Ice Breaker 2000

by Lars Dahl

We had six captains and seven boats lined up on Saturday morning. Lars and his son Andy showed up at Ron Horbul's pond along with the Inflexible and Bellerophon. Ron had his brand new Arizona and was still putting on her props.
The three Barrett boys were there. Curly had dusted off the Konig. Driving Curly's Posen, was Curly's little brother Paul. The final Barrett was cousin Danny, with a Vincennes and a Gearing destroyer.
We had many prospective builders, plus Bob Blomster, our insurance contact. We ran kind of a loose schedule, partly to promote the hobby to the spectators.
For the first battle, we had five boats head down to Ron's pond. Ron still needed some time to work on the Arizona.

At the pond, all five ships launched, and tested their systems. Everything was working, except for the Bellerophon's pump. Lars announced that the Bellerophon was not going out in the first sortie. Thus it was Danny and Andy versus Curly and Paul. Battle was called!
The two German ships took out after the Allied team. The German ships took great delight in their better turning abilities, and had no trouble hitting the high freeboard of the two Allied ships.
We could see the holes appearing in the Vincennes and Inflexible. Still, it was a bit of a surprise when the Vincennes slowed down and got low in the water. She went down bow first. I later asked Andy what he thought at this point, and he reported that he was thinking, "Oh great, now I have to sink both of them myself." Gotta admire that fighting spirit.

Andy fought the Inflexible well, and survived the first sortie.
There was a lengthy period between sorties. Bellerophon's pump motor was unresponsive, and the hex nut on his Tri-Pact pump rotor was rusted solid. Curly produced a spare Pearce pump which Lars decided held possibilities. It didn't fit in the low hull of the Bellerophon as is, but a few alterations with the always handy Dremel tool enabled Lars to squeeze it in.

For the second sortie, the Arizona and Bellerophon were ready, and the Axis admiral graciously let them in. As the British ships waited for the Germans to appear, the damaged Inflexible's pump stream was very weak, and the Inflexible was close to floundering.
Battle was called and Andy went "Five". The Germans closed in. The Inflexible floated in close to shore while she was being pummeled, and the rocks on shore caused her to list a bit.
Someone questioned whether she was resting on the bottom, and the CD ruled her sunk.
After that, the Germans tried their mettle against the new Arizona, which had a bit of a list, but still moved rather well on the pond. Guns were firing and the ship turned well.
The action was good, with ships making firing passes and hits being heard striking home, and the crowd cheering. All four remaining ships were pumping healthy streams. Then suddenly Curly said, "Oops!"

Konig was going down! It was a sight that ol' Lars had wanted to see for years! As the Konig's rear superstructure floated off, Danny launched his Gearing and fired her spurt gun into the still floating wreckage....such Allied atrocity.
This left the Posen as the lone Axis warship, but the Arizona was out of ammo and the Bellerophon had very little remaining. The Posen could spin with the center of rotation centered on its A turret (that's right, the ship will spin in a circle with the center of rotations being the A turret), and the Posen and Bellerophon emptied their guns and called "FIVE."

As the two ships finished, a cry came from Curly. "There's a ram hole!" He checked the other side of the slowly draining Konig. "There's THREE ram holes on this side!" Four uncalled ram holes!
Damage Tallies:
Vincennes 07-01-11 Sunk S1 1345
Arizona 13-12-14 1130
Inflexible 37-03-12 Sunk S2 1845
Bellerophon 25-03-07 675
Gearing 01-00-00 10
Total 83-19-44 5005

Konig 10-03-03 Sunk S2 1225
Posen 05-02-02 20
Total 15-05-05 1425


As you can see, Danny took a hit when he snuck out in his Gearing in the second sortie.
When the second battle was to start, there were six boats ready to go, but Danny withdrew his Gearing at the last moment.

Battle was called and the ships entered battle. It was the two Germans once again facing the two Brits and the new American battleship. Ron raced around wildly, firing as fast as he could, and the Posen took a ram hit from the Arizona. Paul pulled the ship out and announced that there was a ram hole.

Ron pulled the Arizona off to the side, and so that left the two Brits to tackle Curly. BBs started firing again, until the Konig took a ram hit from the Bellerophon. A much wiser Curly checked this hit, and once again there was ram damage. When battle resumed, Ron went on "FIVE" and that left the two Brits to combat the Germans. Lars tried to concentrate on the Konig once again. Inflexible began to get low in the water. Lars turned to Andy, and told him to turn on his pump. He said it was on. There was nothing that we could do. Nothing was coming out of the pump outlet, and she slowly went down in the middle of the pond, stern-first.

Danny went in a recovered the ship for Andy. After recovering the boat, Danny went and fetched his Gearing, which he decided was now ready. "Hey, can I come in?" he asked. As CD, I probably would have said no, but Curly, who was having control problems and was on five out of
control, quickly said no.
Despite Curly's control problems, it was difficult to pin down the Konig, and the battle ended without any more sinks. Paul did squawk a bit when fire from the Bellerophon's bow gun blew off a crane from the Posen. It's amazing how much litter comes off of such a small ship. Up in the shop, I asked Andy if he'd figured out what the problem was with the Inflexible's pump. He pulled off the deck, and looked around. "Hey, look!" he said, and pointed at some silver bbs in the clear pump line.

"Your pump screen came off," said Curly. I checked out his claim, and it proved to be true. The screen on the pump had come off, and the pump had sucked up four bbs and sent them right up the pump outlet tube. I was amazed that the pump didn't jam and short out the pump motor. Once again, I had to tell Andy that the Inflexible's sink was not his fault. I said that if he asked nice, Curly might let him back in the battle. Curly said it was okay.

For the second sortie, as Andy and I walked down together, he said, "Let's not launch until the German's are ready to go."
"Let's try to sandwich the Konig, so he when he tries to turn away the other ship is there to stop him." Andy agreed to try it.

As battle started, we moved in on the Konig. "Only fire on the Posen if he gets in your way, but stick on the Konig." I said. We attacked, and struggled to tag team the Konig. The Konig was after other game, however. Seems Curly was still miffed over the heartless shelling of his superstructure, and was gunning for the Gearing. It wasn't until after the Gearing had been sufficiently battered that we managed to get him into a sandwich, but the Konig stopped and the Inflexible overshot, turned to come back, and crossed the Bellerophon's bow.

Once again, a ram or two slowed the action. The Arizona dumped her ammo as quickly as she could. The Gearing came back out, having hid under the dock for a while, and ended up getting sunk by the Posen. "I'm going to have to squeeze a pump in her," said Danny as he waded into the pond once again. The Bellerophon's ammo was exhausted, and Curly was once again out of control, but still firing occasionally. Andy still had ammo, and chased the Konig while keeping an eye on the still dangerous Posen.

When he finally ran out of ammo and called five, Curly announced that he was
off five. "That was more than five," I said. "I know, but I didn't want to deprive him of his target while he still had ammo," said Curly. The Inflexible, having sunk in the first sortie, had no difficulty surviving in this second sortie despite not patching.

Damage Tallies:
Arizona 07-00-00 70 200
Inflexible 32-10-17 Sunk S1 2220 200
Bellerophon 27-02-05 570 200
Gearing 13-00-00 Sunk S2 530
79-12-22 3390

Konig 13-07-14 1005 200
Posen 09-00-01 140
22-07-15 1145

On the way home, I was exhausted, and I told Andy, "Well, now I feel like a hot shower and a good meal at Western Sizzlin'." Andy laughed and agreed, but he knew that we had no Western Sizzlin's in Minnesota.
Andy had to help his Mom on Sunday, as did Grant, and so it was only Lars that showed up at Lake Horbul the next day. He had patched and brought both ships back, because Ron had asked for a backup ship in case he couldn't fix the leaks in the Arizona. It was good that he did, Ron said more fittings had failed on the Arizona.

There was a new crowd of spectators too, and some had ship hulls to look at as well. Jason Shafer brought a Hipper hull, and there were a fleet of three, all started before the owner had learned about the hobby, and he was asking about their possible adaptation for our hobby.

The battle started with all five ships on the water, but the Gearing quickly came off when it was discovered that her CO2 had not been turned on. Thus the two Brits faced off with the low-down Axis war canoes. Paul once more took delight in spinning about the pond, playing with a pursuer and then dancing nimbly away. Lars was cursing under his breath because his port sidemount had jammed. Ron zipped back and forth in the Inflexible trying to get the gun configuration set in his mind. He too came back complaining of a gun that had jammed. As the boats tangled back and forth, the Gearing waited patiently under the dock for a German ship to pass unawares, and zipped out to empty her guns when the German scow was looking elsewhere.

Well, it seemed that everyone ran out of ammo at about the same time, and so we trekked back to the shed to reload. Ron had Lars look over the jammed gun on the Inflexible, and they test fired all the guns to make sure they were all working fine. In so doing, Lars failed to take the same precautions with the Bellerophon, simply dumping the bbs that were in the jammed gun, and then reloading, but failing to test the gun. It cost him, as when they launched for the second sortie, the gun still failed to fire, and once again he had to fight without his port sidemount.

This time Ron and Lars discussed a little strategy. Lars wanted to try to pin down Paul in a tag-team effort, as Paul was getting just a tad cocky. Ron agreed to try as well. It was a difficult task, but some more superstructure bits from the Posen did end up in the pond. In the meantime, the Gearing once again waited for her moment, then darted out and fired on the Konig. Curly took offense and tried to pin down the little ship. With about twenty seconds left on its two minutes, Curly pinned it in to shore, and the Gearing went aground.

The Konig, trying to take advantage, also had difficulty with the shoreline. Lars, seeing the opportunity to bring his haymaker to bear, brought in the Bellerophon to punish the German. The guns were firing hotly and the spectators were cheering and laughing. Then Danny said he was off "TWO", and reached down and touched his ship. Lars had been dislodged from his position by the Posen, and the Inflexible was there to try to also get in a few easy shots. Then the Konig finally worked herself off the bank and headed out to open water, pumping a healthy stream. The two Brits were pumping sporadically, but the Posen showed no stream. Curly leaned over to Paul, and said, "Don't you think you better try your pump?"
Paul just cackled, "Ha, I bet I haven't even taken a hit, every time I try it, it's dry."
In the meantime, Danny picked up his Gearing, and started complaining to Curly about parts of his smokestacks which were missing. Curly just laughed.

The Bellerophon ran out of ammo, and went on five. The Germans continued to maneuver with the Inflexible, but seemed reluctant to come in too close. Once or
twice when it seemed they were lining up for a team effort, the Bellerophon would move in and foul up the maneuvering of one of the duo. It turned into more of a stalemate, as the Inflexible and Konig called five, having emptied their guns.

Once again it was just the Posen, but the two Brits weren't heavily damaged and were able to avoid the Posen's dangerous sidemounts. After his troubles with the Arizona, Ron was having fun with the Inflexible, even after I reminded him that this was the first time he'd borrowed one of my ships and not sunk it.
"I was hoping you wouldn't remember that," he said.

Damage Tallies:
Inflexible 42-06-09 995 200
Bellerophon 31-02-02 460 200
Gearing 11-01-03 285
84-08-14 1740

Konig 10-03-10 675
Posen 02-01-00 45 200
12-04-10 720

In the end, the better German maneuverability and acceleration,
the high freeboard targets of the Allies, and the better German gunnery brought the Axis the victory, as they outgunned the Allies
246-39-80 to 49-16-30, scoring a minor victory of 9735 points to 2290.

So, the first Port Polar Bear Icebreaker 2000 trophy (An igloo with two gun barrels sticking out of it) went to the Axis admiral in a real squeaker. After the admiral's award, the Best of Scale award was given to Curly for the Posen, Paul got the Most Feared award , and Andy Dahl brought home the most damaged award.

An extra bonus award, the Swamp Monster award, was given to Danny Barrett, as it was difficult to keep him out of the pond so that we could battle. The highest scoring battle was the first one, and the scores went down in each following battle. "I thought we'd get better as the battles went on," he grumbled. "We did get better," said Ron. "We got better at avoiding their sidemounts, and they got better at avoiding our rams."