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Ist Das Nicht Todeswahl?

A Kriegsmarine AAR

claus_bergen_page.jpg


Lieutenant-Commander Karl Doenitz was not thinking of his own likely imminent death. Even as the UB-68 sank like a stone, tainting the clear Mediterranean with her dark black life-blood, his thoughts remained clear and focused. He knew he would have to surface to save his men from a watery grave. He also knew that destroyers waited above and giving that order amounted to suicide.

"Blow all tanks!" Men rushed about like phantoms in the cramped, dark interior of the unterseeboot. For one terrifying moment that seemed to stretch out into eternity the boat continued to slide into the abyss below despite the efforts of the crew.

Just as the chilling hands of doom began to touch the crew the U-Boat suddenly shot toward the surface at an alarming rate. Some men were thrown about like rag dolls while other clung with bleeding hands to any available grip. The surface and certain danger rushed forward to meet them.

The doomed mission had begun several weeks ago in an Austrian port. Over what passed for wine Doenitz and another U-Boat commander had planned a daring combined attack on a British convoy. If all went as hoped this so-called "wolf pack" would cut the convoy to pieces.

Then reality had stepped in and performed its usual assault on carefully laid plans and high hopes.

Only Doenitz and UB-68 had managed to reach the convoy near Malta. He had attacked without hesitation regardless, scoring two hits on a British tanker fat with the mother's milk of war. Before the sinking could be confirmed destroyers had descended on the U-Boat like attack dogs loosed from their chains.

A depth charge hit had badly damaged the gray wolf and left her with no option but to stagger toward the jaws of her tormentors above.

Back on the surface several guns turned toward the helpless surfaced submarine. It was the type of target a destroyer captain dreams about. It is the fuel of nightmares for the submariner.

Doenitz had no choice but to give the one order he had prayed would never be needed.

"Prepare to abandon ship!"

Everything seemed to unfold in slow-motion. His fingers barely felt the rusted steel of the ladder. For a moment hanging in the air, the concussion of naval cannons hitting like an invisible fist, then plunged beneath the cool embrace of the deep.

Underwater the explosions and screams seemed distant and distorted, unreal like those dim moments in early morning when one finds themselves caught on the misty border between dreams and waking. Then Doenitz found himself bobbing helplessly on the calm surface of the sea.

The flaming ruins of his ship quickly slid below the water to make her final voyage into oblivion. Far on the horizon he could see the British tanker listing badly on her side, fatally wounded. "A fair trade, more than fair," he thought with Prussian stoicism.

A month later he was in a British prison camp, pacing like a tiger before the wire and fencing. His mind was full of ideas. Wolf packs. He would have another chance. For now it was just a matter of waiting.

The wait would prove to be nearly two decades.

kaiseruboats.jpg


------------------------------------------------------------------

"With all due respect, Grand Admiral, I don't want to be reassigned to a different ship."

1935. Doenitz had been serving aboard the cruiser Emden. That is, until unexpected orders for reassignment had arrived. He had been looking forward to making another far-east cruise and now saw it slipping away, but for what?

"That's not why you're being transferred. Are you familiar with the anti-submarine school in Wilhelmshaven?"

"Yes, of course."

"It's about to lose the "anti" portion of the name. You are qualified to lead this new U-Boat school, no?"

A rare smile formed on Doenitz's stony features.

------------------------------------------------------------

A 1935 treaty with the United Kingdom had opened the way for Germany to build the Kriegsmarine to 35% of the tonnage of Britain. Raeder saw this as a chance to pull a "swift one" and make a bid to wrest control of the seas away from Her Majesty's Navy.

To that end, Plan Z had hastily been implemented. The plan called for a focus on heavy ships. The goals, to be reached by 1946 are:

4 Carriers
8 Battleships
12 Battle Cruisers
Numerous smaller ships
260 U-Boats

At present, the Kriegsmarine is weak. The good news is some fairly advanced Cruisers. The bad news is no Capital Ships, unless one counts obsolete Great War Battle Cruisers. A few Great War U-Boats are also available. From these humble beginnings, Germany will try to challenge the World's strongest naval power.

warmarine.jpg

The War Navy.

balticflot.jpg

Baltic Forces.

U-boats.jpg

Unterseebooten.

The current production plan will be modified to likely begin production of Battleships and Battle Cruisers as soon as possible, in addition to industrial build-up. Currently a few ships are being produced.

prod36.jpg

Already being built.


Doenitz discusses the idea of the Wolf Pack.
 
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Like lawyers and telemarketers the world has a desperate need for more 1936 Germany AARs. :D

This time, the focus will be solely on the Kriegsmarine, as we'll be trying to institute "Plan Z" and see what happens. Plan Z is the historical plan for building the German Navy that ended up being abandoned. Here, it gets a chance to work (or fail horribly).

The goal is to try to follow this building plan as close as possible. The game will proceed in a historical fashion (no Sea Lion in 1940, no early DoWs, etc) at least as much as possible. Expect quick reports from the land battles and lots of in-depth Naval goodness. The style will be split between narrative story lines and battle reports in equal portions.

The game is Armageddon 1.2, settings are normal/coward. My traditionally poor game play will more than insure a challenge. ;)

contribute.jpg


The Kriegsmarine is Recruiting!

This AAR will rely heavily on readAAR feedback! You can help my god-awful gameplay, give advice and earn cool e-prizes!

To give a little back to those who follow and participate you can earn official ranks and medals by posting! The ranks are (I would have used the original German, but the words are compound messes that probably sound like a yak throwing up when spoken).

Midshipman (1 post)
Lieutenant (3)
Lieutenant-Commander (6)
Commander (10)
Vice-Admiral
Admiral
Grand Admiral

Only one post after each update counts toward your rank, but feel free to post more often if necessary. Admiral ranks are for posters who have made consistent, excellent contributions. Special Medals will also be given to readAARs that provide useful game advice and feedback on the writing! This post will keep track of it all.

The first issue you can all help with is deciding on the initial building/tech plan. Tech, of course, must favor the Kriegsmarine. The building plan will try to stay pretty close to Plan Z but there is some wiggle room. Any advice on getting the most out of U-boats, grouping and using the other ships, etc, would also be most welcome, because I'm bad at that, too. :D


The Kriegsmarine Ranks

Admiral

volksmarschall Sea Wolf


Vice Admiral

Stuyvesant Spotter
Enewald
Dead William Blockade Runner


Commander

son of liberty
Myth
dublish
TheLoneGunman Superior Tactician
PhilleP
coz1
Lord Strange
von Mauser Spotter, Old Guard
Beladriel
MidEvil
ColossusCrusher
great_chairman

Lieutenant-Commander

blue emu Superior Tactician
Mædhric
Von Perkele
chefportnen
TheHyphenated1
trekaddict

Lieutenant

squalleke123
Slaughts
Tommy4ever
Swede_Islander
GhostWriter
Ai Shizuka
Herbert West
Palmyrene

Midshipman

Fapu
Ayeshteni
Christian V
darthkommandant
Delex
sam73
AKjeldsen
SeleucidRex
Mico94
mb1066
quantum
Lord Valentine
BritishImperial
cosminus
German Grifter
TheRealKestrel


Awards, Honors and Other Strangeness

Lord Strange Cookie of British Awesomeness
Maj. von Mauser Approved AAR
Best Character Writer of the Week 7/20/09
 
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TheHyphenated1

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Fantastic start! I look forward to seeing how this develops.
 

son of liberty

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A german naval aar? Interesting choice. With 260 U-Boats, england is toast.
 

volksmarschall

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A German Naval AAR! Fantastic! Gott haben Barmherzigkeit auf der Royal Navy! ;)
 

Fapu

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one thing:do you mean suicide with Todeswahl?If so,"Selbstmord" would be more fitting
 

trekaddict

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To give a little back to those who follow and participate you can earn official ranks and medals by posting! The ranks are (I would have used the original German, but the words are compound messes that probably sound like a yak throwing up when spoken).


I resent that. :D
 

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I love submarines. Put pictures from SH4 U-Boat Missions for submarine combat!
 

Myth

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Your Z-Plan is ambitious. What's you deadline on it? The war?
 

Stuyvesant

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Well, that's a change from Medieval Rus... Nice to see you back in action: I'll be following this. Sadly, my naval knowledge of HOI2 extends no further than "Carriers are pretty good, innit?", so while I'll make sure to post encouragement, you can forget about any kind of advice. Which, given my record with HOI2, is really all for the better. :)
 

unmerged(10727)

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Part I: Running Silent

2cool4_poster_boote_heraus_u_boat-p.jpg


U-boat Flag Officer Doenitz had fought against Plan Z to the best of his ability, but in the end it simply wasn't his call. He was sure that the U-Boat was the only weapon capable of dealing the decisive strike to Britain's commercial shipping. How could Germany hope to play catch-up in the Capital Ship race, a race they had been well behind since the battle of Jutland?

At least Raeder had offered a few concessions to the U-Boat arm, including approving the mass construction of new Type VII ships. Perhaps not in the number Doenitz had hoped for, but it was a start and he certainly wasn't going to stop pressing for more.

The most pressing problem wasn't equipment, however. It was the men. Britain had declared that the improvements in their convoy system combined with Asdic detection devices had made the U-Boat obsolete as a weapon of war. Some of his own men had expressed similar sentiments in more diplomatic words.

It had to end, if there was to be any hope of victory.

With these thoughts straining behind his calm facade Doenitz prepared to address the men who would become the next generation of U-Boat Commanders. The speech he was about to give was as important as any battle.

"War is coming. With the Rhineland reoccupied and the Versailles treaty torn into the pieces of worthless paper that is always was there can be no doubt. As honorable and loyal Germans free of any cowardice we must prepare for that war."

The submariner paused. The silence hung heavy. Someone coughed.

"Until Britain can prove otherwise we must operate under the assumption that the U-Boat is capable of defeating her convoys. The technology they claim to possess is untested and unknown. Our courage is not!"

A few cheers went up from the officers.

"I expect nothing less than total victory. We will stalk the seas like wolves and hammer England without mercy! They are the ones who will be full of fear, and rightly so!"

Now everyone was cheering. A spontaneous chant of "Death to England" had begun.

Doenitz allowed himself a smile that was barely noticeable. The first step had been taken. Now the hardest training these men would ever know could begin. Once he was finished with this new breed they would truly be sea wolves, iron men without fear.

------------------------------------------------------

bismarckbuild.jpg


Grand Admiral Raeder struggled to organize towering stacks of paper on his desk. The new construction program was underway and with it every possible difficulty and set-back seemed to be landing in his lap.

He selected a random letter. Doenitz asking for more U-Boats. Again. The Kriegsmarine Commander-in-Chief sighed as he folded up the missive and directed it toward his circular file.

The latest problem was more delays in Aircraft Carrier construction. Firstly there was the woefully out-of-date technology currently available and then there was that damn Goering. Suppressing another sigh, Raeder dialed the Luftwaffe Commander.

"I need you to promise me those planes, when the time comes." The joys of dealing with other branches, Raeder thought bitterly.

Goering answered with a burst of laughter. "Those planes belong to me and the sooner you realize that the better we'll work together. Currently I can't spare you anything."

"I don't want to go over your head, but I will."

More laughter. "Remember, you're talking to an old campaigner. Go ahead, talk to Hitler, see who he sides with. I've got no problem with you playing with your toy ships in that freezing Baltic bath tub, but when it comes to serious matters I'll call the shots!"

Raeder found himself arguing with a dial tone.

Meanwhile Goering settled into his easy chair with all the unearned satisfaction of a cat that spent all day sleeping and eating.

Then he picked up the phone receiver once again.

"Is everything prepared?" A low voice hissed the affirmative.

"We only get one shot at this. Failure is not an option."

Goering replaced the phone and closed his eyes, visualizing his imminent destiny.

Soon he would be Germany's savior.

-----------------------------------------------------------

1936build.jpg

Production plans, January 1936.

Plan Z is now underway. In addition to the usual factory build-up, the first ships and U-Boat runs are under way.

I increased Hawk Lobby. Anything to shorten the massive cost/time of all the ships I've got planned!

Early research goals are focused on picking up some missing Naval techs, especially in the Aircraft Carrier department. I'm going to wait until IV's are available before I start building Carriers.

With the Graf Spee finished in early January the Light Cruiser Stuttgart is added to the production schedule.

By April "Basic Destroyer" and "Great War Carrier" are researched, but no production of these begins...yet.

The first new U-Boats are ready in May. By October the first Wolf Pack is ready!

nordeck.jpg

Gray wolves.

In July the Stuttgart is finished and work begins on the Scharnhorst's sister ship Gneisenau.

Attempts are also made to assist the Spanish Nationalists in their struggle against Marxist rabble, but by the end of the year they are trapped in two pockets in North and South Spain.

A second round of factories are begun in December.

The year ends with the Naval plan beginning to take shape. Improvements in U-Boat, Destroyer and Carrier technology are being sought, with more production in those areas to follow.

Also the spies have been busy, but so far the yield is only two useless doctrines. I'm also slowly clearing out the Biblical plague-like infestation of foreign spies in Germany.

In other tech news I'm hoping to get "Ship Assembly Line" as soon as possible. Again, anything to reduce those long, long build times.

Next: 1937.
 
Last edited:

unmerged(10727)

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TheHyphenated1: Thanks for reading! This could go any number of ways, hopefully the Kriegsmarine will shock the world.

son of liberty: Doenitz actually wanted 300 U-Boats, but 260 would be nice, too. I have no idea how many submarines are in a flotilla, so I'll be building a lot, just to be on the safe side. IC isn't an issue, but they do take awhile to finish so I'm getting an early jump. ;)

volksmarschall: It will soon be time to choke England out with U-Boats!

Fapu I'm told it means "sure death." It's taken from the U-Boat Lied and struck me as oddly appropriate, what with my poor game play and unorthodox strategy.

trekaddict: Nothing against spoken German, but let's face reality. :D

Beladriel: I'm also a big U-Boat fan. Sadly I don't own Silent Hunter but it looks pretty cool. I might take some screen shots from the NES game Silent Service. Anyone remember that? :D

Myth: It's actually a historical plan that was abandoned, but it fits my needs nicely. The original goal date was 1946 (!), but I'm hoping to have a strong main fleet by early 1940.

Stuyvesant: It's good to be back! My own HOI 2 abilities are highly suspect, but hopefully a miracle will occur and all will go well. I've actually been reduced to reading the manual in spare moments to try to implant at least some competence before the battle is joined. One thing I learned is that you need screens for Capital Ships. Combined with "Carriers good" this thing is starting to come together. I've got a good feeling. :D


All: Welcome aboard as new Midshipmen and future leaders in the Kriegsmarine! Any and all advice is welcome and encouraged!
 
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volksmarschall

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An interesting update, I liked your characterization in Grand Admiral Raeder!

On a side note, (dealing with your wolf packs) are going for a more realistic set up or more gamey set up? I find that stacks of 12-18 Unterseeboots are the way to go, but some may consider that to be gamey and unrealistic. I also tend to stack the fleets with Lvl. II's all together. Lvl. III's all together. And then III's and IV's together for dealing with Surface vessels in pure combat. In a game I started in '44 as Germany, by '49 I had a prized U-Boat Battlefleet, one Lvl. IV Sub had sunken 4 CV's, 4 BB's and countless smaller ships.

With your first fleet, I think putting pure Lvl. II's and then swapping the Lvl. III's to be together is more effective and can help in range (so your Lvl. III's aren't restricted by the Lvl. II's).

Anyway, great work! Ich werde verbüßen die Kriegsmarine treu! ;) (I believe, I've lost some of my Deutsche touch :p)
 

Ayeshteni

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Whats Goering up to I wonder.

Aye.
 

Myth

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Schemes are unfolding! :eek:
 

Enewald

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Woah, a really fresh AAR idea!
*Enewald has entered the boat*
 

Stuyvesant

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As usual, Big Fat Herman is up to no good. It's a shame, but that's the way of the world. Goring means trouble, whenever (or is that wherever?) he makes an appearance. At least Donitz should be safe from Herman, seeing as his submarines are of absolutely no interest to the overweight aviator - unless Germany follows Japan's lead and builds some of those insane cruiser submarines that had their own seaplanes on board... But Donitz seems too level-headed for that.

Seeing how volksmarschall gave some actual advice, I'll muddle the waters a bit by announcing that I've heard somewhere that naval bombers are right fine, too. Unfortunately for Raeder, those would definitely fall under Goring's paws, so it remains to be seen if anything will come of it for the Kriegsmarine.

Oh yes, I do remember Silent Service. Not for the NES, mind you, but a creaky old PC (back when they were beige, color was fancy and they cost as much as a Soviet car - which were still around at the time and inexplicably popular in the Netherlands - Lada, anyone?). Good times, hunting down Japanese carriers, listening in terror as the sound of destroyer screws grew louder, ejecting debris in an attempt to outsmart them... <Continues dewy-eyed reminiscence>
 

unmerged(47937)

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be careful with your surface navy though. I tend to get my surface navy sunk rather quickly if I decide to dare that wretched albion.

Anyhow, subs are the way to go, and I believe the best places to intercept british convoy's are at the coast of portugal, the exit of the gibraltar straights and the sea region of coast finistere. This has netted me some 30 - 40 convoys lost per day in two of my germany games.

Also, if you capture france, closer bases come available (brest, bordeaux) so the threat will be even higher.

(note: capital ship raider groups can be quite nice too...)
 

Christian V

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I like where this is going so far.:)

On a sidenote: I doubt that Göring always refered to Hitler as "der Führer" in front of colleagues and partymembers, even in private. Calling him by name would be seen as an insult to der Führer.
 

unmerged(10727)

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typeVII.jpg

Type VII Unterseebooten

The U-12 glided silently across the choppy moon-lit water of the Baltic Sea. Near the horizon a merchant ship continued to steam forward, oblivious to the approaching menace.

Lieutenant-Commander Schultz wiped salty water from blood-shot eyes as he prepared to issue orders from the bridge of the silent hunter. "Keep closing...they haven't seen us."

The target was now clearly visible in the silvery light of the morning's small hours. Closer...closer...

"Fire torpedo tubes one, two and three!" Schultz hollered the command through a raw throat.

Inside the U-12 the radio-man reported the attack. "Three torpedoes fired at 500 meters."

After a few moments of hissing static the reply came.

"We have ruled that you have scored two hits. Target has been sunk."

The lights on the merchant ship now all came on, signaling her exit from the war game.

The U-Boat's commander took a moment to join in the cheers, but then it was back to business.

"Full engines forward! This hunt has just begun!"

--------------------------------------------------------

bismarck.jpg


"The results of the War Game conducted May 19, 1937 have vindicated my faith in wolf pack tactics and clearly demonstrate the U-Boat's strength as a weapon of war. It is my recommendation that current production levels be increased by at least 200% to meet levels needed to defeat..."

Raeder set aside the latest report from his U-Boat Flag Officer. Nothing was going to ruin his mood today. With the Bismarck and Tirpitz nearing conclusion he finally had something impressive and tangible after months of difficulties.

It was a start, anyway. Latest reports from Britain were almost certain that their future enemy had a dozen Battleships, to say nothing of three Aircraft Carriers...

Raeder felt his good mood draining away.

"Damn Georing," he thought.

TirpitzMainjpg09e1ff6c-0ce4-430f-be.jpg


--------------------------------------------------------

The sniper's dead-eye focused through the rifle's telescope. The half dozen figures on the distant runway tarmac were suddenly close and clear. With practiced skill he moved the cross-hairs from one face to another.

Something was wrong. Where was the primary target? A drop of cold sweat slid down the side of the murderer's face. This was a set-up.

Leaving the rifle, he turned to flee. Down the stairs...through the door...every second counts...

At the door of the storage building a half-dozen Luftwaffe men were waiting, sub-machine guns trained upon him.

He'd picked the wrong man to trust.

--------------------------------------------------------

newships.jpg

New Capital Ships

After a "interventionism" bump, 1937 kicked off the development of long range submarine technology. Two runs of the new Type IX boats are begun immediately.

Progress in industrial development allowed the start of construction on the Battle Cruiser Von der Tann in April. With the completion of Scharnhorst in July another Battle Cruiser, Moltke, is added to the production plan.

On other fronts, a new Naval task force is planned. The potential for Kriegsmarine "frog men" is intriguing and will be a new direction for research.

june1937tech.jpg

Technology Project, mid-1937

In September we finish research in Improved Air Carrier. This, combined with the completion of Bismarck and Tirpitz in October freed resources to begin work on a run of Destroyers and our first Carrier, Graf Zeppelin.
Soon after work begins on the Battleship Friedrich der Grosse and the Light Cruiser Stettin.

prod1937.jpg

New Naval Production

Our spies have been busy and we're actually starting to get some useful blueprints. Elsewhere Britain has shifted her focus from infantry to naval superiority. Hmmmmm...interesting. I guess we won't have a lack of nice targets to send to the depths!

spyresults.jpg

Espionage

UKreport.jpg

Britain revealed.

It looks like the naval plan will stay on schedule. The next goal is to begin one more carrier and continue cranking out everything else. It looks like the arms race is on, but I think we can win it with a little skill and lots of luck!

Next: 1938.