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.