Battle Report: M2- The Breakout Begins


Header art by Major Sniper

Last night the battle for Big’s Disco Palace took another turn as PAPI forces successfully extracted over 170 titans from the M2 hellcamp. In a dramatic battle involving over 3000 capsuleers, the PAPI coalition suffered losses of over 2 trillion ISK as they broke through the bubbles to rescue their beleaguered comrades. Imperium casualties are estimated at around 500bn, including 6 destroyed titans.

The fight for the Keepstar in M2- has seen the bloodiest battles of World War Bee and this latest instalment will be remembered not only for the extraction of half of PAPI’s trapped titan armada but also the 411 dreadnaughts that were sacrificed in order to make this operation a strategic success. Over the past few weeks, the PAPI coalition had been probing for weaknesses to design suitable tactics to breakdown the Imperium’s bubbles and mitigate their defensive advantage and last night saw them enact this battle plan.

A Stealthy Nightmare

At around 05:00 UTC, TEST Nightmares landed on a recently anchored Fortizar and commenced clearing sub capitals around the bubble camp below the Keepstar. This action was combined with a 150 man “Goku” stealth bomber fleet firing bombs at the anchored bubbles while inflicting heavy casualties on the Imperium’s interdictor squads. As gaps started to appear the first of many Titans logged in, with a few Ragnaroks quickly falling prey to the campers.


As the battle escalated, PAPI carriers, with some supers, landed on the nearby Fortizar, sending their fighters to assist in clearing bubbles. The Imperium’s response was to bolster the camp with additional titans, carriers and a Rohk fleet. This move was met with an immediate response from PAPI, that cyno’d over 400 dreads at 0km on the Imperium titans. A large number of HACs were also deployed, and although marginalized by the vast numbers of titans, supers and dreads on the field, the sub capital fleets provided vital cover for the extraction by destroying a huge number of interdictors and bubbles.

The story of this stage of the battle will be remembered for the heroic sacrifice of the PAPI dreadnaught fleet as it brawled at point blank range with the Imperium’s titans. Of the 435 dreads that landed on the doorstep of Big’s Disco Palace only 26 would return home; yet without these losses it is unlikely that PAPI would have been able to extract so many titans safely. After months of fighting, it is clear the PAPI leadership understood that they would not escape M2 without substantial losses.

The Disco Continues…

As the dust settled on another awe-inspiring fight in M2- both sides have once again claimed a victory. The rhetoric before this battle was that the camp would never be broken, yet through a combination of trial by error, quick learning, and hard graft from thousands of pilots, PAPI has completed a remarkable extraction. This will undoubtedly renew hope of continuing their invasion of Delve and regaining lost momentum. Yet, after months of hard fighting, the loss of 411 dreadnaughts will further stretch already pressured wallets, and more pressingly, use up vital stashes of ore reserves.

Yet, despite the recent PAPI success, the Imperium maintains the advantage in M2; with less than a week until a cyno jammer can be put online, plus the bonus of a jump bridge to 1DQ, they are aiming to further stall the invasion of Delve. The Mittani released this message shortly after the battle:

“M2 NUMBERS UPDATE: Not gonna try to spin this one, they spent 411 dreads to do it but they got a pile of titans out tonight. 137 titans remain trapped. 181 extracted or died (five of these died, I believe). They executed competently; we executed our reply competently: they sacced their dread fleet to get a solid pile of titans out. 137 titans trapped in M2 is still a huge oof, perhaps they’ll feed us more dreads to get those out, too?”.

Aftermath & Analysis

Although fighting has been costly for both sides, it is important to note that the M2- Keepstar is the first attempt by attacking forces to destroy a heavily defended Keepstar in Delve. Although the extraction will go down as a success for the PAPI coalition, it was caused by a series of operational mistakes that caused their titan armada to be trapped in the first place. Both sides are learning quickly how to win these battles when the odds are against them, the Imperium having suffered severe losses assaulting Keepstars in NPC Delve at the start of the war.

With the fight for M2- still ongoing and other Keepstars such as Helm’s Deep and more auspiciously, The Imperial Palace in 1DQ remaining, the question of how to defeat fortress Delve still remains.  One thing is clear; the war will continue to be a bloody affair for both the defender and the invader.

Battle Report:

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  • Guilford Australis

    PAPI did well on the first extraction despite the cost. But now they’ll need several more successful ops to pick up the stragglers (130+ titans plus supercarriers and capitals), and I suspect those won’t go as well. And gods help the unlucky pilots who miss the big ops and end up going through the meat-grinder anyway. There will be plenty of those to feed the hellcamp.

    January 27, 2021 at 9:52 PM
  • Moomin Amatin

    I have been saying ever since M-2 first happened that PAPI should rip off the band aid. I thought that 80% would be perfectly reasonable to save of the PAPI titans trapped. As it stands PAPI have not reached that number as they still have over a hundred titans of the original 300 or so trapped. It was still a very good break out though and I would give it a C/C+. Anyone in The Imperium who thought that the hellcamp was unbreakable was being silly. It could always be broken if the price to break it was willing to be paid. It was.

    Now about those hundreds still trapped PAPI? What about them? M-2, the battle that PAPI just keep losing.

    January 27, 2021 at 10:27 PM
  • Deni'z von Meanace

    This rescue ops gonna be presented as greatest victory of TAPI since beging of the war. Imperuim need to think of how to improve hellcsmp effectiveness. Since the main objective is still killing Sepercaps but not kamikaze dreads. I see why drwds been primary target in this case but it’s an obvious move since they’ve been too dangerous to let them kill Imperium titans instead. In upcoming second rescue attempt shortly.

    January 27, 2021 at 10:35 PM
    • kwnyupstate . Deni'z von Meanace

      The greatest PAPI victory in achieving a reduction in the biggest blunder in the history of the game. Like drowning and kicking to get a little closer to the surface.

      January 28, 2021 at 1:18 AM
      • Deni'z von Meanace kwnyupstate .

        You know how badly they need sometning and this is perfectly fit into their weak propaganda. They would spin it for ages like a most successful rescue ops ever.

        January 28, 2021 at 3:57 AM
        • Garreth Vlox Deni'z von Meanace

          They don’t have a choice at this point, they are hemorrhaging numbers and losing ihub contests in delve while losing ihubs and stations in cache and eso. They HAVE to spin this as some big brain chess master move to convince their guys to keep logging on. Unfortunately it’s coming a month to late, they needed to do this before siberian squads left and winter/frat started moving assets back north. Now even if they get some momentum back they lost some of the numbers that were their only advantage.

          January 28, 2021 at 6:09 AM
    • I don’t think dreads vs supercaps matters honestly. The hellcamp was never realistically going to hold all those supers forever. Heck: we shouldn’t have been able to hold them even this long given PAPI’s numbers advantage. The hellcamp was about capitalizing on a strategic error and forcing PAPI to pay a heavy price to set their affairs back in order. Both of these objectives have been accomplished: Goons have been able to make significant inroads breaking sov and re-securing various bits of space. PAPI have gotten half their titans out, but only by paying a ~2T isk toll on their way out.

      We’ll keep camping: the next breakouts will also incur a pricetag. Some supercap pilots will be unlucky, and won’t happen to be around when the flashforms happen. Those pilots will be stuck in M2 for a long time.

      Remember: the reality is that this situation should never have happened in the first place. If PAPI leadership were confident enough to log back in after downtime during the first fight, they could’ve continued to trade 1:1. But they didn’t have the nerve. Now they’ve been stuck in a quagmire for weeks, they’re down 2 trillion isk, and they still have a significant assets trapped. Yes, the breakout successfully released a lot of titans, but it’s a bit of a pyrrhic victory when you consider the weeks of strategic back-sliding and immense ISK cost of the last month’s antics. And for what? Failing to kill somebody’s ratting outpost? Doesn’t make sense, and doesn’t bode well for an assault on a strategically-relevant system.

      January 28, 2021 at 7:33 AM
      • Deni'z von Meanace Ganthrithor

        What i meant is that they didn’t intend to engage their titans anyway snd the major objective was to extract as much titans as they could which went well. They even was ready to feed you their supers if the things went wrong. But along that they brought cannon-fodder dreads cache which Imperium have to work on vs. tackle titans and kill them cause these dreads could deal muxh more damage to Imperium force if you left them unattended. All 6 Imp Rags been killed by dreads. But looks like after-party is ongoing Imp did catch 4 more titans )

        January 28, 2021 at 12:34 PM
        • The dread meatshield was a solid strategy for getting titans out: I’m just not sure it really matters in the grand scheme of things whether its 2T of dreads that died or 2T in titans. Certainly it “looks better” from a morale standpoint “We freed our titan!” but a mineral shortage is a mineral shortage: replacing *a dread* is easy, but replacing *four-hundred* dreads is going to be rather more difficult.

          January 29, 2021 at 12:31 AM
          • Deni'z von Meanace Ganthrithor

            Agree with you – from the morale standpoint extracted 100+ titans sounds better vs. lost 400 dreads )

            January 29, 2021 at 12:45 AM
    • To be fair, the UK still celebrates Dunkirk, which was a similarly large clusterfuck of an extraction.
      Mind you, we won that one in the end, and you know who gets to write history.

      January 28, 2021 at 12:16 PM
      • Deni'z von Meanace phuzz

        Yeah i know who enters Berlin first and who made the whole dirty job instead Anglo-Saxon coalition.

        January 28, 2021 at 9:24 PM
  • Simon Chui

    The PAPI redditors are so hyped about taking a month to fix half the mistake that they should never have made in the first place, ha. Just think, this incredible victory would never have been possible if they didn’t get their supercaps trapped there!

    January 27, 2021 at 11:49 PM
    • Garreth Vlox Simon Chui

      I can’t imagine being happy that you fed 400+ dreads to correct a pair of massive mistakes made by the idiots in charge.

      January 28, 2021 at 6:05 AM
  • kwnyupstate .

    All Imperium needs to do is keep defending keepstars and PAPI will be bled dry quick. All this from just ONE keepstar. The battles for keepstar timers will not be flash forms like last night and the sever won’t handle a invasion of 1DQ anyway.

    January 28, 2021 at 1:16 AM
  • Seir Luciel

    I actually will agree with Moomin on this one: materially this is a C. There are still many more Titans to go and until those are out PAPI should not celebrate too quickly. However, in terms of morale this has the potential to kick PAPI out of their malaise. The morale boost could be an A+ for PAPI, though it is yet to be seen.

    As a PAPI member I am not too happy about the 2 trillion loss but I gotta say on the whole I feel a big sense of relief. Even if there are still many Titans still trapped. I’m probably not the only one feeling that way and that is going to be reflected in the size of PAPI form ups in the near future. The morale boost isn’t something Goons should take for granted.

    January 28, 2021 at 4:58 AM
    • Orihara Izaya Seir Luciel

      Ironically, a semi-successful extraction may be what is necessary for a (granted, likely not-too-long-lived) armistice in this war to occur. The titans trapped in M2 were forcing the hand of PAPI. I find it likely that the sentiments presented in your earlier article were shared by many. They needed to continue fighting, at the very least needed to attempt an extraction before cyno jammers are in place. Which they did now, with considerable success.

      However, the fact remains that any Keepstar siege is not going to be a quick affair, and the battle for M2 has shown that it will be very hard to overcome the defensive advantage while not crippling the server. And if the server breaks, the ones already there stand to win in all likelihood. I suspect that if one or two further battles occur in which the sides trade titans by the hundreds, but the defense ultimately prevails (seemingly the likeliest of outcomes), without PAPI making any catastrophic decisions like in the second M2 fight, then it would be possible for PAPI to start drawing back their forces with their head held high.

      Clearly both sides would interpret it as their victory and propaganda would go mad, but the fact remains that even if the Imperium were to retaliate (and they definitely would, eventually), they would not have the overwhelming advantage in morale and military strength that the armada being perpetually trapped or destroyed in M2 would give them. Essentially, there should then be no fears from PAPI about being completely steamrolled after the war (whether or not that would have been realistic otherwise; which I doubt because even if the Imperium were to prevail here, attacking, conquering and especially keeping large swathes of nullsec with inferior numbers, without the defensive edge would not be easy).

      January 28, 2021 at 5:47 AM
    • Rammel Kas Seir Luciel

      As I read it the 1.9t in dread losses was a play which could have worked if the Imperium titans weren’t going to switch to them. So they tried, it didn’t quite work out. But you automatically miss all the plays you do not make. Now we know the resist nerfs cut both ways hard.

      Thing that is bugging me about reading it afterwards is that the PaPi fleet commanders immediately extracted all the titans. Seems the evaluation of the relative power between the fleets is now very much against any such endeavors as taking a titan escalation. in which case saving the stuff they have and cutting losses gracefully seems a reasonable play. After all these things will be needed soon at home. They are basically the insurance policy against rampant harassment by newer null and lowsec alliances making a move on your home turf.

      January 28, 2021 at 6:15 AM
      • I think from a defensive point of view escalating Titans on one of your own Keepstars is a valid tactic but I agree M2 has shown the danger of doing on a hostile grid.

        January 28, 2021 at 7:47 AM
  • Garreth Vlox

    Come on vily do it again, you may as well just pay the butchers bill and get it over with.

    January 28, 2021 at 6:04 AM
  • Deni'z von Meanace

    What else is pick my attention is that there are only 35 TAPI Titans in total on thst list which confirms that it was more likely the PanFam ops to rescue their titans. Or not all test pilots mustred for this ops and been silly to missed such window and remaining 130 titans belongs to them and now they have to think once again of complicated reecue plan due to goons provide better counter tactic.

    January 28, 2021 at 7:22 PM