On the 17th we had our mid-July battle at Swan Creek. The weather was a cool 60s with a mostly constant drizzle of rain throughout the day.
The following ships and captains were in attendance, along with a few guests.
- DKM Graf Spee – Joe
- DKM Scharnhorst – Pete
- Liberty Ship – Run by guest captains
- HMS Invincible – Hovey, captained on sortie #2 by Shylo
- SMS Westfalen – Phil
- SMS Derfflinger – Nick
- Maru – guest-captained by Hovey’s vet whose name I forgot
- DKM Bismarck – Alex
We split the teams up with the Graf Spee, Invincible and Derfflinger on one side, the Westfalen, Scharnhorst and Bismarck on the other. For cargo sorties the cargo ships would switch sides between sorties.
For Sortie #1, Red team was attempting to defend and consisted of the Derfflinger, Invincible and the Graf Spee. The opposing force was the Bismarck and Scharnhorst, reprising their historical aims to raid convoys. For reasons I don’t remember I think Graf Spee sat out sortie #1.
Early on in the sortie the Liberty ship lost control and was effectively out of the match. She lacks a pump and nobody really wanted to swim in the deep end if she sank. The Maru had a new-to-warships rookie captain for the day who did quite well for himself, having heeded the advice of his protecting powers and moved quickly from buoy to buoy, not wasting time in reverse. Meanwhile the Invincible and Derfflinger did their best to occupy and harass the OpFor’s attention and keep themselves between the big Germans and their prey. Only having to shepard one ship made this task easier.
At some point the Derf and I-boat were both attempting to engage the Bismarck along shore where he is more vulnerable due to his deep draft and poor turning, in the process of breaking out the Bismarck pushed the I-boats stern under, from which it recovered, pumping heavily, only to have the scenario repeat itself shortly after. Following the second time the I-boat succumbed to her newfound cargo and slid under the ripples, leaving only her marker float (a fishing bobber) behind. Sometime around this point the Maru slipped under the ripples as well.
Feeling brave I continued to engage the Bismarck with the Derf, enjoying my maneuvering advantage and doing my best to shred some balsa. Unfortunately in the process I drove over the I-boat’s float and pulled it into both props and rapidly found myself tethered to the I-boat. Fortunately for me, this occured near the end of the battle and both the big german’s were pretty much out of ammunition, and so I survived the unfortunate incident without too much damage.
Fort Sortie #2, I recall that Shylo drove Hovey’s invincible, and our rookie Maru captain reprised his role. This time Red team is the raiding team while the big Germans, with the aid of the little german, the Westfalen, attemt to defend the cargo ships. Near the end of the sortie the Maru was listing badly and the Derf was doing its best to keep opening new holes in her, an attempt hamped by low co2 and sidemount magazines that didn’t want to feed consistently (teething problems are so much fun). Soon after though the work was rewarded as the Maru slipped under. Not long after the Maru’s going under, the Bismarck had the unlucky fate of tangling up in the Maru’s float line. Somewhere in this mess the Westfalen sunk, I believe by its own merit.
The final sortie consisted of Joe’s Liberty ship, the Scharnhorst, Westfalen and Graf Spee and Derfflinger. This was a largely uneventful sortie as the liberty ship mostly sailed unmolested as the various warships attempted to deal damage to eachother.
End of Sortie #1, start of Sortie #2