As the conclusion of a week that saw Imperial Legacy take out not one but two Keepstars, the Imperium fielded a series of Sunday fleets that saw them down three recently anchored Astrahuses owned by Circle-Of-Two, and also putting French ConneXion’s staging Fortizar – market and all – into its final timer.
Staging Fortizar and I-Hub Fight
The day’s first action took place in territory controlled by French Connexion (FXR), a francophone alliance who have recently been active in small-gang PvP against Imperium pilots. According to kcolor, an Imperium FC who was present at the battle, French Connexion’s staging Fortizar was due to enter its second timer just before downtime today. After an initial failed attempt to incapacitate the system’s cynosural jammer using bombers, the fleet reshipped into the Imperium’s popular Baltec battleship doctrine, augmented by Jackdaws and support craft. A significant hostile fleet formed up to play defense, including an FXR titan “sticking its nose out of the jammer POS,” in kcolor’s words. The attacking Baltecs had to steer clear of the titan’s sharp teeth while attacking the jammer, but finally did succeed in incapacitating the jammer a few minutes before downtime. With cynosural fields functioning in the system again, the defenders and their allies quickly cynoed in carriers and supercapitals in the effort to defend the Fortizar’s timer.
Fleet pings continued to go out all during downtime, and by the time Tranquility came back online, an entire additional Baltec fleet had filled up. In kcolor’s words, “Hostiles pretended to commit, saw our numbers, and jumped back out.” Left defenseless, the Fortizar was pounded by the subcapital fleets and sent into its final timer.
A short time later, a hostile fleet formed up to defend an Infrastructure Hub in the FXR system of E-Z2ZX. Though much smaller in scale than some of the giant fights that have taken place recently, the battle ended in victory for the Imperium pilots, who destroyed over 11b ISK worth of ships at the cost of slightly more than 5b of their own losses. Of particular note is the fact that FXR only represented 20 of the roughly 250 pilots on the losing side; the bulk of the heavy lifting was done by Pandemic Horde and Northern Coalition.
Three Astrahuses Eat It
The next stop on the Imperium’s weekend structure-bashing tour was E9KD-N, where Circle-of-Two had recently anchored three Astrahuses, all of which were due to come out of anchor in the span of ten minutes. Pandemic Horde and Circle-of-Two formed up with a token defense fleet of interceptors and bombers, with nothing larger than an interdictor to be seen. According to kcolor, “The bombers attempt to bomb Baltec fleets sitting inside bubbles. It goes poorly. The only major loss is a Proteus with some horrendous fit that dies to bombs. Bombers get wiped out.” A second bomber fleet arrived on-grid, only to land right in an interdictor’s bubble, leading to its immediate destruction.
The defenseless Astrahuses could not, of course, put up a fight once their covering fleets had been destroyed, and they went down as well. Credit must be given to the Imperium pilots who quickly and easily dispatched the opposition and accomplished their objective – but this writer must also give credit to the Pandemic Horde and Co2 pilots who, despite being outnumbered more than five to one, dug in for battle and fought courageously.
In many ways, the FXR Fortizar bash represents the archetypal fight on the Great Western War’s western front. Although FXR is not a member of either coalition, PanFam and GOTG thus far have been heavily reliant on cynosural field jammers as a defensive strategy, preventing the Imperium from bringing a capital and supercapital fleet fully to bear. This has forced a number of subcapital engagements, which have still succeeded in accomplishing the Imperium’s objectives but pale in comparison to the pain that could be brought by a full-on Imperium supercap fleet. It takes very little imagination to conclude that the Imperium will likely continue to pursue the kind of strategy on display in the Fortizar fight: attacking a structure with an online cyno jammer, incapacitating the jammer, destroying the structure, and jumping in a supercap fleet if necessary (although in this occasion it was not necessary).
On the western front, the Imperium has repeatedly shown the ability to form multiple full fleets of subcapital ships, whether on a Thursday night or a Sunday afternoon. If every citadel in a cyno jammed system has a bull’s-eye on it, and if the Imperium can field 500 to 750 ships on a moment’s notice, the only possible conclusion is that PanFam and GOTG (as well as FXR and other hostile alliances in the area) will have to start defending those citadels in massive numbers or risk having them systematically wiped out. The battle reports from today, in which kcolor describes a hostile supercap fleet fleeing when they see the Imperium’s subcap numbers and in which a small fleet of Pandemic Horde and C02 pilots were forced to mount a brave defense of three Astrahuses against incredible odds, shows that this implication has not been fully grasped by those in PanFam and GOTG who have their hands on the proverbial Batphone.
Stay tuned for INN for further updates on the Great Western War.