Wednesday Cruiser Battle:


Wednesday at NATS is a time to rest and recover from two intense days of battle.  By this time, both captains and ships have been tested, and often need some time off.  But the sun rises early in the northern latitudes, and so by 6 AM, I was up and ready to get to the pond.  So much for rest!  You can sleep when you’re dead.


Cruiser Battle has become a growing NATS tradition.  This year, we were racing a storm front.  So as the threat of rain loomed, 21 (!) cruisers made their way out to join the battle.   7 Axis captains answered the call to battle – Jeff Lide in Sakawa, Bryan Finster’s Mogami, Rick King’s Admiral Scheer, Dave Ranier’s Kumano, Marc Morin’s Mogami, Chuck Speltz in Lutzow and Kevin Kaminski’s Graf Spee.  14 Allied cruisers entered the fray:  Bob Hoernemann’s Montcalm, John Bruder’s Duca D’Aosta, Tim Krakowski’s Augusta, Peter Ellison’s DD – USS Gearing, Mike MangusGlorie, Don Cole in the Miami, Erik Grossiant’s Glorie, Mike Cucharella’s St. Paul, Tyler Helland’s Minneapolis, Tom Palmer’s Nashville, Kevin Bray in Des Moines, Maggie Grossiant in Fiji, Andy Terpstra in his Baltimore, while Randy Stiponovic rode “The Bike.”  The Allies enjoyed a 2-1 advantage in ships.  But the Axis never shrink from a fight, and soon war was called as dark clouds filled the sky and the wind began to blow.


Battle was joined and a general melee erupted immediately.  Cruisers spun, bobbed, and weaved, looking for those elusive stern gun shots.  Before long, rounds were flying and balsa was bursting.  The traditional stern to stern dance didn’t really develop – as the Axis were so outnumbered.  Several Allies tried a flanking movement to trap Dave’s Kumano and Marc’s Mogami.  Byran Finster and Jeff Lide initiated a banzai charge to thwart the attack.  The Allies, lead by Battlin Bob, Andy and Tyler lined up on the Japanese cruisers and let fly with deadly salvos, while the German pocket battleship trifecta made their attack runs on the American cruisers. 


Then – the unthinkable happened.  Don Cole’s Miami, fresh from speed trials went dead in the water.  Finster and Lide smelled blood in the water and immediately closed in for the kill.  The furball – if cruisers can have a furball – formed around Don.  Don had called 5 out of control and the Augusta tried to block for the Miami – positioning a pumping ship in front of the Axis fleet – all of whom had closed by this point.  The Axis didn’t seem to mind shooting the Augusta instead of the Miami.  But the damage was done and the Miami sank under the waves.  At this point, most of the cruisers were out of ammo and on five, so the sortie ended with the Axis in a commanding position.


The second sortie began and once again the fleets maneuvered to gain a firing solution on the dreaded enemy.  This is when my worst 5 of NATS took place.  I was able to sneak the Augusta around the fleets – and finally had Dave’s (or was it Marc’s) Mogami right behind my stern – and then, nothing.  My guns decided to take the sortie off.  I was sick to my stomach as I had to call 5 while the battle erupted around me. The Bike was sunk, it was probably vapor lock in the pump. As I was waiting out my 5, Maggie’s Fiji slid beneath the waves.  The final scores were Axis 4420 – Allies 3090.  The outnumbered Axis with their expert tactics take cruiser battle from the Allies.  Reliability and captain skill trump numbers any time.


After the Cruiser Battle Peter Ellison & Tyler Heland took there destroyers out for a 1on1. Peter had battled his DD, the USS Ellison, as his rookie ship. It had been sunk many times in local battles, never making it off a 2 minutes. Tyler’s DD, the FN Mogador, was his 2nd complete ship. It has never seen battle and has only been on the water for a couple sea trials. Both ships hit the water and “Battle” soon followed. Tyler tried to shoot at Peter and found his guns not firing. Peter was listing to starboard and could not move. It was like one of those old rookie battles where no one’s stuff worked. Tyler soon found his gun back in working order and started hitting the listing Ellison. He got the range and started making holes while the onlookers yelled encouragement. Soon Tyler was out of ammo and started to prop wash the listing ship in hopes on putting her under. Maybe if he would have had more time or bigger props it would have worked but Peter’s USS Ellison made it off of 2 for the first time. Final score was 0-0-0 to 13-4-13. That’s pretty good shooting for Tyler 30 hits out of 50 bbs. Both ships reloaded and Peter patched for sortie #2. Both ships worked at the binging of this battle. The standard stern to stern battled followed. Both ships trying to make passes and fire off a few shots. Tyler had a lot more luck getting his gun on target. Mostly due to Peter’s lack of speed. Peter’s gun had a delay in it’s firing, making the few times he lined up a shot misses. Peter called 2 and floated near the stump on the right of the pond. More calls for prop washing came from the crowd. Peter lay dead in the water againas Tyler tried to get lined up. Soon the crowd started to chant “Sink, Sink, Sink”. Peter’s pump came to life as Tyler’s prop washing was adding water to the hole filled hull. But before the ship could slip under the waves The Mighty American Destroyer was off 2, for only the 2nd time ever. No scores were submitted for the 2nd battle. All who witnessed it knew the Tyler had put a hurt on TMAD.


The Regional Challenge Battle was soundly won by Region 1, since no other region wanted to fight. Those ships at the pond broke up into two teams for the Smurf & Turf battle. Teams were Flag: Rick Adm. Sheer, Mike St Paul, Chris VDT, Kevin Graf Spee, Don Miami, Ty Warspite, Tom West Virginia, Randy Tiger VS No Flag Dave Kumano, Bob Washington, Tyler Minneapolis/The Bike, Paul Moltke, Bryan Yavuz, Chuck Lutzow, Andy Baltimore, Kevin Massachusetts. First sortie saw the two sides in a good hung n slug battle. The Big Mamie & Washington tried to single out the We Vee. The cruisers peaked at the edges of the battleships, once and a while getting caught in the action. No one was sunk and not a lot of damage was taken in the first sortie. Tyler lots a rudder servo and jumped on The Bike for the 2nd sortie. All ships reloaded and hit the water for sortie #2. This time the Washington and Big Mammie where able to get some more hits on the We Vee. Tom was pumping pretty hard as he ran. He appeared to get room for a rest when Tyler & The Bike where ram sunk. As Tyler went into the water the We Vee also went down. Tyler got The Bike back on the water and battle started again. Shortly after battle started again Mike’s St Paul slipped under the waves. Ty thought it was a pretty sink and watched the long cruiser slide down. The Washington was right there to fire off a long volley of sterns when Ty was not looking at his ship. Now the chased turned to the Warspite as the Washington and Big Mammie took off after Ty. Washington blocked Warspite so the Big Mammie could deliver some stern guns shots. Then Tiger backed in and shot up Washington. Then the two ship turned and traded sidemounts. The colorful Moltke soon found the bottom of the pond and Paul went into get her. Tyler took The Bike into harms way trying to block the Warspite. For his trouble Warspite ran him over in his 2nd ram sink in just a few minutes. As Tyler went in after the ship the Warspite also sank. After the ships were recovered Washington came into to attach the Tiger and VDT. All three ships were low on bbs and spent the last of them. Randy’s Tiger went out of control into a large circle. The Washington played blocker for Chuck’s Lutzow who still had a few stern shots left. All the ships were now out of bbs and battle was over.

Leif and Fluegel came down to the lake to do a 1on1 with their VDTs. It lasted for 1min & 50 sec. They pulled side by side and slugged a few shots into each other. Leif started pumping really hard and quickly rolled over and sank. Fluegel had hit him with a few good shots and had blown a couple large holes below the waterline.

Lars & Chris Au repeated their 1on1 from last year. Both ships pulled in for some sidemount work. Chris got the better of Lars but both ships where almost swamped by the waves. They both got caught in some weeds by the shore. Chris was able to power through the weeds and get his stern sidemount on target. Chris was hurt enough that the waves were starting to cover the pump outlet. Lars had just sank and we where hoping Chris would do the same. The waves took him into shore and a large patch of weeds. This probably saved him and he was able to make it off of his 5.

Bob & Andy went out for a 1on1 after Lars & Chris. This was a sidemount only battle to even up the odds between the class 4 & 6 ships. Both ships traded shots in the high seas. Bob’s shooting was better and he has higher freeboard. The lower I-boat took on too much water from the holes and the waves and sank.






Wednesday Night Battle:


The Axis Rule the Night!  The cry of the Axis fleet rang out once again.  Little did they know how wrong there were.  At the hotel, I started my night battle preparation in Bob and Ty’s room – looking to bum a ride to Night Battle.  I had some jeans on and had coated myself with 100% Deet – which happened to actually contain 98.16% Deet.  So much for truth in advertising.  As we left the room and headed for the car, I saw Battlin’ Bob’s fully hooded sweatshirt that he was planning to wear as mosquito defense.  It was then I went to my room to retrieve my rain gear with a hood.  When in doubt – copy the locals. 


This time, it was the Axis that held a huge advantage in numbers.  The Allies managed to muster just 6 ships for battle.  Lars’ Tiger, Andy’s Invincible, Battlin’ Bob’s Montcolm, Tyler’s Minneapolis, Mike MangusGlorie and Tim K’s Augusta.  Meanwhile, the Axis came out in force:  Tim Becket’s Bismarck, Paul Block’s Nagato, Fluegal’s VDT, Shelby Coffey’s Moltke, Paul Coffey’s Rivadavia, Chuck Speltz’s Lutzow, Peter Ellison’s Scharnhorst, Lief Goodson’s VDT, Chressler’s VDT, Finster’s Mogami, Kevin Kaminski’s Graf Spee, and Jeff Lide’s Sakawa. 


As the ships were launched, the Axis seemed to fill the pond as the Allies looked for nice dark places to hide.  The mosquitoes fed. 


The Allied plan was going well – until the Rivadavia launched with approximately 10M candlepower.  Somehow, Paul Coffey Managed to tap into the powerlines overhead to power his lights.  Night blindness ensued.  The mosquitoes fed. 


As war was called, the Axis converged on Lars’ Tiger.  Spotlights illuminated the target as the Axis big guns closed in from all sides.  Lars fought valiantly as Andy circled around trying to support his father.  The mosquitoes fed. 


The Allied cruisers swept in and made a pass.  Our plan was to run in, shoot fast and run for the shadows.  The plan was executed well until Battlin Bob’s Montcalm was ram sunk by the Glorie.  As Bob was going down, he was able to bring the Montcolm to shore just before it went the bottom.  Then the Glorie sank.  Bob was saying he was happy to see his rammer sink – until he saw it was a fellow Allied ship!  The mosquitoes fed.


Lars fought bravely while the Axis closed in for the kill.  The Augusta and MinneapolisBBs expended – managed to sneak into the shadows at low speed and ride out their 5.  The mosquitoes fed.


As soon as all the Allies managed to make it off the lake, the combatants ran to their cars to escape the relentless attack from the aerial menace.  Back at the hotel, mosquito bites were scratched and holes were counted.  The Axis scored another crushing defeat as the Allies were apparently too busy dodging mosquitoes to shoot back.  The final score:  Axis 4205, Allies 125.  That’s not a typo.  But even with this lopsided victory, the Axis conceded that it was the mosquitoes that ruled the night