Tuesday, April 4, 2017


Type VIIB U-Boat

From the archives of the patrol logs of U-72

May ‘40

Dear Willy,
You’ll be happy to know that I’ve returned from the sea once again. Unlike the events in my last letter, I’ve much happier news to report this time. BdU again assigned us a patrol mission around the British home isles. While the army’s panzers were rolling across France, we were busy carrying the war right to the beaches of the British.

After safely crossing the North Sea we encountered a small freighter the SS Sagadahoc (6300 tonnes). Given our limited supply of torpedo, I ordered the firing of two of the old steam torpedoes from a close range surface attack at night. While one torpedo did hit, the other either missed or was a dud. This left the damaged freighter still afloat. I elected to continue the attack, but first a British patrol plane flew overhead. Fortunately, our small size allowed us to hide in the water and avoid the plane. We turned back to the freighter and finished her off with our deck gun. Success in our first engagement!

Our luck would hold – a few days later we caught sight of a convoy of merchant ships with escort. Through careful maneuvering, we were able to trail the convoy until nightfall, then move in to attack. I took a big risk in pressing to close range before attacking. We successfully avoided the escorts and launched a full salvo at all four ships in range. One ship – the tanker SS Duffield (8500 tonnes) – was hit and broke in half, sinking below the waves. The largest freighter SS Brazza (10,500 tonnes) suffered two torpedo hits and rolled over and sank.  The smaller ships survived this salvo either being missed or the torpedo failing to detonate (Editors Note: SS Treverbyn was hit by a G7e that failed to explode.)

Avoiding the escort, we continued the attack and successfully pursued the convoy. Poseidon was with us that night as we finished off another freighter though it too four torpedoes to do so. Either the torpedoes are defective or we need to sharpen our attack drills over the current refit.
Things quieted down for us, as they were heating up back on land. We’d almost made it back to Wilhelmshaven before another British patrol plane dove in at us. I tell you – getting back to base was the most dangerous part of this trip! Fortunately, our lookouts spied the Jabo in time and we were able to crash dive the boat beneath the waves to safety.

- X


I've been playing the old Con Sim Press board game "The Hunters", which is now available from GMT Games. The game emulates the experience of a German U-boat crew from the start of the WWII through mid- '43. These were the "Happy Times" when escorts were weak and convoy not rigously enforced. While the game may start off happy, it becomes progressively more difficult as the Royal Navy and it's many allied naval elements gain proficiency in anti-submarine warfare. 

This is a solitaire game that really is best played solitaire. It's you and your boat against the enemy and the sea. A series of tables and die rolls simulate your mission and the success or failure of various actions. I've been playing in small sessions focused around a single patrol. It's a great way to get in some gaming when you don't have a lot of time or even an opponent to face.  The game was succesful enough to warrant a sequel ("The Hunted") and a variant for the Pacific War titled "Silent Victory". Good games if you are looking for a suitable solitaire title!

The patrol log - in the form of letters home to a younger brother have been consolidated into a separate page. This was done to preserve a cohesive narrative and allow images to be incorporated into the story. 

1 comment:

  1. I love your war report. I've been playing both The Hunters and Silent Victory and find them completely engaging.

    Good hunting Kapitan!