Russ Massey
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I thought I would wait to start the full campaign until the Vassal module came out, but after setting up the warmix for 39 so I could play the Patrol Scenarios for War Period 1, I thought; why not?

I can always transfer the game state to Vassal later.

So here is the detailed account of what happened in the first 4 weeks of the war.

September 1939

Week 1

Morocco

Not a great start to the war, as U-52 patrol moves to Morocco to avoid congestion in the Western Approaches and is sunk by a 2-destroyer counter-attack as she engages a convoy of 20 ships.
U-40 does better against another 20 ship convoy, sinking 2 merchants for 10t.
U-39, U-37 achieve nothing.

SW Approaches (+1 Congregation Risk)

Prien’s U-47 encounters 8 loners but only manages to sink a sailing vessel for 1t and a 6t M.
Shultz in U-48 also encounters 8 loners and sinks 3 for 17t.
U-46 encounter 4 loners and sinks 3 of them for 13t.
U-33 meets 8 loners and sinks 5 of them of 24t.
U-34 picks off a 7tM out of a 36 ship convoy, but decides not to re-attack.
U-38 encounters 3 loners and sinks a 1tM.

North Sea (+1 Congregation Risk)

U-26 lays a minefield in the English Channel, but it is immediately swept.
The inexperienced U-56 is damaged in counter-attacks after encounters with 4 loners and RTBs.
Kretschmer and his U-23 decided to concentrate on easy coastal traffic, but his first encounter was a 14t Armed Merchant which he managed to sink! Influence with OKM is increased by +1 to the maximum of +2. On his re-attack he added 1t of coastal craft to his total.
U-59 is sunk by a Diligent Escort.
U-36 sinks 2 ships for 7t.
U-58 is damaged, and voluntary RTBs after sinking a 1tM.
U-21 is damaged, and voluntary RTBs after sinking a 1tM.
U-19 sinks 2t of coastal craft.
U-15 is damaged while engaging a 30 ship convoy and heads back to base.
U-12 is spotted by patrol aircraft and then sunk by its own torpedo.

Western Approaches

U-45 sinks a 2t loner but is forced away from a 20 ship convoy by a Diligent Escort.
U-30 encounters 6 loners and sinks 1 for 4t.
U-29 meets 3 loners and sinks 1 for 6t.
U-28 encountered 4 loners, sinking 3 of them for 13t.
U-27 meets 5 loners but fails to sink any.
U-53 flips to patrol side.

Baltic Sea

U-7 and U-22 have no encounters
U-14 meets 4 loners and sinks 2 for 8t.
U-18 meets 4 loners and sinks 1 for 4t.

Transit

2 U-boats are sent to the Baltic, 2 to the Western Approaches and 4 to the North Sea.
U-57 is damaged entering the North Sea and forced to RTB.

Week 2

Strategic Segment

Event: Mine laying. U-10 and U-36 in the North Sea are chosen for the task.
B-Dienst area: SW Approaches.
Weather Zones: Gulf of Mexico Low), Greenland Gap (Low), Western Approaches (Very Low)

Morocco

U-37 meets 4 loners and kills 2 for 5t.
U-39 attacks a 36 ship convoy and sinks a 5tM.
U-41 slipped into the centre of a 36 ship convoy but was unable to hit any targets.

SW Approaches (B-Dienst Area, +1 Congregation Risk)

U-46 sinks a 4tM among a 20 ship convoy and then crash dives to avoid its own torpedo circling back. It then successfully crash dives again to avoid a Diligent Escort and escapes the counter-attack without damage.
U-34 meets 3 loners and sinks 2 for 8t.
Schutze’s U-48 attacks a large convoy, but is damaged by a Diligent Escort and unable to hit any targets.
Prien and U-47 sink 2 of 4 loners for 8t and then he encounters a British Special Convoy. He sinks a 6tM but declines a re-attack given the number of White Ensigns around.

North Sea (+2 Congregation risk this turn, as over 12 boats in the area)

Kretschmer’s U-23 penetrates to the heart of a 36 ship convoy. His first shot at a 10tM hits but fails to damage. He risks a re-attack in his tiny boat, as both the White Ensigns to be flipped are in the centre columns. Fortunately they are both merchants. The convoy scatter has increased to 2, and a good line-up despatches a 4tM and U-23 slips away unhindered.
U-26 meets 4 loners and sinks 3 of 10t.
U-9 concentrates on coastal traffic and sinks 2 for 2t, but is damaged in a counter-attack and RTBs.
U-19 sinks a 2tSV and then is damaged and RTBs.
U-13 is chased away from a 36 ship convoy by a Diligent Escort in the Outer Column.
U-20 meets 4 loners but fails in its attack and decides not to press re-attacks due to the presence of the CV Courageous and its aircraft. It then encounters a 36 ship convoy and is able to slip into the Inner column and sink a 5tM.
U-36 and U-10 successfully mine the English Coast, but there are no sinkings.

Western Approaches (Very Low Pressure zone, +1 Congregation Risk)

U-45 has no encounters but suffers weather related damage and RTBs.
U-31 encounters the Liner Orion, but cannot get a shot.
U-32 meets a 20 ship convoy and sinks a 7tM.
U-53 encounters 1 loner but misses.
U-27 meets 3 loners and sinks a Fishing Vessel (1 ship but zero tonnage), suffering weather damage and RTB.
U-28 meets 2 loners and sinks 1 for 4t.
U-29 meets 2 loners and sinks both for 9t.
U-30 has no encounters.

Baltic

U-4 has no encounters.
U-3 meets 4 coastal vessels and sinks 1.
U-22 has no encounters.
U-7 has no encounters.
No boats remain on patrol in the Baltic, as all are now returning to base.

Transit

Prien refuels his U-47 from the resupply ship in El Ferrol to enable him to stay at sea.
U-40 is sunk in the North Sea while returning to Germany.
U-57 returns to Germany and has light damage.
U-56 returns to Germany, loses its inexperienced status and has light damage.
U-58 returns with heavy damage.
U-15 returns with light damage.
U-21 returns with moderate damage.
There are 2 boats ready for sea in Germany, but as the target tonnages and ships sunk have been reached for September it is decided not to launch any more missions until October.

Week 3

Strategic Segment
Event: Iron Convoy - deploy 2 U-Boats to the Norwegian Sea.
B-Dienst area: SW Approaches.
Weather Zones: Maritimes (Low), Grand Banks (Very Low)
The remaining mines in the English Coast damage a French Suffren class Heavy Cruiser before they are eliminated.

Norwegian Sea

U-10 and U-20 patrol move here from the North Sea without incident, as per the Iron Convoy event.
U-10 encounters 3 loners but fails to hit any.
U-20 has no encounter - looks like the reports of a convoy were incorrect.

Morocco

U-41 encounters 4 loners, damages 1 but fails to sink any.
U-39 meets a 36 ship convoy, but has no luck against the Outer Column.
U-37 meets another 36 ship convoy, but despite re-attack cannot sink anything.

SW Approaches (B-Dienst Area)

Prien and U-47 fail to accomplish anything against a 36 ship convoy.
U-34 meets 2 loners but fails to sink any.

North Sea (+1 Congregation Risk)

Kretschmer and U-23 meet 5 loners and sinks 2 for 6tM, moving him to the top of the leader board with 25,000 tons from his 2 week patrol, which now ends.
U-36 encounters 2 loners but fails to sink any.

Western Approaches
(+1 Congregation Risk)

U-28 meets 4 loners but fails to sink any.
U-53 meets 5 loners and sinks a 0t Fishing Vessel.
U-33 meets 3 loners but fails to sink any.

Transit

U-9 returns with superficial damage
U-19 returns with light damage
U-27 returns with heavy damage
U-45 returns with heavy damage
U-48 (Schultze) returns with moderate damage

Not a great deal of tonnage sunk this turn, but that’s mainly because I saw no reason to take re-attack with any boat with defence 2 or less - it risked possible damage from a counter-attack when the VP levels were already maxed out. I also voluntarily RTB’d several boats in order to have them refitted and ready for another push in October. It takes a lot longer to get these boats back out to sea that I’m used to from Silent War.

Week 4

Strategic Segment

Event: Escort Mission - mark 1 U-Boat in the SW Approaches as RTB as it escorts a convoy back to Germany. Prien’s U-47 is the only available boat.
B-Dienst Area: North Sea
Weather Zones: US East Coast (Low), Maritimes (Very Low)

North Sea (B-Dienst Area)

U-10 and U-20 Patrol move from the Norwegian Sea into the North Sea.
U-20 meets 3 coastal loners and sinks 1.
U-10 encounters a 20 ship British Task Force, but seeing only a screen of destroyers declines to attack. It’s not really the ideal sort of target for a 2-1-2 Type II boat!

Morocco

U-37 meets 2 loners and inks 1 for 1t.

Western Approaches


U-53 encounters 3 loners and sinks 1 for 1t. It declines to attack a 36 ship convoy.
U-28 encounters 3 loners but fails to sink any.

Transit

3 boats leave Germany for the North Sea. There will be very few patrols for most of October as far as I can see, as only 3 other boats are at sea and not returning to base. Maybe I should have voluntarily pulled more boats back earlier than I did, as soon as the VP conditions were maxed..

Victory Points


I sank 64 ships for 235,000 tons in September, with 47 and 208,000 tons being the level needed for 5VPs. I score the maximum 10 VPs then, which also gives 5 Political Points. Another U-Boat lost would have reduced this by 1, but 4 is ‘acceptable’ according to my superiors. The first point must go to OKM, but this is already maxed at +2. The 2nd point has to go to the Chancellery and raises that to +1. The third point is used to raise influence with the Luftwaffe to 0, and the remaining 2 are added to prestige, to bring that total to 3. My first objective is to try and get torpedoes improved, and for this I’ll need to have sink 80 ships, max influence with OKM and the Chancellery, and 5 prestige points to max out the chance of success. The earliest I’ll be able to carry this out is the start of November, but I’m wasting points if I leave OKM influence at +2. There doesn’t seem to be anything I can attempt that would only reduced OKM influence by 1 except cancelling a relegation to training event, so I’ll keep a look out for that.

So what are my early impressions? All my hours spent on Silent War have been spent on Vassal, so the sheer hard work of the paper map and the cup draws came as a bit of a shock. I estimate it takes between 2 and 2.5 times longer to play ‘live’ than on the computer, and your back feels the difference as well. The most annoying thing I’ve found is the inability to read the tonnage numbers on the merchant ship counters. They are printed as black on very dark blue (much darker than how the blue appears in the counters illustrated on the geek) and I constantly have to strain to make them out under artificial light.

Apart from that I have nothing but good things to say. The layout of the Atlantic theatre seems more detailed and less generic than the expanses of the Pacific, and the political rules in particular give you some short and medium term goals that help to generate interest above the gradual accrual of tonnage.

The additional elements of chrome (weather, loners, coastal traffic, resupply ships) are all welcome and easy to implement. The less generic nature of the Allied shipping is very welcome (I must get IJN as soon as I can find a copy), and the campaign throws you straight in to the action with none of the excruciating struggle to get a result that the -2 US torpedoes give you in 1941.

I do wish the Germans had been more imaginative in their naming of their boats. It’s a lot easier to root for a Salmon or a Sunfish than it is for U-10 or U-133, but I guess I can’t blame the designers for that.

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Mike Windsor
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Good description of the turns. I had the Pacific game. It was fun for a long while, but the games can get really long, just think of you description of September, and just add more U-Boats and multiply your description by 12 for a full year's campaign.
 
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Jim Lederer
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Thanks for posting this. How many hours did it take you to play-out this much of the campaign?
 
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Russ Massey
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LongTom wrote:
Thanks for posting this. How many hours did it take you to play-out this much of the campaign?


Not including the setup time (probably about 2 hours to punch and sort the counters needed for the warmix cups) it would have been about 4 and half hours for the first 2 turns, and 2 and a half for the second 2.

Say 7 hours, which also includes the bulk of the AAR and filling in a spreadsheet of the kills by individual U-boat.

Vassal should easily halve this I would say.
 
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Russ Massey
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mwindsor wrote:
Good description of the turns. I had the Pacific game. It was fun for a long while, but the games can get really long, just think of you description of September, and just add more U-Boats and multiply your description by 12 for a full year's campaign.


And then multiply by another 2.4 for the entire campaign

Oh I agree its not for everyone. Most of my friends would be bored to tears after a single turn. But since I've already played the Silent War campaign 3 times (twice to early 44 and once to completion) I already know that I'll be captivated for the long haul.
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Matthew Jones
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Great description of the turns. I'm intrigued by this question: Are the convoys "persistent"? If your lone U-Boat meets a 36 ship convoy in the, say, Central Atlantic sector, is there a way for you to call in a wolfpack as that convoy transitions into the SW Approaches off the coast of Ireland? Whatever U-Boats can get into place can attempt to attack? Is that the way this is set up, or is it more like SW where it just shows up randomly (albeit with well thought out tables to randomize it.)

Thanks
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Russ Massey
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Sigrdrifa wrote:
Great description of the turns. I'm intrigued by this question: Are the convoys "persistent"? If your lone U-Boat meets a 36 ship convoy in the, say, Central Atlantic sector, is there a way for you to call in a wolfpack as that convoy transitions into the SW Approaches off the coast of Ireland? Whatever U-Boats can get into place can attempt to attack? Is that the way this is set up, or is it more like SW where it just shows up randomly (albeit with well thought out tables to randomize it.)


The convoys are not tracked or recorded, so in theory you could have 12 U-boats in the Western Aproaches each have an encounter with a different 36 ship convoy in the space of 1 week. In practical terms you would call in the additional U-boats as a Wolfpack against the first such convoy encountered, as they benefit (I think - I haven't utilised Wolfpacks yet, as in the early war you seem to be better picking off the plentiful loners) from dividing the attentions of the escorts and their ASW factors.
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Kevin Horner
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Excellent AAR Russ, have got to say I am quite tempted by this game.
 
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Derek Gillam
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The convoys are not tracked or recorded, so in theory you could have 12 U-boats in the Western Aproaches each have an encounter with a different 36 ship convoy in the space of 1 week. In practical terms you would call in the additional U-boats as a Wolfpack against the first such convoy encountered, as they benefit (I think - I haven't utilised Wolfpacks yet, as in the early war you seem to be better picking off the plentiful loners) from dividing the attentions of the escorts and their ASW factors.

-Just a quick note-you can't form Wolpacks until WP2.Consensus though is to stick with loners as long as possible!
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Russ Massey
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Oh yes, I hadn't noticed that - especially as the first wolfpack scenario is actually set in WP1.
 
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Adam Hickey
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Scenario special rules versus general game rules strike again!
 
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Joey Konyha
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Rutan wrote:
LongTom wrote:
Thanks for posting this. How many hours did it take you to play-out this much of the campaign?


Not including the setup time (probably about 2 hours to punch and sort the counters needed for the warmix cups) it would have been about 4 and half hours for the first 2 turns, and 2 and a half for the second 2.

Say 7 hours, which also includes the bulk of the AAR and filling in a spreadsheet of the kills by individual U-boat.

Vassal should easily halve this I would say.


Vassal is the only way I play this, as leaving it out is not an option, and it may be a day or two before I get back to it.

Enjoyed the AAR, btw.

 
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Zack Gets
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You skipped the Strategic Segment in the first week or is there none ? And if so where is it written (just to correct my fault).

Thanks !
 
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