Saturday, 6 January 2018

The Hunters: U-69 - Sixth Patrol September 1941

For those of you wondering where the Second Actual Play Report for Yakuza 2019 is.  The short answer is real life got in the way.  The long answer is the GM for that particular game had Homework from College to take care of over the holidays.  We've had a College Teachers strike up here in Ontario which has played hell on our ability to get together online to play.  So the game that was promised for the previous Wednesday ended up being postponed.  This coming Wednesday may very well be a coin-toss, so don't call us we'll call you.  With the scheduled game postponed, I ended up sitting down to play The Hunters again.  What follows is the Sixth Patrol of U-69's career.  If you're just joining us you can find the first actual-play here.  If you missed the last two patrols you can find them here.  Hope you enjoy.

The Departure 

U-69's departure from the U-Boat Pen at Brest in September
of 1941.
Kapitan-leutnant Fechner spent the month of refit, once again petitioning the U-Boat command.  To let him partake in a Wolfpack Patrol in the Atlantic.  A request that was once again denied.  They still sent U-69 to patrol the Atlantic, but still held the belief that U-69 was too green to participate in such a patrol.  So once again U-69 returned to patrol the Atlantic departing from the U-Boat Pen at Brest.  For an uneventful journey into the open ocean.  Fechner was in a foul mood determined to sink enough Allied Ships that upon the Boat's return the higher ups would pay him some goddamn attention!

The Convoy!

It didn't take long for Fechner's wish to be granted, almost the first day after reaching their patrol area.  The lookouts spotted a convoy coming right in their direction!  Fechner gave the order to dive below the waves to avoid detection, and began the approach towards the convoy.  Observing through the periscope Fechner saw four freighters, three small and one large come into range.  The smaller City of Oxford (2600), the Pandias (5000) and the Robert L. Holt (3000), accompanied by the larger Fairport (6200).  Fechner gave the order to fire on the largest of the ships, the Pandias and the Fairport.  Two torpedoes apiece.  

The first two torpedoes fired on the Fairport
as observed by Fechner through U-69's
periscope.
Peering through the periscope Fechner watched as two explosions rocked the Fairport!  They had damaged her but the large freighter was still afloat and didn't appear to be sinking anytime soon.  Compared to the smaller Pandias which fell victim to a single explosion that prompted it to begin its descent to its final resting place.  The second torpedo must have missed or failed to detonate, but that didn't matter.  Its twin had picked up the slack where it had failed.  Now it was just a matter of sinking the Fairport.  Which was slowed and smoking but refused to sink.  U-69 managed to slip away undetected from the destroyers escorting the convoy.  Fechner gave the order to continue following the damaged Fairport.  Which the escort saw fit to abandon to the mercy of the German U-Boat.  The large freighter proved to be difficult prey as it took four different salvos from U-69's deck-gun and two aft-fired torpedoes at close range.  To finally sink her.

The Second Convoy

Having stuck around to finish off the Fairport, U-69's crew had lost the opportunity to pursue the convoy further.  Luckily for them they didn't have to go far to encounter a second one!  Upon sighting Fechner order U-69 to dive to periscope depth, they had used all their aft torpedoes on the Fairport.  So there was no real benefit to making a surface attack on this convoy.  Observing through the periscope three small freighters the Ogontz (5000), the Thurso (2700) and the Tuva (4700) were spotted.  Along with the large freighter Corrientes (6900).  That along with the Ogontz would be their target, the biggest of the four spotted.  Two torpedoes apiece.  Only one explosion was seen from the Corrientes, but it was enough.  The torpedo must have hit the boilers as the freighter went up in flames!  Slowly the Corrientes began to sink below the waves.  While the other target the smaller Ogontz was damaged and still afloat!  

That's when an explosion rocked the boat!  The electric lights went out and Fechner along with his crew were standing in the dark!  "Down periscope!  Dive!" shouted Fechner, realizing it before his crew did.  They were being depth-charged!  The men sprang to follow their Kommandant's orders as another explosion rocked U-69!  At that moment there was a sound of shrieking metal and then a the spray of seawater against metal, a flange had burst!  Fechner cried for the someone to get it under control!  He waited for the next depth-charge to come, but it never did.  The crew stood at their posts drenched from the sudden burst of water which was now under control, alone in the dark.  "Status report!" demanded Fechner to his Chief Engineer.  "The batteries are out!" came the reply.  "Get them fixed!" was all that Fechner offered in return.  "They think they've sunk us!  I want to show them just how wrong they are!  Load forward Torpedo tubes!"  (Overall U-69 suffered 3 Hull Damage, 1 Flooding and damaged Batteries from this initial depth charging).  

The crew rushed to follow their Kommandant's orders.  The batteries were repaired in no time and the remaining electric torpedoes loaded at record speed.  U-69 managed to follow the convoy that believed her sunk with no delays.  Letting the damaged Ogontz go, Fechner wanted to sink more ships rather than finish off leftovers.  This time they'd get within the midst of the convoy and attack at close range.  (The electric torpedoes aren't much good otherwise).  In order to sink the juiciest of targets.  Fechner peered through the periscope ready to pick his targets.  When he noticed something out of his periphery, a Destroyer coming right for them!  "Down periscope dive!"  They had been spotted, they had to get out of here!  Another round of depth charges rocked U-69 shaking her violently!  Fechner quietly wondered to himself if this was it.  Waiting for a watery death that never came.

Aborting the Patrol

Apparently the Royal Navy crew of the destroyer were very confident in their abilities.  For after the first round of depth-charging there was no second.  They must of thought the boat more damaged than it was and had sunk with that last one.  Fechner called for a status report, the Engineer reported that U-69's dive planes had been damaged.  The Kapitan-leutnant cursed at this news, he cursed even more when the Engineer reported that the damage was irreparable at sea.  Which meant they would have to wait for the convoy to leave the area.  So that they could blow the ballast tank in order to surface.  After that it would be a dangerous exposed, surface trip home.  At the mercy of RAF anti-submarine planes.  None of this was anything that Fechner relished.  Giving up pursuit of the convoy stank of cowardice, while he was still leery of planes.  After the run-in that had killed U-69's last Flak-Crew.  There was no other option though, he ordered the patrol aborted and U-69 headed back for Brest.  A thankfully uneventful, but fearful trip.  They returned once more with 65,300 tons of Allied shipping sunk to their name.  It would December by the time the boat was once again ready for patrol.  The men would not be spending Christmas in Brest as they had hoped.  

Wall of the Fallen

The Greek ship SS Pandias sunk by
U-69 in the Atlantic in September
of '41.
The American freighter SS Fairport
sunk by U-69, part of the same convoy
as the Pandias.
The British SS Corrientes sunk by
U-69 in September of '41 part of a
different convoy than the Pandias
or the Fairport.











Conclusion

I really thought this was the end for Fechner and U-69, this was the first time.  That the boat had ever taken any really significant damage or had been forced to abort a patrol.  Again U-69 returned home with her Electric Torpedoes largely unused, which has become something of a tradition.  One that is annoying to both me and the boat's Commandant, since coming back with torpedoes.  Is something of a mark of shame among German Submariners.  I don't think they can really complain though, since U-69 has sunk just as many ships in six patrols as most Aces have in their whole careers.  (Don't quote me on that though).  If you liked this actual play, be sure to +1, comment down below and follow this blog.  As always have a nice day and may the dice be ever in your favour.