submerging to safety.
Far from adequate compensation for the damage to the Scharnhorst especially due to the reduced VPs for sinking small counter escorts under the Daily Content sub rules, but it is a start.
The chancy weather also takes a toll on my returning search aircraft, as a step each of Catalinas and Sunderlands crash upon returning to the choppy, squall-tossed waters of their ports.
Overnight the weather improves to Rain, so if this holds for November 22 the subs and aircraft will be busy. In the meantime U-Boats continue their assault on my scout forces. CL Cardiff is torpedoed and sunk in AL50 on Turn 4, and the modern DD Mashona (worth more VP to the enemy than Cardiff) goes under on Turn 6, in AP39. On the other hand, the limited intelligence I receive from the raiders’ having to stay on-board alerts me to their probable course. They cruise northwest before disappearing; it appears they will attempt to shoot the Orkneys-Shetlands gap and curl around the north of Scotland in order to break into the Atlantic proper and go convoy-hunting. I vector a few of the watch cruisers as well as the Nelson/Rodney TF to potential intercept routes. This bit of intel also confirms that I have no need to fear a Channel breakout, so Hood’s group begins sailing west towards the general direction of HX.9 while the French go into harbor at Cherbourg to rest and refuel.
Lastly, in the first night turn (Turn 4), a new German TF appears at the extreme northeast corner of the map and begins sneaking down the east edge, north of Norway. This could be Bremen trying to return from Murmansk; but it could also be a dummy TF (scenario rules allow the Axis to form up to three decoy TF’s in order to confuse the Allied player about when and where, or even if, Bremen is appearing.) In any case, with the German light ship TF hanging around Jutland (more or less), and the BC’s having been pinpointed if only briefly, I can spare a few watch cruisers to investigate. Plus I’ll start vectoring my northern sub flotilla that direction.
The Daily Content sub rules are now beginning to pay off for the Germans. The German Dummy Transport is also paying off well by being somewhat of a distraction for the lighter British forces.
Daylight of November 22 sees the weather improve to its best condition yet: the rains stops, leaving heavy cloud cover but improved visibility. Aircraft on both sides are up - the Germans with Blohm & Voss flying boats on ASW patrol out of Wilhelmshaven, the British with a reduced number of planes on search and ASW patrols while several flights, shortsightedly based in the southeast of Great Britain and (in the case of 2 steps of Catalinas) way out of the way in Iceland, are transferred to a more active area (primarily Belfast.) In particular, the Beauforts are sent that direction, so that if air searches find the enemy they torpedo planes can attack well out of German fighter range. As it is, once again the RAF, FAA and Coastal Command pilots turn up nothing, though the enemy B & V's do spot one of my French subs in AT54 but are unable to attack it before it slips