DEMAND NARWHAL CLASS BOATS!!!!!!
As many of you are painfully aware, I have been rather vocal on the subject of including the Narwhal and Argonaut Class boats included in SH4: This discussion is intended to be a more in-depth examination of the issue.
Below is a picture of the U.S.S. Nautilus (SS-168) during early trials:
The U.S.S. Narwhal, the U.S.S. Nautilus, and the U.S.S Argonaut were built in the 1930's as the largest of the "V-Boat" class. All three were huge boats by the standards of the time, with the Narwhal and Nautilus measuring 371 feet overall, and having a submerged displacement of 3960 tons. The Argonaut differed in that she was built as a minelayer, with an overall length of 381 feet and a submerged displacement of 4080 tons.
This picture shows "The Three Musketeers" tied up together in the early 30s:
These boats were obviously not designed as "Fast Attack Boats": .....What they were was an American Enhancement of the WWI German "U-Cruiser" concept. It is this design philosophy that explains their size, their extremely long range, and the deck guns these boats were equipped with.
All three boats carried the largest deck guns ever installed on a U.S. submarine: .....and they weren't low velocity, low recoil "chuffers" either!! .....The TWO six inch, 53 caliber guns mounted by these boats were the same guns the U.S. Navy used in tandem mounts as the secondary batteries on battleships, and in triple mount turrets on Brooklyn Class Cruisers!
........And in spite of the fact that these boats were quickly employed in missions that were vastly different than what they were designed for, these big guns were not mere "Eye Candy"! .....They were used to good advantage in numerous instances, including the remarkable bombardment of Bula Ceram Island by the Narwhal; .....where she fired 53 rounds of 6" HE, destroying a gasoline storage facility, a pumping station, and a powerhouse.
On another occasion, The Nautilus, after landing an assault force on Kenna, was called on to "reduce" the bunkers occupied by the Japanese forces: ....And again, the "big guns" went to work, sparing the Marines the daunting task of digging the enemy out of those bunkers.
On yet another occasion, the Narwhal was given the unenviable task of drawing the enemy's attention away from the Etorofu Strait, so that the U.S.S. Plunger, U.S.S. Permit, and U.S.S. Lapon could escape from the Sea of Japan; which they had daringly invaded several weeks earlier:
.....So, the Narwhal surfaced, and proceeded to shell the Japanese shore installations. She was so effective that the Japanese (convinced they were experiencing a major assault) were soon throwing everything they had at their off-shore tormentor: ....Allowing the American "Mini Wolfpack" to escape, completely undetected!
.....And, of course, no discussion of these boats and their big guns would be complete without mentioning the amphibious attack on Makin Atoll, where the Nautilus and the Argonaut landed 211 Marine Raiders, and then supplied the naval gunfire necessary to support the landing. This gunfire was not limited to shore targets: .....during the bombardment, the Nautilus was also able to sink two coastal vessels and a patrol boat in the lagoon!
The picture below shows the Marine Raiders and submarine crew manning the deck as they arrive back at "Pearl".
This picture graphically illustrates the other huge advantage these boats brought to the table: ......Cargo Capacity!!
The assault on Makin Atoll required that the Nautilus and the Argonaut each take on more than 100 men over complement, AND all their combat equipment and supplies! (Try that with your TypeIX.)
The U.S. Navy quickly came to appreciate that these boats were some of the most effective "Special Ops" boats they had. These boats routinely delivered strike teams, intelligence personnel, and as much as 100 tons of supplies to places far behind enemy lines: ....And all the while, sinking Japanese ships where ever they found them! In spite of their size, and slightly lower performance level, the U.S. Sub Command would have been delighted to have ten more just like them! .....As things were, many Baloa and Gato class boats were given similar assignments: ....which is certainly not the best use of their capabilities!
On the subject of size and performance, we need to do a "Real World" comparison to the other U.S. Fleet Boat Classes:
Yes, the Narwhal Class boats were over 50 feet longer and displaced 75% more than the Baloa and Gato class boats, but in spite of that, they were only three knots slower on the surface, and had virtually no submerged speed disadvantage! ..........So, in spite of what some of their critics might say, they weren't "Lumbering Dinosaurs" waddling slowly towards extinction!
While their large physical size set them apart from the typical "Attack Boat"; ...it gave them some of their unique advantages: Their large size enabled them to mount, AND effectively use their six inch deck guns. It also gave them their amazing payload capability and remarkable range. The minimum cruising range listed for this class is 18,000 miles, with some sources quoting figures as high as 25,000 miles. (I suspect that the 25,000 mile figure was for the Narwhal, at "most efficient" speed, as the Nautilus had been modified to transport 20,000 gallons of aviation fuel for the purpose of refueling seaplanes at sea.)
It is frequently mentioned that their large size made them easily detectable by Japanese DDs: .......Well, that may be true, but the depth chargings they received in the course of their war careers demonstrated that they weren't particularly fragile. Of the three, only the Argonaut failed to survive the war.
So............., what we have here, even if you ignore the other "V-Boats", are three unique, innovative, and interesting boats that all had distinguished war careers: What possible reason can be offered for omitting them from SH4???
The "Not Historically Significant" argument dies instantly, when one considers that UBI worked very hard to include the TypeXXI boats in SH3.
As we all know, the TypeXXIs never inflicted any damage on the enemy: ....So why were they included???? .....Simple: They were interesting and innovative designs! (Just like the Narwhal Class.)
I just don't think that it's asking too much to include historically significant (...and interesting) boats in a game product that is billed as a Historical Simulation.
..........But hey!! ......I've always been a little on the "simple" side, so maybe I'm missing something.