Steve Carey
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At the outbreak of hostilities, U-5 was under the command of Oberleutnant Zur See Gunther von Montigny. Assigned to I Flotilla, the submarine was based out of Wilhelmshaven. Her initial orders were to interdict enemy shipping off the coast of the British Isles.

Von Montigny was born on 16 September 1891 in Berlin. He started his career in the Kaiserliche Marine in April 1910 as an officer aboard the cruiser SMS Breslau. The U-5 would be his first command.

Entries below are taken directly from von Montigny's log book.


After setup, the game begins...

August 1914

Transit Box - no encounter [E1-1]

Transit Box - no encounter [E1-1]

Our boat quietly slipped her mooring at 0130hrs, enroute to enemy waters. Transit to the assinged patrol destination was uneventful, clear skies and a calm ocean provided a contrast to the chaos of war now building on the continent, and elsewhere. We did not sight a single vessel during this initial leg of our journey. Nonetheless, the crew's spirits remained high and we were bound to do our duty to the best of our ability in support of our homeland.

British Isles Box - Encounter! Captial ship convoy [2d6 roll of '11' on E1-1]

The first night after arrival at our patrol zone was pitch black, the sea regularly nudging our boat with light swells. We were proceeding on the surface when suddenly the serenity of it all was shattered by the Watch Officer raisiing the alert of a vessel 4 points to the port shadow. My binoculars turned to capture the silhouette of a large capital ship in the distance. As I scanned for escorts, a second and then a third large capital ship appeared in view. I could scarcely believe my eyes - three enemy warships in column, what tremendous luck!

As expected, enemy escorts were observed protecting the starboard side of the battle line. I had to formulate a plan of attack without delay if we had a chance at these prized armoured cruisers.


Time: Night

Range: Close

Convoy: HMS Aboukir, HMS Cressy, HMS Hogue (each 12,000 tons)

Attack: Surface, including second salvo. Since this is the initial round of Combat in a Night Surface attack, the submarine is not allowed to exceed test depth per 9.6.6, making the situation even more dangerous if detected by the escorts.

This was an early opportunity to score an impressive victory for Germany, and I was not going to let it go to waste! My crew was untested in battle, but I had complete faith in them. I quickly ordered the boat to continue on the surface, crossing the T of the enemy battle line, putting me at point-blank range of the lead warship. I would fire all four torpedoes at the vessel since it was my sincerest desire to send her to the bottom.

No sooner had we completed the risky maneuver when a previously unseen enemy destroyer rounded the head of the column from its port side, forming a wedge between our boat and the intended target. My initial gut reacton was to signal an emergency dive for fear of being rammed, but then the choice targets could elude us. Instead I ordered an all-stop and both engines were immediately shut down, so we nervously held our station. If spotted by the enemy we were a sitting duck, but it was a risk I was willing to take.

Close Range Escort pre-Combat Detection Check: failed [a 2D6 roll of 10 or higher needed on E2]

Torpedoes: 4 (2 forward, 2 stern tubes as a secondary salvo per 9.5.2) at HMS Aboukir. Note that the deck gun cannot be used against red targets due to their threat level against the boat, per 9.3.1.

The destroyer passed us without regard, so we had remained undetected! Waiting for the escort to gain some distance and also wanting the best attack angle possible, I waited a few minutes before firing 2 steam torpedoes from our forward tubes, quickly followed by 2 compressed air torpedoes from the aft tubes. As the seconds counted, two large explosions rocked the target vessel resulting in a blazing inferno. Our second salvo failed to produce results, but I remained confident that the warship would sink as she was already listing heavily to port.

Hits: 3, 1 Miss. Note -1 DRM for Night. +1 DRM for second salvo. [U1]

Duds: 1 [U2]

Results: 7 Damage, target warship sunk [U3]

Post-Combat Escort Detection Check: failed [E2]

The scene immediately became a flurry of activity, so I ordered a dive to 30 meters, and while our hydrophone operator picked up the faint screws of distant vessels, no ship closed on our position.

Going up to periscope depth, I could see against the flames desperate men abandoning the engulfed ship by jumping into the ocean as the armed cruiser, her back broken, split into two and sank beneath the waves.

Subsequent Actions: none, voluntary withdrawal from combat [9.0].

I judged the scene too 'hot' for further operations, so we resumed our nomral patrol. With just 2 steam torpedoes reloaded into our forward tubes, I hoped to engage enemy shipping with them as our 3.7cm deck gun was of dubious value. (Deck Gun: +3 DRM [U3])

British Isles Box - no encounter [E1-1]

British Isles Box - no encounter [E1-1]

A strong gale came upon us that was surprising for its intensity and duration. To escape the battering, the boat spent 16hrs each day on the ocean bottom, putrid air filling our lungs. Nevertheless we were incessantly rocked back and forth, causing both illness and exhaustion to the crew.

Transit Box - no encounter [E1-1]

Transit Box - no encounter [E1-1]

As our patrol neared its end, I reluctantly gave the command for a return to base with two torpedoes still in their tubes. Any longshot chance encounter did not occur, so we reached the sanctuary of our home port with additional thoughts of what could have been.

Return to Port - Refit 1 month. [10.10]

Mission: Success, 1 ship sunk [7.4.2]

Upon achieving Wilhelmshaven we were enthusiastically greeted by our countrymen, learning that we had sunk the HMS Aboukir. A telegram from headquarters complimented the U-5 on its bravery and skill. Of the 740 souls aboard the armed cruiser, British newspaper accounts relayed that 527 men had perished. The horrors of war were fully upon us, but we had successfully fulfilled our mission.

Minor storm damage and routine repairs would require 1 month of refit before the U-5 would be fit for duty again.

I reacquainted my land gait while making way to the nearest beer hall, still wearing my foul smelling pig suit so that everyone would see me as a sub-mariner. To my surprise upon enetering the establishment, I was not only recognized but received a spontanious standing ovation from the entire patronage who then surrounded me, demanding every minute detail of our maiden voyage. Mug in hand, I recounted the story while also thinking ahead to our next assignment...
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Gabriel Gonzalez Pavón
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U-5 Patrol, August 1914
Thank you very much and congratulations on this excellent report.

I have a (double) minor question: do you have experience with "The Hunters" and if so, how different it was leading a WWI submarine? (Thanks!)
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Steve Carey
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Re: U-5 Patrol, August 1914
Gabriel, this is my first exposure to The Hunters system - having no experience with that game, I'll leave to others to answer the question.
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Ian Cooper
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Re: U-5 Patrol, August 1914
Great after action report! Interesting that you talk about the weather. I'm currently working on an expansion that generates weather, sea state etc.

I'm surprised to hear this was your first exposure to the game system. I had assumed you'd played The Hunters before. I'm really glad you're enjoying it. The Hunters was such a successful game that I figured the vast majority of the folks who picked up Raiders of the Deep would be veterans of The Hunters. It's awesome that this game is attracting new fans to this series.
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Steve Carey
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Re: U-5 Patrol, August 1914
Our second patrol October 1914 was launched with great excitement. Once again, transit to the British Isles was uneventful.

We soon however encountered a tandem of small merchants on course to France. We fired several rounds of 3.7cm from our deck weapon across their bows, but the "pop gun" apparently didn't do much other than frighten the feisty freighters, who made a run for it. Concerned about escorts converging on the area, we used a torpedo to send each freighter to the bottom, which more than annoyed me - two torpedoes for 2,500 tons of shipping, but it was better than nothing.

Soon a British light cruiser was spotted in the distance. As we closed range, her keen-eyed escort spotted us and attempted to ram before we could attack. Only a subsequent crash-dive saved us, but we struck bottom and suffered some hull damage; fortunately all leaks were quickly plugged, and no further damage occurred. The enemy cruiser escaped unharmed.

The rest of the patrol was quiet without any further contacts, so we slipped back into port to refit and refresh.


Notes:

--A submarine conducting a Night Surface Attack cannot exceed test depth when avoiding detection on the first round of combat [9.6.6]
--When exceeding test depth, a boat automatically suffers 1 Hull damage and also makes an additional damage roll [9.6.4]
--Undamaged capital ships cannot be followed (they auto-escape) [9.7.4]
--Hull damage cannot be repaired at sea [10.3.2]
--Hull damage adds additional time to Refit [10.10]
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Steve Carey
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Re: U-5 Patrol, 1914 (August - October)
New Years Day 1915 saw the entire crew reassembled at port and ready once again to go to sea. I was glad the men could spend Christmas with their families, a result of necessary routine refit and hull repairs that required an extra month for the engineers. We once again set course for the British Isles, wondering what hand fate would deal us.

Half-way through our third patrol, the skies were clear and the seas were calm. Just when I had begun to worry that luck had turned against us, an escort vessel was spotted against the fog on the horizon, protecting yet another enemy armed cruiser.

I setup the standard night surface attack, and put two torpedoes into the warship from medium range. She lurched hard with each impact, but no flames were seen and the vessel still managed 4 knots.

Incredibly we were detected and then rammed without almost any notice! Since the small escort had only sideswiped us, I thought perhaps it was only an accidental encounter. Once metal met metal, the trawler slowly turned about, but we were able to reach depth safely without further incident. The boat endured minor flooding from impact, which was quickly sealed off.

I wanted that crippled cruiser, and so followed its trail for an hour and then launched our last two torpedoes at her. A single explosion was heard and she was now dead in the water, but showed no signs of sinking. I was sure that one more hit would dispatch the vessel, but we had no more capability to inflict any damage.

We surfaced again as heavy fog now obscured all view. The boatswain suddenly yelled, "Warship off the port beam, heading straight for us!"
There was no time to think, the enemy was so close that a dive or maneuver would do no good. I ordered full speed for all engines and attempted to swivel the boat to present just our bow facing to the enemy. But he caught us at a deflected angle, and the sound of the ramming was both horrifying and sickening. Myself, the Watch Officer, and the boatswain were ejected from the tower and forcibly deposited into the icy water. By the time I regained my bearings, I scanned for any sign of our boat but it was already gone.

Notes:

--Damaged ships can automatically be followed, and no roll is necessary for Day/Night (you choose) [9.7.6]
--A damaged capital ship automatically retains its escort [9.7.4]
--Flooding is automatically pumped out between encounters [10.1.4]
--Deck guns cannot be used when escorts are present nor against red ships [9.3.1]
--Note the harmful +1 DRM for being previously detected on the Escort Detection Chart [E2]

Having been fished from the sea, I sat on deck of our killer, shivering in the cold air. Two armed sentries eyed me warily. Soon the ship's Captain arrived, and in broken German led me to believe that only myself and my Watch Officer had been rescued, the boatswain presumed drowned.

The Captain spoke to one of my guards, who shortly returned with a warm blanket and a hot cup of coffee. I had little regard for my pending status as a POW, instead dwelling only on the loss of my boat and crew. For all of us now, the war was over, one way or the other.

U-5 sunk off southern coast by ramming 15 January 1915, both officers recovered but rest of crew lost.
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Wayne Hansen
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Great stuff Steve. You'll be happy to know I ordered Raiders of the Deep.

I've enjoyed some operational submarine games, but have never played a narrative based one like this (like The Hunters, etc). Really looking forward to it.
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