Silent Victory is played out in a series of patrols where you check for encounters, attack ships, and try to make it back to base. When you get back to base, you go through a refit where you can earn medals, along with getting upgrades for your sub and crew. Your job is to make it through World War II without getting sunk or relieved. The game has some role-playing aspects and does a good job of building a narrative of the action.
The game includes charts for the major classes of U.S. submarines used during WWII, except for the older S-class boats.For my game, I decided to start off in December 1941 in the Tambor class submarine USS Thresher (SS-200). I went with Thresher because she was one of the submarines that made it all the way through the war and I hoped that would help out my die rolling. Historically, Thresher went on 14 patrols, sank 17 ships totaling 66,172 tons. On 4 April 1945 she arrived in Pearl Harbor and become a training boat and was performing those duties when World War II ended.
|USS Thresher in 1940 (from NavSource.org)|
|Pearl Harbor Patrol Areas|
|Thresher ready to head out on patrol #2|
|One of my night surface attacks against two escorted freighters|
|Australia (Fremantle) patrol map|
|Upgraded Thresher with my new Commander stripes|
Patrol #6 was my least productive patrol. I was sent to the Marshall Islands and assigned lifeguard duty to pick up any downed aviators from carrier raids in the area. I successfully completed the lifeguard duty, picking up five downed aviators, but ship traffic was pretty slim. I only saw (and sank) two ships on the patrol. During refit I did get a new expert XO.
Patrol #7 was back to the Marshall Islands with a recon mission. The recon went well and I was able to add three more ships to my tally. The recon mission earned me a Navy Commendation, but I was passed over for promotion.
Patrol #8 was to the Marianna Islands for more lifeguard duty. I picked up six aviators and went on to sink five more ships. But it was another patrol where heavy damage forced me into a four month refit. The extra time in refit takes away from being able to get out on patrols, but it does eat up time so that the dud rate for the Mark 14 torpedoes goes down and new torpedoes (the electric Mark 18) are introduced.
Patrol #9 was to the China Sea with a minelaying mission. The mission reduced the number of torpedoes carried on the patrol, but the improved and new torpedoes proved their value. I had no dud torpedoes and ended up sinking six more ships. This earned a Navy Unit Commendation for the boat and my crew improved to Elite status.
Patrol #10 was back to Empire waters and I was assigned to a wolfpack. Being part of the wolfpack didn't help out much, as I only was able to sink three more ships. But by this time in the war there weren't a lot of ships left to go after. This turned out to be the last patrol of the war for Thresher as the war came to an end.
|Thresher at the end of the war|
|My VASSAL Patrol Log|
|Thresher's crew with her battle flag (from NavSource.org)|