Header art by Cryo Huren
The PAPI Coalition lost 1000 ships, as their first attempt on the O-EIMK constellation failed despite superior numbers. Both sides announced the new industry changes by throwing the HAC meta against a wall, deploying battlecruisers and battleships in a close-range bloody brawl over the jump bridge to 1DQ1-A. Preliminary battle reports saw PAPI failing to achieve any objectives but slightly winning the ISK war with 111bn in kills to 75bn in losses.
Spurred on, perhaps, by this weekend’s multiple Townhall-type addresses, the PAPI Coalition began their assault on 1DQ. Forming over four fleets, the attackers initially attempted to destroy cyno jammers in the gateway system of 3-DMQT. A strong Imperium response saw the BRAVE fleet commanded by Kel Drosto abort this attempt and switch to the jump bridge that allows instant reinforcements from the Imperium’s capital.
First Wave Ineffective
The assault, which occured about 20:00 EVE time, followed a series of smaller incursions that have take place over the past few days. Feroxes from Pandemic Horde were repelled on Monday, followed by a Fraternity fleet that was destroyed in 1DQ itself, the latter battle costing 12bn for 500mil in kills. The PAPI tactic, attempting to probe for weaknesses in the system’s defenses, follows Horde leader Gobbin’s statement that they didn’t want to drop supers into the 1DQ constellation. It appears that the Ferox will be the ship that will carry the PAPI flag to the Imperial Palace.
Tuesday’s battle, on April 27, saw more than 1600 ships destroyed with 1200 of them belonging to the PAPI Coalition. The Imperium lost 19 dreadnaughts to achieve their objective, but will consider that a worthwhile sacrifice, as PAPI were forced to withdraw with only 10% remaining on the jump bridge’s armor. Targeting the bridge with their drones, PAPI were unable to achieve the required damage in 10% tidi.
The Bridge Holds
As the fight intensified, time dilation increased; the Imperium brought dreadnaughts and FAX support through the jump bridge. As PAPI targeted the dreads, Applepear’s Baltec fleet was primaried by a TEST Ferox fleet. Unable to break the large battleships, they were forced to switch targets whilst sustaining heavy loses. Imperium fleet commanders co-ordinated targets, with the Initiative deploying its Holy Fleet of Apocalypse & Abaddon battleships that delivered heavy EM damage, boosted by the electrical storm present in E-D.
Throughout the fight, numerous suicidal bombing runs from the Imperium targeted their own bridge in a successful attempt to clear the hostile attacking drones. With the reinforcement of the bridge teetering in the balance, the weight of firepower delivered by Megathron, Bhaalgorn, Apocolypse and Abaddon class battleships was too much for the heavily damaged PAPI fleets. Unwilling to suffer further losses, the attackers withdrew under fire, saving what remained of their ships, but failing to achieve their objective.
The Iron Price
This fight may prove to be a matrix of what is to come, as PAPI attempts to break into the Imperium’s capital. Previously chastised for their slow and methodological clearing of Keepstars throughout Delve, questions have been raised about the PAPI coalition’s willingness to take heavy losses in order to achieve tough objectives. The only example of them paying the butcher’s bill was in the M2-XFE extraction, where hundreds of dreadnaughts were lost to extract their trapped titan fleet.
Having backed Goonswarm into a corner after ten months of hard fighting, their first attempt at the final victory has proved that against inferior numbers, they were unwilling to risk larger ships in a risky fight. In addition, the failure to stay on grid with such a short amount of time remaining to achieve their objective poses questions about their leadership’s ability to absorb losses. The Ferox may seem like a replaceable option, but with the impact of the industry changes on bloc warfare still uncertain, the loss of 500 battlecruisers in a day may prove more costly than PAPI will want to admit.