Friday, June 13, 2008

I luv Silent Hunter III was dead midnight, the waves were rough and rolling and the spotter picked out two ghostly ships between sheets of rain, about 11000 meters off my starboard bow. i attacked the first Hunt 1 destroyer, threw a acoustically guided torpedo at its companion at roughly 3 minutes earlier, to allow the slower cruise speed, then fired another dead one at the first just to make sure......5 minutes later my first fish hit hard, dead into the port beam of the closer destroyer, then 6 seconds later the other slammed in right behind it. Two direct hits, and that one was going down fast. The homing torp did not give me the explosion i expected, so i checked my targeting map, only to discover it had somehow missed and become confused by the nearby explosive noise in the water. The missile wandered like a lost and hungry shark until i heard its detonation a few minutes later. I could not tell if it hit anything or not, as i now was focusing on a 3rd accompanying destroyer that was apparently hidden behind the injured and sinking hulk of the first! The remaining destroyers both seemed quite upset at the situation and proceeded to make a direct B- line to the direction they suspected i was hidden. They lit their spotlights and started dropping depth charges all around me...that time they missed...but then i heard the newly installed technology of the day take shape...the rhythmic, foreboding ping of a sonar searching the depths for my tell-tale signature under the surface. This must have also worked pretty good, because a few seconds later, i hear both ships engine rpm speed up as they move to bear due course straight above me. With my observation scope 3 feet above my conning tower, i watch.....and wait.....and listen for the direction of the forth-coming attack, to determine which way i will attempt to run. The water is a murky dark green, and as the sound of engines and blades cutting the water at 200 rpm approach, i only have about 3 seconds before i see its speeding hull coming directly up from aft of my doomed ship. Already i see the dark barrel shapes of depth charges falling down into the water, like a waterfall of metal coming to meet me. The destroyer is moving so fast i scarcely have time to lower my scope before it buffets the top of my conning tower with its belly, tossing my ship to the side like a log and screeching as metal on metal repel each other. Immediately, an officer yells that there is flooding in the engine room, and that spells bad news. I watch in horror as one of the loaded barrels sinks directly onto the back of my sub.....and explodes.

With the sound of breaking glass, twisting pipes and water spraying at 400 psi at my crew, the tail of my Type VII U-boat, pride of the fatherland, is sinking slowly down and pulling the rest of my ship with it. A quick look through the observation scope shows the mass of bubbles and leaking oil trailing up to the surface-like many fireflies let loose from a jar....

My depth falls from 20 meters to 45...then 60...and i know that the floor is waiting for me somewhere at around 289. I move to kick the engines into full ahead flank speed to break the decent, and pull my sinking ship back up to the relatively safe periscope depth, but the engines do not respond. They are damaged and there is flooding in the compartment. i scramble to move my repair crews into that bay and place my best officer in charge to bring maximum speed to the repair...but i fear it is too late. 85 meters.......111 meters....

i hear the groaning of the bulkhead beginning to be squeezed by the thousands of tons of water pushing me down...if i could just repair the engines fast enough...i could push this hunk of metal back up to the surface and continue purging the salt water out.

149 meters....170...... my navigation officer yells to me that we are dangerously below crush level...but there is no need to inform me of this...i can hear the creaking and groaning of my ship, i hear water starting to spray in closer compartments...the bananas and sausage strung up from a pressure line above the control room are hanging at 45 degree angles toward the back of the ship...where we continue to slip down.

Even now, the destroyers, now further above, loom like dark circling shadows. -metallic killers themselves, searching for prey. Without mercy, more barrels of explosives fall from the surface and break the water all around us. My ship shudders and shakes like a giant hammer has swung upon our metal back. More breaking bulkheads, more spraying steam. The sub lurches, i can feel the speed of our decent to the bottom now. I watch as a pencil rolls off of my plotting table, and onto the floor, only to sink into the pool of water which has reached my station. A strange silence overcomes every man in my crew, i see their bloodshot eyes though the din, as they look to me without regret, without contempt...but with resignation. They have done their job, they have played their part, and they know i have as well. It was not until the remaining red light went out with a "pop"...that i became afraid. The last sound heard by me that night was;

"Vater, wer Kunst im Himmel .... bitte...”

And the implosion...the sound like . . . . ..

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