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Safe-Keeper

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29th September 2004

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#1 13 years ago

[COLOR=navy] (Forgotten Hope 2-related)[/COLOR]

Expanded submarine warfare

This article focuses on submarines and anti-submarine warfare, in eager anticipation of a Rheinübung-in-the-MediterraneanJ naval battle map for Forgotten Hope 2. It’s not clear to me how Battlefield 2’s engine handles large moving objects such as ships, but I’m pretty certain it’ll work out all right eventually. Heck, if Prolific Games could make space maps and the Silent Heroes team could work all the magic they did for their splendid modification, anything can be done.

I’ve already written some things on submarine warfare in the FH2 suggestions thread (and received positive response, if I might add), but I felt there was so much material about it that it deserved an elaborate post in its own thread.

Contents:

  • I. Geography and maps

a. Underwater topography. b. Anti-submarine/-torpedo nets and mines. c. Other hazards.

  • II. The submarine

a.Communication. b.Propulsion. c.The Deck Gun. d.Anti-air. e.Using torpedoes. f.Torpedo types. g.Periscopes. h.Decoys.

  • III. ASW

a. Types of ASW units. b. The destroyer. c. Destroyer ordnance. d. Positions.

  • IV. Conclusion

(Sources attached) I. Geography and maps

a.Topography. b.Anti-submarine nets. c.Other hazards. a.Topography As any submariner knows, topography and terrain does not only play a role on land: It’s important for submarines, too. A sub’s main method of escape is to go deep and then make as little sound as possible. It is thus at a severe disadvantage in shallow waters.

“Hugging the bottom” is especially risky with [COLOR=blue]inaccurate charts[/COLOR] that fail to correctly portray the depth of an area. Deciding to make your depth 90 metres in a pretty shallow may lead to a noisy impact with the bottom and potential damage to the submarine. In reality, subs had acoustic devices to relatively accurately determined the depth under the boat’s keel, but I don’t see how this could be implemented in Forgotten Hope 2.

Below is a chart with imprinted depth, courtesy of everyone’s favorite sub game (Silent Hunter III for those dumb enough to guess something elseJ). As most might gather, darker areas are deeper.

Varying the depth of the map’s seas should do a lot to make sub combat more interesting, especially if depth actually makes a difference (if depth charges are programmeable, etc.).

b.Anti-submarine and -torpedo nets and sea mines Anti-submarine nets consisted of “curtains” of chains hung from threads which were in turn hung from bouys. Although surface ships could most often simply brush over the sub nets, subs that ran into them risked getting caught in them.

Anti-torpedo nets, very similar to anti-sub nets, were designed to detonate torpedoes that ran into them, to protect dams, anchored ships, sub pens, ports, and other valuable targets.

In Forgotten Hope 2, I suppose it’d be very difficult and laggy to make a “real”, dynamic sub-net that the sub could actually run into and get entangled in. A static anti-sub net “wall” that the sub could collide with and take damage would do it for me (it’s how Silent Hunter III does it, tooJ).

Mine fields worked the same way as those on land. Mines were either anchored to the bottom of the body of water in a random pattern or allowed to drift freely. They detonated upon impact or when they “sensed” a particular metal within their effective range. Pic of anti-sub net below.

c.Other hazards and elements. There are many other potential dangers underwater. For example, a particularly shrewd map designer might put a static destroyer wreck on the bottom somewhere along the path the submarine is likely to take. If placed correctly, a wreck that lies at an angle with one end pointing towards the surface might actually provide cover to a sub that manages to squeeze itself beneath it.

II. The submarine

  • Communication
  • Propulsion
  • The Deck Gun
  • Anti-air
  • Using torpedoes
  • Torpedo types
  • Periscopes
  • Decoys
  • Positions

a. Communication All submarines had radioes in World War II. These had some major drawbacks, though: They could only be used while the sub was surfaced, they were easily left useless by enemy weapons destroying the sub’s radio antenna (unless the crew maybe brought a spare one), and they excelled at giving away the sub’s position to enemy listening facilities. The German subs’ failure to maintain radio silence is known to be one reason why the subs suffered so horrific casualties late in the conflict: Stationed far in-land, British facilities with their towers easily picked up and triangulated enemy subs’ communiques, and even de-coded their messages. A hunter-killer group was then dispatched to destroy the sub, which was a rather easy endavour.

It’d be interesting if subs in Forgotten Hope 2 could only communicate while surfaced, but I suppose it’d be near-impossible to code that.

b. Propulsion Submarines of World War II, with the exception of the Type XXI electro-boat developed late in the war, had two engines: A fast and noisy diesel engine used on surface, and a silent electro-engine used while submerged. The electro-engine’s other drawback was that its batteries were expended quite quickly.

It’d be nice if subs were fast on the surface (about 14 knots), but sluggish underwater (about 8 knots).

c. The deck gun

Early in the conflict, German subs used 8,8cm, and later 10,5cm deck-mounted artillery as a secondary weapon when hunting ships. While submarines make poor artillery platforms due to the fact that they roll relatively heavily in rough seas, in the early war submarines used them to decent effect. The German navy finally stopped using deck guns when the Allies began arming their merchants to the point where they actually outgunned the poor sub.

The deck gun could have several types of ammunition, for example HE and AP shells as well as flares. Maybe incendiary shells and/or smoke, too. Ammunition types are detailed below:

High-explosive shells: Shells designed to have a wide blast radius. Useful against crewmen and lightly armoured targets. Armour-piercing shells: Shells designed to penetrate armour. Incendiary shells: Incendiary shells, such as white phosphourous, are designed to set their targets alight, dealing heavy damage to infantry and destroying targets that are made of flammeable materials, such as wooden houses (of which there are admittedly relatively few of on the Mediterranean SeaJ). Could be useful, but I’d rather see flares as a secondary ammunition type. Flares: Relatively harmless shells that are designed to illuminate an area for surpression (suddenly seing a flare going off over your head just as you thought you were undetected should have a way of getting to you), spotting, and targetting. Courtesy of dynamic lighting. Smoke: Totally harmless (in-game, at least – in reality, it probably caused some discomfort). Covers an area with thick smoke. Don’t think submarines packed smoke shells, though, as diving was a better way to hide by far.

Default controls could be: Mouse: Aim. Primary fire: Fire. Hatch up&down keys: Switch ammunition types. Control: Duck behind gun shield.

d. Anti-air There’s not very much to be said about anti-air weapons on submarines. Generally, submarines were to dive if attacked by airplanes, and like deck cannons, anti-air guns were unreliable when waves were high. The Germans did equip certain “anti-air submarines”, called “u-flak”, with additional anti-air guns specifically to escort other subs in threat areas where air attack were common (such as the Bay of Biscay, west of France), but the idea was scrapped after only a short time and the “u-flak” was converted back to normal configuration.

The most common anti-air ordnance on subs was not a flak gun, but rather a machine gun, such as the German 20mm. Later models had more than one machine gun as well as a heavier AA weapon.

e. Using torpedoes Before firing the torpedo, you should be able to set its speed and heading (yes, although torpedoes were fired straight forward, they could be programmed to turn to a specific heading – they could even practically make 180° turns), and which type of torpedo to fire (to be covered shortly).

As these additional controls may leave the submarine captain short on hot-keys and make him feel slightly overwhelmed. Therefore, it might be an idea to put a second ”Weapon Officer” position into the submarine. Whoever is in it has control of the torpedoes and the attack periscope (periscope types covered below), and nothing else. Whoever is at helm, in turn, focuses on navigation and makes use of the observation periscope.

For example, let’s say you’re down in a u-boat in 1942 and you’ve got straight-running gas/steam torpedoes in tubes 1-3 and a homing Falke in tube 4: Hatch up: Raise attack periscope. Hatch down: Lower attack periscope. Turn left: Increase torpedo speed, reducing its range. Turn right: Decrease torpedo speed, increasing its range. Mouse: Aim (program torpedo bearing and depth). Primary fire: Launch straight-runners in tubes 1-3 (one at a time). Secondary fire: Launch Falke in tube 4 (shorter supply).

f. Torpedo types Pretty few people realize that there were several types of torpedoes in World War II, some of which only became available later in the conflict. These are the categories I know of:

·Straight-running torpedoes: As the name implies, these torpedoes had bearing, depth, and speed put into them and were then launched. Once they got onto their assigned bearing, they went… straight forward until they hit something, detonated pre-maturely, or ran out of fuel.

·Pattern-running torpedoes: Like the straight-runner, the pattern-runner was fitted with certain navigational data prior to launch. However, these datas also included certain other things, as the pattern-runner was rather different from its older cousin. While the straight-runner ran straight ahead until its fuel went out, the pattern-runner travelled forward only for a set amount of time, for then to either circle or go into a ladder pattern, as shown in the Silent Hunter III-screenshot below.

The patterns made the torpedo extremely useful when engaging convoys or task forces, as it was very likely to hit something as it repeatedly crossed the convoy’s path. Multiple ladder/circle torpedoes, in turn, were a near-certain hit.

The crew launching the torpedo decided in which direction the torpedo would turn, how long it would go before turning, and so on. Don’t think this will be possible or useful in Forgotten Hope 2. I’m sure circle-running torpedoes will be doable – just put them on a RotationalBundle – but I don’t know how useful they’ll be, either.

·Acoustically guided torpedoes: Homing torpedoes, such as the German Falke, or ‘falcon’, were also fired with pre-programmed navigation data, but, when launched, started ‘listening’ for loud engine noise, which it would in turn lock on to. Even if the torpedo missed its mark, it would very likely turn around and try to hit again, making it very lethal. The only sure-fire way to dodge the Falke was to swiftly reduce your throttle setting and begin evasive manoeuvres. The biggest disadvantage of the Falke was that, just like many of today’s homing projectiles, it did not distinguish between friend or foe: If its intended target was lost, it could very well decide to try to sink the submarine that launched it instead.

In addition to the types of guidance systems, there were also two primary types of propulsion for the torpedoes: Electricity and gas/steam engines:

Electrical torpedoes left no visible bubble wake, which made the torpedo impossible to spot with the naked eye. While this was good for the submariners as it did not give them away, it also meant they couldn’t track the torpedo themselves to correct their aim.

Gas/steam torpedoes gave themselves away by the classic bubble trail, but were faster than their electrical counterparts.

It’s also worth mentioning that early torpedoes failed to detonate if they did not hit a ship dead-on, at 90° – they had a nasty tendency to bounce off of hulls they hit at an angle.

g. Periscopes If the sub is to have two main positions, helm and weapons officer, it is incredibly convenient that World War II-era submarines actually had two periscopes – and that these periscopes were used during navigation and attack, respectively.

The attack periscope was, as the name suggests, used when preparing or executing an attack on a target ship. It is smaller and thus harder to detect, and magnifies better than the observations periscope.

The observations periscope had a larger head which let more light trough, making targets easier to spot in relative darkness. It also has a wider field of vision, allowing the user to spot targets easier. Finally, it is able to be turned 90° upwards, making it useful for tracking aircraft.

h. Decoys

Decoys would be useful if some sort of radar, sonar, or hydrophones are implemented. Put simply, a decoy is a noise-making device deployed from a separate launcher on the submarine, and is designed to present a signature for the enemy to detect. They are highly useful if a sub is under attack and needs a diversion to escape a destroyer or similar threat.

i. Positions

The sub could have these positions:

  1. Captain. Navigation, observation periscope, and decoys.
  2. Weapons officer. Torpedo control, attack periscope, sonar/hydrophones.
  3. Repair team. Primary fire slowly repairs submarine.
  4. Deck artillery, when surfaced only (if possible).

5-6.Anti-air weapon(s), when surfaced only.

Leaving positions 1-3 puts you at the bridge. Leaving 4-6 leaves you by the respective weapon.

I sincerely hope the Forgotten Hope dev team somehow can figure out how to enable several people to be in a sub together without drowning.

III. Anti-submarine warfare (ASW)

a. Types of ASW units. b. The Destroyer. c. Destroyer Ordnance. d. Positions.

a. Types of ASW units

Destroyers were, in World War II at least, the ship at sea that was the most effective at sub-hunting. Additionaly, in Forgotten Hope 2 there could be planes with torpedoes and depth charges, and perhaps some light patrol ships like armed trawlers and torpedo boats.

b. The destroyer

Destroyers are explained below by Encarta, although most people here know what they are:

Originally posted by: Encarta encyclopedia The dividing line between destroyers and cruisers is blurred. Destroyers are usually vessels between 5,000-10,000 tonnes (…) Destroyers usually carry at least one gun turret for surface warfare and mount guns of up to 12.5-cm calibre, reflecting the occasional need to close with other vessels in potential combat situations. More typically, though, destroyers form a “screen” around a task force, deployed between the high-value carrier or amphibious assault ships and the most threatening air or submarine threats.

The pic below is of an Italian Soldati-class destroyer. I love the red stripes.

c. Destroyer ordnance

Destroyers in Forgotten Hope 2 could have this ASW ordnance (in addition to cannons and perhaps torpedoes):

·Sonar, hydrophone, and/or radar: These devices pretty much work the same way, except from the hydrophone, which listens only, rather than sending out “pings” of sound and then listening for them to return.

I don’t know exactly how radar, sonar, and other such tools would work, but maybe they, too, could be advanced in some way, with blind-zones, the option of manual rotation, loss of effectiveness against slow/deep targets, and so on. It’d be interesting if the sub commander knew when they’d been picked up by sonar (if they heard the “ping”). Depends on what the engine allows for.

·Depth charges: I need not explain this one to deeply, I thinkJ, but let’s cover the basics: A depth charge was simply a barrel filled with explosives. The barrel had a depth-measuring device, and relatively slowly sank to its programmed depth where it exploded. They were horribly inaccurate as the crews deploying them could not physically see their targets and were reliant on ASDIC (ASW search systems), and even though the charges had a fairly large blast radius, they were only useful in certain conditions. I think it’d be nice if there was one or more separate depth charge positions on the ships equipped with charges), to allow the player to aim and fine-tune depth-charges based on what is known about the target.

The player could for example have an overhead view and use hatch up/down to set the depth of the charge, for then to use primary fire to use.

·K-Gun: The K-gun was, as far as I know, always mounted on the side of the ship. Rather than being a rack that seamen rolled depth charges off of, the K-Gun was a mortar of sort that fired the charges into the air so that they landed about 15 metres off of the side of the ship. It meant that depth charges went off in a wider area, and that the explosions were less likely to damage the ship.

·Ramming. A destroyer in attack run was fast for such a big thing, accelerating from a cruise speed of about 16 knots to a impressive speed of 25 knots (about 50 km/h). In comparison, a surfaced VII-C moved at about 17 knots, and while submerged, only about 8. Add to this the difference in mass from the little submarine and the big armoured destroyer, and you might be able to guess what the result of a ramming would be. In Forgotten Hope 2, destroyers should be really fast and high-speed, and high-velocity ramming should deal heavy damage to smaller ships like Higgins boats and submarines.

·“Mousetrap” and “hedgehog” ASW mortars (late-war only): The hedgehog and mousetrap fire a cluster of small bomblets at the enemy. The instructions booklet of Silent Hunter III covers the hedgehog better than me, both in text and in pictures.

A bigger threat to the U-boat was forward-throwing weapons such as the [h]edgehog, a salvo of 24 projectiles landing simultaneously in an elliptical pattern over the U-boat’s suspected position. The attack is delivered while still maintaining ASDIC contact with the target, making it a much more accurate weapon. In addition, the projectiles would only explode on contact with the U-boat, which meant no ASDIC blind zones would be created unless a hit was scored.

There’s little to be done to escape a Hedgehog’s attack except increase speed and depth and change course. Without the aid of the external camera, the only hint of the attack you may get is the noise of the 24 projectiles entering water – which may be too late. Fortunately [for the submarine], a single Hedgehog is not a very powerful weapon. It carries a very small explosive quantity, and thus it lacks the potential for a catastrophic kill.

The more recent depth charges carry magnetic or acoustic devices that detonate the explosives in the vicinity of enemy craft. Two types of multiple-launching mortars were also developed. One, nicknamed Hedgehog, threw charges in a circular pattern far ahead of the ship that launched it, and a lighter launcher with less recoil, nicknamed Mousetrap, threw a pattern of charges in a straight line ahead of the launching vessel and at right angles to its path.

Illustrations of the Hedgehog ASW mortar, also from Silent Hunter III, can be found below.

d. Positions

The destroyer could have these positions:

  1. Captain. Navigation, ASDIC.
  2. Main cannons, Hedgehog/Mousetrap.
  3. Depth charge racks.
  4. K-Guns.
  5. Torpedo rack.
  6. Anti-air.

IV. Conclusion Land battles in Forgotten Hope are incredibly well-detailed, with land mines, barb-wire, hedgehog obstacles, tanks, trucks, artillery, deployable crates and weapons, and so on and so forth. Equally detailed naval battle, with life-boats, patrol craft, mine-layers, merchants, carriers, ASW warfare, surface engagements, shore bombardment, and so on, spread out over several maps, has at least as much potential. I hope to see diverse naval warfare included in FH 2 some time in the future, once the devs tire of having us play in the sandJ. Sources ·Norwegian Illustrert Vitenskap (aka Science Illustrated), 16/2005. ·Silent Hunter III manual. ·Encarta Encyclopedia.




Fuzzy Bunny

Luke, I am your mother.

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#2 13 years ago

Nice article, not much left to say. Frankly, I think a lot of the issues with subs could be solved with higher surface speeds and more internal crew positions that do not die when the sub submerges (we had this discussion--the conclusion seemed to be that it would be possible and "we'll see what happens in FH2). And of course submarine-launched 2-man inflatable rubber rafts would rewl Pacific maps :-)

I'd love to see some of the features you describe, including topology and expanded weaponry. The main objection I can see is that "realistic" naval warfare is wayyyy too slow and long-winded to hold anyone's attention, if you consider that even fast sub hunts could take several hours, and that many FH players just tend to charge straight in, i.e. treating surface ships like tanks.

Currently, a major problem with subs that I'd like to see addressed is the fact that, when a destroyer comes anywhere near you, you're dead. No chance to hide; you can submerge, but that's pretty pointless. I'd like to see it made a _bit_ trickier for a surface unit to nail a submerged sub than "point in general direction, full speed ahead, if you can't ram him then dump depth charges, w00t, profit." I'd also like to see a slightly more useful set of tools inside the sub itself (in RL you'd be able to listen to destroyer propeller/engine noises, and have an active sonar to give you _some_ idea of where the dude is.)




Safe-Keeper

Aw, c'mon Cyan, it's quality!

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29th September 2004

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#3 13 years ago
The main objection I can see is that "realistic" naval warfare is wayyyy too slow and long-winded to hold anyone's attention, if you consider that even fast sub hunts could take several hours, and that many FH players just tend to charge straight in, i.e. treating surface ships like tanks.

That's a very good point. Some ships in Battlefield are just so slow that it's a joke.




Ronin Pedroshin

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#4 13 years ago
Safe Keeper I sincerely hope the Forgotten Hope dev team somehow can figure out how to enable several people to be in a sub together without drowning.

Wow yes that would be great. If somehow there was a way to code vehicles to not have water inside them... Also I think it would be nice to have battleships and the like to have more or less detailed interiors so, for example, you could infiltrate a ship and kill the captain who is directing it, kill the sailors manning the guns or sabotage it setting some timed explosives in the engine rooms to instantly sink the ship. Hmm but I guess the latter sounds a bit too 007'esque :p




blackcat13

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#5 13 years ago
Comrade PedrovskaWow yes that would be great. If somehow there was a way to code vehicles to not have water inside them... Also I think it would be nice to have battleships and the like to have more or less detailed interiors so, for example, you could infiltrate a ship and kill the captain who is directing it, kill the sailors manning the guns or sabotage it setting some timed explosives in the engine rooms to instantly sink the ship. Hmm but I guess the latter sounds a bit too 007'esque :p

Yes a commando map whit british divers like in the game hidden and dangerous 2 Yes divers if its posebol doe it :P




spartanlegend

Waiting patiently for FH2

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#6 13 years ago

Time for a Naval overhaul me thinks. I'll admit i'm more at home flying a torpedo bomber or at the helm of the Bismarck then at a sub i'd love to see some of these put in, such as the new map system and the HOMING TORPS! l




Safe-Keeper

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#7 13 years ago
Wow yes that would be great. If somehow there was a way to code vehicles to not have water inside them...

That's not what I meant, though. I'm referring to how in Battlefield 1942, if a vehicle is submerged, only the person at the #1 position is protected from drowning: The rest die as if they were swimming.

I'll admit i'm more at home flying a torpedo bomber or at the helm of the Bismarck then at a sub i'd love to see some of these put in, such as the new map system and the HOMING TORPS!

What about a Swordfish with a homing torpedo:smokin:?




Guest

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#8 13 years ago

mabey we could see the attack on syndey harbor in 1942?




wjlaslo

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#9 13 years ago

At the time that homing torps were in use, who would fly a swordfish? But homing torps could be very useful in taking down pesky I-class subs in a Pacific late-war FH2 map. The said projectile could go toward the nearest player in the vicinity, which would, of course, include your own ships. There is one fascinating (to me atleast)case where an Avenger TBD knew that there was a sub, running from a hunter-killer group. He dropped his homing torp and a few minutes later there was a boom and sub parts floated to the surface. Cool huh?




Mr.MuFf

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#10 13 years ago
ANZACSASmabey we could see the attack on syndey harbor in 1942?

Lol, yeah, maybe a bit far fetched but it'd still be cool.

We all this included u could have Naval raids of Taranto and Malta etc. with human torpedo's etc.

One thing i'd love to see is a huge naval and airiel battle around Malta (Operation pedestal??). Just think, Stukas, destroyers, aircraft carriers, battleships! It'd be insane!




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