Well, First battle was a sucess. We located many gremlins, though whether or not we will suceed in terminating them at a future point is still undetermined.
We had 4 ships today, Phil had the Richelieu, Hovey, in a bit of a throwback to days long gone, commanded the Suffren as his own ships are still in drydock, Darrel as typical had the Warspite and I brought the Derfflinger.
We concluded that the best way to split teams was to put the Derf and Suffren vs the Richelieu and Warspite – By units this isn’t very balanced, but looking at spead, maneuverability and general defensiveness of ships it seemed to be a good division.
Before the first sortie began the Derf almost sank in the time it took me to put her in the water, walk back to my table and retrieve the radio, and walk back to the shore. This wasn’t a very long time. Turned on the pump and was very unsettled by the amount of water being evicted, and more unsettled by the fact that the pump barely seemed to have the upper hand vs herever the water was coming from. Once the Derf had pumped itself out sufficiently we began the battle in earnest. Concluding that the Warspite was too maneuverable the Derf and Suffren proceeded to harry the Richelieu, who quickly discovered that her pump was not working. After suffering a good bit of attention by the Derfflinger and Suffren, the Richelieu, listing badly, settled to the bottom by the shore, her after deck awash and was declared sunk. The remainder of the sortie largely consisted of the Suffren and Derf attempting to bring the Warspite to action and mostly failing to engage in a decisive exchange. An accidental ram by the Suffren on the Warspite led to an end of the sortie.
Between sorties I ascertained that the massive inflow of water was coming from the port-side stuffing tube, or more precisely, somewhere there was a gap in the fiberglass job when I put it all back together. I stuffed the offending area full of blue poster-putty (I happen to keep a chunk in my toolbox for ridiculous things such as this) and hoped that it would slow the incoming stream. In this same time Phil concluded that he was having issues with the switch controlling his pump, so he bypassed it and wired it to be constantly on. With those ‘fixes’ made we were ready to proceed to sortie #2.
For Sortie #2 we maintained the teams, and again the Derf and the Suffren sought out the Richelieu. This time Phil seemed determine to try to maintain distance between himself and the Derf in order to stay out of range of the Derf’s guns and keep the Derf from getting under his own guns. Seizing upon some control issues Phill was having, and the Warspite preferring to hit and run rather than stay and engage, the Derf and Suffren closed in and systematically tore apart Richelieu’s brittle hull. Not long after, the Richelieu’s starboard side’s deck reached the water, her bow slipped under and she pungled beneath the surface of the pond, her stern waving in the air for a moment before churning its way beneath the surface.
Damage on the starboard side of the Richelieu
Following the sinking of the Richelieu, the Derfflinger and Suffren again attempted to bring to Warspite to action but were unable to do so decisvely, though Warspite was beginning to show signs that she had taken some hits in the red.
Unfortunately upon recovery it was discovered that the Richelieu had water in her radio box (again, this happens most every time she sinks more than 2 feet deep, she’s in dire need of some updates, but Phil has a lot of ships and only so much time) and was unlikely to be able to participate in the second battle. Being down to only 3 ships, and the afternoon drawing on, we decided to have one last sortie after patching and arming, and that we would attempt to sink the Suffren.
Battle #2 – Sortie #1 (The only Sortie) – Sink the Suffren!
Something we all already knew – the Suffren is a hard ship to pin down when there is plenty of open pond to run in. The Warspite and the Derf were able to inflict damage on her, but at no point was she in any major danger of being sunk. After about half the ammo was expended the Warspite’s ram bow caught the Derf amidships, pumping hard the Derf slipped back to shore for an inspection where she almost sank before being pulled. I understand that the Warspite and Suffren continued to engage in some cat and mouse games, with no conclusive results after this point.
The most critical thing from the day though – we all had fun!