number of differences in tactics between Type VIIs and Type IXs. Type IXs are slower to dive than a Type VII, and so aircraft have an increased chance to successfully attack you. So the North Atlantic is a less safe patrol area for them.
Bay of Biscay transit is also more lethal for a Type IX due to
the slow diving time, and much higher chance of air attack.
Due to their increased range, Type IXs can reach the more remote patrol areas, and this is a much better place to take them due to reduced risk of air attack. The larger torpedo capacity also allows you to expend more torpedoes on a target, but IMO it is better to economize, as you can potentially rack up a much higher tonnage score.
You mention surface attacks against capital ships, but surfaced action against any warship would be suicide, and is not allowed in the game in any case..

Edit: Yes, you could game the system by using all your torpedoes up as quickly as possible in order to get one month patrols out of a Type IX. But historically that would not have happened. If Type IX skippers started coming home halfway through their patrols, Doenitz would have taken a giant s--t on them, and probably have them relieved for cause..




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Mircea Pauca
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Ah, the related topic of choosing patrol areas. If luck and rank allows (the KaLeun has 1/6 to get their wish, a Frigattenkapitan has 3/6).

I'd conceptualize as in the well known financial market model:

expected Reward (Tonnage) = Alpha + Beta * ChosenRisk
expected Punishment (Death) = AlphaP + BetaP * ChosenRisk

where ChosenRisk is here the number of times choosing to attack convoys/escorted targets and keeping following them. There is some variation here too, if one finds a Convoy in Day the BetaP/Beta ratio may be too bad (extra punishment from Steam torpedoes detected, or lower reward of Electrics), so waiting for Night is a risk mitigation tactic simultaneously improving that ratio and decreasing ChosenRisk (if following fails).

For Alpha (riskless=unescorted target opportunities aka 'Shooting fish in a barrel') the obvious choices are British Isles in 1939-41 and North America in 1942-43 (yes, even for Type VII's).

For best Beta, there is Atlantic (Wolfpack), repeatedly Following Convoys when found. 5/6 of Escorts are Busy, so -1 to detect you compared to basic, isolated Atlantic patrols. Just hope the escorts don't get Focused on your Uboot (in that case choose a lower risk tactic, like a long range torpedo salvo). No Aircraft encounters in the Atlantic at large.

For the risk-masochist there is the Med. First cross the Gibraltar to get there, then more chances of capital ships, convoys and pure-punishing Aircraft too.

Anyone got good successes compared to survival by choosing the Med ?
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