Art by Elthar Nox
And so it begins. The assault that we have all been waiting for has commenced. At 1300 EVE on July 30, Pandemic Horde leader Gobbins sent a ping to the PAPI mega coalition for Harpies – and from there it steamrolled. With a Goonswarm Nyx tackled in 1DQ1-A on the T5ZI-S gate, the fight conglomerated around that point. A fury of pings erupted from both sides, rapidly escalating the conflict from frigates to carriers in a matter of moments. The battle started with a flurry of excitement from all combatants but ended in a demoralising defeat for PAPI. The battle report shows the Imperium victorious with 41bn killed for 7bn lost.
Small start . . . and then the escalation
With the Nyx tackled, PAPI Harpies descended rapidly on the lone super. However, they were not alone. Responding to the pings, a Goonswarm Eagle fleet combined with a Jackdaw fleet from the Initiative cut them off quickly. Realising that the Nyx would not be killed by the Harpies, PAPI quickly switched to brawling against the Imperium reinforcements. As brutal close-range combat commenced with PAPI, reinforcements started flowing through. An Army of Mangos Cerberus fleet and a follow-up Ferox fleet joined the fray.
Despite earlier intelligence that Fraternity (FRT) had cancelled their planned Friday move op, following yesterday’s defeat to Snuffed Out, their CNTZ turned up in force. Over 100 from Army of Mango (AoM), 92 from VENI VEDI VICI (VVV) and 78 from FRT all joined the fray. In the early stages the fight appeared to be even, with PAPI Harpies & Logi frigates taking most of the damage. But, it was only a matter of time before the tides turned. Anchored on the McManifest Keepstar, nearly 100 supers and carriers were sending their fighters into battle.
Baltecs Make Hash of the Cerberi
The Initiative, backing up the larger GSF Eagle fleet, circled the gate picking off interdictors, logistics, and command destroyers, but at one point they appeared isolated. Seeing an opportunity, the VVV/AOM Cerberus fleet approached at a rapid pace, even through the 10% TiDi that had embraced the system. As missiles flew towards the T3 destroyers, INIT aligned out, but just as the warp kicked in, big brother arrived. A Goonswarm Baltec fleet warped from the 1st Imperial Keepstar, landing dead on the PAPI Cerberus fleet. What followed was a slaughter. Megathrons annihilated the heavy assault cruisers whilst Eagles & Jackdaws ripped through PAPI’s assault frigates. PAPI had no option but to fall back to the gate.
Leaving behind a trail of destruction, the beleaguered remnants of the first PAPI assault in this final push made it to the T5Z gate. Aggression timers ticked down slowly as the Imperium booshed parts of the attacking fleet away from safety. Bombers launched on the Feroxes whilst Jackdaws and Eagles picked off any smaller ships with ruthless efficiency. Fearing a repeat of the deadly Pando/Alice bombing run whilst they hugged their extraction route, PAPI bought in Jackdaws to hopefully defend, but these too were put to the torch.
Adding up the cost . . . and looking for more
The butcher’s bill was hugely one-sided, with the Imperium only losing 11 Eagles and 6 Jackdaws from their mainline combat ships. In contrast PAPI lost 22 Cerberus, 54 Ferox, 45 Jackdaw and 189 of the 228 Harpys that were fielded. This was to be expected, since the announcement last week by all main PAPI alliance leaders that the assault will begin soon, the Imperium has worked itself into a frenzy. Sensing victory and a chance to put the “woodchipper” to good use, all players were pumped for the attack to begin. Industrialists have been working overtime; freighters bring in fresh ships, supplies, ammunition and fighters every hour; and each pilot has stocked their hangars full of ships. Whatever the fate of 1DQ, today’s fight has shown (once again) that it will take more than Assault Frigates to win the Siege of Terra.