The Hunters: Type VIIB U-48 Walter Stohl, Kapitanleutnant. Patrol Journal September, 1939-

92725525

 

KptLt Patrol Journal.  Sept 1939.

U-48 assigned it’s initial patrol:  British Isles.  The journey out of port and into open water was uneventful as we made our way to find enemy targets off the English coast.

Sept 17, 1939.  Contact is made.  A convoy of small freight vessels steaming north.  The crew skillfully moved the boat into position to fire a spread of four torpedoes, targeting the first two vessels at a range of 3500 meters from periscope depth.

The lead freighter escaped damage as our torpedoes either missed or malfunctioned.  The second ship was hit with two explosions as our torpedoes found their mark, sending her to the bottom.

After observing our success, I ordered an immediate dive to escape the enemy escorts, managing to evade them with no harm to our boat.

Sept 23, 1939.  As we near the end of our patrol, again contact is made with a convoy of freighters.  These were larger, and included a tanker vessel.  Four more of our torpedoes were loaded and prepared to fire.  After our success six days ago, I decided to repeat our strategy, targeting the foremost vessels with another salvo of four torpedoes.  Our initial encounter success was not to be replicated, only one found home in the second vessel, but failed to sink her.

Avoiding the escorts, I ordered the boat to follow and attempt to send this crippled freighter to it’s end.  An escort stayed with her so I elected to make a surface attack at night.  Our torpedoes missed their target, and we escaped.

Low on torpedoes, we nevertheless did not make contact the rest of our patrol.  Heading home for reload and time away.

KptLt Walter Stohl.

Enemy ship:   Rio Claro.    Tonnage:   4100


 

KptLt Patrol Journal.   Nov 1939.

Another trip to England, we are looking forward to a successful patrol.

It was not to be.  A frustrating month of searching with little to show for it.

Nov 30, 1939.  After a month of fruitless searching for enemy vessels, U-48 encountered a single ship as we headed home.  A very small freighter.  I vented my frustration on this ship after allowing the crew to abandon her.  Three torpedoes fired from close range did the trick. Too much?  Probably.   It did not assuage my feeling of failure.

KptLt Walter Stohl.

Enemy Ship:    Daphne    Tonnage:    2000        Campaign Total:  6100


 

KptLt Patrol Journal.    Jan  1940

Orders sent our boat for an initial minelaying mission off the English coast.  We weren’t looking for a fight, our mission came first, but we would take any easy targets of opportunity.  Our offensive load was smaller due to mine storage.

Jan 7, 1940.  As we neared our target area for mining, the boat encountered a small convoy.  Escorts were in the area, we declined to engage as our mission had yet to be fulfilled.  Perhaps if these ships were alone, we would have taken the opportunity.

Jan 9, 1940.  The mines have been placed successfully, now we can start the hunt.

Jan 24, 1940.  The pickings have been sparse, but U-48 finally found her prey.  A medium size freighter, sailing all alone.  After closing to point blank range, we dispatched her quickly.

KptLt Walter Stohl.

Enemy Ship:    Silverbelle      Tonnage:    5300    Campaign Total:  11,400


 

KptLt Patrol Journal.    Mar  1940

Back to England, we are getting to know these waters well.  Our luck has been good so far.  We have taken a toll, however small, and have come home without a scratch in 3 patrols.  I hope our luck holds, and we find the bounty we have been looking for.

Mar 17, 1940.   A tanker! I find the courage of these enemy sailors to be admirable.  Another ship without escort.  They know that our boat and others are plying these waters, yet they make the trip alone anyway.  If it weren’t for the safety of my boat and crew, I would evacuate the crew of our target before sending her to her doom.  My fear of escorts prevents this.  Just because we can’t see them, it does not mean they are not close.  Sooner or later our luck will run out and we will have an encounter with the English Navy.  I hope it is later.  Two fish from close range put an end to this tanker’s mission.

Mar 25, 1940.   We find our second victim of this patrol.  A large freighter attempting to escape our net.  She was not quick enough.  Once again we find a ship naked on the sea.  Closing to near point blank range, an easy shot to send her down.

KptLt Walter Stohl.

Enemy Ship:    Conus,   Fairport       Tonnage: 8100,   6200        Campaign Total:   25,700


 

KptLt Patrol Journal.    May 1940

It seems we must have performed well laying our mines in January.  U-48 has been tasked with another minelaying mission. Ah, well, we must do what we must.

May 12, 1940.  Mines have been successfully deployed of the English coast.  The job was completed without harassment.

May 19, 1940.  Encountered a tanking vessel, unescorted.  Wishing to save our limited number of torpedoes with another two weeks of patrol left, this tanker was dispatched with a single torpedo and the deck gun.

The remainder of the patrol was uneventful.

KptLt Walter Stohl.

Enemy Ship:     Wellfield       Tonnage:    6000      Campaign total:    31,700


 

KptLt Patrol Journal.   July 1940

Not much luck for our boat on this patrol.  Many hours of fruitless searching with little to show for it.  At this point, the crew and I are hoping for a different assignment and with it perhaps a change in luck.  At the same time, the vessels we are catching in these waters off the coast of England are mostly alone and easy pickings.  We only wish there were more of them.

July 22, 1940.  Finally we have a mark.  A larger shipping vessel attempting to slip our net.  A spread of four torpedoes netted two explosions.  The initial one was disappointing, but the second was spectacular, splitting the ship in two.  She went under quickly.

I do not wish to encounter the enemy, but we are beginning to wonder…… where is the English Navy?

My crew is becoming a single entity, each encounter brings them closer to running the boat as one.  It is satisfying to see the change.

KptLt Walter Stohl.

Enemy Ship:     Brandon       Tonnage:      6700     Campaign Total:     38,400


 

KptLt Patrol Journal.   Sep 1940

We have become complacent and overconfident.  Now we have paid a price for it.

Sep 8, 1940.   As we approach our patrol zone, we are set upon by an enemy aircraft.  Our spotters found him too late and our boat was strafed before we could dive for cover.  Unfortunately, we were unable to make him pay, but my crew moved quickly to get us under the waves and into cover.  Two crew members were wounded.  One, our Second Officer was gravely wounded.  Our medic, not being an actual doctor did his best, but it appeared we would need to get to port to save his life.  Alas, halfway home, we lost him.  Our first casualty.  I suppose we should be grateful that we made so many patrols before suffering a setback, but the loss is felt across the boat.

Upon returning to port, it was discovered that the enemy plane put our Flak gun out of action.  We will take time to mourn our loss, welcome a replacement and make repairs.

KptLt Walter Stohl.

Mission: aborted                                                          Campaign Total:  38,400


 

KptLt Patrol Journal.  Nov  1940

Nov 7, 1940.  Small freight vessel spotted late evening.  Two torpedoes and a few shots from the gun ended her journey.  No enemy activity.

Nov 13, 1940.   Our first direct encounter with enemy ships.  A shipping vessel was spotted in the afternoon.  Three torpedoes were loosed from periscope depth.  One large explosion and we attempted to dive quickly as an escorting ship had been spotted after we located our target.  Our escape attempt was unsuccessful.  Our boat began taking depth charge concussions causing minor damage, then we believed we had lost the enemy ship only to have a more devastating attack against our boat a few seconds later.  These were more damaging and for a moment we thought all was lost.  A section of the hull had buckled and we started taking on water, though not significant enough to cause panic.  My crew performed admirably and we finally shook off our attacker.  After-encounter reports indicated additional damage of the periscope, and we found that diesel engine 2 was out of action.

The crew was able to repair the periscope, but the diesel was lost.  A trip back home for repairs was going to shorten this trip.

Nov 15, 1940.   The enemy of course must have reported our presence in these waters as we were attacked by an enemy plane as we made for home.  The boat was unable to escape without damage, but our flak gunner managed to drive the plane off trailing smoke.  The annoying enemy plane hit our just repaired periscope and damaged the electric batteries.  My crew suffered minor injuries that our medic is seeing to.

Time for home.

KptLt Walter Stohl.

Enemy Ships:     Frederika Lensen,   Pandias      Tonnage:  4400,   5000    Campaign Total:  47,800


 

KptLt Patrol Journal.   Mar 1941

After an extended stay at the pens for repairs, U-48 was assigned it’s first patrol outside of English waters.  We were headed for the shipping lanes of the Atlantic. It is a new year and we are hoping for a successful patrol.

Mar 16, 1941.   A convoy!  Our first in a long time.  A keen eye caught these ships at night and I ordered the crew to ready the boat for action.  Choosing the two fattest ships we loosed two fish at one and three (including the aft) at the other from 2400 meters.  One of the freighters erupted into a ball of fire and we made all haste to escape.

The escorts were on our boat in a quick manner as we attempted to evade.  Explosions began rocking us and the cat and mouse game was on.  My crew was magnificent, remaining calm in the face of possible death.  The boat started taking on water and it was becoming significant.  We were locked with our pursuers for more than an hour before we finally made our escape.  Crew members were wading in seawater up to their knees, we knew we needed to put distance between us and the furious escort ships.

Daybreak found us safe and able to inspect the damage.  Once again, the periscope and electric batteries had taken significant damage, while the leaks were slowed.  We would not be able to fight on in this condition and the order was given to make for home.

KptLt  Walter Stohl.

Enemy Ships:    Protesilaus       Tonnage:    9600     Campaign Total:    57,400


 

KptLt Patrol Journal     May 1941

An absolutely dismal patrol for U-48 in the Atlantic.  No ships encountered.  In the third week, we received word that our boat was to be tasked with weather reporting duty.

We ended our patrol with nothing to show for our efforts.

KptLt Walter Stohl

Campaign Total:   57,400


 

KptLt Patrol Journal     July 1941

Our patrol brings us back to the English shores.

July 16, 1941.  A small freight vessel fell into our sights.  No escorting ships were found, three torpedoes and the gun ended her run.

July 22, 1941.  I had thought our recent bad luck had struck again, but a convoy of tanking vessels was spotted.  This group was well protected and we knew we would need to strike quickly and speed away.  I picked the two largest ships that were close to each other and we let go with all loaded tubes.  Explosions on both ships, with the largest erupting into an inferno.  The other looked to be only crippled.  I ordered an immediate dive and evasive maneuvers but the escorting warships found us quickly.  An early explosion damaged our hydrophones making our escape even less likely.  The depth charges seemed to be getting closer to finding their mark when suddenly they stopped.  We had somehow evaded our pursuers, but our boat had been beaten severely.  Our Second Officer and I suffered minor injuries, mine when a concussion sent me flying across the boat.  Our doctor patched us up and the engineer and his crews got the ship back together to get us home.

My crew is becoming quite good at their job, but it does not go unnoticed that the enemy sailors are also quickly improving at their craft.

KptLt Walter Stohl.

Enemy Ships:    Leonidas M.   Torinia    Tonnage:   4600   10000     Campaign Total:    72,000


 

KptLt Patrol Journal    Oct 1941

After a lengthy repair to our boat we prepare to head out once more.  Back to England for U-48.  May luck be on our side.

Oct 23, 1941.  After many days of no sightings save a single enemy plane, a very big shipping vessel found it’s way into the sights of U-48.  After a thorough search for any enemy escort ships, I ordered the boat to surface.  Firing all forward tubes from 1200 meters, I was initially disappointed when only two detonations occurred, but the big ship began sinking immediately and there was no question of it’s demise.

Once again the English waters proved to be somewhat barren for my boat.  I hope our next foray will send us to a more lucrative area.

KptLt Walter Stohl.

Enemy Ship:    Jagersfontein        Tonnage:  10000      Campaign Total:   82,000


 

KptLt Patrol Journal     Dec 1941

Our wish for a new assignment was not to be.  I put in a request to be assigned to the Arctic but was denied.

Dec 9, 1941.  U-48 caught a small shipping vessel early into our patrol.  She was alone and easy prey.  After allowing the crew to abandon her, my crew sent her to the bottom with two torpedoes.  Will this trip to English waters be different?  It remains to be seen.

Dec 22, 1941.   A convoy after dark.  All freighting ships, heavily escorted.  I gave the order to fire all tubes at the forward most ships, both exploded, lighting up the night.  Our attempt to escape undetected was for naught and the enemy was upon us.  Once again concussions rocked our boat, we began taking on water.  My crack crew did not panic however and we lost our pursuers once again.  U-48 was heavily damaged however and I gave the order to head for port.

Dec 24, 1941.  A gift all alone on Christmas Eve.  Not wishing to bring notice to our boat, still a long distance from home, the crew ends the enemy vessels journey with the deck gun.

Dec 27, 1941.  A ship as we head for home.  Good fortune has smiled upon us.  She is without escort.  Once again, I order her to be abandoned before my crew sinks her with the gun.

Our most successful patrol yet.  Five enemy vessels sent to the bottom.  Our boat took a heavy beating but once again, she brought us through.

KptLt Walter Stohl.

Enemy Ships:     Steel Engineer     Moldanger    Thirlby    Hatasu    Alfred Jones      Tonnage:  5700    6800   4900   3200   5000        Campaign Total:    107,600


 

KptLt Patrol Journal   Mar 1942

Another long stay in the pens for repairs and refit.  U-48 brought us home, but had been beaten up pretty good.  Just when our old hunting grounds started to bear fruit, we are reassigned.  To the Arctic we go.

Mar 17, 1942.   A single ship is encountered.  I am surprised to see her without escort.  Perhaps separated from a larger group?  Easily dispatched, a cold way to go.

Mar 21, 1942.  Another single ship.  Have we found good fortune?  This is a larger vessel.  I would like to let the crew disembark, but these waters are notorious for enemy warships and we don’t want to get caught with our pants down.  Four torpedoes does the trick.

KptLt Walter Stohl.

Enemy Ships:     Triglav    Bretagne      Tonnage:    6400    10,000    Campaign Total:   124,000


 

KptLt Patrol Journal  May 1942

A patrol to North America.  This will be a long trip.  We are hoping for a successful journey.

Nothing.  A month of nothing.  First a long voyage, then nothing.  We hope we never go back.

KptLt Walter Stohl

Campaign Total:    124,000


 

KptLt Patrol Journal  July 1942

We are assigned to a patrol with our sister ships in the Atlantic.  U-48 will attack as part of a Wolfpack.  I hope for good hunting.

July 27, 1942.  Once again, a fruitless trip.  As we returned to port through the Bay of Biscay, we were set upon by an enemy aircraft.  Unable to scramble to get below the surface, we took some significant damage.  The boat began to take on a significant amount of water and our fuel tanks were punctured.  Additionally, some of our crew were seriously injured.  It appears some will need extended care and will be replaced before our next patrol.

KptLt Walter Stohl

Campaign Total:   124,000


 

KptLt Patrol Journal  Oct 1942

Back to the Atlantic, there has to be better hunting for us.  This luck can not continue.

Oct 20, 1942.   Finally!  A convoy.  Sitting before us was the largest freighter I have seen to date.  Flanked on either side by much smaller vessels.  I intended to get as many initially as I can.  All tubes fired, three at the big one, and one each at the smaller ships.  It appears we missed the smaller ones, but the large one was consumed in fire.  The warships were on us in an instant and the now familiar dance started once again.  No matter how we tried, it seemed we couldn’t shake them.  The concussions began, shaking the boat continuously.  Water made it’s way through the damage.  One concussion threw the Doctor across the boat, it appeared he was unconscious.  The crew was working frantically to get us clear and to safety.  Finally, we separated from our attackers.  Checking the Doctor revealed he did not survive being thrown.

Our nearest brush with death cost us the life of one of our crew.  This boat, U-48 has once again seen us through.

KptLt Walter Stohl.

Enemy Ships:   Napier Star        Tonnage:    10,100       Campaign Total:    134,100


 

March 13, 1943.

The German U-boat U-48 was forced to scuttle after attacking a convoy in the Atlantic.  The tanker Duffield was sunk.  KptLt Walter Stohl and his crew were captured and made prisoners of war.

Walter Stohl commanded U-48, a Type VIIB Submarine from September of 1939 to March of 1943.  A total of 43 months with a grand total of 18 patrols in which 22 shipping vessels were sunk totaling 142,600 tons.


 

Commentary:

I was looking forward to playing The Hunters after receiving it and it’s sister games The Hunted and Silent Victory.  When I first started playing the campaign, it seemed to be a bit too easy in two ways:  the success of the boat and the ease of play.  I actually almost got bored with it, and writing this after action report.  Although I rolled for a two convoys on my first mission, I didn’t encounter any escorts.  This continued through the first six patrols.

The first time I finally rolled up a detection result for the escorts, the game really started to take shape and the excitement level went up.  The July 1941 patrol saw me rolling for the life of my KapitanLeutnant, being fortunate enough to roll light wounds.  A roll of 6 would have ended the campaign as Walter Stohl would have been killed.  I was pretty hooked at that point.

The game did a good job of showing the difficulties for the submarine crews evading the escorts as the war moves along.  My sole patrol in 1943 saw U-48 unable to shake it’s adversaries, and the sub flooded to the max, resulting in immediate surface and scuttle.

Oddly enough, though I wanted to get through the entire time encompassed in The Hunters, I was relieved that my imaginary Kommandant and his crew did not go down with the boat.  U-48 came within three months of getting through the end of The Hunters.

I hear The Hunted is brutal.

I look forward to more forays under the waves.

For now, on to Tank Duel and Mage Knight.

Thanks for reading.

 

One thought on “The Hunters: Type VIIB U-48 Walter Stohl, Kapitanleutnant. Patrol Journal September, 1939-

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s