Over the evening of October 24, Guardians of the Galaxy and Drone Region Federation fleets clashed en masse in the system of 83-YGI over a Sotiyo. The Sotiyo was rumoured to contain 4 supercapitals in build, and therefore constituted a key strategic target for the GotG.
What Happened In 83-YGI?
The fight began with the usual maneuvering back and forth, most notably a GotG dreadnought drop to destroy an onlining cyno jammer. The action was joined, though, when the DRF Abaddon fleet was destroyed by the GotG supercapital and subcapital fleets. While the DRF subcapitals engaged enemy subcaps on a relatively even footing, the overwhelming capital and supercapital superiority of the GotG on the field made doing so difficult. DRF allies TEST fielded a Nightmare fleet which distinguished itself, as well as a carrier fleet which harassed the GotG supercarriers with space superiority fighters. It is unknown at this time, however, just what TEST expected to be able to do against a reported force of over 95 GotG Force Auxiliaries.
At one point, reports were being received by TEST and other groups that the GotG supercapitals had been completely defanged. Later developments in the fight proved otherwise, however: the supers had lost only their space superiority fighters, and still possessed more than enough fighter-bombers and other light fighters to inflict punishing losses.
The DRF attempted to resolve the capital disparity with a dreadnought hotdrop directly onto the enemy FAXes. However, a misplaced cyno put them 50km away instead of directly on top of their targets; this led to heavy losses with limited results.
Despite sterling efforts from the DRF and their TEST allies and heavy losses among the GotG subcapitals, the supercapitals were too difficult to deal with. By midnight EVE time, the Sotiyo was destroyed. Total losses stand at well over half a trillion ISK, though some losses still not have populated properly. The cost for each side, though, shows the GotG losing at least 210bn ISK, while the lowest number cited for the DRF costs stands at 333bn ISK.
A number of additional pieces were in motion that might potentially have affected the outcome of these events. At nearly the same time on the other DRF front, Triumvirate launched an attack upon Solar Fleet staging. As a result, the forces available to the DRF were significantly reduced. Additional TEST forces, likewise, were initially tied up in the south, formed ready to assist a Brave Newbies fleet in case an attack on a PL citadel in Catch turned bloody. Imperium forces also considered making the trip to assist. However, the distance, and overwhelming number of Force Auxiliaries put the move in doubt. Once the GotG supercarriers were known to retain their fighter-bomber complement, it was clear there would be no point in intervening.
Why did this battle happen?
This battle is the latest expression of the difference in strategy between the GotG and DRF in this war. An anonymous source within the GotG reports that their strategy is to seek a single decisive action and use their perceived supercapital superiority to crush the DRF, in line with the real life naval doctrine of Alfred Mahan. This would then fulfill their overall objective of punishing the DRF for hosting TEST’s invasion force back in July, and permit a retreat from the field with honour.
In contrast, the DRF is uninterested in a massive force on force clash. They are engaged in a war on two fronts and until the conflict with Triumvirate is concluded, a decisive battle in the north would be too much of a gamble. Instead, an anonymous source with information on their strategy informs us, the DRF is pursuing a strategy of elastic defence, striking where opportune but otherwise letting the GotG exhaust their pilots grinding through the Drone Regions’ structures.
The GotG high command is aware of this, and so is targeting crucial strategic infrastructure with the goal of forcing the DRF to commit their supercapital fleet. The Sotiyo in 83-YGI is one clear example of this strategy. In this instance, the DRF did not deem the objective worth the risk. The conflict is now a test of will. Can the GotG grind through enough structures before burning out to force the DRF to prioritise their incursion? With Triumvirate’s role felt even in this fight, it remains to be seen if the DRF will pivot.
Aftermath of the battle
Despite the loss of both the objective and the ISK war, the DRF does not hold any rancour over the battle, with senior commanders congratulating the GotG on a good fight. Similar sentiments were present on the GotG side. Whether this friendly attitude to the war will continue as the attrition grinds on remains to be seen. Whatever the outcome, INN will keep you updated. Until then, this was the news in the 83-YGI system on October 24,, 2017.
All Images credit: Daopa/Rose Knightley