The Tangler at Engler


The annual Memorial Day weekend battle was held this year in a new location. Kevin Kaminski found a pond in Farmington in Engler Park. The pond is called Thomas Lake; itís not much of a lake but makes for a good battling pond. It would be large enough for a NATS, about the same size as the Coco Beach pond. It has a gradual drop from the shore into the water. It is chest deep out to 90í from shore and gets to be 8í in the middle of the pond. There is a small island and bridge at the far side of the pond that forms a small bay. We did not do any battling on that side of the pond. Opposite of the island is a small channel for slow ships to go hide in. A few patches of weeds were found in the bay and the channel, keeping us out of those areas. In the main battling area there was also a small patch of weeds that some battlers found as a safe area when on five. While others were run into it and became trapped for the hungry sharks to feed on. There are lots of shade trees to set your tables up under just a short walk from the parking lot.

Most people arrived at the hotel Friday afternoon, I rode down with Peter Ellison. We got to the pond around 4pm to check it out. When we arrived at the hotel we were greeted Randy Stiponovich who made it in from Colorado that morning. We were joined by Rick Whitsal and Tom Palmer from KC. Then we meet John Stangle from Louisiana. We all jumped into cars and headed out to dinner at a bar/restaurant across the freeway. Latter that evening we found Kevin (Our host) & Jim Kaminski. Mark Roe Chris & Dave Au snuck in from Michigan some time that evening. Tom Henchal & Tyler Heland had to leave Minneapolis latter in the day and did not get in until midnight.

Saturday was looking like a good battling day, light wind, some clouds and temps in the low 70s. There was a chance of showers latter in the day. What would a battle be without some rain. Everyone set up and the fleets were split into Flag & No Flag. The Flag Fleet would be: Bob Hoernemann Washington, Tom Henchel St Louis, Tom Palmer W. Virginia, Randy Stiponovich Glorie, Chris Au Haruna, Kevin Kaminski Graf Spee, Peter Ellison TMGBC. The No Flag Fleet was set up as: Kevin Hovis Missouri, Mark Roe VDT, Rick Whitsal Salt Lake City, John Stangle Scharnhorst, Jim Kaminski The Bike, Dave Au Nagato, Tyler Heland Minneapolis. Battle started with Chris & I going after Johnís Scharny. We chased him around the near shore. Dave came into help a few times but could not prevent the Scharny from taking the plunge. Mark & Tom were slugging it out in the corner of the pond and were pestered by the cruisers that came into play. Dave was tangling with Peter and every few passes with Chris & I. We headed off to chase the Mo around. Kevin was having some gun problems and kept us at arms length. Tom H had lost rudder control of the St Louis, He parked himself in the weeds and Dave game him a few shots. Dave must have felt mercy for Tom, since it was his very first battle and took a few shots then left him alone. Near the end of the sortie Jim, being a rookie Bike driver, thought when he was out of bbs it was time to park near shore and not get shot at. Chris had plenty of sidemounts left and put most of them into the starboard side of The Bike. You could stick three fingers in the hole below the water line he was able to make. We had Jim and John patch the belows and come back in for the 2nd sortie. Chris & I started off after the Mo but again had to chase and quickly grew tired and found some other things to play with. Dave & Peter were tangling near the weeds. Peter emptied his guns and pulled into the weeds to find some safety. Dave was not interested in following him in this time. Tom again lost rudder control and spun around the pond in a big circle. Meanwhile Chris & I had found a cruiser that was a little slower then normal. Rick did not get the ESC up to speed and had a long reverse delay. He quickly became the meat in a cruiser sandwich, sinking near shore. Mark had managed to put enough holes into the We Vee to also put her down. As the We Vee sank Mark got his VDT in perfect position to fire a few stern gun shots into Tomís bow as it came out of the water. The spectators were impressed and Mark is pretty sure he scored some below shots in that pass. Suddenly the quite of the morning was shattered with a load bang and the hiss of leaking CO2. Randyís Glorie had blown a main hose. The magazine explosion blew out a panel near the step deck of the light cruiser. It was quickly taking on water. Randy managed back it into the weeds and grab it just before it sank. I was now out of bbs and on 5, the Au brothers still had a few left. I tried to help Chris get shots into Dave which was fine with Dave because it gave him something to shot at. With about a minuet left on my 5 I cut Dave off and his pointy bow made a big hole in my bow. We decided it was not worth patching and continuing battle so we all pulled off the water. Turns out Dave had a whole 3 bbs left. Scores were:

Flags: Washington 22-5-21, St Louis 22-8-15, We Vee 84 10 21 sink, 0-0-0 sink, Haruna 4-4-14, Graff Spee 4-4-14, TMGBC 36-4-19

No Flags MO 63-14-12, VDT 14-3-7, Salt Lake City 34-12-32 sink, Scharny 73-15-15 sink, The Bike 11-4-31 sink, Nagato 40-8-11, Mpls 6-1-1

A big Flag victory 11485-8920.

The afternoon battle saw the addition of James Foster in the Andria Doria to the Flag fleet. Randy traded the Glorie for the Tiger, Kevin H put the MO away and took out my Montcalm, Peter (The Flag Admiral) jumped ship and went No Flag, Tom H also traded over to the No Flags. Rick Whitsal sat out and took photos. Some of the trading took place after the 1st & 2nd sorties. The St Louis had been having weird radio interference and was losing rudder control. We traced the problem to the rudder servo and the extension cable. The cable was new last year and did not show any signs of corrosion or high ohms in the wire. Must be another cursed wire. The weather started to look bad after lunch. Tom H had his IPhone along and checked out the local radar. We had some light showers moving in so we set up the tents. It had also got a lot colder for the guys who were wet. A few of them went back to the hotel over lunch to grab some warm or dryer clothes. The first sortie of the afternoon battle had everyone off to a different target from the first battle. Chris & I worked on the Scharny team. Peter got shot up pretty bad and hid out in the weeds. Randy was brave enough to slide into the weeds and try to put him under. But Peter made it off his 5 before he sank. John sank latter in the battle. Kevin H managed to drive the Montcalm under with only a couple holes in it. Not sure if he forgot to turn on the pump or just turned to sharp. Tyler also had the Mpls sunk with light damage. Chris & I got him in a sandwich and drove him under near the end of the sortie. The three slow ships (Tom P, James & Mark) spent their time slugging it out in the corner of the pond. The 2nd sortie had John & Tyler patched and back in. Chris & I went in to finish off Peter, he went down early in the sortie. As Peter sank I asked Chris if we should try to sink Dave. He asked me how much damage I wanted to take. We took a few passed on him then Chris found the Bike again and opened up another big hole on the starboard side. He also found the St Louis stuck in some weeds and finished her off. Kevin H drove the Montcalm under a 2nd time, might be why he always has the big ships. As we finished up the sortie the sun started to come out and warm things up. We decided that we could do a 3rd sortie before it was time to head back to the hotel. All the ships that could still float headed out on the water again. Peter took the Montcalm out this time as Kevin H wanted to get home and try to fix his guns. In this battle I thought it would be a good idea to tangle with Markís VDT. Well, I knew it was a bad idea but it was the 3rd sortie so what could it hurt. The first pass I made was very bad. Mark jumped on me and hit me with a lot of stern sidemount shots before I backed away. I was already starting to pump pretty hard. We traded a few more shots and I started to pump some more. The Montcalm was out of control backing into the middle of the pond. Not wanting to try and find it in the deeper water Peter dove in and swam after it. Using his high school swimming talent he quickly caught it and started to bring it back. We were cheering him on yelling to the breast stroke, now the butter fly. This took quite a bit of time and I thought I would run down my battery pretty fast since I was pumping hard the whole time. When he finally got out of the water Mark & Dave came by to finish me off. This part of the battled turned in my favor and I was able to get a couple good stern salvos into the Nagato. Chris & I also had several good sidemount passes on the VDT. Mark was pumping really hard now and was sinking as he drove into shore. It was a small victory for me as Mark sank before I did. I was sure I was going to sink. Dave still had bbs left and now Randy and Tyler came over to get their bbs into me too. Tyler was able to line up on my port side and put a ton of stern guns into me. I was staying very still trying to only move a little to mess of Daveís shots. I was not that worried about the stern guns as I was wooried about his nasty sidemounts. I sat there and pumped, just small movements as my 5 counted down, slowly. I was as surprised as anyone that I made it off 5 without sinking. I touched the ship and then drove it hard next to shore and it still did not sink. Up at the table everyone checked out the damage to the ships. Washington, VDT & Nagato had taken a beating. We found a weed plugging a large hole below the waterline on Washington, Iím sure that helped keep her afloat. Scores were:

Flags: Washington 79-20-55, Montcalm (Kevin) 0-0-3 sink, We Vee.61-8-10, Haruna 46-1-13, Graff Spee 58-4-10, Andria Doria 78-7-14, Montcalm (Peter) 0-0-0 sink

No Flags: VDT 71-14-31 sink, Scharny 32-7-10 sink, The Bike 32-19-25 sink, Nagato 120-9-27, Mpls 22-0-5 sink, St Louis 38-10-10 sink, Tiger 19-0-2, TMGBC 50-13-41 sink.

A crushing flag victory 17790-10070.

We headed back to the hotel, cleaned up and found an all you can eat BBQ buffet. We were able to get a table for 14 with no waiting and the food was pretty good. The vets introduced the Best/Worst 5 to the new guys. Saturday night was a long night of patching in the room Peter & I were sharing. We had a lot of holes to take care of. We also had some repairs to the ships, nothing major but the dope fumes in the room were at a very high level, even with the door & window open.

Sunday morning was beautiful outside, sunny and warm. Perfect weather for the new sweatshirt John bought at Wal-Mart. The Fleets were changed around so the Au brothers could work together. We now had: Flags: Washington, MO, SLC, St Louis, Glorie, Graff Spee, TMGBC.

No Flag: VDT, Scharny, The Bike, Nagato, Mpls, We Vee, Haruna.

This was the ďSink Bob BattleĒ. The Aus chased me around the pond the entire first sortie. It was hard to stay away from their sidemounts. Every turn I made one of them was there. It did not help that after I tweaked I forgot to reload my guns, each one was half full at best. But maybe it did help because I called 5 faster and got off the water without being in really bad shape. This gave the Aus a chance to put Peter in a sandwich across the length of the pond. Peter once again made a dive into the weeds. This time Dave chased him in. He lined up his bow sidemount and started to fire. Good thing for Peter there was only one bb left in that gun. Dave was very disappointed and back out. Peter took the beating and also made it off the water. Tom P did sink on the other side of the pond. He latter found a big ram hole that he did not call or remember getting bumped. The 2nd sortie I made sure to check my guns for a full load of bbs. I would need them. As battle started I walked up to Chris & Dave and told them I heard Hovisí motors werenít working and Tom P had no power to his guns so they should sink them first then come after me. ďIsnít that throwing your teammates under the bus?Ē Chris asked. My information was not believed, they came after me right away. We spun and fired and moved around the pond. I didnít get rid of all my bbs before they put me down, but I got rid of most of them. Just wish I had remembered to fill my guns that first sortie. They did have just enough bbs left to sink the St Louis again. Kevin K. had bbs left too and the Au brothers chased him around the pond for 10+ minuets. Kevin was laughing the whole time. They did get him into a sandwich but Kevin hit the brakes and the Aus shot each other. The Washington had taken a ton of damage, 6550 points. Scores were:

No Flags: VDT 15-6-2, Scharny 57-5-3 sink, The Bike 7-0-0, Nagato 62-3-9, Mpls 7-3-0, We Vee 42-7-1 sink, Haruna 57-6-12.

MO 8-1-6, SLC 4-1-0, St Louis 76-8-19, Glorie 3-3-1, Graff Spee 30-5-4, TMGBC 62-9-18 Washington 40-30-84 sink.

A big No Flag Victory 6570-12055

For the afternoon battle we traded ships around again and James Foster made it out after sleeping in to end up with:

Flags: Washington, MO, VDT, SLC, St Louis, Glorie, Graff Spee, TMGBC.

No Flag: Scharny, The Bike, Nagato, Mpls, We Vee, Haruna, Andria Doria.

I wanted to go sink Foster & Tom P before the Aus got me again. I was hoping they go after Peter or Kevin H. Things started off that way but then we ended up tangling. Peter & I tried to work as wingmen but those two were all over us. The Doria did go down later in the battle as did Johnís Sharny. Peter & I both got beat up pretty bad and after the sortie we were wondering who would sink first. I got the Montcalm ready knowing I was going to sink so I could toss it out there and battle with it this weekend. As the 2nd sortie started the Aus came after Peter & I. The Washington was doing ok taking damage, and then I turned a little too much and ran a little too far, this put too much water in the hull and she sank. I called man in the water right away and Peter was not fast enough going on 5. He had to wait until I was out of the water to call it and try and run away. I made it up to the tables and had the Montcalm ready when Peter sank. I got the cruiser on the water and found the We Vee sitting around so I dumped most of my sterns into her, so much for taking revenge on the Au brothers. I was messing around with Tom H, the St Louis had lost rudder control again, trying to prop wash hit under. He had a few bbs left and popped two of them into the side of the Montcalm, not an easy thing to do. The sortie ended and we sent out for a 3rd sortie. Peter & John wanted to patch and do a 1on1 so they stayed out of the battle. This sortie had the Aus trying to sink Markís VDT. He ducked and dodged them for a long time. He has one of the best deck seals Iíve ever seen. The stern of the ship was under water many times and it still remained afloat. I chased around with Tom P trying to get him to stop so the cruisers could get some shots into him. I misjudged the timing and hit him pretty hard on the deck rim. It popped part of my deck off, for the rest of the battle I had to turn carefully so water did not come in through the deck. Tom H ended up in the weeds getting shot up by the Aus again and sank at the end of the sortie. Scores were:

Flag: Washington 58-15-47 sink, MO 23-1-1, VDT 33-8-36, SLC 0-0-0, St Louis 75-9-24 sink, Glorie 20-0-0, Graff Spee 12-6-10, TMGBC 27-7-18 sink, Montcalm (Bob) 2-0-1.

No Flag Scharny 26-1-10-sink, The Bike 35-8-2, Nagato 60-5-6, Mpls 11-0-0, We Vee 59-6-28, Haruna 80-7-25, Andrea Doria 63-1-12 sink.

Another big No Flag victory 9990 Ė 13300

The Scharny on Scharny action consisted of Peter & John aimlessly wondering around the pond take shots at each other. There was not a lot of action and not a lot of holes either.

Back at the hotel we patched the ships up and did a little work on Tom Hís new Scharny. The next morning we woke up to rain and thunderstorms. The big red and orange blobs on the radar looked like they would last most of the morning. We might have been able to get a battle in-between showers but no one was that excited about battling in the rain and driving home wet. We got together for a group photo (short Kevin H & James), handed out best of class awards, said our good byes and headed home. Best of Class prizes for the event where some very nice T-shirts made by our host Kevin Kaminski. He is a new member and a first time host. He did a great job finding the pond, getting permission from the city, making hotel arrangements and getting all the supplies we needed. Best of Class Awards were:

Class 6 Dave Au, Class 5 Tom Palmer, Class 4 Chris Au, Class 3 Kevin Kaminski, Class 2 Randy Stiponovich.

In case you are wondering the righteous Flag Fleet won the Tangler at Engler by a score of 45,835 to 44,345. A lot of really uneven battles made for a really close overall score.