The Soviet Strategy


Header art by Redline XIII.

They crossed over the border, the hour before dawn
Moving in lines through the day

Invasions, as a general rule, begin successfully. The invader has the initiative, and won’t invade if they do not believe in their chances for success. While examples of invasions that died stillborn exist—the Bay of Pigs is a shining example—plenty of others started well, only to fail to complete their ultimate objective.

In 1914, Imperial Germany crashed through the French lines on the western front. The German army was incredibly successful in their march to Paris in the first month. In fact, the speed of the German advance to Paris in World War I was a little faster than the speed of the German advance in World War II. However, when one asks people to think of the German invasion of France in 1914, no one considers it to be a success.

On August 6, the French forces stopped the German army cold at the First Battle of the Marne. General Gallieni taxied French troops from Paris to the battlefield and choked the German advance. (Goonswarm would echo this in their continuous stream of ships attacking the PAPI NPC Delve Keepstars.) After that first month, the Western Front would never again see such drastic shifts in the lines. Germany had lost, but it would take four more years of bloody, trench warfare before the outcome solidified.

In 1941, the German Wehrmacht invaded the Soviet Union. In the first month of the war, the Wehrmacht had advanced over 400 miles into the USSR. The speed of the German advance into the Soviet Union was more rapid than the speed of the German advance into France. Like the German advance into France in the Great War, the Wehrmacht ran into Soviet forces who stopped the invaders cold at the gates of Moscow.

All summer they drove us back through the Ukraine
Smolensk and Viasma soon fell

When Anaconda invaded the Imperium, PandaFam was able to take the Fountain region without too much difficulty. The Initiative put up a good fight, but they were never going to be able to hold Fountain. Initiative and the Imperium understood that Fountain was never going to be the decisive battle of the war.

The Imperium succeeded in their main goal in Fountain: to delay the advance. Every invader wants a short, victorious war. After all, if the defender doesn’t fight, they lose everything. If the invader decides the invasion is not worth it, they can go home, or sue for peace. In EVE, of course, anyone can leave their alliance at any time, and some have left the Imperium for other parts of the game. The same is true for PAPI. Sure, they are winning; but how fun was the slog through Fountain?

The Fountain campaign in and of itself didn’t change the war much. Time being additive, though, means those additional weeks will pay off later.

And the evening sings in a voice of amber, the dawn is surely coming
The morning roads lead to Stalingrad, and the sky is softly humming

The Soviet Union lost a lot of terrain to the initial invasion. Stalin famously gave his Order No. 227: Not a Step Back. However, the Soviet generals not being completely stupid, despite being new to their jobs, arranged several battles of pure attrition for the Germans to fight.

Historians have written more tomes on Stalingrad than there are words in this article. The defeat of the German 6th Army wasn’t the only loss for the Germans. War is a battle of will as much as firepower, and the losses at Stalingrad heavily impacted the morale of the German Wehrmacht as well as high command.

Now, the Soviet troops might have been ordered to stand their ground. Soviet industry, though, was under no such order. While factories, most notably in Leningrad, would continue to operate even under siege, producing war material that went straight off the factory floor to the front, a lot of Soviet heavy industry moved past the Ural Mountains, out of the range of German bombers.

Machines and civilians were put on trains and moved east. Once out of range, they were reassembled and by 1945 would produce more war material than the Germans. If Soviet industry had stayed fast for the advancing Germans to destroy, Soviet losses would have been much, much higher.

Closer and closer to Moscow they come Riding the wind like a bell
General Guderian stands at the crest of the hill

The battles over the PAPI Keepstars in NPC Delve were almost the Stalingrad moment for World War Bee. Each Keepstar fight was an absolute, will-sapping, slog for both sides. Both sides in their public facing propaganda projected an air of victory and confidence. PAPI claimed they loved the killmails and wanted Goons to keep feeding. Mitten’s Kittens claimed they loved killing Keepstars, stopping Anaconda, and winning despite being outnumbered.

This is utter bullshit. Both sides were wearing down. None of those fights were enjoyable to the fleet commanders, or the line members. At best, the attitude was something along the lines of at least the other side is more miserable than me. War is misery. The Soviets in Stalingrad certainly were not having a fun time of it. The Keepstar fights came down to who could endure the misery the most.

If PAPI had continued, they would have shattered the Imperium’s morale. That’s a fact. Vily had it in reach to grind the Imperium down like balsa wood on a belt sander. If Progodlegend had not bubbled the Keepstar and let the Imperium keep throwing ships at it and then the next one, and the next, eventually, one would have gone up after hours and hours of time dilation grind and hundreds or thousands of ships lost by the Imperium. Imagine for a moment just what that would have felt like for both sides.
Instead, Anaconda blinked. Despite their public propaganda that they were so happy to let Goons feed, they set up their bubbles to keep Goons from feeding. PAPI’s commanders knew that their side could not endure any more misery; they could not endure any more loss.

PAPI putting up bubbles to get the Keepstar anchored won the objective at the cost of the war. Goonswarm commanders have to be feeling pretty good at this fact. Anaconda cannot handle a siege. And a siege is coming.

1DQ will be a siege greater than has ever been seen before in EVE. That one system has more structures than any other. The Trophy Case alone contains 4 Keepstars and dozens of faction fortizars. Just destroying the 1DQ trophy case is likely to be a month’s long campaign. And Mitten’s Kittens are going to make it as painful as possible. When the Muninns run dry, the Imperium will use Rifters. When the Rifters are gone, the Imperium will use corvettes. PAPI will have to put their supers and titans in gun range of hostile citadels and face an Imperium superfleet on the defensive.

PAPI will be facing fights on the scale of the NPC Delve Keepstars not four times, but dozens and dozens of times. There will be massive losses. And PAPI has already blinked once.

That’s not all the Imperium should do. While Mitten’s Kittens’ combat citadels should stay put, each one a dragon’s teeth in the enemy’s way, the engineering citadels should be evacuated to safer space in Delve. The Imperium has to keep production up. It’s all well and good to swarm Snek with corvettes, but Muninns are far more suited to the task. The jump range of enemy staging systems are well known. There’s no reason for the factories to stay in the line of fire.

If all else fails, the engineering structures can be moved to the Trophy Case, anchored and surrounded by more Astrahuses. Ships can fly out directly from the factories to the fight as the Imperium fights its own Stalingrad.

In the footsteps of Napoleon the shadow figures stagger through the winter
Falling back before the gates of Moscow, standing in the wings like an avenger

Russia was no stranger to invasion. Over a century before Hitler, Napoleon led his army to a catastrophe in Russia. In the same way, this isn’t the first time Goonswarm held against an invasion.

After the Drone Russians (actual Russians, but in EVE) and their Pandemic Legion allies wiped out the old Northern Coalition (without the dot), they attempted to invade Goonswarm and take out the CFC. After taking down the cynojammers in VFK, the invaders fought a multiple day siege in an attempt to take the system.

Goons and their CFC allies held the system, and the battle of Mittanigrad passed into legend. In many ways, the Battle of Mittanigrad set the stage for the modern Imperium. After watching the alliances of the Northern Coalition fail to defeat what was arguably an inferior foe, the Mittani realized that a coalition needed to be more than simply alliances who were blue. That other CFC allies fought like lions solidified this belief. Now, EVE’s only true coalition is facing its second trial by fire.

It’s been almost four years that I’ve carried a gun
At home it will almost be spring

Numerous Imperium members have gotten messages from their opponents in Snek asking when they will evacuate, or if they want to join an Anaconda corporation. Someone even asked this of yours truly. If PAPI is under the impression this war is over, they are sorely mistaken.

This war is not over. The Imperium is not broken; the Invasion of Delve is still just that. History may record this era as the Conquest of Delve, but the history is not written. The history can just as easily record the Battle of 1DQ as Eliasgrad, where the PAPI invaders failed to conquer the Imperium and retreated.

It took years before the Red Army entered Berlin. Though bloody battles, the Soviets endured. If the Imperium can continue to endure, they too can win.

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  • DrkyDrky

    Just one problem, the Allies outnumbered the Axis by considerable margins.

    In the end it’s all a number’s game.

    November 10, 2020 at 8:15 AM
    • Let me tell you about the Battle of Khe Sahn. . . .
      Additionally, numbers matter when you can actually kill the enemy. In EVE, stretching the analogy, all you can do is break the enemy’s rife and make them get another one.

      November 10, 2020 at 10:01 AM
    • Noob DrkyDrky

      And let me tell you about the battle of Rorke’s Drift where 150 beat 3 to 4 thousand.

      November 10, 2020 at 6:47 PM
      • Bumpy Dog Noob

        … and that came after the battle of Isandlwana.

        November 10, 2020 at 7:12 PM
  • Rammel Kas

    The Soviets had to move and quickly build new factory lines behind the Urals and lay in the rail systems to connect them as well as power and other utilities.

    November 10, 2020 at 10:55 AM
  • Gray Doc

    I enjoyed the analogy. First, it’s apt. The wholesale move of entire factories via the rails was a remarkable achievement for the Russians. Second, I think your suggestion also makes sense within the realm of EVE. Wonderful article.

    November 10, 2020 at 11:33 AM
    • Thank you very much.

      November 10, 2020 at 4:48 PM
      • Deni'z von Meanace Alizabeth

        I think MK’s are kind of behind the schedule of moving production lines from the line of fire while its should be done already. Seeing zkills stats a lof of industry folks went in tears from Imperium side.

        November 10, 2020 at 10:08 PM
        • You’re right. We Kittens should have prepped for this months ago. However, that’s no reason not to try and move.

          November 11, 2020 at 12:17 AM
  • Havish Montak

    I feel like Mel Gibson in the Battle of Le Drang.

    November 10, 2020 at 3:22 PM
  • Noob

    I’d quibble slightly with the WWI analogy only insofar that it was the germans who stopped themselves due to poor coordination between von Kluck and Bulow and the resultant gap that opened between their first and second armies…

    (Now your version takes over.)

    But all that was obviously outside your larger point.

    November 10, 2020 at 6:46 PM
    • I’ve actually covered that on an upcoming article on cloaking!

      November 10, 2020 at 7:55 PM
      • Noob Alizabeth

        I look forward to reading that!

        November 12, 2020 at 3:21 AM
        • I am being told Friday or Monday, depending on other articles.

          November 12, 2020 at 7:49 AM
  • Guilford Australis

    It’s a bizarre war in nearly every way. The least effective alliance in the coalition (TEST) keeps ramping up the rhetoric about “annihilating,” “eliminating,” and “burning down” Goons, while their benefactors in PanFam insist they’re only in it for fun fights, lots of kills, and Reddit memes – not even planning to attack Goon Keepstars, and they don’t really think Goons should be eliminated from the game after all.

    So who exactly is in command of this ship of fools, and what exactly do they agree upon as a victory condition in this slow-motion pseudo-war?

    November 10, 2020 at 8:43 PM
    • Kirk Bergere Guilford Australis

      ‘ship of fools’….i dont know about that.

      November 12, 2020 at 6:41 AM
  • Asjo

    This article states that PAPI were pressured by the keepstar fights, suffering attrition. However, I’m curious as to how much this is true. Fighting in TIDI cannot be much fun, but I imagine players on both sides would be invigorated by such a war, which brings purpose to a game that surely will sometimes feel like grinding numbers and repeating certain activities.

    I’m a new player, only joining a few weeks ago after intensely following the course of the war. I actually joined the game because the war made me feel like somehow being able to influence it. My great hope is that the bigger faction do a maximum of damage to each other, allowing smaller factions to control section of the map, allowing for a more varied focus in terms of power struggles in EVE. Due to the fact that I’m hoping for mutual destruction of the two coalitions, I’m certainly rooting for Imperium, since they are under pressure. Reading the nice updates and articles on INN that keep bringing the war (and their propaganda) to us “viewers”, help endear me to Imperium as well.

    My impression is that given the facts of the keepstar fights, PAPI couldn’t have been bleeding much ISK in those. Particularly given the enormous amount of ISK that seasoned players must’ve accumulated. Sure, ships were lost, but there are plenty ships available for purchase in markets in EVE (correct me if I’m wrong – if I am, please tell me if some larger ships are in big demand, since I made an industry-focused account for ship-building :D).

    The following factors make me think that PAPI did not lose much:

    – PAPI killed around three times as much as they lost. If I’m not mistaken, in your killmail that you get after killing ship, you get a certain fee for killing other ships, which wouldn’t cover your losses, but at least some of it, given how much more you’ve killed than lost.

    – The 90% drop rate of players. It seems that many warships are fitted with fits that match around 50-100% of the ship’s cost. That means that since PAPI killed many ships and would no doubt have more leisure to pick up the spoils during the battle, they might have made more from the loot alone than what they lost. I cannot recall if the 90% drop rate was active then, but it seems to me that when you fight really favourable fights, killing 3-4 times what you loot, the loot should all but cover your losses.

    – Once again, since PAPI had the numbers, they would also be at liberty to salvage stuff after clearing the battlefield and scoop things up. I’ve read that Imperium in the middle of the battlefield for exactly this person, but I don’t see any reason why PAPI hadn’t brought at least twice that number during the battle.

    November 11, 2020 at 12:26 AM
    • Arrendis Asjo

      Ok, so, first… the 90% loot drop was Halloween weekend, which is not when these fights happened. So toss that out right away. And yes, Vily did salvage things in his Rorqual, but how much of that went to the line members? Who knows?

      If I’m not mistaken, in your killmail that you get after killing ship, you get a certain fee for killing other ships

      This is not correct. You get notified as to the value of the ship you killed, but you don’t actually get any fee unless there’s a player bounty on the target. If there is, you get 15% of the killmail’s value (if the bounty is larger than that)… split between everyone on-grid. So when there’s 1000 guys on your side, you get 0.15% of the kill/bounty’s value. In other words… you get diddly-squat.

      So. You don’t get much out of it, and you get to sit there, unable to really move, unable to reliably cycle your modules… for 8-16hrs. There is no ‘go do something else’ in that time. You can’t really get up to go and take care of crap. You’re stuck there. Even if it starts around 9pm. Hope you didn’t need to go to work the next day.

      PAPI did not lose much in terms of ISK value. They did, however, lose quite a bit in terms of ‘am I willing to put up with another 8hr session of this un-fun bullshit?’ Activity numbers definitely dropped, and many members were openly questioning why they bothered with that crap, on comms. And after those 8-16h, they lost.

      That’s not invigorating. Been there, done that, had t-shirts printed up that read ‘I repped Sort Dragon at B-R5RB’. It’s not invigorating. It’s exhausting and it just leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

      As for this…
      My great hope is that the bigger faction do a maximum of damage to each other, allowing smaller factions to control section of the map, allowing for a more varied focus in terms of power struggles in EVE.

      The changes to bounties and the ESS basically mean the big coalitions will need to spread out more—and CCP wants them to. We’ve warned them that this is going to choke smaller groups out again, just like it did before Jump Fatigue and AEGIS sov created pressure to reduce our footprints. Back then, 3 blocs owned all of nullsec.

      Expect that to return. CCP has been warned. CCP will not listen. All this has happened before, and will happen again. I’m sorry. Time truly is a flat circle.

      November 11, 2020 at 3:22 AM
      • Asjo Arrendis

        Yeah, I guess in terms of how the power is spread out, perhaps you need to be careful what you wish for. Maybe the current dynamic of these coalitions is more interesting. I just figured that the power spread out, with just a few coalitions hogging all the power, EVE with develop an even more interesting history. As a casual observer who become interesting in following EVE history and reading up about the ongoings in EVE, it was frustrating to have so few storylines and so few interesting fronts of alliance expanding or fleeing. The smaller groups that EVE has today, seem to be too small to really get involved with any of the interesting stuff (just small ganks not and again, but no important territorial fights or big lasting wars). However, I suppose the nature of the game is to have bigger alliances or coalitions, since if you’re not in one, you’ll want to be, because otherwise they’ll make your life miserable (the story of Goonswarm to many, from what I read).

        You’re saying that you have to share the bounty with a 1000 others, but that won’t make you earn less on the bounties, since they’re also sharing their bounty with you. Of course, as you say, only killmails with bounties give you any direct earnings from the kill, but I suppose neither the kill bounties nor the big loot drop were greatly relevant to covering PAPI’s losses at the time. Of course, since the 90% loot change is still active today (at least it seems to be when I pick up my wrecks after being ganked), this helps sustain both sides in the combat. Of course, since the fighting is way more even when it’s not around a keepstar, no doubt this means more actual losses for PAPI.

        I completely see your point about the 8-16 hour fights. The big fights are less fun when the server cannot handle the amount of players that want to participate. You’d be happy to do it once, to be part of a big historic moment, but would you do it five times? Of course, the natural consequence of that would simply be that less people showed up to the big fights; perhaps few enough that TIDI wouldn’t be active. It wouldn’t mean anyone giving up on the war, as I see it, but perhaps mean that the efforts in the war would be more spread out.

        I am surprised, though, that Imperium decided to withdraw a keepstar, even though the argument of preserving manufactoring makes sense. It seems that it’s very advantageous to fight under a keepstar – obviously less so if you’re outnumbered (I think I recall that it was a net loss for Goonswarm when the first keepstar in the game was destroyed as they lost the first world war), but I suppose you could still do more damage than you take if you fight under it. If it’s a logistics issue, where Imperium could not prevent cyno-jamming from their opponents if they took the fight it that system, whereas they could freely reinforce the other systems they mean to defend, this makes sense as well. Also, I get it if the keepstar withdrawing is needed to defend the manufacturing that’s moving further away from the front. I just thought that both coalitions had several keepstars to spare (I understood that PAPI said they had 14 left when they succeeded in getting theirs up) that they could place anywhere they needed it deployed.

        In the end, if people still have ISK and care about the war, the fight will go on. If some people are running out of ISK, I assume that the huge amount of wealth within the coalitions will be shared or that the SRP will help keep people engaged. After all, people don’t have to show up to 16-hour fights. If you know something will be a TIDI fight – don’t show up. Meanwhile, make sure to show up to fight the 700 enemies trying to kill your coalition’s fortizar. I understand that the war has died down a bit currently, but I’m still hooked. Sure, the keepstar fights might have been the stuff of legend, and a world record probably gets many people interested, but I’m still checking zKillboard many times daily to see what’s going on, and checking INN as well to see if there are any updates. It’s a shame that despite quite massive player involvement, there is so little proper coverage of the interesting stories developing in EVE. So, I really appreciate what you guys do.

        November 11, 2020 at 4:09 PM
        • Moomin Amatin Asjo

          I started writing as I was watching wars happen and no one was writing about them. But stories in New Eden are rarely evenly paced things. They will simply take the time that they take at points. You do not seem scared of words – heh – perhaps you should write something?

          The most important story in Eve I think is the one that YOU write for yourself. You can be a space hero or villan, or both. There has never been a better time to get involved in nullsec.

          Thank you for your support for INN, the premier source of news in New Eden ;-).

          November 11, 2020 at 11:19 PM
          • Perhaps. I plan to write books one day, but, of course, if I end up engaged enough in Eve Online, I will no doubt write about it. Needs to be done! 🙂

            November 11, 2020 at 11:33 PM
        • Xelistren Asjo

          Players get tired those who don’t agree with leadership leave either to continue the fight or to seek peace. This is the critical point every coalition dreads but must be prepared for. The goons have shown that through thier actions that they can offset this point greatly to keep on fighting until most enemies have completely stopped.

          November 13, 2020 at 1:08 AM
        • Gray Doc Asjo

          You make good points but almost your entire perspective revolves around nullsec. There are many more aspects to EVE and New Eden than the stories that come from nullsec. They are the ones that make “news,” but you’ll find plenty of smaller organizations having fun and thriving, and many of them avoid nullsec.

          November 13, 2020 at 3:03 PM
  • topper

    By the quality of these setup propaganda stories I assume Goon’s morale is very low … put some effort in these stories pls

    November 12, 2020 at 8:54 PM
    • Moomin Amatin topper

      You think goon moral is low? Whatever you do stay out of Esoteria then, that will break your heart.

      November 12, 2020 at 9:37 PM
    • Oh man. This took me hours.

      November 12, 2020 at 10:16 PM
      • Moomin Amatin Alizabeth

        MIne take me days as I have to scry a variety of entrails in order to commune with the spirit of The Mittani. I then channel his will by chanting which is then converted by GPT-3 into text. Anything produced then has to be approved 5 times by a variety of different organisations within The Imperium. An editor then forces me to cite references and sources. To make things worse I am then mocked for lack of commas.

        November 13, 2020 at 12:33 AM
        • That last sentence made me twitch.

          November 13, 2020 at 12:39 AM
        • Gray Doc Moomin Amatin

          I WILL continue to want you to cite references, but really, when have I mocked your commas? ::shaking my head::

          November 13, 2020 at 3:01 PM
          • Apparently, not enough mocking has occurred.

            November 13, 2020 at 3:36 PM
          • Moomin Amatin Alizabeth

            I rue the day that ever happens.

            November 13, 2020 at 8:11 PM
          • Moomin Amatin Gray Doc

            You did not mock my commas or lack thereof. Have you met the other INN staff?

            November 13, 2020 at 8:10 PM
          • Gray Doc Moomin Amatin

            I will not talk about what INN editors discuss “behind closed doors,” but commas may have been mentioned.

            November 13, 2020 at 8:49 PM
          • I feel pretty lucky. Arrendis never asks me to cite anything.

            November 14, 2020 at 5:27 AM
          • Arrendis Alizabeth

            [citation needed]

            November 14, 2020 at 7:21 PM
          • It’s not too late for me to stop using commas.

            November 14, 2020 at 9:18 PM
  • Jacob Sicola

    The kool-aid is strong in this article.

    November 13, 2020 at 12:07 AM