Around 1300 EVE Time on February 25, the Cloud Ring system of F7C-H0 saw fighting between capitals and supercapitals that destroyed over 750b ISK. As Jita burned, The Initiative (INIT.) made an attempt to retake a set of moons that had recently fallen to Pandemic Horde and their allies. When the dust settled, both sides had sustained close to the same amount of damage, even though INIT. was outnumbered almost three to one. I reached out to both sides of the conflict to get some perspectives on what happened, both on the battlefield and in the minds of the combatants.
From INIT. I was able to get in touch with Pandoralica, one of the seventeen members of the command team in this operation. He was able to give me the history leading up to the fight, as well as some great insight into how Initiative’s Alamo came to be. Like many great battles, this one came into being through some miscalculations on both sides. POSs generate their invulnerablility timer when reinforced by being loaded with Strontium Clathrates. The amount loaded allows for the defender to decide how much time they have until the next encounter, all the way up to one day and seventeen hours after the first attack on the structure.
This all begins with one of Initiative’s POSs. The “stront” was not loaded in the correct amount, and PanFam found themselves with a timer that was solidly outside The Initiative’s EU time zones. The first battle to defend the tower was again a bloody affair for both sides, with Initiative unable to escalate due to these time zone issues. PanFam ended up anchoring some towers of their own, and they filled all of their POSs to the brim with “stront.” After finding this out through initial attacks on the newly placed towers, Initiative scheduled a Call to Arms (CTA) operation to attack them all at the same time.
The Initiative watched, and waited, and saw that there was some unusual activity when it came to PanFam capital fleet movement. They knew the hammer could be dropped, but they were ready. Under Codename: Blunderbuss, pilots at the highest level in the alliance had practiced a complex, but extremely deadly, maneuver with four Avatars all equipped with BFG doomsday devices. The formation would be used to almost annihilate huge blobs of dreadnaughts. There just hadn’t been a situation in which to use it. However, this would be the moment, and this would be the tactic that would turn the tide for them when they were woefully outnumbered.
As the fight commenced, Pandemic Horde squared off in subcapital ships against The Initiative’s artillery Macharials. DARKNESS. came in with a Tengu fleet, but suffered heavy damage from Out of Sight (OoS) bombing runs and a Nightmare fleet fielded by Project Mayhem and Snuffed Out. Pandemic Horde then brought in carriers, supported by force auxiliaries, and INIT. started to focus on taking out fighters in the hope of neutralizing the attack. Then came a few Horde dreadnaughts. At this point, it was either time to commit or retreat. Sister Bliss decided to counter-drop dreadnaughts on dreadnaughts. PanFam then dropped their whole dreadnaught fleet in response. The stage was set, and the time was right for Blunderbuss to show its might.
The cynos took position, and Pandemic Horde’s dreadbomb was engulfed in a multi-way mushroom snuggle hug. Luckily, Horde’s dreadnaughts were not running Capital Emergency Hull Energizers, and INIT.’s dreadnaughts were able to tear through the seiged sitting ducks, unable to receive repairs. INIT.’s subcaps focused on killing Interdictors to keep their titans safe.
Though the other three titans were able to get free of bubbles and jump out, the Avatar piloted by Honeymonstar was held down by a combination of Heavy Interdictors and Warp Disruption Fields long enough to meet his death. Even with this setback, The Initiative was able to hold its own, and trigger a full supercapital drop from PanFam and Friends.
The Imperium had two full fleets of subcapitals en route through Fountain, but once the surviving Initiative titans extracted, the situation had to be re-evaluated. The heavy Time Dilation throughout Cloud Ring would make it impossible to reach the battle in a timely manner, and once there, the large supercapital force would drastically limit the subcapitals’ ability to impact the fighting. The decision was made to turn around, rather than feed more kills into the carnage.
Though the strategic objectives were not met, Codename: Blunderbuss seems to have been a success, even with the loss of a one quarter of the special unit. Without it, The Initiative would have most certainly had to withdraw in a much less spectacular fashion. When contacted for comment, Sister Bliss had only one thing to say; “RIP Honeymonstar.” Panfam and Friends have so far not responded to requests for comment