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First Battle

February 1st, 2014. After one year of building and testing, it all came down to finally getting on the waters of Lake Prado with other ships that were going to be really firing at us. "How did we get to this point?"--my brother, Jason, and I wondered as we stood on the shore positioning our little destroyers against much larger cruisers and battleships.

We had stumbled across the SCRAP website two years ago and imagined how much fun it would be. We laughed and talked about exciting battles and tactics around the Sunday brunch table. We watched YouTube videos of battles and found "how to" videos. It all looked like crazy fun. After watching a live battle and getting on the mailing list it seemed like that was as far it was going to go. I had bought a Lutzow kit, but was immediately overwhelmed. The project seemed way too big. I knew nothing about radio receivers or how to plumb a CO2 cannon. And so, the kit sat and sat in my garage and it seemed as if the idea was not going to happen after all.

It wasn't until January 31st 2012, when I read an email message from Harry Hollins about a sale on ship plans from Profile Morskie. I talked to my amazing wife of one year (Shannon) about the idea of building a small ship from scratch and getting to know how everything works, and maybe joining SCRAP someday. She supported me 100% and even picked out the ship plan I should order and build--the USS Moffet, a Porter class destroyer. (I think she picked it by the name, which would be quickly changed to the USS Selfridge.) It was small enough to start with and Craig Matsuura was kind enough to let me take a look at his Z boat. He gave me some helpful pointers on what to start with for a cannon and motor setup. Actually, all the members of SCRAP pitched in the building of my first ship with very helpful suggestions and answering my rookie questions on what I should and shouldn't get. It took me about 3 weeks to finish building my first destroyer. I had enjoyed building it so much that in the following month, I also finished building a Fletcher class destroyer (USS Fletcher) and a small John C. Butler class destroyer escort (USS Samuel B. Roberts).

After multiple Friday nights of sneaking into the community pool after hours and scaring away surprised teenagers (you're welcome parents), we practice making sharp turns and not swamping our ships. We knew that we would be running around a lot from the larger, more powerful ships. We also knew that we needed to practice coming in close and whipping our stern to get a decent shot. It took some time and some frustrating moments of fishing our ships out and opening them up to redistribute the weight. It was fun and exciting to see our progress. Slowly the ships started to balance right and turning started to look smooth and easy. We felt ready...hoping we wouldn't sink on the first turn and be laughed out of the lake.

Now we were here, on the water, ready to go, ready to see what we could do. We whispered to each other trying to figure out who was friendly and who wasn't as we watched bigger and larger ships getting eased into the water. Ships began to move around and confusion started to set in as we quickly lost track of who was who. Jason mumbled something and I whispered back to stay close to the David's North Carolina, the big ship with the large American flag. Whatever he went after we would follow, but as soon as the battle started the North Caroline was gone, steaming right into the oncoming battleships. BBs whizzed by and Jason and I hung back, still confused on what do and who to stay close to and worst yet who to stay away from. Everyone was moving around and the water bubbled as shots splashed off targets. You could hear BBs smashing into the reeds nearby. It was so cool. Finally, after running away from two German battleships that streamed right towards us, we picked a target. It would be Todd Olson's Japanese cruiser the Mogami, simply because it had a large Sun-burst Japanese flag. I came in first with the USS Selfridge and fired my first shot off of the Mogami port side stern. "One shot, one hit," was our motto for the day. I could see my shot hit and bounce off with a splash. It was a little too early of a shot with a bad angle, but a success nevertheless. Jason came in next with the USS Fletcher and scored a very nice shot on the port side at mid-ship. We run around for awhile after that until the battle was over. We were very happy to have survived our first battle with only a few dents and one turret being blown off of the USS Fletcher. We had done good for rookies and getting a hand shake and pat on the back from Bob, David, Lisa, Steve, Tanner, Todd, Brian, and Ty confirmed it.

The first battle was Axis versus Allies with the Nassau switching fleets to help bring the units more into balance. It wasn't necessary as the numbers show:


Captain                    Ship                A   O   B   Pen  Sink  Points
Daniel Betts               Tegetthoff         34   4   3                 694
David Breshears            North Carolina     34   1   0                 868
Brian Eliassen             Chester             2   0   2                 521
Bob Graybill               Nassau             21   2   2                 694
Chris Graybill             Attilio Regolo      0   0   0                 174
Ron Gusman*                Samuel B. Roberts   0   0   0                  43
Ron Gusman*                Selfridge           0   0   0                  87
Jason McGee                Fletcher            1   0   0                 174
Total                                                                   3255


Captain                    Ship                A   O   B   Pen  Sink  Points
Lisa Doan                  Lutzow             37   7   4         900    -666
Todd Olson                 Mogami             28   4   5                 234
Ty Siouxpancic             Von der Tann       55   4   7        1200    -888
Steve Thrall               Baden              21   4   1                 351
Tanner Thrall              Von der Tann        7   2   8                 312
Total                                                                   -655

* I switched ships between sorties due to the mechanical failure.

For the second battle, we broke up the fleets and one fleet put flags on their ships which aided in recognition quite a bit. The flags were pink so of course that fleet was named "Team Lisa".

Team Lisa

Captain                    Ship                A   O   B   Pen  Sink  Points
Daniel Betts               Tegetthoff         41   5  11                 481
David Breshears            North Carolina     43   3   4        1800   -1199
Lisa Doan                  Lutzow              9   1   3                 361
Bob Graybill               Nassau             12   3   1                 481
Todd Olson                 Mogami             17   0   0  1200          -839
Total                                                                   -715

Duff & Fudd

Captain                    Ship                A   O   B   Pen  Sink  Points
Brian Eliassen             Chester            10   0   0                 423
Chris Graybill             Attilio Regolo      0   0   0                 141
Ron Gusman                 Fletcher            1   1   0                 141
Ty Siouxpancic             Von der Tann        4   4   5                 565
Steve Thrall               Baden              36   4  13        1500    -865
Tanner Thrall              Von der Tann       40   0   5                 565
Total                                                                    970

By the end of the day, the USS Fletcher would have three of its four turrets shot off and received two holes from the elusive Mogami. The USS Selfridge would brake one of its drive shaft unions and the USS Samuel B. Roberts would survive being chased by multiple battleships without a scratch. All in all, a great day with a great bunch of people who made us feel welcomed from day one. Thank you members of SCRAP for just being a fun group!