This is honestly one of the best games I have ever played and I am generally not all that fond of the simulation game genre. The tension and sense of achievement I experienced with it were quite unlike any other game I have played in over 20 years.
My most memorable moment came when patrolling in the Atlantic off the Western coast of Ireland. According to German command an Allied shipping convoy was expected to pass through the area. I patrolled the area leisurely for days, constantly checking in with my hydrophone operator for signs of the convoy. After 5 days, he finally called out a contact.
I took over the hydrophone myself. He was right. There was the distant sound of screws bearing through the water. I immediately went to consult with my naval charts and try to calculate an approximate course for the convoy and an interception course for my boat. It was nothing more than guesswork facilitated by rulers and sextants. Nevertheless I gave the order for the navigational officer to change course. We had reached the Atlantic uneventfully and still had all of our torpedoes. Anticipation of the hunt crept into my thoughts.
We waited for about a day and a half, following the convoy through the hydrophones. Then the watchman at the conning tower eported he had sighted a ship. I went up in the tower with him and grabbed my binoculars. Distant dots littered the horizon. We had found the convoy. There was a little over a dozen ships guarded by two destroyers from the British Navy. It was late in the afternoon. Night and the protective shroud of darkness were still hours away.
I decided to follow ahead of them and wait for darkness. I returned to my charts and plotted a new course for the navigator. Then we waited. The convoy grew closer and closer. Eventually, sailing on the surface became too risky a proposition and I ordered a dive, still staying ahead of the convoy. As we continued ahead of our prey, daylight eventually gave way to twilight, which gave way to darkness. The moment to strike had finally come.
I ordered every man to battle stations and for the navigator to take the boat off to the right flank of the convoy. The boat was positioned perfectly int he darkness. About 6-700 meters off the closest ship. I ordered the torpedo hatches opened and together with my weapons officer I calculated a firing solution. We were in perfect postition. Our target was a Liberty merchant vessel sailing under the British flag. I fired two torpedoes. They went off towards our target. Due to our proximity we did not have to wait long for the results. Both torpedos scored direct hits and cracked the merchant vessel in two. A fiery explosion briefly turned night into day on the surface. I immediately ordered a diveand submerged beneath to convoy to hide the sound of our engines against those of the ships in the convoy and hopefully confound the escorts. It worked.
Throughout the night I hounded the convoy, heading up near the surface to sink another ship before going back down again. I heard the sound of depth charges turning water into foam. I sank 5 ships worth nearly 30,000 tons of shipping. By the night's end we had spent all of our torpedoes and I pulled way, reporting the convoy's position and estimated course back to German command so that other u-boats might fall upon it.
Dawn arrived along with a feeling of euphoria. I set a course back for port. As I watched the sun rise over the Atlantic, Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" played from the worn old grammophone in my quarters.
We sailed North and East o Great Britain in order to stay as far away from British patrols and air coverage as possible. Morale on the boat was excellent. Our patrol had lasted nearly 3 weeks. Then, the Watchman spotted another ship on the horizon. It was a distant, lonely dot. Impossible to make out. We had expanded all of our torpedoes in the attack on the convoy, yet our deck gun was still fully loaded and able to sink unarmed merchant vessels. Enthusiastic about my earlier victory and eager to add another kill, I ordered the boat to close in on the distant speck. That was a mistake.
Even as the ship grew larger in my binoculars, I had trouble making out its shape against the horizon. Then, its identity became all too clear, when I spotted two flashes of light from its deck. Panicked, I ordered an emergency dive but it was already two late. The first shell landed in the water a little way's off the boat and sent a geyser of water cascading into the air. The other shell scored a direct hit on the boat.
We dived and I ordered full power to the engines, even as wayer poured into the boat and started to fill the compartments. The men fought a desperate battle against a time that seemed to be unending, all the while we descended further and further into the depths... 100 meters... 150 meter... The hull started to creak dangerously. The boat would not pull up. It had taken on too much water. We could not blow the ballast tanks. The destroyer was up there waiting for us...200 meters...
I watched the depth gauge, my heart pounding in my chest. The hull creaked loudly. Finally, the chief engineer had managed to seal the leaks in the engine room and pump out impressive amounts of water. There were dead and wounded. Morale, which had been so high only an hour earlier, was now at a low point. The boat was still going down. I looked at the faces of my men. There was no other choice. Come what way. I ordered them to blow the ballast tanks.
We furfaced. There was no sign of the British warship that had opened fire on us. I could not believe our luck. I immediately ordered the crew to attend to full repairs and for the navigator to set us back oon course for home. With luck and God on our side, we managed to limp back to Germany and safety but not without the harshest of lessons.
On the Atlantic Ocean you are only the hunter until you become the prey.