“Jawohl! I'll proceed to my new post at once!” You give your superior the reply she was waiting for. “Good. I have high hopes for you. Do your best to fight for the fatherland.” She betrays her professionalism for a moment, showing you briefly the girl that grew up next door, “Take care and be safe.” You reassure you childhood friend, “Of course I will M-” “Konteradmiral!” Her adjutant interrupts. “I'm sorry, but the chiefs are waiting for you in the meeting room, and they look none too pleased.” “Well, it looks like I have to go.” She gets up from behind her desk and puts on her hat and jacket. “See you around.”
Your orders are quite clear. You are to clear away from your current station and accept transfer to the 2. Underseebootflottille stationed in Wilheimshaven. That recent promotion to Kapitänleutnant wasn't for nothing, huh? You'll be in command of your own ship now. Sitting in the train with your bag in between your legs, you glance through your orders quickly again. It doesn't specify which type of vessel you'll be in command of, but you hope that it'll be something more modern. You don't have anything against the Type-IIs. Your friend Heinrich, an old friend from the naval academy, commands one, and he says it's cramped. Really cramped. You recall him saying something along the lines of it being “like being stuck in a Käfer with 23 other very dirty sailors.”
A Kübelwagen is waiting for you at the station. A young, eager-looking girl is the driver.
“Herr Kaptän? I'm here to take you to the base. May I take your bags?” “No need, err-” “-Oberleutnant z.s. Reisen Inaba. I apologize for not introducing myself.” She stands at attention and gives you a salute. “I've been assigned as your executive officer. It's an honor to work with such an exemplary officer such as yourself.” “At ease. No need to be so formal.” You ease your only bag into the back. “I'm hardly worth all that admiration.” “I disagree sir! I read your paper on the future of naval warfare and found it intensely fascinating. In particular how you described the necessity of naval interdiction to force the enemy to your terms.” “You did, huh? I though no one gave that so much as a second glance. High command ignored it.” You say bitterly. “With all due respect to the illustrious heads of the Kriegsmarine and our superiors, I think they were mistaken.” “Well, it doesn't matter now. It's all ancient history. These are times of war, and our reality is another.” You get in the car. “Let's get to base as soon as possible, eh?” “Yes sir.” She seems a bit disappointed that you cut her short, but gets in the car promptly anyways.
The ride is silent, you think you might have intimidated her a bit. It couldn't be helped. You didn't expect this girl to know about your paper. Your peers disregarded you for the most part. It was only your dear rear admiral that gave it so much as a bit of importance. You decide to break the ice.
“Tell me, how long have you been in the service?” “Ah... well about a year and a half now.” “A year and a half?! And already a junior lieutenant!?” This girl must be a prodigy. “Oh, I'm sorry sir. But I'm afraid that that's because of my family. They have connections with the military and despite my desire to not be given any preferential treatment, I was quickly promoted.” “I see.” “Sir, not to be presumptuous or anything... but I'm fairly confident of my skills. Despite the nepotism I still scored the highest grades of my class at the academy.” “Impressive.” You study her face. Her eyes are focused on the road, but you can tell she's not exaggerating. She does seem to have an aura of competency. Well, you're stuck with her like it or not.
Everything at the base is impeccable. The guard posted at the gate, a young Seaman First Class, lazily waves you in. Her red hair really catches your eyes. She smiles politely at you and salutes.
You're taken to the base commander's officer immediately. Your XO waits outside her office. She's not in command of the second flotilla, but she still hands out the assignments. A real beauty, and already an acquaintance of yours. You met her quickly at your class graduation party. She seemed to take pleasure in torturing the rear admiral (then just a mere graduate herself).
“Here is your assignment. You must be lucky to have a good friend like the Konteradmiral. She pulled some strings and instead of giving you one of the many Type-II submarines we have available, you'll be getting a Type-VII. Not only that, but somehow it's a VIIB taken from the 7th flotilla. Although, looking at your record, I wouldn't put it past your merits. You seem to be more than fit to use this as a tool of destruction against the Reich's enemies.” “I'm honored that you think so.” You reply mechanically. “Yes. Well then, you have full authority in assembling a crew. They're like family, so choose well. Besides your XO, there's one other crew member that you'll have to take.”
She motions towards the door. You hear the forceful stamping of boots.
“This is Fähnrich z.s. Cirno. She'll be on board as a special attache to ensure crew morale.”
You turn to look at the new arrival. She wears an impeccable dress uniform. You note the special pin on her chest denoting her involvement in the youth branch of the party.
“Reporting for duty, sir! With your brilliant leaderships and the will of the united German people behind us we shall crush all of our enemies! Gott Strafe England!
<Hey now, wasn't that the cry of the previous war?>
“Very well. I look forward to working with you.” You force a cordial reply. You don't want to antagonize your crew, as deplorable as they may seem. “If that's all, then I'll beg your leave. I must assemble a crew posthaste.” “But of course captain, and do feel free to drop in any time. I'm sure we have a lot to talk about.” The commander dismisses you, a coy smile on her face.
You salute and leave. You make your way to your assigned quarters, shaking off the beaming Cirno. You can tell that she sees in you some sort of glorious example that she should aspire to, and it makes you uncomfortable. You just can't deal with these young kids who grew up in the party's youth groups. You barely get her to back off and leave you alone. You tell your XO to come back in an hour's time.
On your desk you see the day's new bulletin. It's a big title, BdU and High Command must be showing something important off.
“DARING RAID BY U-47 ASTOUNDING SUCCESS!
Yesterday at 00:27 U-47 and her crew entered the enemy port of Scapa Flow. Evading patrols and shallow water, the U-boat positioned itself in an advantageous position and launched torpedoes. The a large enemy ship, reportedly the battlecruiser Royal Oak was sunk. For this daring raid and subsequent escape the vessel's commander, Kapitänleutnant Reimu Hakurei, has been awarded The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. This is the first time a serviceman in the U-Boat branch of the glorious Kriegsmarine has been awarded such an honor, and only the second in the whole history of the navy!”
Lieutenant Hakurei, huh? You remember her. She always did seem to get worked up too easily, but she was a good officer. Looks like she's beaten you to the punch, claiming such a large trophy. It's nearly 30,000 tons in a single ship. You'll have to work extra hard to beat her and her crew. The boys at the 7th Flotilla must be proud of their new ace.
You look over your personnel list. There's quite a variety to choose from. They come for all sorts of backgrounds and all have different specialties. You quickly sort them out according to specialties and use. You don't think you'll hand pick all of them (that would mean over 40 people!) you'll just choose a select few and leave the rest to your XO.
Based off the list you choose some candidates right off the bat. The other important positions you at least narrowed down.
After all that, you left on the short list a couple of names that could be swapped around if the need arose. You could always assign one or two that didn't make the cut or some of these other candidates to minor duties. Well, at least the petty-officers and below.
(officer) Leutnant z.s. Shikieiki Yamaxanadu, Maat Daiyousei, Matrosenhaupgefreiter Meiling Hong
Please choose one from each category (name only is okay if you want to omit their rank – tedious to type if you're not copy-pasting);
Petty Officers; Torpedoman:Maat Komachi Onozuka (The mental image of her sleeping on a torpedo in the middle of a fight is too good to pass up on) Gunner:Feldwebel Iku Nagae Damage Control:Obermaat Letty Whiterock Sonar/Hydrophone:Maat Satori Komeiji Radio:Stabsoberfeldwebel Aya Shameimaru Medic:Obermaat Rin Satsuki
Petty Officers; Torpedoman: Komachi Onozuka (Hard choice here, I ant to see Lily just as much) Gunner: Flandre Scarlet (No one can do this job better, in many meanings of the term) Damage Control: Lunasa Prismriver Sonar/Hydrophone: Satori Komeiji Radio: Remilia Scarlet (You are now imagining your O.Com. Engaging in a verbal battle with the ennemy commander and humiliating him/het with elegance, manually. then you realize you have both sisters onboard.) Medic: Rin Satsuki (Needs more Ghost Characters)
Petty Officers; Torpedoman: Obermaat Lily White (Here comes the springs, motherfuckers!) Gunner: Feldwebel Iku Nagae Damage Control: Feldwebel Hina Kagiyama (Spin around the ship?) Sonar/Hydrophone: Maat Satori Komeiji Radio: Stabsoberfeldwebel Aya Shameimaru (Tengu ears) Medic: Maat Tewi Inaba (Luck to the crew)
Grunts; Cook: Matrosengefreiter Mystia Lorelei (Obvious. And she could sing for a morale boost!)
Petty Officers; Torpedoman: Obermaat Lily White (In theory will be less lazy than Komachi, only threat could be that she may get excited and fire early, *maybe*. >(The mental image of her sleeping on a torpedo in the middle of a fight is too good to pass up on) is appealing too, though.) Gunner: Stabsoberfeldwebel Flandre Scarlet (She has the ability to destroy anything and everything. Enough said.) Damage Control: Stabsfeldwebel Lunasa Prismriver (can help with morale by playing an instrument to Mystia's singing!) Sonar/Hydrophone: Maat Satori Komeiji (largely at random, but if she has the ability to read minds, in theory this would lend some reasoning for better ability at detection in general.) Radio: Oberfeldwebel Remilia Scarlet >(You are now imagining your O.Com. Engaging in a verbal battle with the enemy commander and humiliating him/her with elegance, manually.) YES. Medic: Maat Tewi Inaba >(Luck to the crew)
Grunts; Cook: Matrosengefreiter Mystia Lorelei >(Obvious, and she could sing for a morale boost!)
Officers; Navigation Officer: Oberfahnrich z.s. Rikako Asakura Watch Officer: Oberfahnrich z.s Momizi Inubashiri (Wriggle as an officer?)
Petty Officers; Torpedomen: Maat Komachi Onozuka (rather see Lily White in a non-alt-universe story first) Flak gunner(s)/deck gun: Stabsoberfeldwebel Flandre Scarlet (haha oh wow) Damage control: Obermaat Letty Whiterock Sonar/hydrophone: Maat Satori Komeiji Radio room: Stabsoberfeldwebel Aya Shameimaru (Remi as a petty officer? Aya fits perfectly anyway) Medic: Obermaat Rin Satsuki (can't imagine Tewi as a medic, also holy shit)
Grunts; Cook: Matrosengefreiter Mystia Lorelei (we don't need alcohol in everything)
Torpedoman: Maat Komachi Onozuka Gunner: Stabsoberfeldwebel Flandre Scarlet Damage Control: Obermaat Letty Whiterock Sonar/Hydrophone: Maat Satori Komeiji Radio: Oberfeldwebel Remilia Scarlet Medic: Obermaat Rin Satsuki
Cook: Matrosengefreiter Mystia Lorelei
You make your final selection. You hope you made the right call here; it's one thing to have a skilled crew, but it's best to have a crew that gets along. There's nothing worse than antagonism within the ranks.
Now you'll be off to do the next thing on the agenda – inspect your vessel. It should be moored within or around the sub pens. You leave your coat and hat on your bed and leave.
Or at least, that was the plan.
Obstructing your way out is a short, absolutely oil-stained specimen of an officer. Even her cap has dark machine oil blots. She looks up to you and immediately stands at attention.
“Herr KaLeu! I was just about to knock.”
You take a step back, spotting your XO standing off to the side. You salute the officer.
“What is your business here?” “Sir, pardon my forwardness. I'm Leutnant zur See Nitori Kawashiro and I wish to be part of your crew.” “Oh? That's interesting. I believe that's the first time anyone has asked to serve under my command. And just what exactly is your reason for wanting to join?” “It's quite simple. You're the only commander that's transferring in. And it so happens that you've been assigned to a Type-VIIB.” “So you're saying you wish to join because of the submarine? Surely you could get posted to one of the many Type-IX here.” “It's more than that, sir. The Type-IX here are from the initial production run. And the Type-II are simply boring. You managed to get a VIIB from BdU, from another fleet on top of that! I want to be with a commander that's able to get whatever he wants.” “I can't say I'm in agreement with your image of me, but I have good news for you. I've already selected you as part of my crew. You'll be my chief engineer.” “Thank you sir! You won't regret it!” “Stick around Leutnant. I'm about to go inspect the vessel right now. I'd like to hear your opinion on its condition.” “As you wish. But...” She shows a sheepish grin, “truth be told sir, I was already tinkering around with it.” “Isn't that the work of the maintenance crew though?” “I can't help it sir, it's a hobby of mine to mess around with mechanical things.” “Well, come with me regardless.”
You signal for Reisen to come to you.
“Take this.” You hand her the personnel file. “See to that the following are added to my crew. Use your discretion for filling in the vacant spots.” “Understood sir.” She gives you a salute. But doesn't budge. “Anything wrong?” “Ah, no sir. It's just that I wanted to apologize for not dissuading Leutnant Kawashiro. I told her not to disturb you but she would not listen to me.” “That's quite excusable this time. I'll make use of her now when I inspect the vessel.”
You dismiss Reisen. You start to walk towards the docks. The submarine that you've been assigned to is U-45, a Type-VIIB U-boat. It carries a complement of 14 torpedoes. With four bow torpedo tubes and one stern you're well prepared to deal with enemy ships. Not to mention the 88mm deck gun as well as the 20mm flak. Running on the surface, the diesel engine could bring it to a little over 17 knots. Submerged the electric engine could propel it at a maximum of 8 knots. The thing to watch out for is the crush depth of 200m. You don't see submerging yourself deeper than periscope depth unless being hunted by destroyers, but it's good to have all of this in mind.
You find your ship in the sub pen. Mechanics and maintenance personnel are casually moving about it. You cross the walkway and step onto the conning tower.
“So tell me Leutnant,” You engage your new chief engineer, “In your preliminary look, did you notice anything peculiar about this vessel?” “Not at all sir. Everything seemed to be in perfect condition. However...” “However?” You notice that she's a bit reluctant to speak. “Well, I don't know how you, sir, would feel about this...” “Just try me.” “Well, as I mentioned previously, my hobby is tinkering with mechanical things. And I think that over the years I've become adept at finding natural weak points and improving them. To be succinct, I think I can improve some things.” “Non-standard modifications?” “That's correct.” “And you would be sure of their effectiveness?” “Of course I would.” “BdU doesn't allow for any sort of non-regulated modification, you know that don't you? “Of course I do sir! I apologize for even suggesting the possibility of-” “Don't. I'm not reprimanding you.” “Sir?” “I want you to make a report on the things that you could improve. What you would change, how you would do it, and the material needed. I want you to give me this report, and only to me. No one is to find out. I shall look it over and consider if the changes are sound and beneficial.” “As you wish sir.”
You grin and look at her. She's absolutely beaming. She looks at you like a grateful child who just received a candy bar.
You decide to carry on your inspection. You open the hatch and climb down the stairs. Maintenance personnel snap to attention when they notice you, but you tell them to return to their duties.
The submarine looks like any other on the inside. You check each and every compartment, making sure everything is as expected. You find the small space that's to be your bunk and almost let out a sigh. You'll be spending a lot of time here. You'll make sure to bring a lot of books. You climb back onto the observation tower.
“Satisfied, Herr KaLeu?” Your chief engineer asks. “Quite.” You knock on the outer hull. Ah, that reminds you. “This particular U-boat doesn't have an emblem, does it?” “No sir.” “Any suggestions?” “I'm not good at artistic things sir.” “Ah, I see. I guess I'll just have to think of one on my own.” “When you do sir, just tell the maintenance crew and they'll paint it on.” “Good to know. Well, then. I'll be off now.” “Yes sir.”
You leave Nitori behind and move on to the next item on your mental checklist. It might be a bit unimportant, relatively speaking, but you ought to have lunch. You head to the mess hall, all the while thinking about the best emblem
*PLEASE CHOOSE THE EMBLEM YOU FOREVER WISH ASSOCIATED WITH YOU* (note that this goes on the side of the conning tower):
examples: A cucumber and a beer stein, a red umbrella with the caption 'scarlet protector', a black shield with a white cross on it, etc.
damnit... i can think of so many nice things -the classical swordfish is epic, but being a classic its very common. -a stylized cockroach playing the saxo, just try it -a sioux head with the swastika on the base of the feather hat, awkward, but cool -a family crest, some sort of shield, its a large place to be creative. -some sort of duck, maybe with a little torpedo -a motherfucking SHARK, or motherfucking SNAKE -a playing card, maybe an ace -a sea predator crushing a ship between its jaws, that sounds like cool -a nazi bugs motherfucking bunny or mickey motherfucking mouse, seen before on aircraft -some sort of HUEG HAMMER, because hammers are cool, alternately, an axe.
well i dunno why i did this, just had a sudden burst of symbols i could recall painted on military vehicles, of course there are a lot more but were probably looking for something Tohou related, but eh
A giant shield upon which is a swordfish with a swastika tattoo playing cards and holding a hammer while eating a ship, wearing a feather hat with daffy duck riding on it's back playing a saxophone which a snake is coming out of.
I think that covers everything. Oh. and it all needs to be on fire and being hit by lightning at the same time.
This. However, we could also put this in the center of an Iron Cross, taken from the ensigns of the Kriegsmarine and Kaiserliche Marine. Makes a patriotic statement, and expresses respect for the Kaiser's navy whose bravery we want to inherit (or something).
Ah, it's a good day today. You're pleasantly surprised at what's for lunch in the officer's mess hall. The most tangible benefit of the Anschluss, was in your opinion, this. The proliferation of Schnitzel in the common day-to-day cuisine. You don't know whether it's because Austrian cooks were drafted into the service or simply just because, but you know that it's a welcome addition to the menu.
You sit in a corner of the canteen, leisurely enjoying your food. It would seem that being in command of 40-odd men makes you a very sought-out individual. You spot your XO come into the hall, obviously looking for you. You signal to her and she comes on over.
“I trust that you need me for something Lieutenant?” “That's correct sir. I'm sorry for disturbing your meal. If you don't mind please continue on eating while I explain.” She opens up a report. “I would much rather you join me. That is if you haven't eaten yet. Whatever it is, I bet it can wait.”
She blinks for a moment, as if not understanding your suggestion.
“Would that be alright sir?” “I wouldn't have suggested it otherwise. Now grab a tray and sit.”
Having Reisen eat with you is a bit awkward. Not for you really, but it seems to be so for her. She doesn't speak, and doesn't even try to make eye contact. She's just a rank below you, and under some circumstances would be in command of her own sub, yet she acts like a shy country girl around you. Since the hope for normal conversation seems precarious at best, you grab her report and look over it.
“Oh? Impressive work. You've already notified all personal about their new posts as well as created a reserve crew just in case.” Her work certainly is something you'd expect from a young competent officer. “I assume you came here to notify me of that.” “That's correct sir.” When talking about work she loses her bashfulness. “I wanted to inform you that if you so pleased you could meet with the other officers and get better acquainted with them.” “Good. I was thinking of doing so anyways later today. At this rate we might be fit for our first patrol in just a few days. Your expediency is commendable.” “Thank you sir.”
She eats more at ease now. You watch her happily munch on a bit of potato salad.
“Before I forget.” You should tell her of your decision. “I've decided to commission an emblem for our submarine. I'll hand you a sketch later for you to give to the maintenance personnel. I think it's important to have a symbol for our crew to identify with.”
She acknowledges your request. You lose yourself in thought while finishing the last of your meal. Things seem to be going smoothly. That's good. But you can't help but shake off the nagging feeling that something dreadful is going to happen. Even before getting this assignment, you couldn't help but feel that the future was looking bleak. Bah, it's probably just anxiety.
You'll go meet your crew now. Once you see how dedicated and hardworking they are, you'll be feeling confident again in no time. You don't have to meet with all of them, but it'd probably be a good idea to get acquainted with all of the officers. They'll be the ones to whom you'll be issuing orders after all. It might not hurt to see some of the enlisted men while you're at it, but you'll have a lot of free time during patrols anyways.
 Go see the officers you haven't met yet  Try and get to know your XO better  Talk to your Chief Engineer more  Walk around the NCO's and enlisted personnel's barracks.
NOTE: Only the first choice here is needed to advance the story, the rest are optional and can be omitted if you so please.
Oh, and the winner was the Flandre thing for an emblem.
[X] Go see the officers you haven't met yet As the respected leader of a group of young soldiers, we should get acquainted with them and gain their respect, since after all, we are going to be their bigger sibling (sister???) for a long while, they must be sure they have someone to look up to.
You instruct your XO to have the remaining officers come and meet you. You don't have an office here, so you ask her to send them one by one to your quarters. It's not much, but you've got two chairs there and that's enough for two officers to get to know each other.
The first officer to come is Leutnant Izayoi. The first impression that she makes on you is positive. She seems to be in control of her movements and confident of everything she does. You decide to ask her more about her background.
“Why did you decide to join the submarine service?” “Quite simple sir. I have always deeply admired those who have served our country in the past. In particular Fregattenkapitän Yumeko.” “You mean the famous U-boat ace from the Weltkrieg?” “That's correct. I've always looked up to her and hoped to serve as she did. But that's not all.” “Go on.” “I also wish to protect those who are important to me. They also serve in the service. I would feel ill at ease if I didn't keep an eye on them.” “I see. That's a good a reason as any.” You're satisfied with the answer she's given you. You decide to ask her about her experience. “How well do you think you can fulfill the role of weapons officer?” “Without a doubt, almost flawlessly. I believe I can perfectly keep track of ammunition stores, weapon conditions and everything else that is required of me with no problem.” “I read in your file that you served in the surface fleet, on the Deutschland in particular. This was during the Spanish civil war?” “Correct sir.” “You were recommended for a citation, were you aware? For keeping cool under pressure during the air raid that killed some of our countrymen in 1937.” “I was not aware. I was not given any award for my service.” “That's true. But getting a recommendation is almost as good. It proves your worthiness in a real combat situation. I think you'll fit in nicely.” “Thank you sir. I look forward to working with you.”
The girl with the impeccable uniform and manners salutes you before she leaves. You have a favorable impression of her, even though she does come off as a bit too guarded. Well, you're sure it's nothing that won't erode after spending a patrol or two in tandem.
The next officer comes in soon after.
“Leutnant Patchouli Knowledge here as requested sir.” “Is something the matter? Are you feeling unwell?” Right off the bat, you get the impression that she might collapse at any moment. “Not in particular sir. I feel fine.” She says softly. “Please have a seat then.” You're not entirely convinced. She reminds you of your aunt in Saxony. She looked like a fragile woman. Wore spectacles and spent the whole day reading romance novels. You'd spend all day playing outside in her large garden, and in the afternoons she'd read you stories. She never did marry, did she? “Sir?” “Hm?” “I'm sorry, but it looked like you had gone to somewhere far away.” “I apologize. In any case, as you have been informed I've chosen you to be my navigation officer. And well, I wanted to get to know you a bit before our first patrol. Is there anything you'd like to tell me?” “I take my work seriously and am willing to spend all the time necessary to make things work.” “That's good to hear. But your record shows as much. I was wondering about maybe your personality and interests?” “I'm afraid I'm not very interesting.” Again, just like your aunt, you can tell she's being modest. “Come now, there's got to be something you enjoy doing.” You prod her into speaking. She hesitates a bit but ultimately shares something with you. “I do enjoy good music sir. As well as fine literature.” She seems to almost blush with the admission. “That's pleasant to hear. I think I just might delegate the selection of books and gramophone music to you.” “Ah, but you don't even know if my tastes are compatible with yours, sir...” “Don't worry about it. I have a feeling that they will be.” Despite the good rapport that you think you've established, you still have to ask this. As her CO if any not anything else. “Still, I'm worried about your health. I wouldn't want you to collapse while on active duty.” “I won't.” She replies with a bit of confidence. “I've got a prescription that I take for active duty. I should be able to hold up just fine.” “Very well, then I'll trust the navigation gladly to you.”
You dismiss her. But not without almost calling her 'Auntie Gitta'. You manage to not slip up. Yes, it'd be strange to call a subordinate of yours by the name of your aunt. You sigh and wait for the next (and last officer) to present herself.
Ah, this last one is a bit of a change. You can feel the energy and enthusiasm in the air. It's highly contagious.
“Oberfähnrich zur See Momiji Inubashiri reporting in, sir!” “Pleased to meet you, please be seated.”
You look over her record. She had a moderate-length career. There's been nothing but praise from her previous commanding officers.
“You've got quite the good record here. I'm almost jealous in fact.” “Oh sir, you praise me too much.” Complimenting her makes her act like a happy puppy. “I don't think I have much to say here. I think you'll do just fine as my watch officer. Are you prepared to spend long hours exposed to the elements and ever-vigilant for enemy vessels?” “Of course sir! I'm sure I could weather a whole patrol if need be!” Her exaggeration is comforting. “I hardly think that'll be necessary, but I do trust you do your best. After all, you'll be our eyes and ears while we cruise on the surface. That is to say, most of the time. And since I like to keep watch myself as well, I trust we'll spend a lot of time together on the watch deck.” “I certainly look forward to that sir. I'd be honored that our commanding officer spend time with the watch personnel. It'd certainly motivate us more.” “Glad to know that you're of that opinion. It makes things easier then.” You nod. “So tell me a little bit more about yourself. I wish to get to know my crew as well as possible.” “Well sir, both my parents were in the service. My whole family has served the Navy for generations. My father served in Jutland aboard the Pommern.”
It takes you a moment to realize the implications of what she just said.
“Oh... I'm sorry about that. I'm sure you miss him.” “Not that much sir. I was just a newborn at the time. From what my mother told me, he was ecstatic at the news of my birth.” “I'm sure he's proud of what you've become. And what we're going to do.” “Thank you sir. You're awfully kind, if you don't mind my bluntness.” “Oh, not at all. I just believe in treating everyone as I'd like to be treated.” “We're lucky to have a commanding officer such as you.” “We'll see about that.” You grin, thinking of the hardships ahead. “Well, that'll be all for today. Thank you for coming.”
With an enthusiastic salute she leaves.
Well, you've met them all. You pour yourself a glass of Schnaps – a parting gift from your pesky rear admiral of a neighbor. She told you that this was a 'Obstler' from Bavaria. It does have a slightly fruity taste. You're more used to grain-based drinks. Still, it's enjoyable.
You think that you've done enough for now. It's afternoon and you're tired from having traveled so much. There'll be plenty more time to get to know your crew. It's still be a few days at least before you go on your first patrol.
 Relax and unwind for now  Other (choose from previous options if so desired)
>>73780 Not doable. It's a crew of 40+ people. You'll meet them in due time, but you can't just expect to conveniently assembe people who still are, for all intents and purposes, off-duty until their next mission. At least not right now.
So please choose either to relax or one of the previous choices.
>>73785 Only efficent at certain things. Other things they were notorious for making complicated. I cite as examples tank suspension, car engines, artillery pieces, and even the design of things like torpedoes. They were all complicated pieces of machinery that were hell to maintain. Thems the breaks, heh.
>>73786 dont forget ze marvelouz optics! best in der welt! ahem.. anyways [X] find out where the local booze store is, tomorrow we'll have to go get a couple of boxes, hopefully more schnapps and some jagermeister
The complexity of the machines could become troublesome (the Königstiger and Jagdtiger are magnificent examples) but command structures were a worse problem. I've never heard of another military which switched control of certain artillery positions from one service branch to another depending on enemy positions.
Also, the materiel wasn't always so bad. I cite the Tigerfibel in referring to a Tiger I which in 6 hours took 227 bazooka hits, 14 5.2cm hits and 11 7.62cm hits, none penetrating; treaded over three mines, had some wheels and most connecting links destroyed, 2 shock absorbers put out of comission and still drove for 60km on its own power. Admittedly, it's an extreme example, but still.
While doing this der Kapitän could check the other people that the XO has choosen.
ALSO: war status report demanded! Like the large of the enemy fleet. Are we facing only againts England or the USA as well? And Oberfeldwebel Remilia Scarlet looks suspicious to me. She must be a SS officer, that reports for the HQ about what you've done. And where is this sub pen exactly?
>>73811 >the other people that the XO has choosen. Quite honestly they're all generic faceless servicemen. They're there so the story would grind to a halt choosing and keeping track of 40+ individuals. Heck, most of the dynamic during patrols will happen with the higher-ranked personnel anyways.
> war status report demanded! Like the large of the enemy fleet. Are we facing only againts England or the USA as well? October 1939: Germany has annexed and partitioned Poland with the USSR. The Western powers speak of war, but have done nothing to aid their allies. France sits behind the Maginot, complacent. This is the period of the war (jokingly) referred to as the Sitzkrieg by later historians. The only Germany and the puppet state led by Tiso in Slovakia are part of the Axis. And the Allies are composed of France, the UK, the other commonwealth countries (Canada, Australia, NZ, and the colonies), and the volunteer Polish exile army (along with a small fraction of their navy that got away - negligable in real strength). Oh, and airplanes tend to be very very deadly as well. Especially as sonar develops later on. Be wary of spending too much time surfaced near the coast!
The fight is currently in the Atlantic. And the Royal Navy numbers around 3700 vessels, of which less than 100 are large capital ships. But there are HUNDREDS of anti-submarine costal trawlers, and the figure above doesn't include speedboats/smaller motor boats ~20M in length. Sure, all of these might not be at the home islands currently, but most of them are. Especially the costal ships. They'll all eventually be in the theater of operations at different stages. And well, the commonwealth fleets have their own compliment of ships as well, which tend to escort their shipping. And well, France has the 4th largest navy in the world (have I mentioned yet that you'll have to go through the English Channel more often than not yet? Now would be a good time to let that sink in). The modest Axis surface fleet is outgunned and outmatched, even with ships such as the Gneisenau and the Bismark.
You'll get more of an idea of the foe you face as the story progresses.
>And where is this sub pen exactly? Wilhelmshaven. One of the largest U-boat yards in Germany and overall important commercial and military port.
Oh, and about the Waffen-SS. By 1939 only 2-3 batallions exist, and they're strictly ground troops. And they always will be. There never was SS air divisions much less SS naval ships and crews. The beaureucratic arm of the SS would go and form police units, vetern's affairs offices and ministries of a government within a government. They had their own ranks, objectives, and traditions. But all of that has nothing to do with the Wehrmacht (beyond SS units later in the war being under de facto command by the OKW, OKH, and general field command), much less the Kriegsmarine, and much less the BdU.
Time killing untill the next assigment.. Meet the crew and check their moral or so, or at least the captian should introduce himself to the crew sooner or later.. Befriend with Reisen tomorrow. Now go and fetch some fish.
Also going trough the crew list was only a suggestion, maybe you could find some interesting names..
>>73812 Ok, then Remilia isn't an SS officer... But she could make reports für dem Führer And the little vampire is from France. a spy?
ALSO: you should name yourself as Keine, because it seems you are an expert history teacher! ^_____^
>>73812 Another note on enemy forces: current enemy naval bombers (such as the Fairey Swordfish ("Stringbag"), Fairey Albacore ("Applecore") and Loire-Nieuport LN.401) have an operational range from about 880km (about 546 miles) to about 1,200km (around 746 miles), though later on their ability in this field is to increase reasonably (I won't say by how much). It's also worth noting some of these are carrier-borne, so staying far away from the coast won't necessarily make you safe from them.
>>73830 waiiitaminute i am pretty certain (lol history fight) that the Blenheim, Wellington and Hudson were all in service by this date, and they had a much longer range than that, altho sure, they arent many. At this moment i'd be more worried about surface assets, as aerial ASW patrols only kicked in later on, but surely we can use weather properly for our purposes.
>>73843 Good point, I'd overlooked planes the Bristol Blenheim, Vickers Wellington and Lockheed Hudson because they had been built more as light bombers than naval bombers. This moves the margin up to about 3,150 kilometers in range (Hudson). However, planes of this type tend to be ground based, so that also may be taken into consideration depending on where we're operating.
>>73851 >>73843 OH GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE?! I've unleashed my fellow armchair generals upon THP. Hah.
And seeing as this seems to be all the votes I'm going to get, I might as well write and update. I wish to keep the dynamic moving. There'll be plenty of time for the captain and the crew to get better acquianted.
You realize that the young officer assigned to you is going to be spending inordinate amounts of time with you. Especially since she's, for all intents and purposes, your right hand. It would certainly not be ill-advised to get to know her. If you create some synergy between the two of you, it'll make the operation of the submarine all that much more smoother.
You eyeball the glass of schnaps. You think that you'll ask the lieutenant to join you for a drink.
Luckily for you, she's still waiting on ceremony for you just outside. You forgot to dismiss her, and she's patiently awaiting any further directives. You ask her in.
“Please have a seat Oberleutnant. Join me for a drink, won't you?” “Thank you sir.” She sits. “But I must decline the drink. I'm still on duty.” “Your work ethic is commendable, but I'm your commanding officer. And I'm telling you that your work for the day is done. Now surely there's nothing wrong in two officers sharing a drink to unwind after work?” “Ah, no there isn't.”
You pour a glass for her. You notice that she stares at the liquid hesitantly.
“Still unable to relax? Drinking a bit won't hurt you. Or maybe you don't wish to share a drink with me?” “That's not it sir.” She act self-conscious all of a sudden, barely whispering the reason for her aversion.
You try your best to hold in your laughter. But it's no good – you find yourself laughing at your XO.
“I'm sorry sir, I know it's shameful...” “Sorry!?” Her bashfulness is killing you. “There's nothing to worry about! I just didn't expect you to be unable to handle drinks. Most officers spend the whole of the time in the academy going from party to party. Practically every cadet has a whole case of beer under their bunk!” “I, uh, wasn't aware of that sir.” “Hey now, you did train like everyone else, didn't you?” “I did sir. But I'm sorry... I just didn't pay attention to what the others did. I've had alcohol at formal affairs, but it was always just a bit of wine.” “Ah, I see. That's regrettable then.” What an odd girl. It's like she's from another planet. “But you know, lieutenant... it's never too late to learn to appreciate most things in life. Alcohol included.” “Then perhaps you could teach me sir?” “'Teach'? Yes – I suppose I could. It might be a fun little project during our shore leave. Granted, that is, that you don't mind having me for a teacher.” “I think I'd enjoy having you as a teacher, sir.” “Good, good. Then maybe we could have our first lesson now. Follow my instructions precisely; First take a sniff of the substance. If your sense of smell is sharp enough, you'll probably smell a bit of wood. That's due to the caskets used for the aging process. This schnaps is similar to what they call in France eau-de-vie, it should be slightly reminiscent of the fruit it's made from. Now go ahead and take a small sip.”
You watch with a smile as she gingerly takes a small sip. You hold in your laughter when you see her face contort.
“Now this shouldn't have more than 40% alcohol by volume, but it still might be a bit too strong for you.” “...That would seem to be the case, sir.” How adorable, she blushes as if it's her fault she's not used to it. “If you don't like it, then that's okay. I won't make you drink it all. But you should realize that every good serviceman knows who to hold his liquor. This'll take time, but I'll make sure that you can appreciate the subtlety involved in drinking.”
You drink from your own glass, finishing it in one gulp. Compared to her, you come off as a complete lush.
“Putting drinking aside, I'd like to get to know you a little better. You seem like an interesting person.” “I don't think I'm that interesting sir. But if you wish to know more about me, I'll be glad to tell you as much as you wish to know.” “Alright then, let's go for something interesting. I'm going to skip the things that are stated in your file. Let's see... how about you tell me your favorite color?” “That would be white sir.” “I see. Then... how about your favorite food?” “That would have to be berliners.” “Something sweet?” “Is that a problem sir?” “Not at all. In fact, thinking about it, it would make sense that you would like something sweet.” “If you don't mind me asking, sir, what would your favorite food be?” “That's easy – beer.” You laugh. “That's not proper food!” She frowns disapprovingly, “It's good to enjoy that sort of thing but you oughtn't go overboard.” “Hahaha, now this is something! I'm getting reprimanded by my subordinate!” “Ah! I didn't mean it that way. I'm terribly sor-” “Don't be! It's good that you're straightforward with me. We'll be working together so you should forget the formality. When we're along, you can even drop the 'sir'.” “Oh I couldn't...” “Nonsense! In fact, I'll make it an order if I have to.” “...I understand.” She folds as soon as you joke about making it an order. She sure is rigid about military protocol, isn't she? “Well then, if you don't slip up and call me sir in private, I might someday tell you what my real favorite food is. How's that sound.” “A bit unfair, to be honest.”
Oh, how unexpected. She seemed to be genuinely interested in you. That's the most emotionally honest reply you've gotten from her yet. It might be worth probing into this some more.
Alas, she has plans of her own.
“Umm, if you'll excuse me. But I need to finish filing some things before the day is over...” “Ah? But I thought I told you that work for today was over.” “I mean no disrespect for your order, it's just that I wish to do this before I forget. So if you could please let me do so, I'd be grateful.” “Tch. You're a real workaholic, you know.” “I can't help it.” She smiles. A genuine smile of someone who enjoys their work. “Very well. You may do your filing. BUT!” You need to put your foot down here. “You must afterwards eat and do whatever it is you do in your free time to relax. If I so happen to walk around the base and catch you working in a few hours, I'll be very disappointed.” “Yes sir!” She gets up and acknowledges your order. “Then, if you'll excuse me, I'll see you tomorrow.” “See you then.” You grab her still-full glass of schnaps. You drink it as she leaves your quarters.
As far as you're concerned, you're done for today. Stripping down to your undergarments, you lazily toss your uniform on your chair. It's not that late in the evening, but your fatigue has caught up to you. You'd normally read until you were asleep, but that's not an option now. For as soon as you close your eyes, reality washes away, and you're lost in a deep slumber.
Along with social interactions, this chronicle contains scenarios in which the right decision and good luck can go a long way. The probability of getting spotted by the enemy, their tenacity, and even concentration all depend on the difficulty chosen. The damage model, crew fatigue, and weapon reliability are also dependent. It will be easier to succeed at easier difficulties, and the core story will more or less be the same (different events do happen depending on the success though). But choosing to stick to realism also has its own benefits (although they may not be as obvious at first...).
 Easy/Arcade  Normal  Realistic
Optional technical commentary on equipment, tactics, and events:
“Right away admiral!” The young junior officer scurried away from the office. After, as was the norm these days, an over-enthusiastic salute.
<All of these young officers are too cheerful, they can't grasp the gravity of the situation>
“Bloody fools.” With the report in hand, she sat down in her cushy char. A quick glance over the pages and she confirmed what she already knew. She poured herself a glass of whiskey and lit up one of her cigars – things would be tough from now on. “Fritz is sure to raise hell for our shipping from here on out. It'll be nigh impossible to get the high staff to listen to me.”
Taking a long puff from her cigar, she smiled. Even though it had been over twenty years since she last dealt with the Germans, her body still remembered the rush she had felt at Jutland. The adrenaline pumping through her body, the literal rain of heavy ordinance flying at targets miles away. It was the single greatest moment in her life. Now, in this new war, she might just get a chance to feel that rush again.
“Steady there, Yukari.” She stilled her shaking hand. She raised her glass for a moment, as a toast for a dearly departed friend, “Another memory from Jutland gone, resting along with its once proud adversaries on the sea bed at Scapa Flow.” Taking a deep drink from the glass, she reminded herself of the task at hand, “You're in charge of dealing with the enemy submarine threat. There's no guarantee that you'll get to fight a surface battle.”
In a half-thoughtful, half-impulsive action, she scribbled down a memorandum directed at her closest subordinates. They'll probably have to get a move on, personally commanding ships. She secretly hoped that they would fail at their task. That would make way for her to directly intervene. No doubt it would be a scandal amongst the high staff. But who cared about those old fools anyways? She grimaced, showing just the subtlest hint of self-satisfaction, “My rank and position certainly doesn't mean that I can't have fun, does it?”
At your insistence your crew has been assembled before you. It's been a few days since you've got here – time you've spent mostly 'pushing papers'. Your first patrol is tomorrow, so you insisted that you get to see your crew all together at least once before you set off. U-45 is to your back, still moored.
Each and every one of your crew members have their eyes squarely on you. You're about to give them a small speech. You stand up straight, trying to radiate authority.
“As you are all aware, tomorrow is our first patrol.” You begin on a mundane note. “For those of you I haven't met, I shall be your captain. Now, I'm sure a lot of you are familiar with each other, having served on other boats or even other services. But it is imperative that you get to know each and every one as soon as possible.” You scan the crowd, taking a pause. “For you see, we are a family. Indeed – even more than that. Our fates are completely tied together. Failure on the part of just one of you means doom for all of us. Likewise, success is a team achievement.” You point to the vessel behind you. “U-45 shall be your new home. We shall spend days in its hull, protected from the elements and the enemy. It is vital that there is no animosity between any of us, for that would condemn us to failure even before we began.”
In some of the (obviously) greener recruits, you see a tinge of uncertainty. You smile.
“I don't mean to needlessly alarm you. I just merely state the obvious. After all, we have been entrusted with a most important duty. I have been personally entrusted by the head of the BdU to lead this U-boat. And, in turn, by picking all of you, I trust you to help me to achieve that duty. I have the utmost confidence that you will each contribute positively and we shall accomplish our objectives with no difficulty. Indeed, the arrogant British and the sniveling French shall reel at our attacks!” You let your voice boom and be carried out far.
You nod to your XO. She comes close and addresses the crew.
“Please enjoy your time off-duty until 0500 hours tomorrow. The captain will be available if any of you wish to speak to him before the patrol. You are all hereby dismissed.”
The crew salutes and then breaks ranks. Some go immediately away and out of sight. Others go off to the side and talk amongst themselves. A few of them seem to eye you shyly, not daring to disturb you. For the most part, it seems that things are going well, your crew is mingling. It's important that they have a good rapport amongst themselves. After all, they'll be doing everything together. You're just an accessory.
“Sir?” “Yes Chief Engineer?” You turn to face her. Her officer's cap is soot stained. How in the world-" She was standing in an impeccable dress uniform just moments ago. “I've got that report that you asked for.” “Good.” You take a cursory glance over the list. “Any of these that can be done before our patrol?” “Yes, the fitting of a couple of valves as well as replacing a few wires and chains. I think I can do those before the patrol.” “I see then. Go see to it. I trust you already requisitioned the material?” “How did you know sir?” She asks, surprised. “I had a feeling. You seem the type that tries to have everything for all eventualities.” “I just like the things I like sir.” “That may be... I won't waste anymore of your time. Get as much done as you can before the patrol.” “Yes sir!”
Her enthusiasm certainly does work in your favor. You just hope she doesn't get too carried away. You look at the list. Nothing here seems unsound. So you should be safe.
“Excuse me, sir?”
Another interruption. This time from your XO.
“What is it Oberleutnant?” “Well... I know it's a bit selfish of me...” She seems to hesitate. “Out with it, no need to be roundabout.” “Very well. I was wondering, if isn't too much trouble, if you could give me a lesson in the tactics that you'll be using.” “Come again?” You ask, a bit shocked. “I'm sure you know all that I know, having gone to the academy.” “Well, yes sir. I do.” “Then what exactly are you asking?” “I just thought that maybe you would have some additional insight not taught at the academy. Maybe a signature style.” “Hah, a style? You make it sound like I'm a great radio personality with an unmistakable voice. I do have certain theories and concepts I wish to try out, but they're hardly interesting.” “Oh, I disagree sir. As your subordinate I think it's important that I know what you're thinking, in order to better comply with orders. And well, even if it's a basic course like in the academy, I would enjoy it if it comes from you.”
This girl is incredible. It doesn't come off like she's brown-nosing you. She seems so sincere that it comes dangerously close to making you blush. You had thought of maybe spending time getting to know some more of the crew. You've met a lot of them, but there are still a lot of them you haven't talked to yet. In particular, you spot in the corner of your eye something which you wish to learn more about. Your weapons officer seems to be doting over two of the petty officers. And well, Cirno seems to be creating a bit of a ruckus with some other petty officers and enlisted men.
 Strategy and tactics lesson with Reisen  Help Nitori make the modifications to the sub  Approach and talk to the remaining crew here  Use the time you have before the patrol to relax – maybe pick up a book or two for the inevitable downtime
relationship buildan gaems! also, the rest all need us to force into something, as in putting effort into "disturbing" what others are doing to include ourselves, so i think this is the most natural option.
I see things going this way... [X] Strategy and tactics lesson with Reisen but i still want to visit with the crew! [X] Approach and talk to the remaining crew here. Perhaps after introductions and some nice chat, we can turn this into a general strategy meeting?
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“Come with me Lieutenant. I think I can make time to teach you if want.” “Thank you sir! I'll pay my full and undivided attention!” Her enthusiasm is contagious. She radiates an aura which seems to make even you look forward to talking about the boring world of strategy.
But you can't really throw away all of your plans right now just to give a lecture. You make towards some of your crew that's around, with Reisen in tow. The closest bunch contains your weapons officers, as well as two of your petty officers. You approach, curious as to the relation between them.
“Herr Kaleu.” Ensign Izayoi salutes when she notices your presence. “Is there anything I can do for you?” “At ease, Leutnant. I was just curious about my crew. You seemed to be close to these two NCOs, so I just wondered about your relationship.”
You look at the petty officers. Although technically impeccable, you can't help but think that their uniform is ill-suited for them. Perhaps they'd look better in their parade uniform.
“Judging by your appearance, I'd wager that you were Oberfeldwebel Remilia Scarlet and Stabsfeldwebel Flandre Scarlet.” You observe, “But I must admit I'm a bit unsure. After all, I would expect Unteroffiziere of the Kriegsmarine to salute or at the very least stand at attention when engaged by a superior officer.”
You let your statement sink in. The younger-looking one looks to the other, as if waiting for her lead. She, in turn, looks straight on at you, hesitating for some reason. Only when the weapons officer coughs nervously that they seem to switch into gear, saluting as proper.
“I apologize for my rudeness, as well as that of my sister sir.” Her words are deliberate and haughty. “All the same, it's a pleasure to meet you Oberfeldwebel Scarlet. You too, Stabsfeldwebel.” “Actually sir,” Remilia interrupts, “It's Freiin Scarlet.” “Oh, really? I had no idea. Pardon me then baroness.” Although you almost said that sarcastically, you tried your best to sound courteous. “If you don't mind me asking, where is your estate located?” “Not that it matters or anything anymore...” Hah, she's acting more pleasant now that you've used her meaningless title, “But we hail from Elsaß.”
Not a junker, eh?
“I see. Then you must be anxious that we defeat the French.” “Indeed, we wish to reclaim our ancestral home as soon as possible. That is why we have all joined up.” “Then I take it that the three of you have known each other for quite some time.” “Yes, Sakuya here has been a servant of the family for a long time.”
You steal a glance at the Ensign. She looks unusually proud of the fact.
“And if you're wondering why we're mere non-commissioned officers while Sakuya here is a proper officer, that's a simple explanation.” She explains the discrepancy of why a servant would be higher in rank than her master. “Our region has a rich tradition of serving in the Kaiserliche Marine. And after the French took over, we had to flee. It was inevitable that this servant, wishing to restore her masters to their former glory, would join up in the navy. My sister and I avoided joining until it was clear that there was a good opportunity for us to liberate our home. As such, we didn't attend officer's academy.” “I understand now.” You nod. “If you're so adamant in reclaiming your home, than please cooperate with me. By working in tandem we shall sink our enemies and you'll be all that closer to your objective.” “That would be the idea KaLeu.” She says a-matter-of-factly. “Why else would we even be here?”
You feel like doing something about her attitude. A part of you wants to brush it off as 'nobles being nobles' but not all nobles are like this. To compound matters further, you don't even have to show her reverence. All nobility was abolished after the Great War. All that remains are the hereditary titles, that may or may not be used, and have absolutely no privileges. Still, you can't help but to humor her. It seems to be important to her, and if you want cohesion aboard, you'll probably have to just deal with it.
“Is there anything you'd like to add?” You ask the blond one. “I assume the two of you are sisters?” “That's right~ and being in base is bo~ri~ng~” She's a bit too melodious for your taste. Like a young child that makes up songs to entertain herself. “We'll get to set out tomorrow.” “I want to shoot our guns as much as possible. It's so much fun!”
You certainly can't beat this girl's enthusiasm. You make a mental note however. Not to let her out on deck by herself. She may give away your position by firing the 88mm gun just for laughs.
“Well, all the same, I hope that we can all make a difference together.” You conclude. “If you'll excuse me now.”
All three of them salute this time. Boy, you've sure got colorful folk on board. You wonder if you made the right choice during crew selection.
“Umm, sir?” A voice that had been patiently silent during the exchange interrupts. “Yes lieutenant?” You continue on walking towards more of your men. “Weren't you going to teach me about strategy?”
You pause and look at her.
“I figured I could talk to some of the crew. There's no rush, right?” “No sir...”
Her reply doesn't convince you. “You don't mind waiting a bit, right?” “Not at all.” “You're not just saying that, are you?” She's bad at hiding her feelings. “I won't mind if you tell me the truth.” “If you put it that way sir, then I must be forthright. I'd rather you not spend more time with other crew and teach me as soon as possible.” “...” You keep a poker face, trying not to let a smile show. “I'm terribly sorry for my selfishness. You are, of course, welcome to do as you please.” She averts her eyes, looking like a dejected pet.
You just can't say no to her request. You look at your crew. There's a bit of a commotion going on, but it's nothing too important you gather. It won't hurt you to fulfill her request right now. Fähnrich Cirno is something that you should be exposed to only in moderation you think.
Not waiting for a reply, you trudge ahead towards one of the command buildings. Reisen follows you. You grab an empty conference hall and clear the planning board.
“Please sit.” Reisen sits, looking bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. “Since I can only gather that you want me to ramble on as much as possible, I'll start with the most obvious. The general aim of the Kriegsmarine in this conflict;
As you are probably aware. After the Great War, most of the Kaiserliche Marine was scuttled by our brave sailors at Scapa Flow, rather than be distributed amongst the Entente powers. Not all ships were scuttled, and some of them were given out to various countries. Most of them were later scuttled or sunk as practice. This, of course, includes our U-boat force.
Our naval rearmament only really began in the '30s. And our fleet is new and modest in size when compared to the monstrosity of the British fleet. We have but a handful of large vessels, and I have understood that we have no more than 60 or so U-boats right now. In a sense, we are to bear the main burden of fighting the enemy shipping.”
You go on to explain some more about the current standing of the navy, specifying the various classes of ships out there. You add as a hopeful footnote the following,
“Seeing our armed force's success in taking Poland in a month, I personally hope that more resources shall be diverted to us. If we are to fight Britain and her allies, we will probably need more strength projection.”
Seeing that Reisen is listening intently, you turn your rambling to the enemy.
“I'm afraid that unlike our predecessors in the Great War, we face greater challenges from the enemy. They've long since developed effective tactics to deal with submersibles. We are to expect minefields near the coasts, as well as an increased number of coastal ships equipped with countermeasures intended for use against U-boats. And, well, the enemy air force is something to reckon with when near the coast as well.
Naval treaties in the 1930s limited our naval tonnage to be 35% of the British navy. They have made no secret of just how extensive and varied their fleet is. If you take a look at the identification book, you'll see that there are numerous ship classes – all of which are potentially dangerous for us. Still, that's no reason to get discouraged. It just means that there are more prizes out there during our hunts. I think that I would too like to be decorated with the Knight's Cross. Ah – and my crew would also be likely rewarded.”
Your talk turns away from the enemy fleet and to overall strategy.
“It is the opinion of the Kotreadmiral, and mine as well, that Britain can be starved into submission. To that end, the idea is to interdict enemy shipping. If we sink enough boats, the enemy will not have enough food and resources to be able to continue the fight. Think of it as the blockade that the enemy enacted on us during the last war, except perhaps a bit harsher due to their increased dependence on raw materials from abroad.
To this end, our U-boats are to sink as much merchant tonnage as possible. Prize rules and international conventions are still all in effect though. Our standing orders are not to engage neutrals unless they show hostile intent or are traveling in convoy. In addition, we are not to stop ships belonging to the Soviet Union, Italy, and Japan. Apparently diplomatic action is being undertaken so that they do not smuggle contraband. Also, we have been highly discouraged to use the deck gun, partly due to the Q-ships the enemy employs.
It's worth mentioning that our surface fleet will also participate in this strategy. The Graf Spee is already in the South Atlantic if I'm not mistaken. Unlike us, though, they can engage capital ships with no problem and speed away if the fight gets too tough.”
You continue to 'bore' her with facts. You point out the fact that the British Isles are completely isolated if not for the merchants coming in every day. Raw materials and equipment travel to and from the various colonies, potentially affecting the outcome of fighting everywhere.
And then you get to your bed and butter, submarine tactics.
“We operate mostly alone. And we hunt alone. Our ideal targets are convoys. We are to fire a three-torpedo spread at the flanks. Hit-and-run tactics. Against lone ships, a single well-placed torpedo would suffice – or had we not been discouraged to do so, the deck gun would be more than adequate in sinking them.
Most of the time we'll be traveling on the surface, increasing our visibility. To attack, it is preferable to dive to periscope depth. It's better not to take our chances. Even if they haven't spotted us, by the time we launch torpedoes they could have spotted us if we remain on the surface, decreasing our chances of a hit.
Our torpedoes have varying ranges, but usually with our gas-powered ones 7.5km is already a gamble. The T1, or G7a, has a range of up to 14000m at 30kts but ranging them and setting the fuse for shorter distances makes them travel faster. The problem with these is that, although reliable, they leave a trail of bubbles due to their operating mechanism. A ship with a good watch will spot these before they hit, possibly causing the ship to take emergency evasion maneuvers.
Our other main torpedo is the T2, or G7e. Unlike its predecessor, it's electric. This means no trail of bubbles. It has a much shorter range though – just 5km at 30kts. And it must be electrically preheated before launch to achieve that, otherwise it's even lower. My friend, Heinrich, tells me that they're not that reliable either. We probably shouldn't rely on these unless if we fire multiple torpedoes at a single target. Or if that target can be leisurely taken down with multiple attempts. Well, really we may not have any other choice. Like say if we're trying to take down an escort vessel and we don't want there to be any warning.”
You go over some other basic details. Like why you can't fire torpedoes below periscope depth and such. Buoyancy is something to be always taken into account. If you fire a torpedo and don't compensate for it, the submarine might shoot up to the surface.
“Sir?” She interrupts with a question. “Yes?” “I thank you for the lesson, but I'd like to know more about any stratagems you might have devised yourself.” “Is that so? Well, it couldn't hurt to explain my thoughts, I suppose.”
You start with a bit of the U-boat captain's ideal mentality:
“The Kontreadmiral trusts us to innovate and use our own judgment. In a sense, we have absolute freedom in what we do. If the suggested method doesn't work, we are entrusted to find better solutions. As long as we have a competent crew, there's nothing we can't accomplish. And well, I must disagree with some of the things they teach us at the academy. Already in practical training I could see the flaws.
For example, the three-torpedo spread. In practice there's no guarantee of three hits. Since we are submersibles, we should use that to the greatest possible advantage. We ought to come as close as we can to the target and fire ideally within two kilometers or less. This assures that, even if spotted, the enemy will have little room to maneuver and dodge. It, of course, is risky when the target is a destroyer or something, but it practically guarantees a kill against merchants.
Furthermore, at night visibility is much lower. Most ships don't travel with flood lights on. Even in convoy. This means that we can safely attack from the surface at a distance. Or even sneak in to the middle of a convoy and raise hell from within. Of course that sounds, and is, very risky. But I think that by analyzing the situation we can minimize risks. As long as we're not spotted, we should be able to stalk our prey effectively and position ourselves in a favorable spot.
Ah, speaking of positioning. It's worth keeping in mind that our submarine travels at more than a halved top speed when submerged. This means that even medium-speed moving ships will be able to get away if not careful. That's why angles of attack and interception are to be plotted on charts and the proper tools to be used to aid us. The weapons officer ought to help me out in that regard, but as commander I have to think of how to attack in the most efficient way possible.
We should also avoid replenishing our internal torpedo stock from external stores unless completely sure there's no enemy anywhere nearby. We'll be sitting ducks since to remove the torpedoes takes a very long time. I wouldn't be surprised if over an hour for just one or two torpedoes. And we can't submerge during that. I sometimes wish the would develop a more efficient storage system. But things are cramped enough inside as it is. I guess I should be thankful they already have so many torpedoes inside to begin with.”
The rest of the talk devolves into conservation of supplies. Rationing out food, water, and economizing fuel. At lower speeds the range of the submarine will increase. Which might be the difference between life and death on really long patrols.
It's only when you look out the window and realize that it's pitch dark that you decide to call it quits.
“It's already dark. I apologize for taking so much of your time Leutnant. I got a bit carried away and talked a little too much.” “No sir, I should thank you. And apologize for selfishly taking so much of your time.” “That's fine. I enjoy talking shop. And didn't I tell you to cut it out with the 'sirs' when we were alone? It's alright for the military to have ranks and traditions but there's no need to be so strict about it.” “I apologize!” She reddens a bit. “I really, really did like the lesson though. You learn so much more when the instructor is as capable as you.” “Ha, now you're going to make me feel needlessly special. You have all the makings of a good officer. I'm glad to have you with me. Now, we really should getting going before a sentry locks us in.”
You leave the command building. You've wasted all afternoon here. There's only a few things that you have to do before turning in. You're off to an early start tomorrow after all.
“You're dismissed Leutnant. Our patrol starts early tomorrow, so make sure to rest up.” “Yes. Good night.” She parts ways with you, leaving you alone.
Now, to finish a few things before going to bed. You shouldn't get too caught up that you miss sleeping though.
 Place a telephone call to your ex-neighbor  Inspect the submarine one last time  Brush up a little bit more on your enemy at the base library  Eat a hearty meal and go straight to sleep
"Käfer" is the post-war nickname for the classic "Volkswagen"-design. The official term before and during the war was "KdF-Wagen" (Kraft durch Freude). The KdF-Wagen was never produced in great numbers (a couple of thousand mainly for the Wehrmacht); production picked up not until much later (early 50s or so).
>Radio: Remilia Scarlet >Hah, she's acting more pleasant now that you've used her meaningless title, “But we hail from Elsaß.”
>Things seem to be going smoothly. That's good. But you can't help but shake off the nagging feeling that something dreadful is going to happen. Even before getting this assignment, you couldn't help but feel that the future was looking bleak. Bah, it's probably just anxiety.
Or maybe that feeling portends losing the Battle of the Atlantic single-handedly by giving a French spy free access to your Enigma machine?
[x] Brush up a little bit more on your enemy at the base library
This feeling of restlessness, it won't go away. Even though there's not much you can learn from ready the books at the base's library, it might just help put your mind at ease. The theoretical can only comfort you during downtime – during the actual action, you're better off with cool wits and grace.
The base library is just an old building, built during the Kaiserreich for all the servicemen and their families who lived in Wilhelmshaven. As such, it's moderately large, and contains books of all types. During the day it's not rare to see wives and children of sailors checking books out. It's past normal operating hours now though, it's only open to officers by request. You have to check with the night watchman and sign your name on a sheet before you're given access.
Only a few lights are on inside. Row after row of bookshelves sprawl in all directions as far as you can see. What you came for here is to be found in the form of old Naval Review journals and magazines. It's not a very precise way of looking at the enemy strength, but it'll do. If you wanted up-to-date information you'd have to request it from the intelligence bureau, get permission, and wait a couple of weeks. You grab several relevant documents as well as a book on British industry for good measure. You'll comb these over for a while.
Ah, it seems like you're not the only one in the library at this time of night.
While carrying your books to the reading area, you spot another officer. A member of your crew in fact. The plethora of charts and maps in front of her completely cover the table.
“Navigation officer, trying to plot a course even before we're aboard? I don't think it'll do you much good, given the fact that I'm the only member of the crew to know our general patrol area right now.” “Oh, sir. This isn't for the patrol.” “It isn't?” You come closer and look at the charts. “So it isn't. I don't believe we'll be going anywhere near the Keeling Islands for the foreseeable future.” “This is just a pastime of mine.” Patchouli explains. “I like to see the charts for sea zones and learn about the general characteristic of each.” “I suppose it could someday come in handy. But I'll have to say that it's a bit odd. Especially right before a mission. You should be getting some rest Leutnant.” “For me, this is like resting sir. I feel most relaxed when reading books or looking over charts. I feel like the whole world is accessible.” “I suppose I can understand that. That is, after all, similar enough a reason for my own being here.” You sit down in an empty chair, putting your books down in front of you. “Well, if you don't mind I'll get some reading done and put my mind at ease.”
You pick a book from the pile and start reading.
It's not at all very encouraging. None of them are. Between articles on how such and such ship was commissioned and launched and the rough estimates of tonnage and firepower it's enough to depress any U-Boat captain. Not to even mention the consequences of the Washington and London treaties. The ratios favor heavily the British her allies. Ultimately, like it or not, you've got to forcibly adopt the attitude of 'more enemies=more chances to sink something'. If only not to be utterly demoralized even before the patrol begins.
Well, on the plus side you think that you can easily tell the difference between several British destroyer types.
“Is anything the matter?” You've felt that you're being closely scrutinized for a while now. You put down your book. “Nothing. Sorry sir.” Patchouli tries to hide her embarrassment by bringing her face close to the charts. “If you have something to say, go ahead. I encourage the fraternization of my crew members.” You add jokingly, “Whatever it is, rest assured that I don't bite.” “It's nothing really sir. I was just surprised at just how into your books you were. And how upset you seemed. I'd never seen anyone show so much emotion while reading.” “Hah, that's certainly embarrassing! I wasn't aware I was so easy to read while reading. I should watch myself.” “It just means that you're honest with yourself.” “I guess that's one way of looking at it.” “I think it's commendable that you worry enough to read up on the enemy and their history.” “You can tell that that's what I was doing, huh? I suppose I'm not a good commander if I let my subordinates see me worrying about the enemy.” “On the contrary, knowing your own limitations and the strength of the enemy can only be a good thing.” “I'm glad you think so Leutnant. The British really are dastardly and clever foes.” You bring up something that's stuck with you about the British, “Say, have you ever read a book in English titled Strange Intelligence?” “I'm ashamed to say that I haven't sir.” “It's a very rare book, I don't think it was very popular even in England. But it's still an interesting read. The lesson I learned from reading it was that we cannot let our guards down for even a moment. Even innocent-seeming things like sending patrol messages can lead to our demise. It's relatively easy for them to triangulate our position if we have enough active chatter. The Kontreadmiral might get upset with me, but I think it's to our benefit if we don't send too many messages.” “That does seem prudent.” “Yes. Not to mention that British Naval Intelligence is top-notch. If they cracked our codes and were able to pinpoint our fleet movements in the last war, I think we should be cautious and assume they'll eventually do the same now. I tell you this for when you're in command of your own boat.” “It's appreciated. But I don't think I'll mind just being a navigation officer for a while longer.” “I suppose that will play out to my benefit.”
You're more at ease now that you've talked with her. You even spill the beans on what your patrol assignment is. You figure it's okay since it's already midnight. You two even go through plotting a course and the hazards that likely await at each point. And then you retire for the night. You tell her to do the same. Even if it's just two or three hours of sleep, it's better than nothing.
You're groggy and a bit on edge in the morning, but it's nothing a shower and a cup of coffee can't fix. You dress up, and carry a small bag with the items you'll be taking on board.
When you arrive, at 0450, most of the crew is assembled. It's still twilight, the sun hasn't made its appearance yet. You greet the other officers and wait for the appointed time. Your Chief Engineer proudly tells you that she's completed a number of modifications on time. That's good. You were worried that there might be a bit of a hold up because of it.
You then address the crew.
“It's now 0500 hours. You are all to board and be ready for departure at 0520. Maintenance checks and supply loading have been already completed. That is all.” You then turn and confirm the details with your XO while the crew boards.
By now, a modestly-sized crowd has gathered around the submarine. Mechanics, servicemen, and the odd civilian here and there. They all cheer and wish you and your crew a successful patrol. It feels nice to hear all this support early in the morning. As you stand on the conning tower you wave at the crowd.
You check your watch. 0519.
“Alright, Chief Engineer, ahead slow. Let's navigate carefully out of the port.”
And with that, your first patrol on U-45 began.
~ Partial update just to show that this isn't abandoned.
>>74172 I wasn't aware that the beetle got its nickname post-war, I found no source indicating as such (and I obviously wasn't alive in the late 30s and 40s). The cars were orginally intended for as a cheap car for the German people when production started in the late 30s, and the cars that did make it off the assembly line were mostly appropiated to motorize the Wehrmacht.
>>74241 Hey, 30,000 out of 40,000 men in the submarine branch died. History is plent GRIMDARK.
It's almost time now. You check again just to be sure. Yeah, it's almost ten in the morning. You get up from the bunk. It's almost time that you reach the Dover Straits. You've had the chief engineer and navigator keep a relatively leisurely course towards the channel at standard speed. It's been over a day since you left port and are currently somewhere off the coast of Belgium (or perhaps France already?). You were supposed to be resting until now, but you've been anxious about crossing the strait so you couldn't unwind at all.
You move back your curtain and nod to the radio operator before going to the command room.
“Navigation officer, how long until we're in the straits?” “Around an hour before we reach the straits proper sir.” “Alright.” You look around. “Where's the XO?” “Oberleutnant Reisen is on deck with the watch team. Or so I believe sir.” Your chief engineer answers the question. “Very well. Maintain present speed and heading. I'll be up on the conning tower.” “Yes sir.”
You climb the ladder to the surface. It takes a moment for your eyes to adjust to the daylight. The fresh salty air feels refreshing compared to the diesel-soaked air inside the sub. You tap the shoulder of your watch officer.
“Any contacts?” “No sir, none at all. It's like we're the only ones out here.” “Good. Keep your eyes peeled though. It's a clear day, so you can probably spot contacts all the way on the horizon.” “Will do sir.” She looks through her binoculars enthusiastically. Its nice to have a dedicated watch officer like her.
You look for your XO. Ah, there she is. She's by the deck gun for some reason. You climb down from the conning tower and walk over to her.
“What are you doing out here?” “Oh sir, I'm sorry, I didn't know you were looking for me. I was just inspecting the submarine.” “Anything wrong?” “No, not at all. I'm just keeping myself busy, that's all.” “That's good to hear. But I have a task for you. As you may know, we're near the Straße von Calais. It's very likely we'll run into enemy coastal patrols there. And so I want you to make sure we're fully secured for submersion at any time. You are to dictate that no personnel except for the minimum necessary for the watch is to come up to deck. This is to remain into effect until we are well clear of the strait, and perhaps even the whole channel.” “At the very least until it gets dark, correct?” “Correct lieutenant. It's best to play it safe on our first patrol.” “Understood sir, I shall carry out your orders at once.” “Good. I'll be on the tower with the watch team. You direct things from the command room.”
You lean against the 88mm deck gun and watch as your XO clambers up the conning tower and then down the hatch. It's a nice day. The warmth of the sun feels good against your skin. A couple of men who were idling on deck for their free time are recalled as your orders are carried out. You see that one of them had a fishing rod. Where the hell is he storing that? As it stands there aren't enough bunks for the men until you launch at least two torpedoes, they have to 'hot bunk' (as soon as someone finishing sleeping someone else gets in the bed) until then. Really, hell, there's absolutely no spare room at all here. Even the bathroom is filled to the brim with food, to be consumed before anyone can use it properly.
For some of the men, this is their first patrol, and you can tell that there's a bit of general nervousness in the air. This isn't your first patrol, of course. You've been on other submarines, as a navigation officer, as a watch officer, and a myriad of other roles. And you've certainly commanded before, albeit during peacetime. Still, you don't feel nervous at all. There's a nagging feeling in the back of your mind, but that's but a whisper amongst your thoughts. You're resolute in doing your best and so far you haven't hesitated in the slightest. You think that you've put up a good display of confidence in front of your crew, and once you sink your first target, morale shall be at an all-time high.
You climb back up to the conning tower.
“Hand me a pair of binoculars.” You command Momizi. “I'll be keeping watch with you until we're clear of the strait.”
You scan the horizon for three-quarters of an hour. Nothing. You issue an order to your chief engineer via the communication tube.
“Set speed to Ahead Full, and maintain it until further notice.” You'll cross the strait at full speed. No need to lag needlessly. “Aye aye Herr KaLeu.” The reply comes up the tube. “Ahead Full.”
You hear the ringing of the internal bell, signifying the change of desired speed. The men in the engine room ought to be switching things over now. You hear slight humming of the diesel engines get louder.
“Have the navigation officer report on the depth under the keel.” You hear the familiar 'ping' of the echo machine. “Sir, depth under keel should be 20m.” “Thank you.” That's not that much, you can go to periscope depth but any deeper risks running aground.
It's just your luck that it's a clear day today. There's only 30-something kilometers between the French and British coasts at their closest points. A person on either side should be able to vaguely see the other shore. Which means that anyone with a pair of binoculars in the area should be able to spot a ship traveling in the water. The lowered profile of the U-boat has some advantages, but would not escape the careful scanning of the coastal defense force of either side.
“...this is strange.” You mumble to yourself. You're now right in the middle of the strait and you haven't seen any ships in the area. In the last war England mined the strait and had regular motorboat patrols to prevent both submarines and surface vessels to pass. For a moment you fear that the entire channel has been mined, and that you're sailing towards your demise, but then realize that BdU would have reported on it. After all, other patrols have passed by here.
Only after you're almost 100km clear from the strait that you issue other orders. You would later shrug the lack of any shipping as a freak coincidence. Even later still you would learn of the serious deficiency the British had in these early days of the war. They were being kept busy by the raiders in the Atlantic and the highly mobile German fleet. The French had simply decided not to commit any significant forces to the Northern Coast, instead keeping most ships in Marseilles and only some in Brest and elsewhere.
“Chief Engineer, set speed to Ahead Standard. Also have Lieutenant Reisen come up to the bridge.” “Roger. Ahead Standard.” Another ring. “Telling the Oberleutnant to come up.”
Wait as Reisen makes her way up the steps.
“Sir? What do you need?” “We've made it past the strait and are now in the English Channel. We've spotted no other vessels. I want you to take command until we get to our next navigation waypoint. Keep the previous orders, we may need to dive any time. I'll be talking to the men some. I've noticed that some of them are a bit anxious.” “Very well sir, I'll do as you command. I'll call you if we spot anything.” “Alright. You probably will spot something soon. The Channel is a busy place. Let me know and I'll decide what to do.”
You start to climb down the stairs, confident that you'll be recalled soon.
 Go to the Machine Room  Stay in the Command Room  See what the off-duty personnel are up to  Standby in your bunk
File 123426181799.jpg - (25.39KB, 300x201 , type VIIC forward torpedo room - usually full of t.jpg) [iqdb]
[x] See what the off-duty personnel are up to
Life aboard a submarine is a very strange deal. It's cramped, it reeks of diesel everywhere, the fresh food goes bad quickly, and you never know when you'll strike a mine or get spotted by the destroyer that does you in. Added to all that, fresh water is carefully rationed. There's no showers for anyone until you go back to base or resupply. It's bearable right now, but it gets pretty bad around day seven. The men do anything to keep themselves entertained.
The gramophone plays a French ballad. You had no say in what was brought aboard. So you only assume that one of your men is a fan.
The off-duty personnel try to gather in areas away from the pungent smell of diesel. This is impossible, of course, but it means that they congregate in the bow of the sub. You pass the bulkheads towards the bow torpedo room. This room serves as another crew compartment; but only when you launch two or more torpedoes – otherwise the large torpedoes block off the beds. You can hear over the roar of the engines the laughter and voices of the crew there. You stop just outside the final bulkhead and observe a bit.
They're playing cards. A group of lower-ranking personnel are leaning on the torpedoes and there's a crate that's being used as an improvised table. The only officer present is Cirno, who isn't playing. On the contrary, it seems that that she's off in her own little world while the rest of those present have fun at her expense.
“I'm telling you! There's nothing that can stop us on our most just war!” “Yeah, yeah. I hear ya.” One of the petty officers humors her. You recognize her as Maat Onozuka. “Gimmie another card will ya?” “I don't approve of you taking all this so lightly.” Cirno complains. “After all, you shouldn't forget our mission.” “Mission. Right. Listen it's fine if you literally believe in what our belt buckles say. You know, Gott mit uns and all that.” She grins. “Well, maybe in your case you'd rather say that your honor is loyalty. But we're all on the same side here.” “There's nothing wrong in recognizing the strongest.” Cirno sulks. “...read 'em and weep. I think I just won this.” She shows her hand, eliciting frustrated groans from the other players.
You step in.
“Congratulations there. It seems that you've got a talent at card games.” You smirk as the men are startled by the sudden appearance of their commander. “There's no need to salute. It'll be a chore if every time we run into each other in this tin can you salute.”
Cirno disregards you comment, standing firmly to attention.
“What brings you to our dainty corner sir?” “Just taking a stroll. I didn't want to interrupt your game so I didn't come in earlier.” “You should join us sometime.” “Thank you Maat. But I'm probably outclassed.” “With all due respect sir, I would clean house with you.” “Glad to hear that sort of enthusiasm. I just hope you do your job with the same kind of vigor.” Your comment makes the enlisted personnel burst out laughing. “Am I missing something here?” “No sir.” A seaman first class responds. “It's just that the honorable Maat here would much rather sleep on the torpedoes than load them.”
You look at Komachi. She just grins and shrugs. You think you understand the issue at hand here.
“Well, it's fine to relax when not engaged, but it's just as important to be prepared for every eventuality.” You try not to come off as too preachy. You know all to well what it feels like to hear meaningless stock phrases from your superiors. They're always going on about 'duty this' and 'fatherland that'. “Don't you forget to pay respect to us officers either!” Cirno hijacks the scene, apparently unleashing some sort of grudge she's been holding. “Don't you forget that you are to take orders from us.” She crosses her arms, satisfied. “That's quite alright.” You show a dry smile. “I think that everyone here knows the importance of the chain of command.” Choosing your words carefully and trying to be diplomatic is hard. While you don't agree with Cirno's haughty attitude, her underlying point has some merit. “As I've said before, we're a team. More than that, we're consigned to the same fate. That makes us closer than family. And if family oughtn't quarrel, then we should definitely be beyond that.” You add, eying the junior officers, “Respect is vital. And should be mutual. No officer or other crew should suffer disrespect from others. That said, of course, I don't mind if the respect isn't only the kind displayed in military ceremony and pompousness. Just trusting me and opening up is enough.”
You're not sure that you were able to communicate your point clearly at first. But you're gladdened to see that, in the end, your crew is sensible.
“I'm glad you feel that way sir.” Komachi stands sloppily at attention. “Life on board this cramped, stinky, and noisy boat is made more interesting with your leadership. I'll do my utmost as the situation requires.” She grins as she salutes. The other men in the compartment follow her example, all standing to attention and quipping things like “that's right!” and “you're great sir!”.
You're more amused at how Cirno takes it. She puffs out her chest, standing proudly as if she just had won a massive personal victory. Her smug smirk makes you smile wryly. Getting through to her is problematic; it'll surely be the cause of at least a few headaches in the future.
“I'm glad to hear that you all think that way.” You reply to your men. “I'll leave you alone now, it's your time off and I know how hard it can be to relax with your commander around. Cirno. Come.” You notice that some of the men let out a sigh of relief when you call for Cirno. You step out of the compartment.
“Herr KaLeu, what do you need me for?” The eager Cirno is quick to ask. “Well, I thought that maybe you'd enjoy telling me a bit about the crew. You seem to have an affinity for them.” You hide your real reason – to get her off the case of the relaxing personnel. “Give me a quick tour or some pointers maybe?” “I'm honored sir!” Her eyes light up. Her energy makes her seem like a hyperactive child. “Where do you want to start?” “Well, I don't know some of the crew yet, I thought that maybe you might tell me more about them or introduce them. Surely you are better acquainted due to your candor.” You edge on sarcasm there, but she doesn't seem to notice. “I know!” She stamps her foot, making a loud metallic clanging sound. “I'll introduce you to my favorite sailor on board!”
She leads down the narrow corridor. You follow the excited Cirno all the way to the stern quarters. On-duty personnel look by bewildered by enthusiasm displayed.
“Ah, drats, she's sleeping.” Cirno stops by one of the rear bunks. You take a peek at its occupant. That should be the junior officer in charge of damage control if you're not mistaken. “I guess it's because it's hot in here. She doesn't deal well with heat.” “That's alright, I can always talk to her later.” You're not going to press to disturb an off-duty crew member as they sleep.
Cirno crosses her arms, seemingly thinking of what to do now. This doesn't last long as she spots someone else of interest.
“Mys~ti~a~!” She calls out with no regard for the sleeping personnel. She's apparently calling out to a run-of-the-mill seaman. You watch as she brings her over. “This is Matrosengefreiter Mystia Lorelei sir. She's our cook.” “Hello sir.” Mystia salutes. “So you're our cook. There's a difficult job. There's not much you can do with the kommisarbrot and fresh fruits and meat before they spoil.” “I try my best sir.” You notice that her words are almost melodious. “Even the bunnies can be used if handled properly.” “Bunnies?” You ask before recalling the slang. “Spoilt bread. It grows white and fuzzy.” “Yes, yes. I know what you're talking about. There's a problem with that though; I don't think it's very popular to eat fungus-covered bread.” “With a little dedication and hot water I can extend its lifespan. I just apply my humble talents in order to treat the food properly.” “You're great at it!” Cirno interjects. “Your meals are amazing.” “You're too kind Cirno.” “It's the truth.” Cirno beams.
The informality between the two strikes you as special. Just earlier Cirno seemed to be a complete and utter stickler for formality and chain of command. And now, a mere seaman, is addressing her with no rank nor reverence. What's more, Cirno doesn't even seem to notice this.
“Anything you like sir?” Mystia asks you about your preferences “To eat you mean?” “Correct. I cant try my hand at making a dish you like if we have the material.” “I like all food. Perhaps food prepared with brandy more than others. But there's no getting that here. So don't worry about it. I'll just eat whatever everyone else is eating. We're hardly in a position to indulge.” “It's a shame I can't cater to you.” “It's fine, really. I'm more than happy eating diesel food.” “That canned stuff can't be very good for us.” Mystia seems to dislike the concept. “But it's all we can rely on without regular supplies. Food spoils quickly. It's certainly not all that bad.” You add, humoring her, “The only shame here is that there isn't much to cook with that. Hence your talents are wasted.” “See that Mystia? The commander feels confidant in you. You should be grateful.” Cirno is in a perpetually amiable mood. “I'm grateful sir.”
You talk to her for a bit more. She's relaxed around you. Without being insubordinate – like many enlisted personnel behave when 'at ease' and around officers. It's nice enough to chat like this. Especially given that Cirno knocks off the patriotism and bravado in favor of simply enjoying herself. You might want to keep the cook around when you have to deal with Cirno.
However, as you predicted, there's a call for you eventually. You have to excuse yourself and head to the command room.
“What's going on?” You ask your chief engineer. “Sir, watch crew reports having spotted a vessel.” “Is it hostile?” “It doesn't seem to be a warship.” “Good, I'll be going up to deck to assess the situation.”
You start to climb the ladder. It's gotten a bit cloudier topside, and visibility has been slightly reduced.
“Report on the contact.” You address your watch officer. “Sir, it's a small vessel, probably a coastal merchantman, Northwest of our position. Approximately 12 kilometers away.” “No hints of its nationality I suppose.” “Not at this range sir.”
You grab a pair of binoculars and look out at the contact. From the hull you can tell its not a purpose-built warship. It could still be an armed merchantman, bearing its guns on you as you near. Worse still, it could radio for help if it spots you, and then you'd have to deal with coastal defense.
“Sir?” You XO stands next to you. “What should we do?” “Any thoughts Lieutenant?” You test her. “If they're a merchant carrying war goods they'll have a watch scanning for the enemy. If so they might call for help. Moreover, they'll probably have better optics than us.” “So what do you recommend we do?” “If we are to attack we should dive to periscope depth and close in to torpedo range. That is, if they're even worth sinking.” “You don't think they're worth a torpedo?” “It doesn't seem like a large ship, and even if it's an enemy vessel and not a neutral, it's probably not carrying much. The old convention would be to board them and then scuttle. But that's risky because they might call for backup.” “I take it then that you advocate avoiding this one completely then?” You cut to the main point. “That might be best sir.” “I see.”
Her opinion isn't unsound. There's quite a few risks involved in approaching on the surface and attacking in broad daylight. They might radio for help or even fire back with larger guns than your deck gun. Not to mention that, depending on the ship, they might even be able to outrun you. Stalking it for a while crosses your mind. Diving and following it submerged might give you more time to decide and assess the situation. At the cost of speed and time (you're limited to a bit under a third of your surface speed while submerged). Not to mention that the ship looks rather small, and that makes you feel like you might be wasting a torpedo on top of it all.
“You haven't considered the advantages of sinking this vessel, my dear executive office.” “Please share those advantages with me sir.” “Quite simple: morale. If we sink this ship, no matter how small it may be, it'll surely boost morale. It might give the men the edge they need for the rest of the mission.” “Oh I see sir, I hadn't considered that.” “Morale is priceless. And while we aren't particularly low on it, it's still a nice advantage to have in excess.” “Then that means we're to attack?” She prepares to issue out orders. “This talk was more for your benefit. I'm just presenting the whole situation so you can be a better officer.” You put down your binoculars. “I've already made a decision.”
 Dive to periscope depth and close in  Sail away, ignoring the ship, continuing towards the channel exit  Navigate on the surface towards the contact, manning the deck gun if necessary
~ I apologize for the lack of updates. That'll hopefully be rectified with more regular updates.
[X] Dive to periscope depth and close in. Though only for identifying purposes as of now. As soon as we can be certain of whether it is an ally/neutral or enemy and how they seem to be armed, we can decide further treatment. No sense in sinking an ally, as well as ignoring an enemy or having more guests as planned for our little "morale party".
>>75581 >Identify first. Agreed, we must show at least a fair measure of caution.
[X] Dive to periscope depth and close in.
On the side and assuming this is an enemy craft, what if we were to purposefully cripple or destroy this vessel and wait for reinforcements to arrive, so that we could sink those and inflict greater losses upon the enemy? While risky, this would definitely earn our crew greater merit and morale, were we to succeed.
“We'll dive and stalk her.” You issue your commands. “All crew is to prepare for submersion.” “Understood.” Your XO issues the orders via the connecting air tube.
You nod to the watch crew, and begin your descent down the ladder. It shouldn't take much time to vacate the deck. It's mostly clear and external stores and guns are already fastened and ready for a dive. A bell rings inside the submarine, signifying preparation for a dive.
“Take us down gently.” You tell your chief engineer. “At this range there's no rush. And the longer we keep the diesel running the better.” “Aye aye.” The chief engineer grins to herself. “You won't even feel us go under.” “Navigation officer. Plot an intercept course. Target is approximately twelve kilometers northwest of our current position. Stationary or moving slowly north-northeast. Fastest course possible.” Your XO comes down from the deck, you address her. “Have the hydrophone operator stand by her station. She won't likely hear anything at this range, but have her ready in case we need her.”
The rest of the watch crew comes down quickly. They seal the hatch, shutting out the outside world. They give a confirmation to Nitori, who all too happily begins the dive. It takes a while for the air tanks to get flooded and the submarine sink. The diesel engines come to a halt – and the submarine is deathly quiet for a moment as the electric engines are switched on. In that instant you could hear a fly buzzing all the way in the stern quarters.
The low hum of the electric engines kicks in and the projected speed is a mere 5 knots or so at standard output. Your range at this speed is less than 200km. Then you'll have to surface in order to recharge the batteries. That is assuming that CO2 levels don't get dangerously high first.
You watch as the navigation officer finisher plotting the course; she quickly tells the chief engineer of the new angle desired and how much the rudders should be turned. It's a simple and efficient process. Turning causes the sub to drop in speed for a moment, so traveling in straight lines is always preferable.
“Leutnant.” You question your navigation officer. “What is the estimated time to be in torpedo range of the target?” “Approximately an hour. But that is at maximum firing range. If the target is stationary we should be upon it in less than two hours.” “Very well.” You turn to a (until now) neglected officer. “Weapons officer, we may need to use a torpedo. In the next hour or so I'd like you to check the fuses of the torpedoes in the bow torpedo room. Make sure they're in working condition and standby to set their range.” “Yes sir.” It's an unceremonious reply that she gives you. She simply walks out, immediately following orders. “XO, tell the men to resume regular duties. They are to maintain a reduced noise level. I doubt that this vessel has any sort of sensors, but I'd like to at least be able to verify that for myself before getting detected.” “Understood.” She then turns to give out the announcement on the communication pipes.
Things are quiet for the next half hour. The mood in the command room isn't so much one of tenseness as much of one of subdued excitement. It's only after you estimate that you're close enough that you issue your next orders.
“Up periscope.” “Roger. Up periscope.”
You wait as the periscope is raised. You peek through . The vessel is still small. The zoom on the periscope lens isn't very powerful. It's definitely closer now, but you still have no idea about the nationality. You can see what is definitely a flag rising above the hull. The colors and pattern aren't too clear. It could easily be anything from a British vessel to a Yugoslav one. The important thing hear is that it hasn't moved. It apparently is stationary.
“Retract the periscope.” You wish to eliminate all chances of being spotted before you're close enough.
Excitement turns quickly to anxiety. You know that. It's inevitable aboard a submarine. All these men cramped together in squalor breeds a strange atmosphere; things can alternate quickly from extremely dull to extremely active. Being submerged doesn't help that notion. You're basically blind out here. The periscope can't hope to compare to the watch crew.
“We should be within torpedo range now.” Your navigation notes. You nod in reply.
You give it ten more minutes. Then you check the periscope again.
This time the vessel is much clearer. And you're at a satisfactory angle from its heading so you can appreciate the type of vessel in question. It's a small merchantman alright. A steam merchant at that. You check the flag. The blue and white cross and stripes of the Hellenic ensign is hard not to identify. It looks like this isn't the target that you were looking for. Prize rules exempt neutrals from being targeted, unless confirmed to be carrying matériel or traveling in convoy. Still, what the hell is this ship doing here not moving? You'd think that neutrals wouldn't linger in such dangerous waters. For a moment you consider the possibility that its a disguised British vessel. It wouldn't be the first time that their merchant fleet has been ordered to fly other ensigns. This was a common trick in the Great War.
Your officers look at you when you move away from the periscope. They know that you've identified the ship. They await your orders.
 Move away and surface when out of sight; return to your normal patrol  Close in and surface – signal the ship that they're going to get boarded and inspected  Stalk the ship a while submerged
How's the weather out there? I fear the visibility might give away our position for an ambush party on the shore. Or maybe I'm just being paranoid, but the ship itself could be a trap. If worse come to worst, we should frag the ship's rudder to prevent them from fleeing.
Let's be cautious and say hello to them pointblank.
[X] Stalk the ship a while submerged. [X] close in to pointblank range.
Okay. Fine. Even though I'm still not feeling it, I'll do my damnedest to update regardless. Expect something soon, not quite within two hours, nor probably more than a day. It may or may not qualify as "7 minutes".