From: Upstate New York USA
Here's the thing.
To begin with, the initial estimation can very well be completely off because the frigate changes course (from 250-ish to 210-ish) at some point beyond the spy's visual range and beyond where it can move to follow it.
When you do spot him on passives, there's a small-ish but meaningful and constant margin of error. You can't estimate an accurate course on that, not on the level of precision required to put you in the baffles close enough use your vintage torpedoes. Using reference points without a periscope precision gives you plenty of margin of error. So you don't know exactly where nor how far to move. You have to dive deep since you're within enemy sonar range, and your estimation when you pop up can be just inaccurate enough to see the frigate inexorably out of reach. It can pass a mere 2-3 nautical miles from your position, and it'll be too late to fire by the time you're in the baffles.
You were extremely lucky if you tipped off the frigate, missed it, and still it didn't counterattack with torpedoes nor its onboard helo. It hasn't been remotely so lenient to me.
So on my fifth try I did it. I still believe there's a significant chance factor in the target's approach due to lacking suitable intel, and you're forced to maneuver when the target's well within your torpedo range to get in its baffles before it slips away, a context common sense would say is suicidal. There's no way to tell how far you can push your luck, and I feel a real skipper would have more information. Against every instinct, I dared to creep closer (hugging the seafloor) when the frigate was within 1-2 nautical miles, banging away with its active sonar.
But it didn't detect me, and praying I was in its baffles (again no indicators anywhere I could find), I fired no less than four torpedoes at it as it was halfway from exiting their practical range envelope. The fish weren't detected and I realized I could more effectively wire-guide from periscope depth.
The primary lesson that sticks is that any submarine would be crazy to use torpedoes against a contemporary warship. Especially one with a helo.
The rest was far too unpredictable: I wasn't taught how far into a sonar envelope I can move, at which depth nor at which speed. Crucially, nor how my vessel's detectability interacts with the capabilities of the target's systems. All I know is that the enemy had a maximum sonar range of 35 nm and a bunch of figures in decibels as far as my submarine's signatures are concerned. Nothing usable other than the implicit suggestion not to show your side to sonar, which I already knew. I also had no concrete idea on how speed and depth and other ocean conditions interacted with all that.
I'm sure it's all simulated, but it's all incredibly obscure to the player, and it severely limits decision-making when all you know is that slow is good, deep is good, and both are best. It would really pay off to have more information on how far you can bend those rules, because strict adherence means missing targets in critical situations like this one. As it stands, you can only push the envelope blindly, safe in the knowledge you can save and reload if the game inescrutably decides you have pushed too far. That's not very rewarding.
<Written (slowly) as others posted....>
Welcome to submarine warfare! I have not played this tutorial yet, but all of the things you are talking about here are real tactical problems that a submarine commander faces. There is an element of luck in positioning, water and sonar conditions that can affect an engagement. Targets can change course and speed. There are a lot of elements that are out of the commander's (and the player's) control.
What additional information do you think a real-life skipper would have? Unless it is a 1st-rate power, the sub will not have any information other than a starting point for their search, and sonar and a periscope. The sub is otherwise cut off from the world. Passive sonar is inherently not precise, and sticking a periscope up in the air is an invitation to trouble.
Why are you trying to maneuver into the ship's baffles? Is it a specific requirement of the scenario? A far better shot is to get into position ahead of the target and shoot so the ship is driving into the torpedo rather than away.
From your post it seems like you are expecting the scenario to give you answers to the tactical problems. The scenario won't do that, because there are no answers. There is no particular limit to the sonar envelope, or a specific speed or depth at which the sub can move without detection. There is no "amount" by which you can bend those rules. The performance specs in the database are just a starting point for an estimate. Nor can those answers be put into a manual, because they change with every scenario, location, or time period, including within the span of any given scenario. What the tutorial does provide, beyond mechanics, is an opportunity for the player to test their tactics that they have developed (or guessed at) through outside research. This is a game that will require you to learn concepts on your own - you cannot just read the manual and win.
The good news is, pretty much all of us went through this process that you're experiencing. We all had to learn not only game mechanics, but the concepts underlying what the game is simulating. As a new player, you should expect to have problems. Once you have some experience and things start to click, it will all (mostly) be better! That challenge is part of the attraction of the game for me.
< Message edited by dcpollay -- 11/4/2020 2:22:27 PM >
"It's all according to how your boogaloo situation stands, you understand."
Formerly known as Colonel Mustard, before I got Slitherine Syndrome.