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X: 4. Uboote Heraus! Unrestricted Submarine Warfare February - July 1942

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4. Uboote Heraus!
Unrestricted Submarine Warfare
February - July 1942



King George V of the eponymous class at anchor in 1942. The decision to
alter the armament from the originally planned 14” to a 15” gun cost years
of production and almost the loss of the four additional members of the class.

Experience in the Great War had formed the bedrock of the Royal Navy’s planning for the next war: they knew that submarines were a threat to the British Isles, but worked to either ignore the threat or make assumptions that the merchant navy would abide by what made their victory possible in the last war: the convoy system. Technologically speaking, the Royal Navy had ASDIC (the precursor to a proper sonar system), but seemed content with it as it stood. The Royal Navy had a multitude of issues throughout the interbellum period in wresting sufficient funds from Parliament in order to fund their building priorities. While large construction projects were consistently put off or drawn out, funding was transferred to cheaper destroyers as well as experiments in amphibious vessels. Indeed, between 1936 and the outbreak of war in 1942, the Royal Navy only added one fleet carrier (Ark Royal) and was about to commission one new battleship (King George V), but managed to double their numbers of destroyers (from 34 destroyer groups to 68) and create a massive fleet of amphibious vessels (from none to 15 squadrons). While spectacular, these numbers presupposed that they were employed gainfully, which it could be said was unlikely given the conservative and yet sometimes unabashedly reckless handling of the Royal Navy.


The Tribal-class destroyers formed the backbone of the advanced
destroyers laid down between the wars. Their employment left much
to be desired.

As noted in previous chapters, the Kriegsmarine was planning a war of kreuzerkrieg (Cruiser Warfare) from the outset. With the AGNA rendered moot by 1939, the Kriegsmarines’ submarine flotillas soared from a paltry four composed only of Type Is and IIs of all variants to a height of 21, mostly of the Type IXDs and with more of the Type XXIEs coming off the slipways. Combined with the surface fleet, Raeder intended to utilize his surface fleet assets to create the space for Doenitz’ submarines to work. While that plan had been in the works for years, issues between the chiefs of Seekriegsleitung (SKL), Vice Admiral Gunther Guse, and the Unterseekriegsleitung (USKL) Vice Admiral Karl Doenitz, led to a delay in the deployment of the submarine force’s true strength.


Type XXIE u-boats of the Kriegsmarine. These are from 13 UbG,
only one of which would survive the first six months of the war to
be transferred to 20 UbG.

For much of the early months of the war, only Kommando u-Boot Ausbildung (KuBA, Types I and IIA) and U boot Flotille I (Uboot Geschwader (UbG) 1 - 3, Types IIBs and VIICs) were prowling the Baltic, with crews rotating through for a sort of “live fire” refresher training. During the course of the campaign against Poland and through the end of February, the Germans sank nineteen merchantmen and four escort vessels, while only suffering the loss of one of their own merchants. This was followed by another quiet month in March during a sort of mutual pause of all naval activity in the North and Baltic Seas, during which four of the German’s merchant fleet’s vessels were sunk, joined by one of the Kriegsmarine’s ten F1 frigates; Australia only suffered the loss of two merchantmen during the course of the month. The relative quiet continued for the first two weeks of April, with Australia losing three merchant vessels and two escorts, mostly around the Baltic, but at the mid-month, Raeder finally relented after Guse had been mollified with the performance of his battlecruisers and allowed Doenitz to sortie almost his entire stock of available boats, especially those of the most advanced types.


A tanker sinking after being torpedoed by a u-boat, early in the war.

The sortie of the u-boats led to not only significant losses to the British merchant marine, but also led to fairly significant losses in the German u-boat-waffe. Within three days of their deployment on 15 April, 8 and 13 UbG had suffered such significant losses that they were decommissioned. Losses would continue: by the beginning of July, 8 whole geschwader were decommissioned due to losses (5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 16 and 17 UbG), and with their losses, most of their flotillas were also struck from the lists, almost a third of the entire register, and even some of the most advanced types. The Kriegsmarine learned a valuable lesson: airpower from carrier decks could prove most problematic, as almost all of these losses were the result of one carrier in particular: HMS Ark Royal, the most advanced vessel in the Royal Navy.


U-118 caught on the surface and strafed by aircraft from the Ark Royal.

The bright side for Doenitz was that 45 Allied merchant vessels and escorts were sunk in April, 98 in May, 78 in June, and a whopping 132 in July. These losses were unsustainable, and brought a massive cost in national morale, treasure, and blood to the populations of Great Britain and her Dominions. Doenitz, of course, didn’t have to worry about the reverse of the issues: that while the u-boats were enjoying their increasing effective command over the Western Approaches and the Baltic, the Royal Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy were preying upon the hapless German merchant marine struggling to bring in materials purchased in the United States. In April, Germany would see their merchants reduced by six, and another of their frigates sunk. Eleven were lost in May, fifteen in June and another eleven in July. These losses were sharp for Germany, but did not sting nearly as badly, and there was worse to come for the Allies.
 
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Are you actually telling me the RN is putting up a fight?
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Are you actually telling me the RN is putting up a fight?
Filthy democratic lies! Everyone knows the Royal Navy is useless. The finest Swedish simulators have declared it from on high.
 
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Looks like the AI knows how to use its carriers even if it has no clue with its surface action groups.

I hope I haven't jinxed the Royal Navy by saying that and it promptly has all of its carriers sunk in the next update. o_O
 
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Technically that level of losses should have wiped out the U-boat arm. At best they could surge 1/3rd out at any one time (on the basis of 1/3rd on station, 1/3rd in transit, 1/3rd training/refit) and even that couldn't be sustained for long without burning out crews and sending out un-repaired ships. To surge out everything you are sending in the training arm, the classic eating your seed corn out of desparation move. It should take months to recover from that level of losses, probably years once you account for crew training and rebuilding the training arm. There is also the political factor, such high losses with so little to show for it would have Hitler demanding the U-boats be shut down and the crews used for the surface fleet (or the Eastern Front more likely).

I suspect however that Germany will avoid all those issue and sail serenely on as before.

In any event clearly what is required is sending out the NAVs - deploy the Luftwaffe to sink the Carrier. Everyone knows surface ships are utterly defenceless in the face of unkillable and uninterceptable land based bombers. (Because aircraft Surface Defence is bugged in the game and Paradox forgot to fix it in the final patch).
 
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Technically that level of losses should have wiped out the U-boat arm. At best they could surge 1/3rd out at any one time (on the basis of 1/3rd on station, 1/3rd in transit, 1/3rd training/refit) and even that couldn't be sustained for long without burning out crews and sending out un-repaired ships. To surge out everything you are sending in the training arm, the classic eating your seed corn out of desparation move. It should take months to recover from that level of losses, probably years once you account for crew training and rebuilding the training arm. There is also the political factor, such high losses with so little to show for it would have Hitler demanding the U-boats be shut down and the crews used for the surface fleet (or the Eastern Front more likely).

I suspect however that Germany will avoid all those issue and sail serenely on as before.

In any event clearly what is required is sending out the NAVs - deploy the Luftwaffe to sink the Carrier. Everyone knows surface ships are utterly defenceless in the face of unkillable and uninterceptable land based bombers. (Because aircraft Surface Defence is bugged in the game and Paradox forgot to fix it in the final patch).
No, it's because land based german bombers are genuinely invincible. Common misconception. Also common mistake that U-Boats couldn't move without oil. They ran on Hyperbole.
 
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Wraith11B

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Are you actually telling me the RN is putting up a fight?
Filthy democratic lies! Everyone knows the Royal Navy is useless. The finest Swedish simulators have declared it from on high.
For sure since I took them over they're not losing ships and cruising around in terrible formations anymore.

Looks like the AI knows how to use its carriers even if it has no clue with its surface action groups.

I hope I haven't jinxed the Royal Navy by saying that and it promptly has all of its carriers sunk in the next update. o_O
Only a few carriers have been sunk. The coding for this game is crazy given that most carriers were sunk by subs or airpower OTL.

Technically that level of losses should have wiped out the U-boat arm. At best they could surge 1/3rd out at any one time (on the basis of 1/3rd on station, 1/3rd in transit, 1/3rd training/refit) and even that couldn't be sustained for long without burning out crews and sending out un-repaired ships. To surge out everything you are sending in the training arm, the classic eating your seed corn out of desparation move. It should take months to recover from that level of losses, probably years once you account for crew training and rebuilding the training arm. There is also the political factor, such high losses with so little to show for it would have Hitler demanding the U-boats be shut down and the crews used for the surface fleet (or the Eastern Front more likely).

I suspect however that Germany will avoid all those issue and sail serenely on as before.

In any event clearly what is required is sending out the NAVs - deploy the Luftwaffe to sink the Carrier. Everyone knows surface ships are utterly defenceless in the face of unkillable and uninterceptable land based bombers. (Because aircraft Surface Defence is bugged in the game and Paradox forgot to fix it in the final patch).
The losses came over several months, and given how reinforcement and upgrades work, I imagine this is more of "realignment" and consolidation rather than outright losses. There's just so much wrong with the coding for this game.

No, it's because land based german bombers are genuinely invincible. Common misconception. Also common mistake that U-Boats couldn't move without oil. They ran on Hyperbole.
You're not wrong.
 
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nuclearslurpee

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Technically that level of losses should have wiped out the U-boat arm. At best they could surge 1/3rd out at any one time (on the basis of 1/3rd on station, 1/3rd in transit, 1/3rd training/refit) and even that couldn't be sustained for long without burning out crews and sending out un-repaired ships. To surge out everything you are sending in the training arm, the classic eating your seed corn out of desparation move. It should take months to recover from that level of losses, probably years once you account for crew training and rebuilding the training arm. There is also the political factor, such high losses with so little to show for it would have Hitler demanding the U-boats be shut down and the crews used for the surface fleet (or the Eastern Front more likely).
In fairness, this is one of the very, very few times when Paradox actually nerfs Germany compared to historically, as it's pretty near to impossible to actually build up to near historical levels of u-boats just because they built well over a thousand of the damn things. Even generously assuming 10 boats/flotilla you've got to somehow put out 12-20 flotillas a year while maintaining other IC commitments. Which is where "near to impossible" comes in, because of course the AI being what it is a Germany campaign can be won by two MIL divisions and an out-of-fuel NAV wing if a player is in charge, but still.
 
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In fairness, this is one of the very, very few times when Paradox actually nerfs Germany compared to historically, as it's pretty near to impossible to actually build up to near historical levels of u-boats just because they built well over a thousand of the damn things. Even generously assuming 10 boats/flotilla you've got to somehow put out 12-20 flotillas a year while maintaining other IC commitments. Which is where "near to impossible" comes in, because of course the AI being what it is a Germany campaign can be won by two MIL divisions and an out-of-fuel NAV wing if a player is in charge, but still.
It was 1000 odd boats, but 700 of them were Type VIIs so there are some significant mass production gains going on. Crank up the sub practical and you can get a Model 2 (i.e. Type VII) sub flotilla down to <3IC and ~220 days. It will take a while to build up that practical, which is about right as Germany only commissioned 18 U-boats total in 1939 and only 50 in 1940, they didn't peak till 1943 with 286 in a year.

Take round numbers of 3IC / 240 days each flotilla. You've got till end of 1940 to build up sub practical, then blitz it. You can fit six 240 day runs into 1941-1944. Four Parallel builds, each six long, at 10 boats each gives you 960 Subs built. The extra subs you built in 36 to 40 building up practical get you to >1000. That will take an ongoing constant commitment of 12 IC during the war years, but you should have >350IC easily by 1941 so it doesn't look onerous. Even if you say it's only 5 subs a flotilla it's 24IC, which is, say, a decent combined-arms division in the queue. But again that seems plausible given the OTL U-Boat build up was not exactly cheap and was attacked for taking steel away from the Panzers.

I know I'm handwaving building up the practicals, but over all it seems pretty doable. The U-boat fleet that gets created consists of almost entirely obsolete designs that are death traps by 1943 (if not before) and will be torn apart when ASV Radar gets into it's stride. But that's pretty much what happened, so is a relatively historic outcome. You can always throw in a load of hi tech boats in late 1944 that never actually get to go on combat missions, for that extra historic flavour.

I want to make it clear this assessment has not been done to defend Paradox. I just wanted to make it clear that they did not and never have nerfed Germany in any way, at all, ever, in any incarnation of HOI.
 
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I want to make it clear this assessment has not been done to defend Paradox.
I'm fairly sure you'll give good reference to Hitler or Satan in this House before defending Paradox...

This is the problem with applying a single production scheme to all countries though. Utterly insane to give the UK and USA the same basic system, let alone the Germans and Russians as well. The idea of 'fixing' something like a miltiary industrial complex by building more factories is naturally a great oversimplification.
 
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It was 1000 odd boats, but 700 of them were Type VIIs so there are some significant mass production gains going on. Crank up the sub practical and you can get a Model 2 (i.e. Type VII) sub flotilla down to <3IC and ~220 days. It will take a while to build up that practical, which is about right as Germany only commissioned 18 U-boats total in 1939 and only 50 in 1940, they didn't peak till 1943 with 286 in a year.

Take round numbers of 3IC / 240 days each flotilla. You've got till end of 1940 to build up sub practical, then blitz it. You can fit six 240 day runs into 1941-1944. Four Parallel builds, each six long, at 10 boats each gives you 960 Subs built. The extra subs you built in 36 to 40 building up practical get you to >1000. That will take an ongoing constant commitment of 12 IC during the war years, but you should have >350IC easily by 1941 so it doesn't look onerous. Even if you say it's only 5 subs a flotilla it's 24IC, which is, say, a decent combined-arms division in the queue. But again that seems plausible given the OTL U-Boat build up was not exactly cheap and was attacked for taking steel away from the Panzers.

I know I'm handwaving building up the practicals, but over all it seems pretty doable. The U-boat fleet that gets created consists of almost entirely obsolete designs that are death traps by 1943 (if not before) and will be torn apart when ASV Radar gets into it's stride. But that's pretty much what happened, so is a relatively historic outcome. You can always throw in a load of hi tech boats in late 1944 that never actually get to go on combat missions, for that extra historic flavour.

I want to make it clear this assessment has not been done to defend Paradox. I just wanted to make it clear that they did not and never have nerfed Germany in any way, at all, ever, in any incarnation of HOI.
You're right with the practicals, I keep forgetting how dirt-cheap vanilla can get with those. I've only managed to come close to RL production with HPP, which severely limits practicals in several ways. Although, flipside, unlike OTL Germany I actually won Barbarossa, and as stated it wasn't much of a challenge I just wanted to be able to say I'd done it once in my life.

I'm fairly sure you'll give good reference to Hitler or Satan in this House before defending Paradox...

This is the problem with applying a single production scheme to all countries though. Utterly insane to give the UK and USA the same basic system, let alone the Germans and Russians as well. The idea of 'fixing' something like a miltiary industrial complex by building more factories is naturally a great oversimplification.
As is always the case for Paradox, the game mechanics are designed to fit the capabilities of Germany perfectly whilst minimizing the limitations of the same. Which brings us right around back to the recent update and the official thread topic, albeit in a not-entirely-flattering manner.

Uh...uh...good job sinking boats, mate! :D
 
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As is always the case for Paradox, the game mechanics are designed to fit the capabilities of Germany perfectly whilst minimizing the limitations of the same. Which brings us right around back to the recent update and the official thread topic, albeit in a not-entirely-flattering manner.

Uh...uh...good job sinking boats, mate! :D
It was a very well executed fish barrel/shooting exercise and should be applauded appropriately.
 
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It was a very well executed fish barrel/shooting exercise and should be applauded appropriately.
The losses certainly took me by surprise. I started sending my boats out, not really considering that oh yeah if they're all in the area around Scapa Flow then keine Scheiße there will guaranteed be ASW assets ready to sink them and I'm giving them plenty of targets that even the AI will overcome its ineptitude to kill... durr.
 
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nuclearslurpee

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The losses certainly took me by surprise. I started sending my boats out, not really considering that oh yeah if they're all in the area around Scapa Flow then keine Scheiße there will guaranteed be ASW assets ready to sink them and I'm giving them plenty of targets that even the AI will overcome its ineptitude to kill... durr.
I applaud your spot-on roleplay skills, sir! :D
 
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with Australia losing three merchant vessels and two escorts, mostly around the Baltic,
I wonder what on God’s green earth they were doing in the Baltic! Must be some enormous ship-magnet installed in Sweden, just like the one in the movie Top Secret ... oh, wait, ... Paradox. <slaps forehead>

A very interesting short excursion into the Atlantic sub war there, something I’ve rarely played in HOI3 (having played Britain just once when trying to learn naval warfare and Germany rarely, years ago).
 
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I wonder what on God’s green earth they were doing in the Baltic! Must be some enormous ship-magnet installed in Sweden, just like the one in the movie Top Secret ... oh, wait, ... Paradox. <slaps forehead>

A very interesting short excursion into the Atlantic sub war there, something I’ve rarely played in HOI3 (having played Britain just once when trying to learn naval warfare and Germany rarely, years ago).
I'd be up for a Bullfilter flagship UK AAR whenever the current flagship is finally retired...like Butterfly Effect, but with the historical research substituted by dozens upon dozens of unsavory spies and gangsters across the globe! I'm sure there's other literary and film classics of relevance to the Battle of the Atlantic, as well...
 
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I'd be up for a Bullfilter flagship UK AAR whenever the current flagship is finally retired...like Butterfly Effect, but with the historical research substituted by dozens upon dozens of unsavory spies and gangsters across the globe! I'm sure there's other literary and film classics of relevance to the Battle of the Atlantic, as well...
:D I won’t hijack @Wraith11B here, but you know what they say about sequels. Except for Godfather II ... hmmm ... no. I do have a few ideas, one involving an alt-hist mapmod start that completely realigns many borders, factions etc and another idea designed to make Germany more realistic for a player to play (and that deals with my Hitler-stuck-in-the-craw and triumphant Nazi thing that puts me off writing a Germany AAR, one that Wraith has dealt with well by basically ignoring him/them most of the time and making it more technical and operational).
 
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I applaud your spot-on roleplay skills, sir! :D
And I applaud that you permit my retcon, sir!

I wonder what on God’s green earth they were doing in the Baltic! Must be some enormous ship-magnet installed in Sweden, just like the one in the movie Top Secret ... oh, wait, ... Paradox. <slaps forehead>

A very interesting short excursion into the Atlantic sub war there, something I’ve rarely played in HOI3 (having played Britain just once when trying to learn naval warfare and Germany rarely, years ago).
Well, and this is going on some barely remembered things that I don't recall very well, but I believe they were on the Helsinki-(Insert Appropriate Oz Port Here) route, which, beggars the question: Why the hell were Aussies still trading with the Finns?

So many things that I would have coded to be different.

That said, it was brief, and devoid of what I wanted to portray which was the infographics of the sub hunting grounds, losses, etc, which I obtained screenshots for by going back into a save.
I'd be up for a Bullfilter flagship UK AAR whenever the current flagship is finally retired...like Butterfly Effect, but with the historical research substituted by dozens upon dozens of unsavory spies and gangsters across the globe! I'm sure there's other literary and film classics of relevance to the Battle of the Atlantic, as well...
:D I won’t hijack @Wraith11B here, but you know what they say about sequels. Except for Godfather II ... hmmm ... no. I do have a few ideas, one involving an alt-hist mapmod start that completely realigns many borders, factions etc and another idea designed to make Germany more realistic for a player to play (and that deals with my Hitler-stuck-in-the-craw and triumphant Nazi thing that puts me off writing a Germany AAR, one that Wraith has dealt with well by basically ignoring him/them most of the time and making it more technical and operational).
I've done my level best to keep the nasty out of this. In the future there is some of the insanity that creeps in. Major sackings for relatively minor offenses, liquidations for cause, etc.

Again, as I've mentioned above, it's hard to say this, because (unlike you) I'm not writing from a current perspective, but from a historical one. I also apologize that I'm not around as much anymore. My house projects have taken on a mind of their own (for instance, two weeks back, my entire five day off break was consumed by what I thought would be an easier process of installing a fence, only to find out, no, no it was not... At least the fence is intact). I'm also trying to save myself some headache about the data retention without drowning in screenshots (It was getting ridiculously out of hand... I still am sitting on probably over 1000 screenshots that I've not catalogued, and that means probably only 400 that I'd actually save) and data that isn't relevant and keeping things interesting.
 
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Happy to see this nicely written u-boot update.
To be fair, 15" guns on the KGV's does make some sense, arguably more than the quad 14" turrets, because that would simplify logistics, as they could use the same 15" shells all the other British Battleships used. As for the massive u-boot losses, it looks like the CV-DD combo is still very potent, even in the hands of the UK AI. Of course, the all-powerful German cruiser fleets will deal with the RN DD's in due time I'm sure.
 
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Another great update! Although I had heard that the extra inch didn't matter in the navy, instead it is how you deployed your turret!
 
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