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Silent Hunter II

After Action Reports

Smolders takes command of U-17, but never returns to port

   The following is a telling of my first multiplayer game against manned DD.

November 24th 1940.

U-17 received a contact report at 1430hrs boat time. U-boats U-515( type VII captained by Long range) and U-552 (type VII by Rudel) had formed a wolf pack and were awaiting other boats to intercept. 1600 hrs U-17 had arrived and the order to engage received. The grey wolves shadowed until 1800hrs boat time…

The LI handed a crumpled piece of paper through the conning tower hatch, his hastily scrawled letters said it all, " U-112, Kaleu Osis reports sighting escorts. HMS Stalker (revrav), HMS Charger(Jester), and HMS headphones(greywolf)."

Turning my attention to my field glasses I scanned the horizon for the tell-tail signs of smoke. Nothing, only the dim line of water meeting sky broken by the occasional white cap, " watch chief ?"

"Herr Kaleu?" not for one instant did the officer take his eye off of the horizon.

" clear the bridge, and rig for dive".

With clockwork precision the watch efficiently slid down into the bowls of the boat. One quick glance over the deck and I slid down the ladder pausing only long enough to close and seal the conning hatch, ‘ take her to 16 meter make speed one third LI" "One six meter, one third herr Kaleu" belted the LI in reply. Gently the boat dipped down and the smashing of the diesel engines was replaced with the hum of the electric motors. The gentle dip slowly leveled out, " depth one six meter, sir" the lead plains man reported, the LI repeated the report with an added Kaleu at the end.

"SIR" a squeaky voice erupted from the nook that held Hydro-phones " high speed screws bearing zero degrees relative"

A quick glance at the boats clock and a mental note, 1810 hrs. I was suddenly aware that faces fraught with anticipation were on me, " make depth two six meters LI. Carry on this course." The next 10 minuets were a barrage of contact updates from the squeaky voice at the hydro-phones.

Slowly we approached, the whole boat electrified as we closed on our prey. 1827 hrs " LI take her to periscope dep…." The whole boat echoed with a single nerve shattering ping. Life froze for a millisecond, again all eyes were on me only this time faces were dark, riven with beads of sweat. " Run Silent, LI" another ping. The squeaky voice again, panic rushing within the words, " High speed screws close…." And with a scream " WABOS!" The sound of the props smashing overhead could be heard through out the control room. " WABOS!" the young hydro-phone operator rips his head set off and leaves it hang by it cord as he braces himself within his cubicle. Others around the control room do the same.

All is silent for what seem like an eternity, faces wet with sweat turn wild questioning eyes towards me silently begging for an answer. " Take her to ninety…" the silence is disintegrated, the boat is thrown around, its content violently shaken and bounced as the first depth charge reaches it mark. Another meets it mark and again the boat is thrown around like discarded paper in the wind, several bulbs bust slipping the boat into cool deep darkness. A needle of light stabs at the darkness, behind it the LI voice announces, " Well the dentist in St Nazaire will have some business when we get back." A chuckle winds its way around the control room.

" Dam LI, give me a damage report" an angry tone masking fear.

"KaLeu, some fuses out and some minor hull damage we are fine."

Out of the darkness the hydro phones squeaky voice waivers, " High speed screws distant"

" All stop, LI"

The boat lays in utter silence. A sweep of the phones reveals nothing. The darkness is ended lights flicker back to life.

A glance at the boat clock, 1840hrs, " Take her to Periscope depth LI" As the boat comes to scope depth the periscope is raised. A sweep with the scope reveals nothing then as a wave subsides the gleaming bow of a destroyer and the hammering sound of an escorts’ engine firing up.

" ALARM! Deep LI take her deep" The control room explodes with activity as valves are pulled and indicating screws are turned. " WABOS!" the squeaky voice announces, fear rages through the area, we didn’t need the hydro phones to hear the slash of propellers and the drop of depth charge from that close. Report: U-17, no contact in 36 hours presumed lost in action.

Jay Holmes "smolders" 


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