NATS 2006 Campain




There is always a big rush right before campaign to get things ready. The site hosts are setting up the bases. Captains are getting their battleships and cruisers ready to go. Then there are the crazy few that bring multiple convoy ships. They are always running around like headless chickens fixing this and that, trying to get all their ships to function. Tuesday always seams to be more hectic then Thursday, there is just never enough time to get everything ready. To start this year’s campaign on Tuesday the Allies had planed to have about half their fleet go out with cruisers and half start with battleships. Then the captains who had a second ship would change about halfway through. We were also going to launch several convoy ships right as campaign started. Things did not go as planed. The weather was very windy ruling out USS Yorktown (Our only Class 10 ship). I was also worried about the CVLs being able to make runs in the wind. Before campaign I tested one of them to make sure it would not be blown over. Thankfully things looked good on the test run. We spent a lot of time getting them ready right before campaign. Each one needs to get the deck tapped down so no extra water gets inside. This took a lot longer as we also needed to tape the flimsy plastic flight decks on, the Velcro would not hold them down in the wind. Campain started and our cruisers attacked the Axis targets, as they did the same to us. I still did not have Minneapolis on the water as I was trying to get CVLs going. The Axis had launched the Europa and Bremen close to the start of campaign and were able sit around with little attention. The Allies had already lost one of their big battleships as Don Cole came off the water with some kind of problem and two Houston Class Cruisers of Joel Goodman and Tim Krakowski also sank early on. The Houstons floated down the pond with there bows in still out of the water. We did not have the fire power needed to kill the big Axis convoys. They were able to drift along as the wind blew them around the pond. The Europa went into a turn, took the wind on the side and moved more sidewise then forward. The Allied cruisers finally found these large targets but had already spent most of there bbs shooting targets. I was only able to get a few shoots into them before they completed their forward run. Meanwhile the Allies had launched Kevin Bray’s LST (He would make 4 complete runs without getting hit), Charlie’s tiny Empire Campton, Steve Reichenbachs “Operation Petticoat Pink” sub and the three CVLs. The plan was for the CVLs to go into the channel and hide in the cove then make the run to the home base. Because we did not get them ready in time Tim & Brian had their Bismarcks ready for us. Tim had already managed to hit Steve’s sub, even thought he knew there were women aboard, sinking her far from shore. Tim said he saw a small section of the pink hull turn black from a sidemount shot and knew it was a sunk ship. Steve Reynolds changed plans as the CVLs got to the channel and headed out to sea. Doug Hunt, running one of the CVLs, was not able to follow as the rudder on his ship was not responding. He drove into the channel and Tim followed to pound him until he sank. The other CVLs made their run with out damage. The Axis dumped out the water from the big liners and sent them back out. The Allies cruisers were more prepared this time and started shooting up the big ships. The Bremen lost forward power and was an easy target. She sank in almost the middle of the pond. The Europa continued to the forward base under constant attack, fighting the allied ships and the wind. Her run was completed with out taking too much damage. The Allies quickly launched the CVLs to make the return run. The “Q” ship’s deck did not get on the right way and it looked like it would drag her under. She managed to make it to the far side of the pond before it fell off, somehow the ship managed to stay afloat. Steve Reynolds and Ty Supanic completed their return run and patched the convoy ship for another forward run. The Allies were not the only ones having problems. As Flugel launched his Baden he lost propulsion. His pump and guns still worked but he could not move. Dallas pushed him so he was sitting by the Allies home base. One side was against the wood barrier and the haymaker side was out to sea. His stern guns lined up just right so any Allied ship coming into port would get a couple quick shots. DW grabbed a chair and started to have an easy campaign. About half way through campaign all the Allied targets were down and only a few Axis targets remained. Wade and Luis were doing a good job guarding them. Wade had several pumps in his Bismarck to keep from sinking just for this. After shooting off the last of my bbs I called five and started to wait it out. I went over to Flugel's Baden and tried to push him around so his haymaker was to the shore. Doug Hunt also came over to start shooting him up. Tim & Brian came by and moved us away. Then I lost control of the Minneapolis. The pump turned off and I could not move, the receiver battery had died. Randy was nice enough to come over and shoot me a few times, then prop wash me, then try and push me closer to shore. She did not make it very far before sinking. I started to get the Warspite ready but found I had no control of her, another bad receiver battery. I switched to the one in the sunken CVL and headed off to make trouble with Flugel. By the time I had got Warspite ready the Baden had drifted to the channel. Kevin Bray had put the LST away and was ready to help me sink DW. I walked over to his ship and looked for Flugel. He was not paying any attention to the Baden. He was working on someone else’s ship. I yelled over to him “Hey, Flugel do you want to declare?” He looked over to see Bray and I lining up on him and came running over. As I got my haymaker in his bow I again asked “Flugel you sure you don’t want to declare?” I fired off three quick shots and he yelled out “I declare!” I was shocked and as I looked at Flugel he was too. Holes in campaign don’t count and he had just given us an extra 1000 points for a declare and I had only used three bbs. Kevin and I left DW to ponder his sink and started after some more Axis. Clark Ward was now making a run with my LST and Joel Goodman had taken out his freighter. The Axis had launched the Akashi. The bbs were getting low in most ships and all of these convoys made complete runs. Dana Graham launched his PT boat and made it to the forward base but was sunk on the return trip. After Clark was done with the LST he also took the Empire Campton out for a run. The Allies had now also lost Pete Demitir’s Des Moines, Brian Kohler’s Vanguard and Doug Hunt’s West Virginia. Brian and Doug both fell victim to Tim and Brian’s Bismarks. Trent Thompson’s Roma had taken the plunge for the Axis and Dave Au’s Frog CL had an unseaworthy sink for the Axis. I found Dallas a little too close to the Allied base and managed to trap him against the wood side and got a few haymakers into him. He pulled out of the base pumping pretty hard and ran to the far side of the pond. He told me that he had pumped out then turned off his pump, forgot to turn it back on and sank. The Axis had again launched the Europa. The Allies now had more big ships on the water and were able to hit her pretty hard. Luis rammed me and as I came into shore he hit me again on the other side. It looked like the end of Warspite as she barley held on but was able to make it to shore with out sinking. I patched her back up and headed back out. The Bremen made a forward run but did not try for a return. Charlie and I now found Brandon Smith’s Fuso and started after him. We chased him around the pond shooting him up before he sank by the Axis base. It was getting near the end of campaign. Steve had asked for a five minuet extension and we launch Joel’s Freighter, the Empire Campton and a CVL run by Martin Helsing. The CVL was a little slow in hitting the water and campaign ended with 5 seconds left on his timer.  These 1600 points that were missed by 5 seconds was the difference in victory and defeat. The three Axis had targets still standing, at the time they did not seam important but they started to add up latter in the week. Our wonderful divers had a lot of work to do. Curtis went after the Minneapolis and the top of the CVL that had fallen off. It took about 20 minuets to find Minneapolis, he could hear the pump running under the water or it would have taken longer. It took at least 30 minuets to find the top of the CVL. Leroy spent the rest of the day and several hours Wednesday looking for the pink sub. In the middle of the BOD meeting we saw him raise the sub out of the water as he walked in to a big round of applause.


Thursday Campain


This battle started out a lot more relaxed then the Tuesday battle. The Axis had started to pull away with victories Monday afternoon, Tuesday and Thursday mornings. The Allies were barely hanging on with the strength of their Tuesday Campain. We knew going into this battle we need a big victory to get back into it. The biggest thing for us to change was cut back on the warship sinks we had in the last battle. Our basic strategy would be the same as Tuesday, run lots of convoys and run them often. I had got the leaky rudder box on the Princeton fixed and the wind had died down so the Yorktown was also available. Missing from our convoy fleet were the Pink Sub and PT boat. Both of them had broken down from their sinks on Tuesday. The Axis added Steve Crane’s Altmark and lost Wade’s Bremen (It might have worked but it did not run). Martin Helsing was able to get his Cleveland class cruiser out on the water for the first time in this battle.

The Allies were ready for the start of campaign this time. We launched our three CVLs, run by Charlie, Doug Hunt and Steve Reynolds. Ty Supanic took out Charlie’s Empire Campton and Kevin Bray started with his LST. Both Ty and Kevin made five complete runs. The last of Bray’s runs were done by his son Bryan. The CVLs went out to the far shore and made their first complete run without much damage. As they started back the Axis launched the Altmark. It came under attack by several Allied cruisers and battleships. It made the forward base with some damage but not in danger of sinking. Steve emptied out the water and put it back out for the return run. It ran into more trouble going back and was sunk. The Axis again made quick work of the Allied targets. While Luis and Wade did an even better job protecting their targets then they did Tuesday. The Allied cruisers were able to get a few shots in here and there. When Wade started to chase off one cruiser and Luis was blocking another I made a quick run and knocked down three targets in one pass. I was able to get a few more shots and take out two more targets before going to reload. Mark Roe had launched his Akashi and was making a forward and return run. As I was coming in to reload he was going out on his return run. I was able to break in to the open and toss a few sterns at him before being blocked by one of the Bismarck’s. Mark completed this run and got the ship patched for another run. The Allied CVLs were starting out for their second run when I saw that the Bismarck’s were chasing the Vangaurd again. It was about half way into campaign and Brian had told me he had taken some damage but was still good to protect the CVLs on this run. Before he started his escorting job the wolves had taken after him. Brian headed to the far shore and was walking under the dock when looked down at were he was stepping. In that instant that he lost site of his ship it got hung up on the dock. The dock had an X brace right at the water and the Vanguard had become wedged in-between the two pieces of wood. There was no getting out. Along with the Bismarck’s Randy’s & Leif’s VDTs and a few other ships went to go shoot him up. I let Brian know not to declare and just let them use up their bbs. A couple of captains were telling Brian to declare but he had learned from Flugel’s sink on Tuesday. The Axis ship punished the Vandgaurd but the boards were holding him up. Tim was finally able to prop wash enough water into him to get the stern under for a sink. This kept the Axis distracted from our convoy runs and used up a lot of bbs. The CVLs made a complete run again but lost the “Q” ship on the way back. Bryan Bray had taken it over from Steve and it sank on the far side of the pond. Charlie was starting to have rudder problems with one CVL and put it away to get his NC out. Doug also shelved the CVL and took his battleship out. Mark had launched the Akashi again and made a forward run but sank on the return. This is where I made a mistake. I had only counted three of Ty’s runs with the little Class 1 ship. I thought we still had ten points to run the Yorktown. I wanted to get Charlie, Bray, Reynolds and myself on the water to protect it at the end of campaign. Steve had her ready to go and launched just as I found out Ty was on run number four and we were at 41 points, but now over at 51 points. This caused a little discussion after the battle as there is no set rule what to do if this happens. I wanted to call it a warship run and set out more LSTs and the Empire Campton to use up some more points. Steve actually had a pump in his hand before he launched the ship. We talked later about the laugh we could have had if he had put it in and turned it on just as he pulled into port. The Axis had put quite a few bbs into her on a mostly un escorted run. Only two cruisers had gone down by this time. Each side lost one ship DW’s Karlshruha and Martin’s Cleveland. Mark now took the Europa out for a run. The Allies had big fresh battleship on the water to take care of her. The escorts disappeared about halfway to the far shore. I was able to keep my bow sidemount on the big ship until it was empty. Steve’s I-boat was also getting some good shots in before the Axis escorts made it back. Europa made the forward run but was too damaged to make it back. Charlie and I now started after Steve Crane. Steve made the mistake of going behind Charlie and he got a bow full of holes. As he ran his ship got lower. Several other Allied ships joined in the chase. Steve and I trade sidemounts for awhile seeing who would sink first. Steve finally did next to the Axis base. I called five and pulled the Warspite to put Minneapolis back out to see if I could get some more targets down. I was reloading and gasing one ship while the other was sitting on the water waiting out her five. I wanted to have someone run my LST to use the last of our points up but we had just called our extension and did not have the time so the run would not count. I took Minneapolis out to the targets. It was turning into a big pushing match of Axis and Allied ships. I was one of the few that had bbs left but I could only turn one way. Charlie managed to push the Axis out of the way and I backed in to hit two more targets. Charlie got another hole open for me but I could not get into it with my rudder problems. Campain ended with 5 Axis targets still standing. Added up with the three from Tuesday this was another thing that decided the winner of NATS. Since most of the ships had sunk next to shore it was a lot easier for the divers to find them. The only one that gave them trouble was the “Q” carrier. As we added up the scores we found that the Allies had won a large victory (8,750 points). We knew we were now ahead by about 2,000 points. NATS would be decided in the fleet battle on Friday. Too bad there was not one more campaign left.