Saturday, February 21, 2009

Silent Hunter III, A Moment In The Storm


The storm was horrendous. More so than I thought. All I wanted to do was get to my patrol zone and settle in for 24 hours. Despite having set my engines to flank speed, we were only doing 14-15 knots. I didn't realize how bad it really was as the bow dipped down deep into the water then lifting completely out of the water.

Suddenly through the sleet I saw what I thought was a cloud of lighter grey mist but as we charged in closer, I realized we were headed straight for a C2 Tanker. It was less then 400 meters away!

I bellow hard to port, all emergency back! The horrid part was waiting for the crew to respond to the orders. It felt like forever but finally the rudder was slammed left, the engines strained against the storm.

Our boat was turning and slowing. We were still headed towards the tanker but despite being tossed in and out of the ocean, it looked like we were going to be ok. We could reach out and touch the tanker from the conning tower bridge.

I was just about to start pondering how I'm going to take this tanker down. The weather is so bad my sonar and radio guys never detected it. No one spotted it from the deck. We started to back off to trail it.

As we dropped back from the tanker, I thought they were shining a spot light on us because the ship lit up. Suddenly I turned around and there the source of the light was. A patrol boat was rushing down on us no more than 200 meters out.

Bullets ripped across the water toward the boat, ripping into the forward deck, taking out the deck gun. Crap! We had no options, I had to get away from that beast and put the tanker between us.

I order a crash dive, rudder hard to starboard. Yes, into the tanker. My hope was to get under it and put it between us and that pesky patrol boat who let rip with another salvo of bullets and a cannon shell taking out a part of our batteries. Watching the bullets striking the water, the bullet splishes coming straight at us was not a good site. Down went the flak gun... oh well, it's fairly useless anyway. I've hit quite a few planes with that thing, but never brought anything down.

Waiting... that's all it is now. 50 hours of boredom, 50 seconds of trauma, followed by the waiting. Ug, the waiting. The depth meter is semi-useless, but as we pass the 15 ft depth mark we've hit nothing, so I order a hard to port manuever all the while at flank speed.

All I want to do is get lost in the noise of the tanker. After I hit my desired direction, I order all slow while the damage repair crew works on the batteries. Gulp!

All in all, we silently dropped to a 70 meter depth and just putted away from the danger zone. Now the sonar man is reporting in. Apparently I was in the middle of a convoy and we never saw them. Thanks bud.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hi - sorry for the confirmation but I need to weed out the noise from the well intended comments. Thanks for leaving a note... - Bruce