Mar 062009

I’ve just quit smoking, and the last five hours have been a little edgy, so please forgive any shortness or expletives.  That said, I’ve recently purchased Silent Hunter III (it’s been out for about four years) and am having a fantastic, while insanely frustrating, time playing it.

Fantastic, because you assume the role of a steely jawed, German speaking U-Boat skipper during WWII, wrath-handed and doom-leading.  If you captain well, your wake will fill with oil, fire, and death.

Frustrating, because my particular captaining skills apparently lack.   ‘ANGLE ON THE BOW?  WHO GIVES A SHIT?  SHOOT THE BASTARD!’  Well, sinking even huge, slow moving allied tankers, even from less than 3000 yards, isn’t that easy with unguided steam powered torpedoes if you don’t do the math and appropriately set all of your torpedo-computer-knob-things.  Or just change the game settings so all of that’s automatic (I later found out).

Overall, though, I’m having a good time with the game.  I bought it for $9.95 on Steam, but it’s also available for the same price here and here.  A fantastic mod is available as a direct downloand or torrent, and there’s also a great forum for the game.  Make sure you grab the v1.4b patch if the version you download isn’t already updated.

The game requirements state Windows XP/2000 only, but the Steam version runs fine on our Vista box, so I imagine the other download versions would, also.  YMMV.

There’s also a multiplayer option which I haven’t had a chance to try yet.  The PATIENCE‘s damn internet mast is on the fritz (get it?  Fritz!), preventing extended connectivity (I’ll be lucky to finish this post).  I’ll try to herd up some of the guys for a LAN match (after I get better at the game), though, and will report out with a full review after we’ve beaten the game into submission.

Silent Hunter IV is also available, but it’s not $9.95, so piss on it.


UPDATE: I cannot, with any integrity (as though there’s a lot of that laying about), provide a full review since I lack the patience to get into the full meat of the game.   Some pros/cons from my limited experience, though:

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Feb 162009
Submarine Pirate Ensign

The USS HARDER’s (SS 257) Fifth Patrol Report is online at the National Archive’s Navy Records site.  The three page report is also available right here on

Some prime examples of the crew’s unquantifiable excellence:

Bridge lookout sighted float type plane; – close.  Made quick dive to 120 feet.  Bomb exploded as we passed 75 feet; – also close!  The sub was thoroughly shaken and the event resulted in an early and prompt reveille for all hands but no damage of a serious nature was sustained.

At 3000 yards, both destroyers zigged 30 degrees to their right… and the picture became “just what the doctor ordered” for the HARDER.  At a range of 1000 yards on the nearest target, both destroyers were overlapping, with a 100 degree port track showing.  Gyros were near zero and torpedoes set for running at 6 feet.

Sighted aircraft… flying at a height of 100 feet, coming in off our starboard quarter and almost on top of us… He whizzed by the starboard beam at a range of about 100 yards!

Submerged to 150 feet.

First aerial bomb.  Not close.

Second aerial bomb; – damned close.  Increased depth to 200 feet.

And, in case you you think these events didn’t induce a pucker factor of at least 8 on the men experiencing them, a small, understated disclaimer is included in this report:

The above listed pandemonium may not be in exact chronological order but is as accurate as the happenings over that eventful few minutes can be remembered.

I can’t believe the amount of brass these WWII submariners carried onboard.  Submarine piracy via the G.S. PATIENCE may have its small adventures, but there is no way in hell we’d face off against two destroyers.  You can bank that promise.

On August 24th, 1944, during her following patrol, the HARDER and her crew were lost outside of Dasol Bay (Philippines).

At 0828 she (Japanese Patrol Boat No. 102) commenced a lethal series of depth charge runs, each charge set to detonate at a depth greater than the last. Somewhere below, the gallant HARDER was firmly bracketed, and the fifth salvo touched off explosions that finally ended the lives and career of HARDER and her entire crew.

Hit ‘Em Again, Harder.

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