Silent Hunter IV Campaign

8th to 10th December 1941

The chart table

A couple of nights ago I started my first Silent Hunter IV campaign. My boat is S18 and is based in the naval dockyard near Manila. My orders, which arrived on the 8 December 1941 ordered me to a patrol area to the north of Luzon.

The transit north was uneventful apart from 3 air attacks by unidentified aircraft. S18 suffered no damage, or causalities. In the following 24hrs S18 received several sighting reports of convoys, all too far away. Then came the convoy to the north of Luzon, and only 90 miles away.

Full speed ahead...........

Navigator plotting a course to intercept

A surface dash was made during the hours of darkness and S18 closed in on the last position of the convoy. Then the lookouts on the bridge shout " warship, long range, bearing 358 " followed by another and another...........

"Release the dogs of war " as a good friend says at the war games table (usually followed by two snake eyes)(Yes I know it was never said in the movie - my mate thinks it was)

S18 continued on the surface, confident that she would not be spotted......too confident as it turned out, three destroyers from the screen turned at full speed towards the sub......... "Crash Dive"

Crew at work (the sailor in the centre looks uncannily like a good friend of mine)

Slowly, all too slowly the sub submerged, and the destroyers closed......S18 quickly fired two torpedoes at the closest destroyer, and went to 160ft.

S18 in her element - quiet and deadly

"Tick tick tick went the chronometer"

BANG - " Torpedo impact, Sir "....................

The damaged destroyer down at the stern

The other two destroyers dropped depth charges, but did not seem to know the location of S18. The sub went into silent routine and went deep. The engines were stopped and she was as silent as a tomb.

S18 stayed that way for three hours until the destroyers lost interest and moved off.
Slowly S18 moved towards the stationary convoy. It was unloading troops and supplies for the invasion of the Philippines. Dawn was breaking as S18 closed to torpedo range....
The view from the attack periscope

A wide shot of a section of the invasion fleet

S18 closed, and was detected once again by the destroyer screen, this time five destroyers. A quick salvo of four torpedo's was released and S18 dove to her maximum depth

" Dud "
" Dud "
" Dud "
" Torpedo Impact, Sir"

The result of the salvo - a light cruiser

Battery down to 51% - daylight, and shallow waters and we still had to press home the attack............................

Despite being dogged by the five escort destroyers, S18 pressed home another attack, this time two torpedoes at a slow fat merchant.........
It was quiet apparent that there was something bloody wrong with our torpedoes today!
Slowly S18 withdrew - a damaged destroyer and a damaged light cruiser was all that could be shown for her efforts.
S18 got home on 10th December after being attacked once by a Japanese plane - another miss. the news from the front was not good, Singapore was under threat, two British Battleships had been sunk, and the Japanese were advancing in the Philippines........................................

What will the second patrol bring - functioning torpedoes would be an improvement!


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