View Full Version : Convoy Attack ?

03-21-2007, 10:08 AM
HI all. Am about to start my 14th patrol and was wondering about the best way to conduct a convoy attack. Do i sit back and pick of as many ships as i can and then make a bolt for it, or take out destroyers and then have a field day with the remaining un-escorted cargo ships or lastly, go in quite amongst the cargo ships and take out what i can and then slink away from the destoyers.
I recently encountered a convoy but was pretty much at end of patrol, only had 2 torps left. Got a T3 tanker but the destroyers were swarming above me and very nearly got smashed several times.
So any sub Aces out there got a good bit of advice i would be happy to hear them http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif Thanks for any advice in advance.

03-21-2007, 11:18 AM
Personally I like to pick out the juiciest targets (tankers, troopships etc) and get ahead of convoy and then sneak into convoy lanes and sink or cripple them, then disengage and go deep and sneak away. I go back for the wounded ducks with my deckgun. I don't waste torps on escorts unless I am in survival mode. But, to each his own, any of the ways you describe are good, just personal preference. Good Luck A.M.

03-21-2007, 11:21 AM
Here is what works wonderfully in the very early war. Convoys only have 1 escort in front. So you creep ahead of the convoy and wait. Take out the DD with one torpedo, then surface. Now you can shoot the remaining torpedoes from point blank range, and while they reload, make full use of the deck gun. Very easy 100K in a VIIb. Later in the war, I typically pick out the heaviest targets, and if I knock them out, I usually leave the convoy alone, a couple small emrchants are not worth the risk of 5 DD's on your rear end.

03-21-2007, 11:40 AM
I don't know if I am a "sub ace" but I will give you what I have.

I like to get ahead of the convoy and then go all stop and silent routine. I wait for the ships to go by and launch at a few of them. As soon as I launch I start diving and go in the direction that the convoy is going. Let their noise screen you a little. Hopefully you fire at a little distance so you can get deep. If you have decoys, once the torps hit and you hear the ASDIC, fire off a decoy and keep going deeper. Wait until the convoy goes past and the escorts leave you alone and then hit the surface, do an end run on the convoy, and do it all over again. That is what has worked best for me.

03-21-2007, 11:48 AM
The best attack is the one which is a complete surprise to the enemy. They don't see it coming until it is too late. Therefore, evading detection before you attack is of the utmost importance.

If attacking in daylight, this almost always means conducting a submerged attack, by periscope. When conducting a submerged attack, day or night, you are more vulnerable to detection by active [sonar] and passive [hydrophone] measures by the escorts than if you were surfaced. This means you minimize the noise you make by running your engines at minimum speed and/or at silent running. Do not get into the habit of leaving your periscope head sticking out of the water, as it can leave a detectable wake. Adjust the height of the scope head, leaving just enough sticking above the waves to see your targets. Minimize the amount of time your scope is up; up, take a quick peek, then down again. Use it to get an idea of where the enemy is, your relative position, most optimal targets, etc. and then down again.

It is best to maneuver on the surface, out of visual or radar detection range and try to get ahead of the convoy. Most convoys will have one or more escorts out front of the convoy. It is best if you can to approach from the side and ahead of the convoy, diving if necessary to avoid detection. Avoiding this front escort is key to your approach. The lead escort typically courses from one side to the other, sweeping the area ahead and to the sides with active sonar and also listening by hydrophones to detect engine noises. As he swings toward you, be very careful not to make too much noise or overly expose your scope. Once he is behind you, you are in good position to spring an ambush. My favourite tactic is to approach at a 90 degree angle to the course of the convoy.

The outer flanks of the convoy are usually the lowest value targets, light in tonnage and of low renown value, ships like light freighters. The more valuable ships are typically in the middle columns; tankers, larger freighters, maybe even troopships or liners. If you can get close enough, you can penetrate the outer lines and get closer to the middle columns. From this distance it is much easier to slam home your torpedoes. However, be careful not to be in the way of ships of the outer columns: you will be maneuvering at slow speed across their line of advance and could be rammed by one. It has happened to me and to others. Be warned.

You will typically have two types of torpedoes aboard, electric and or steam driven. The steam torpedoes have variable speeds which you can set. The faster the speed, the shorter the maximum distance it will run. I typically get in close and therefore set it for the highest speed. Steam torpedoes leave a bubble wake, which means they can be seen in daylight hours and the target may try to avoid them. That is why I try to get as close as possible before firing, to minimize the enemy's reaction time.

Electric torpedoes leave no visible wake, but have a much shorter range and maximum speed than steams. However, their stealth properties can make them a very deadly weapon. If you choose to fire a mix of steam and electric torpedoes, take these factors into account. I would advise first firing the electric torpedoes at targets further away, to allow these slower torpedoes more time to reach their targets. Next I would launch the steam torpedoes at closer targets. At night time, the wakes of steam torpedoes are harder to see, and also in storm conditions and when set to run deep. Before firing your torpedoes, make sure you open the outer doors, "Q" button or do it manually from inside the scope tower.

After firing, it is best to dive deeper as a counterattack may be in the offing. The escorts will turn toward where they figure the attack came from. If you fired steam torpedoes, they may try to follow back the bubble wake to your firing point. In any event, you most likely will have fired all your tubes, so there is nothing to be gained by staying near the surface. Dive deep and go silent. Launch a decoy if you think you have been detected and maneuver away from your firing position.

If you have hit any ships, they will either sink or possibly be slowed down or immobilized. They may fall out of the convoy. After a prudent time, you may come back near the surface and use your scopes to see what's still up there. After the escorts haul off, you can finish off any stragglers with deck gun or torpedoes. However, one or more escorts may break off from the convoy and look for you again.

Over time you will learn how to conduct various approaches. Before the Allies get radar, you will be able to operate on the surface at night against convoys. This can be very effective, provided you minimize your chances of being spotted. Going fast will leave a big white wake behind your sub. Slow down some, fire your torpedoes, then turn away from the convoy. Your higher surface speed may allow you completely to leave the area before the escorts even know you are there.

Night and fog can work for you and against you. It can cloak your approach and retreat, but can also allow an escort to get close to you without being spotted until the last moment. Above all else, even though you may wish to be a daring Kaleun, it is the conservative approach that will allow you a long and prosperous career. Avoid making rash decisions and do not allow excitement to bait you into making a foolish decision that could cost you and your crew their lives. Calculate your potential gain against the risks involved.

As for going against the escorts first, that can go either way. You may take out a few, but that means fewer torpedoes for sinking higher tonnage merchantmen. It also lets them know you are there. Once you torpedo that first escort, the convoy will begin zigzagging and make your attack much harder. But sometimes an escort will offer you its flank and it can be hard to resist the urge to clobber one of your tormentors. If it is a heavily escorted convoy you will never get them all and will waste a lot of torpedoes trying to sink these lower value targets. But if there are only a handful of escorts, sinking one or two can make future attacks easier, as there will be a big hole in their perimeter. As you become more experienced, your sense of judgement will improve and you will know instinctively what to do.

Almost forgot to mention this: allow your torpedoes a minimum run of 300 metres in order to allow them to arm. They must travel at least that distance, or else they will dud. A lot of people get confused over this point. The torpedo must travel 300 metres in the water. So, if you fire from 300 metres at a target that is approaching, the torpedo will actually travel less than 300 metres because of the target's closing the distance. You can fire from closer than 300 metres if the target is moving away. Again, with experience you will be able to judge this better.

Good luck and good hunting!

03-21-2007, 01:07 PM
OK, thanks for advice chaps. All very helpful. Thanks especialy for Kaleun`s detailed approach to this question. Many points have been taken into consideration.
P.S. i`m driving a VII-B, October 40, all possible upgrades are installed....when can i get `decoys` ??
Thanks again for some very useful advice all. Now i`m going to do some hunting http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_mad.gif

03-21-2007, 02:20 PM
Here's my two cents. This works well for me at least, especially later in the war.

I sit ahead of the convoy, about a thousand meters abeam, still. I keep the periscope down and watch the sound points. Once the convoy is around 30 degrees off my bow, I pop up the attack periscope and let them have all of my forward torpedoes.

Then I move ahead slowly at 25 meters depth, and pass underneath the convoy (I'm running silent, of course). If the DDs don't have me located, I pop up the periscope after I've cleared the other side and give them what I can aft.

Then I dive down about mid range into the yellow meter at 2/3 speed underneath the convoy. When I'm at depth, I pass behind them in the opposite direction.

If they heavy ping me, I wait to hear the pings stop, then increase to flank speed and change direction. A few moments later, I release some decoys and drop back to slow and resume my previous heading.

Good luck!

03-22-2007, 08:48 AM
One additional point to make I think. The North Atlantic can be a very difficult place to use your deck gun. I can't tell you how many times my "plan" was to attack 4 or 5 ships with one fish each, hopefully cripple all of them, and finish them off with the deck gun when the convoy moved on. You surface, and find out the weather won't allow you to man the gun.

Now on my approach I do one of the following while still on the surface:
1. Send the crew to surface attack stations to see if they man the gun, or
2. See if the bridge watch is in foul weather gear.

Once I know what to expect, I adjust my plans accordingly.