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Posted on Mar 23, 2014 in Boardgames

Ship Log U-34 in ‘The Hunters’ Boardgame

Ship Log U-34 in ‘The Hunters’ Boardgame

By Rick Martin

Armchair General® reviewer Rick Martin’s log of his first campaign of The Hunters solitaire U-boat game.

It was our 1st Patrol Sept. 1939 Type VII A Undersea Boat U34 – the Atlantic

Our three week patrol is over. We sank 3 British ships (two heavy freighters and 1 light freighter) for 20,400 tons. We used all torpedoes and 75% of our 88mm deck gun ammunition. We were attacked by a destroyer during our attack on a convoy and we suffered moderate hull damage plus our batteries suffered extensive damage and our boat’s chief engineer was wounded. Several of our crewmen and our boat’s doctor were killed. We dived deep and managed to escape. Our last engagement of this patrol was a surface action in which we used our deck gun to sink a heavy transport, the 8,200 ton Tajandoen.

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We will spend October in dry dock having the hull damage repaired.

From the log of Lt. Reiner Wolf

In refit during October 1939 to repair damage.

2nd Patrol Nov. 1939 – British Isles

After several frustrating weeks at sea with no contact, we encountered and sank a small escorted freighter, the 2000 ton Scania. 10 days later we encountered a lone British freighter, the 3100 ton Ontario, and engaged it with torpedoes and around 50 shots from our deck gun. We damaged it and then pursed and sank it. On our way back to our base we encountered an escorted large freighter, the 5400 ton Balzac, we engaged and damaged it but the escort drove us off. A rather unfulfilling hunt of 5,100 tons and 2 ships sunk but at least we took no damage and we will head out again in December.

Lt. Reiner Wolf (out)

3rd Patrol Dec. 39 – British Isles

Second week – sighted the 4600 Dalcroy and sunk it. The next week we encountered an escorted British convoy! The prize was the 11,000 ton Norfolk. We moved in submerged at night. We fired three torpedoes at the Norfolk and sunk her. A two torpedo spread was fired at the 5000 ton Lehigh but both torpedoes missed. The escort pounded us hard with depth charges and our ship suffered flooding. Our 2nd Officer, Adolf Kuppisch, was severely wounded during the attack and will have to recover in hospital. Our ship’s doctor says he may be out of action until February or March. 2 ships for 15,600 tons sent to the bottom.

Lt. Reiner Wolf (out)

In refit during Jan. 1940 to repair damage.

4th Patrol Feb. 1940 – British Isles

Back to Britain. Sunk the 11,000 ton tanker Arne Kjode during a night time surface attack. Two weeks later spotted the 11,300 ton freighter Abosso. 5 torpedoes and hours of blasting away with deck gun couldn’t sink that ship. Had to break off attack when escorts arrived. No other ships spotted.

Lt. Reiner Wolf (out)

In refit during March and April 1940 Received promotion to Kaptain. Engineer

is now rated as an expert at emergency repairs.

5th to 7th Patrols May to Oct. 1940 – British Isles and Spanish Coast. Shot down a British airplane that attempted to attack us. Sank the 7000 ton ship Scottish Maiden. Mostly uneventful and boring patrols.

8th Patrol to the British Isles in Dec. 1940 – Attacked by British airplanes. Sank the 3300 ton freighter Annavore. Attacked by destroyer – took damage and crew casualties. Forced to abort back to base after deep dive to escape.

In refit during Jan. and Feb. 1941 to repair damage to sub from destroyer attack.

Lt. Reiner Wolf (out)

9th Patrol – March 1941 – transferred to the Mediterranean – night passage through Gibraltar without incident. Made two attacks on a 6 ship convoy. Sunk 4700 ton Starcross and the 5100 ton King Malcolm.

10th Patrol May 1941 in Mediterranean – no ship sightings – multiple aircraft on patrol for German submarines spotted. Kept submerged during daylight to avoid being spotted. Very disappointing.

11th Patrol July 1941 in Mediterranean – during the first week we spotted the British battleship Barnham. Her escorts were working over another sub. We launched 10 torpedoes during two attack runs over the day. 4 torpedoes hit. The Barnham went down. Escaped without detection. Headed home to a heroes welcome! Received Knight’s Cross. 1st Officer promoted! We now have 13 ships sunk and 1 aircraft shot down to our credit. Out total tonnage sunk is 103,300 tons of enemy shipping sent to the bottom.

12th Patrol Sept 1941 in Mediterranean – during the first week we spotted a very large British convoy. We could get within firing range of two tankers! The first tanker was the 8600 ton Winamac but the second was the 14000 ton Emile-Miguet! Spotted a light freighter, the 3800 ton Scoresby, and a heavy freighter, the 7200 ton Alexander Macomb. Of course, the convoy had escort destroyers. We moved in under cover of night for a medium range submerged attack. The two tankers are the primary targets – three torpedoes on the Emile-Miguet and two on the Winamac including our stern torp. This will make us a more visible target but is worth the effort if we can take out both tankers. All torpedoes missed the Winamac but two struck the Emile-Miguet. It erupted in flames and began to sink. The escorts went to work on us but the depth charges were too far away. We followed the convoy and prepared for another salvo at the surviving tanker. The Winamac was hit twice and began to sink and burn. The destroyers moved in again but must have picked up either another U-boat or a false reading. Aside from an enemy aircraft that we crash-dived to avoid, we did not see any more enemy targets and didn’t have a chance to fire our last torpedo. Successful patrol – 2 tankers sunk for 22,600 tons. That’s a lot of fuel that won’t be powering vehicles attacking General Rommel’s Afrika Korps.

13th Patrol Nov. 1941 in Mediterranean – found a tanker traveling alone – the 8000 ton Imperial Transport. Sank it with a surface attack combination of two torpedoes and around 50 shots from our 88mm cannon. They must have sent off a report because we were, not long after, attacked by an Allied airplane that wounded our 2nd Officer and killed 5 men and caused moderate flooding. No approachable targets for the next few weeks. Back to base with 1 ship sunk for 8000 tons.

14th Patrol Jan. 1942 in Mediterranean – dived to avoid an airplane during the first day of patrol. The next week spotted a convoy. Identified a tanker, the 10,000 ton Italia, a light freighter, the 4800 ton Navarino, and two heavy freighters, the 6400 ton Peiping and the 8300 ton Chilore. Fired a spread of five torpedoes from all fore tubes and the aft tube. All torpedoes hit their targets. Italia exploded and both Peiping and Chilore were heavily damaged. The escorts seemed to be unable to get a fix on our sub. We went deep and then came to periscope depth after our torpedo tubes were reloaded. Sighting the two damaged freighters we attacked and sank them with electric torpedoes at medium range. We then left undetected. A few days later, we sighted an escorted convoy and radioed its position but, being out of torpedoes, we couldn’t safely engage a target within cannon range that was not escorted. We returned to base with 4 ships sunk for a total tonnage of 29,500 tons! A very successful patrol.

15th Patrol March 1942 in Mediterranean – spotted two ships with an escort. The 8800 ton tanker Appalachee and the 1600 ton Trolla. Fired three torpedoes and hit the Appalachee, with one crippling it. The destroyer escort pounded us and then moved on. Only minor flooding. Waited a few hours and followed the slowly moving convoy. Sank both ships with three more torpedoes. Not a dud in the mix. The destroyer began rescue operations and we moved away. A few days later we used 1 torpedo and some cannon shots to sink the 4700 ton Stratford during a night time surface attack. A week later we were attacked by a British aircraft that caught us on the surface. Several crew suffered light wounds and our radio mast and aft torpedo doors were damaged. The radio mast was repaired but the torpedo tubes were damaged beyond the capability of our damage control crew to repair at sea. While approaching our port we were once again attacked by an enemy airplane. This one did no damage. Enemy air activity seems to be picking up. We finished the patrol with 3 ships sunk for 15,100 tons. Total tonnage for the boat is 178,500 tons of enemy ships sunk.

16th Patrol May 1942 in Mediterranean – A few days into our patrol we encountered an enemy convoy comprised of the 3100 ton Ontario, 10300 ton Ixion, 6300 ton Polyphemus and the 5400 ton Athenic. Fired a full spread of four torpedoes plus our aft torpedo. Missed the Ontario but all other torpedoes hit with no duds! Athenic sunk while Ixion and Polyphemus were damaged. Escort destroyers attacked. They pounded us for three hours. Damage to fuel tanks, batteries, engine # 2, aft torp tube door. We waited 1 hour until all was quiet and went to periscope depth. Ontario was nowhere to be seen. Ixion and Polyphemus still in the area with damage control working on repairs. Destroyers could be seen in the distance. Fired another torpedo spread to finish off the two damaged ships. The Ixion was hit and exploded. The Polyphemus was hit but refused to sink. We escaped and aborted the mission to return home. With engine damage our speed suffered but luckily we did not encounter any enemy patrols. 2 ships sunk for 15,700 tons.

June 1942 promoted to Korvetten Kapitan (KKpt) and crew and KKpt assigned to new Type VII C U Boat U1063. The Type VII C has a greater hull strength, is larger, has a longer range, is faster and carries more torpedoes. We are to maintain operations in the Mediterranean operations area. I will miss U-34. She was a good boat.

17th Patrol (1st in U1063) August 1942 in Mediterranean – on our way to our patrol zone we were attacked by an allied aircraft. My first officer and several other crew members were wounded. Additionally our radio is damaged and our flak gun is damaged. Our engineer reports minor hull damage as well. That aircrew was either lucky or very good at anti-submarine duty. Our damage control crew reported that the radio mast is completely destroyed and that our flak gun is permanently out of action. We shall continue our patrol for another week but then return to base. Not a great way to begin our first mission in U 1063. No ships sighted so we return for repairs.

In refit during the rest of August, Sept and Oct. 1942 to repair damage to sub from aircraft attack. Where the hell is the Luftwaffe when you need them?

18th Patrol (2nd in U1063) Nov. 1942 in Mediterranean – first week of patrol, near nightfall and we stumble upon a convoy with two tankers in plain view! The 8100 ton Dark Dale, 8400 ton British Flame (an appropriate name) plus a huge freighter in view- identified as the 10,300 ton Calchas. There are other ships but we can’t identify them. There are also several destroyers. Radioed position and moved into attack position submerged at close range. Fired fore and aft tubes. All five torps hit but the one fired at the Dark Dale was a dud – the first in a while. As I predicted, the British Flame was hit twice and exploded. The Calchas was heavily damaged and started to take on water. We deep dived and waited for the depth charge attack. The short range attack worked as the destroyers couldn’t locate us. We re-loaded our tubes and made for periscope depth. Night had set in. We could see Clachas and sent another torpedo into her. A destroyer picked us up and attacked. That destroyer crew was very well trained and aggressive. Our deck gun was damaged, as was a diesel engine. We dived deep and exceeded our test depth. It did not deter the destroyer Captain who obviously had experience hunting U boats. Our boat started to flood and our hydrophones were knocked out. Still the destroyer pounded our location. Flooding increased and our hull took more damage. Over 10 of our crew sustained injuries. We laid low for another hour and finally the depth charges moved away. As we limped back to our base we had to crash dive again when British aircraft were spotted. We returned to base with substantial damage and injuries. Total ships sunk were 2 for 18,700 tons. We will be unable to resume patrols for 2 months while our sub is repaired.

In refit during December 1942 and January 1943 to repair damage. I received the Oakleaves to my Knight’s Cross for gross tonnage sunk.

KKpt. Reiner Wolf (out)

19th Patrol (3rd in U1063) Feb., 1943 in Mediterranean – 1st week at sea and we sighted the battleship Malaya – 31,300 tons sailing with escorts. We moved in for a night attack. Fired all for and aft torpedoes at this tempting target. All but one hit – no duds. The third hit set off a huge fireball that illuminated the night. The Malaya was breaking up. We attempted to escape by diving deep. With the sounds of the destroyer’s depth charges in the distance, we moved away almost at a drift and escaped by running silent. Two weeks later we spoted a convoy – 2 small freighters plus the 5500 ton Kennebec and the 4600 ton Shaftesbury. We fired two torps on each larger freighter. Three hits – Kennebec still afloat but the Shaftesbury went down. A second salvo sent the Kennebec down. The next week spotted two small freighters – the 5000 ton Kinross and the 4800 ton Reedpool. They had a destroyer escort. Attacked with our last few torps at medium range. Sunk the Kinross but missed the Reedpool. Once more the destroyer didn’t pursue us. Back to base. Excellent hunting this patrol. 4 ships for 46,400 tons! Awarded Swords to the Knight’s Cross with Oakleaves.

In refit until April.

KKpt. Reiner Wolf (out)

20th Patrol (4th in U1063) April., 1943 in Mediterranean – first week no sign of enemy ships in range. 2nd week encountered the 4700 ton freighter, Tuva. Proceeded with a surface attack using our 88mm cannon, and after around 20 shots she went down. During our third week on station we spotted another battleship, the 29100 ton Royal Oak accompanied by her escorts. We submerged and prepared for a medium range salvo with fore and aft torpedoes. Three torpedoes hit. The last one broke the back of that great battleship. The escorts moved in as we tried to move silently away. Our ship started to flood and our periscope was heavily damaged by the first few salvos. The flooding increased and our damage control crew alerted me to hull damage on the boat. We deep dived to try and shake the attackers. This trick worked and we limped back to port. Our expert Engineer managed to repair the periscope and the flooding was soon abated. We decided to continue our patrol and a good thing we did – we encountered the unescorted 8000 ton freighter, Malabar. We engaged her on the surface with our 88mm and 1 torpedo. She stayed afloat but was heavily damaged. We let her crew abandon ship and then finished her off with 1 more torpedo and cannon shots. Just then we spotted a destroyer in the distance closing with us. We broke off, as the Malabar appeared doomed, and then dived to avoid the destroyer. We succeeded and left the area submerged at slow speed. We returned to port. Total was three ships sunk for 41,800 tons. I also received the Diamonds to my KC with Oak Leaves and Swords. I think I am known as the battleship sinker! I bet the British have my face on a wanted poster by now.

It will take several months to repair the damage on U 1063. The hull was extensively damaged. In June 1943, I received a message that I have been assigned to Kriegsmarine Command Head Quarters.

KKpt. Reiner Wolf (out)

TOTAL PATROLS – 20

TOTAL SHIPS SUNK – 34 including three battleships and 1 aircraft shot down

TOTAL TONNAGE – 301,100 tons

(Click here to read Rick Martin’s review of The Hunters.)

5 Comments

  1. Wow! I guess you weren’t kidding about the game being an immersive gaming experience. It’s like reading a real U-Boat commander’s log. Great write-up Rick. I’m posting a link to this on the front page of http://www.grognard.com.

    • Thanks Mark! You’ve got to try this game!

  2. Hmm. I realise that this is a game and no-one wants to play a game where you lose a lot more than you win. But that game-log tells a fairy-story. No U-boat commander came anywhere near the success achieved by “KKpt Reiner Wolf Knights Cross with Oakleaves Swords and Diamonds”. Even Kretschmer “only” got 275,000 tons and his KC didn’t have diamonds either. He managed to survive just 18 months before U99 was sunk and he was captured. “Reiner Wolf’s” game exploits are simply fantasy. Three British battleships sunk in the Med? In your dreams!

    Anyone who wants to play the part of a U-boat commander more realistically is going to have to tweak the rules to make the game a lot tougher.

  3. Points well taken Chris but as you said, this is just a game. It is not real. As I continued to play, I began to add in more of the optional rules to make the game more difficult. The optional rules help balance the game. There is no need to “tweak the rules” as you stated. Had you bothered to read the review, you would have realized this, but, none-the-less, thank you for your comments.

  4. Hi,
    Can you play as the American side or just Germany?
    Thanks!

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  1. The Hunters – Boardgame Review | Armchair General | Armchair General Magazine - We Put YOU in Command! - […] Click here to read the full log of U34‘s actions in The Hunters game. […]

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