I recently came back to EVE, after a break, and went on my first fleet. The fleet was nothing fancy, just a simple defense for a couple of Ansiblex jump bridges, but I really noticed how important they are in a defensive war.
It all began with the defense of the TCAG-3 jump bridge, the gateway into Period Basis. We used a jump bridge to get in system and, instantly, all the enemy Gilas warped away. We warped to a nearby Astrahus and waited while the bridge repaired.
A few of our fleet mates got a bit salty, as we could have engaged their Gilas and gotten a fight, but the FC just kept us tethered. He later explained they had bombers waiting for us to engage. We bounced around the gate with the Gila and later a Talwar fleet in front of us, but they always kept a bubble between us and them. I wonder why.
Boring or Advantage?
Later on, with the Ansiblex repaired, we went to a nearby system and made sure that a few other structures repaired as well. During just over an hour, we managed to repair four different structures without firing a single shot. While many would find this a boring fleet, you have to remember that your enemy may also find it boring – not having anyone to shoot.
And that’s where the defensive advantage comes in. We probably were over six jumps away from TCAG-3, but we still had one advantage, the one that we were there to defend, the jump bridges. We jumped one system over, took a jump bridge and there we were, one gate away from their leftovers, our dictors were still on grid and we managed to catch a few of them. In the end it was just a 3 bil fight, but it does show how there is a big strategic importance for something as little as jump bridges, compared to the big set pieces like Keepstars.
While the attackers must jump system by system to hit multiple targets, and face the danger of getting caught on every single gate, a single defensive fleet can repel many different attacks in a short time. A well-organized jump bridge network also reduces the need to split fleets to deal with multiple attack points at the same time, as you are just a few jumps away from any hot spot.
Those are just a few ways that I believe jump bridges help widen the gap between attackers and defenders, allowing a single defensive fleet to be anywhere, or maybe everywhere, at a moment’s notice.