Victory or defeat in war always comes down to the leaders. The War in Beeitnam started on a lie, and the rout that ended the fighting in Delve started on a lie. The line members of PAPI bear no blame for their failure. None. It’s not like in Vietnam where they could toss a grenade in the command tent to rid themselves of incompetent officers.
The line members of PAPI fought for much the same reason anyone fights in EVE: with their friends, for fun. How many idiots have headed off to war in game or real life thinking that it will be an adventure and fun. Vily knew what a war would mean. Manfried Sidious knew what a war would mean. And they marched their blissfully ignorant line members into the woodchipper.
Lie: The Assumption of Victory
The Imperium effected a strategic retreat out of Deklein during the Casino war. Honestly, they put up only a token resistance and then got out of Dodge as fast as they could. The Mittani was pinging out the Picard Song, a traditional song of victory for Goons going back to Shrike’s titan loss, not for a supreme victory, no. The Mittani raised a toast to the finest crew in Starfleet for successfully evacuating.1
Sometime in the first half of 2020, Manny, taking a page from his hero, told Vily “We have only to kick in the door, and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down.” Given the Imperium’s previous actions, it is not an unreasonable assumption. PAPI’s leadership clearly believed that like in the Casino War, once the assault began, the Imperium would flee. Instead, like Manny’s beloved Wehrmacht, PAPI is falling back having gotten to within sight of their enemy’s capitol.
Instead of preparing their pilots for a long war, PAPI leadership spouted stupid lines about the war being over by Christmas. Even worse, PAPI never prepared for the big one. The Battle of M2 wasn’t something that PAPI set out to force; the Imperium knew that the Beeitnam War would have supercapital battles, even if the last one was the whole Imperium Super Fleet on the last keepstar in 1DQ.
The Imperium strategy wasn’t exactly Kantai Kessen, the decisive battle doctrine, but the Imperium leadership certainly realized that there would be no victory without a super engagement. Kantai Kessen should have been the strategy PAPI followed, using every opportunity to cause the Imperium super fleet to take to space to kill it.
It is easy to tell that PAPI didn’t anticipate a decisive super battle by the fact they never replaced the titans lost in the battles of Dien Bien M2 and the M2 Lai Massacre. After the losses there, PAPI would never again fight without the warm embrace of a jammer.
The anticipated easy victory never existed, and planning upon such assumptions constitutes dereliction of duty by the leadership.
Lie: The Largest Coalition Ever
PAPI never really existed. (I am not channeling Sion, let me explain.) The Imperium never fought a single entity called PAPI. The Imperium fought Legacy, Panfam, Fraternity, and assorted hangers on. Manny even stated in his planning document that they would not have centralized coms. Each one of these groups had their own war goals, strategies and philosophies of war.
Each of these groups hated the Imperium only slightly more than they hated each other. It’s hard to fight a war while you’re worried about getting stabbed in the back. Even when PAPI finally did arrange a leadership group, it was a council of equal morons. Not a single figure took the role of General Eisenhower, wrangling the massive egos of every single one of these self-important warlords that commanded the fleets.
Not a single one of the COuncil of WARDens could put aside their ego and focus on the good of their group. In fact, the most dangerous place to be in EVE was between Vily and a talk show. Good leaders put their ego aside for the good of their pilots and the war effort.
The failures of PAPI leadership to contain their ego constitutes dereliction of duty.
Lie: A War of Extermination
Not only did Vily know that this was never going to happen, it was fundamentally stupid to openly proclaim this.
The line members of PAPI were not chanting wir müssen die Goonen ausrotten! They’re pretty normal people with pretty normal beliefs. Announcing that this would be a war to exterminate the Goon was never going to rally PAPI pilots anymore than announcing a war.
On the other hand, it solidified the Imperium’s resolve. If it was granite before, it became diamond. When one side openly announces a war of extermination, it’s easy to call old comrades back into the fight. “See what they are going to do to us? Come back, we need your help.”
PAPI expected the Imperium to simply retreat like in the Casino War; it was a key part of their war plan. No one is going to do this when their enemies declare a war of extermination. 1DQ was always the best place to make a last stand, if that was the outcome.
Vily’s failure to reign in his mouth to keep from spouting stupid constitutes dereliction of duty.
Lie: Anaconda Strategy
Whatever window-licking idiot came up with this one should never be in charge of anything again. When the war began, PAPI had all the momentum. Those young adventuring pilots, whistling as they flew off to their first big war, were more than happy to fleet up. The Imperium sounded the horn of Goondor to get returning veterans, but such reinforcements take time. PAPI squandered this opportunity.
Not only did Panfam and Legacy split off into different theaters of operation, they attacked locations that were strategically insignificant. Panfam wasted months in Fountain burning down structures. Legacy spent the same time trying to break into Period Basis and Querious. Anyone with a pair of brain cells to rub together knew that the key to victory was 1DQ. No system was more heavily fortified. No system could be as well defended.
PAPI’s failure to go straight for the jugular constitutes dereliction of duty by the leadership.
The point of a blockade is to keep external goods from reaching the blockaded area. At no time did PAPI successfully cut off Imperium freight services from the 1DQ constellation. Material flowed into the defensive zone like water from the Niagara Falls.
PAPI never had the willpower to mount a successful blockade of 1DQ. They couldn’t camp all the NPC stations in Delve, which is the necessary and imperative step of containing the Imperium. They only put up a token effort once.
PAPI’s failure to contain the Imperium while attempting to use that strategy to achieve victory constitutes dereliction of duty by the leadership.
After the announcement of retreat, only Dunk Dinkle took responsibility. Everyone else made excuses. Then, some of the leadership started to claim victory. PAPI’s line of reasoning went that they killed a bunch of structures and it was time to go home.
Since the rout, the stampede as far away from Delve as possible by PAPI, the Imperium super fleet has been attacking and burning down PAPI structures in Delve with abandon, bordering on recklessness. Every PAPI line member can look at what is going on. Every PAPI line member can smell the bullshit that is being dumped upon them.
Despite assurances that there would be weeks to evacuate, Vily jumped his faction titan, unironically named Champion’s Jewel out before announcing the retreat. Others in the know got out first. When the PAPI leadership said they would have time to evacuate, they were lying. No one is that stupid. As a result, the orderly retreat is a sauve qui peut.
Throughout the war in Beeitnam, one thing has been very clear: Vily, Manny, Progodlegend, Gobbins, and the rest (with a few exceptions) do not care about their pilots. They feel no obligation to the people they lead, no sense of responsibility for their pilots wellbeing.
“Hey guys, unfortunately at this point most capital assets have moved on, and there won’t be a sub-cap move op. Apologies for the late notice, we understand there was a posted op but things move quickly when you’re withdrawing. We may still have a few caps leaving, so please check #smb-space-available for available space!! It is vitally important you do this ASAP as the T5Z Keepstar has been reinforced and it will have it dead before the end of the week!” -Gobbins, A/K/A Elfboy, abandoning his line members.
The failure of the leaders to care about their pilots, more than anything else, constitutes dereliction of duty.
Lies, Damned Lies, and PAPI Town Halls
The best troops in the world will fail when lead by incompetent leaders. Lord Cardigan, obeying orders, charged the Light Brigade into Russian guns and suffered greatly for it. It would have been possible for PAPI to defeat the Imperium, but rather than plan for victory, PAPI planned for the Imperium to retreat. PAPI was never an actual coalition; if they were, they would have performed better on the field. PAPI was always several coalitions in a trench coat.
If Vily had a selfless bone in his body and looked towards the good of his pilots, he might have been able to keep his mouth shut and not solidified the opposition. PAPI was too damn timid; they could have attacked Delve early in the war, changing the course more towards victory. If PAPI hadn’t believed their own propaganda about Goon containment, they might have adjusted strategies to one that worked. If PAPI’s leaders gave even a single damn about their pilots, they would not have declared victory and abandoned them.
PAPI could have won, but their leaders were too busy concerning themselves with their legacy. Like my father told me long ago: if you want to march in the parade, you have to fight in the trenches. Vily, Progodlegend, Gobbens, et al. wanted to skip the hard part and go right to the parade. Though, the stream of capitals fleeing north at flank speed is kind of a parade, right?
1: However, the evacuation of the super fleet was vital to the Imperium’s taking and settling of Delve and was a vital piece of the Imperium’s continued survival.