Bungo Pete and the Wonder Bear

by Bob Proctor

Two New Scenarios For TORPEDO FIRE

NAME:Torpedo Fire
SYSTEM:Apple II or Apple II+
FORMAT:Diskette (DOS 3.3)
# PLAYERS1 or 2
AUTHOR:John Lyon
PUBLISHER:Strategic Simulations Inc.
465 Fairchild Dr.,
Suite 108
Mountainview, CA 94043

Tired of attacking the same old convoy? Here’s a couple of unusual scenarios that you can use to spice things up. Both award victory points for getting off the map, which makes the game more “cat-and-mouse” than when points are given only for damage to the enemy. This results in trading some action for more suspense.

I assume that you know how to use the Shipyard program to create your own scenarios or can figure it out from the shipyard Data Card. Don’t hurry this process! Make sure that you get the data entered correctly as it’s very discouraging to play for half an hour before you discover a mistake — your sub can’t dive deeper than 100 feet or your opponent has a maximum speed of 180 knots.


Bungo Suido is the name of the strait between the Japanese islands of Kyushu and Shikoku and is the southern entrance to Japan’s Inland Sea. The antisubmarine patrol here gained a reputation among the skippers of ComSubPac as one of the most tenacious anywhere in the Pacific. With a sort of grudging respect, they humanized this unknown enemy with a name, “Bungo Suido Pete” or just “Bungo Pete” for short.

In the scenario from early 1945, a US sub tries to penetrate the Inland Sea. The US player wins if he can exit the map to the north, which means Y coordinate of 10,000 or greater (you can make it anything up to 20,000 if you want a longer game). Bungo Pete wins by sinking the US sub; any other outcome is a draw. This game is best with two players but it can be played solitaire. Of course, the computer will not attempt to exit the sub off the north edge. Even so, you may find it a good opportunity to develop your tactics with several escorts.

After choosing the Shipyard program, select period 3 (1944-1945) with 3 Japanese escorts and 1 American sub. Set them up as follows:

Ship-IDClass (class #)XYCourse
E1 AKITSUKI(1)01000180
E2 KAMIKAZE(3)-10001000180
E3 MATSU(4)1000100080
S1 TENCH(3)0-5000000

This scenario is intended to be a daytime game. It is much easier for the sub player if played at night and this could be done if that person was much less experienced than the escort captain.

SCENARIO TWO — The Hunt For Wounded Bear

On 8 May 1942, the Japanese aircraft carrier SHOKAKU was heavily damaged in the Battle of the Coral Sea. When US codebreakers learned that this vulnerable and important target would return to Japan by way of Truk, ComSubPac quickly set in motion a plan to ambush her. The damaged SHOKAKU was codenamed “Wounded Bear.”

The first phase was to send four submarines to Truk. However, Intelligence overestimated the damage and therefore underestimated her speed; Wounded Bear was safely inside Truk lagoon when the four arrived and was never seen by any of them. When intercepted radio reports indicated that SHOKAKU was on the move again, Pearl warned the USS CUTTLEFISH, then on patrol in the Marianas. But, the Bear didn’t put in at either Guam or Saipan and CUTTLEFISH never saw her.

At this point, it began to look hopeless. Pearl ordered subs DRUM and GRENADIER to take up stations off the entrances to the Inland Sea, but these areas were heavily patrolled and subs there were forced to stay under. This made it unlikely that either would spot Wounded Bear and neither did.

One US sub did see her, though, and was the only sub that had a chance of stopping her. USS TRITON was on patrol off Okinawa and her skipper, Charles C. Kirkpatrick (at this time the youngest sub commander in the Pacific), had been listening to all the radio reports. On his own initiative, Kirkpatrick estimated SHOKAKU’s track and ran at high speed on the surface to place himself in her path. At 3:20 PM on May 16, he spotted SHOKAKU and a single destroyer heading north at 18 knots. TRITON only had 1 torpedo left in her forward tubes, so Kirkpatrick tried to bring the stern tubes to bear. But SHOKAKU was moving too fast; even after giving chase on the surface, Kirkpatrick could not catch up.

And so Wounded Bear arrived safely in Japan. She was repaired, remanned and returned to the South Pacific. Here’s a chance to replay the meeting that might have prevented this. As there are no carriers in Torpedo Fire, you must represent SHOKAKU with a tanker. The speed and victory points can be modified to reflect the proper value of a carrier. As for the wounded part, our tanker will only have ten damage points left. This too reflects the absence of a full crew and damage control parties, more than the actual damage to the ship. The TRITON gets full torpedo tubes since there is no way to start with some empty. Admittedly, TRITON has had some things changed to her benefit. To offset this, the Japanese player will be expecting an attack.

The object of this scenario is for the Japanese commander to get SHOKAKU safely off the north edge of the map. In game terms, this means a Y coordinate of 15,000 or more. This is worth twenty points. In other words, the IJN can lose the escort (worth only twelve points, not fifteen as indicated on the data card) and still win the game while the US player must sink SHOKAKU to win.

This scenario makes an excellent solitaire game. Trying to escort SHOKAKU safely out of harm’s way can cause nervous exhaustion. Since the computer may put the submarine anywhere, you’ll never know whether it is ahead of, or behind you. About 25% of the time, a hard run north will get you off the board without any trace of the enemy. On the other hand, if TRITON is laying in wait, running straight north may result in an easy shot. If you dash north with your Destroyer, TRITON may slip in from the side. The longer you take to move north, the more time TRITON has to get into position. Add to this the very real worry that TRITON may put a fish into you just to get you out of the way and you can see why escort captains turned grey early. Played with two people, TRITON will always get a chance to attack.

Here’s how to use the shipyard program to create this scenario. Choose period 2 with two Japanese ships on the surface and one US sub. For El, the Japanese escort, choose number 2 — a HATSUHARU class DD. Give this ship a starting location of X=50 and Y=3500. Finally, modify its current speed to 18 knots and its course to 350 degrees.

SHOKAKU will be ship T1. Give a location of X=100 and Y=4200. Now modify all of the following fields in the ship data:

Victory points= 50
Maximum speed= 18
Current speed= 18
Course= 350
Maximum damage= 10
Current damage= 10
Surface guns= 20
Armor class= 5

If you’re wondering why the maximum sustainable damage for a carrier should only be 10, here’s the answer. If it were higher (and therefore different than the current damage) the game would award points as if the damage had all been done in the current scenario. Since we don’t want to give TRITON points for damage inflicted by YORKTOWN and LEXINGTON pilots, we must set max damage equal to the current sustainable damage.

The US sub should be a GATO class, number 2 on the list. It should be assigned starting coordinates of X=200 and Y=500. The only data field that needs changing is course=090.

Again, this is a daytime scenario. Happy Hunting!


These two books are highly recommended for anyone who wants to create Torpedo Fire scenarios for the Pacific theater:

SILENT VICTORY. by Clay Blair, Jr.; Bantam Books, New York, 1975.

HISTORY OF UNITED STATES NAVAL OPERATIONS IN WWII, by S.E. Morison; Little, Brown and Co., Boston, 1949 (last printing 1975).

There are 15 volumes; for this article, Volume IV, CORAL SEA, MIDWAY AND SUBMARINE ACTIONS was particularly helpful.

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