Despite a noble effort to defend it, Triumvirate and allies lost their Keepstar citadel in A24L-V to an overwhelming assault by pilots from Drone Region Federation, Legacy Coalition, and Pandemic Horde. The final structure reinforcement timer began at 0000 New Eden Standard Time, and the Keepstar fell at 0434. 3767 players participated in the battle, in which Triumvirate forces lost 407 billion ISK, most of which was in the 328 billion ISK citadel. Attacking forces suffered losses of 220 billion ISK and 2400 ships.
The conflict began with Triumvirate aggression against FCON – a member of the Drone Region Federation – with the help of Circle-of-Two. After the Judgement Day, however, with Co2 no longer able to assist, FCON pushed back hard against Triumvirate, until wars in the North pulled attentions elsewhere, giving Triumvirate the opportunity it needed. Now, with those wars ended, DRF, with the help of the Legacy Coalition and Pandemic Horde, has begun fighting Triumvirate in earnest.
Attacking pilots from DRF, LC, and Pandemic Horde, among others, formed up on a Fortizar that was successfully deployed last week as part of the operation, and the first aggressive action was taken as carrier pilots deployed fighters to orbit a mobile depot close to the Keepstar 26 minutes prior to the timer beginning. This was undoubtedly an effort to compensate for the travel time that may have been extended during time dilation, a lesson learned from the recent battle of 9-4RP2. Despite this early action, the first damage wasn’t applied to the citadel until nearly three minutes had elapsed on the reinforcement timer, which runs in real-time despite time dilation effects.
In the moments leading up to battle, TiDi didn’t kick in at all, only beginning at about 76% after Imperium pilots arrived in system as honorable third parties. Once the battle began in earnest, however, the anticipated 10% TiDi kicked in. After some concern about whether or not damage was going to be applied, the timer was finally stopped at 6:17, and again at 4:37, where it remained for the next 4 hours as the Drone-Region-Federation-led attack continued without stopping. Triumvirate forces withdrew after about three hours of real time, leaving the citadel to its fate with about 33% of its structure remaining.
Just before the battle began, a Legacy Coalition Typhoon fleet repositioned and was caught out by bombers, forcing them to retreat for repair and destroying about half of the battleships. Shortly into the battle, another fleet of Pandemic Horde smartbomb Ravens welped itself in the blob. The Imperium fleet which showed up to third-party initially attacked the attackers’ Force Auxiliaries, before switching its attention to carriers on both sides which had untethered to aggress. The Jackdaw fleet was ultimately forced to withdraw due to time dilation making it unable to avoid bombers.
The defending Triumvirate and its allies in Red Menace and the League of Unaligned Master Pilots, along with some help from Northern Coalition and Dream Fleet, were unable to defend the citadel and lost a total of 738 ships, including a Wyvern and five Naglfars, six Chimeras, and four Nidhoggurs. The attacking coalition lost a total of 1609 ships, including three Naglfars, an Apostle, and three Thanatos. The honorable third-party Imperium fleet lost 218 ships, including one Thanatos.
The fall of the Keepstar in A24L-V demonstrates, that despite Imperium’s difficulties last week, it is still possible to attack and destroy defended Keepstar citadels, although many factors beyond the control of the fleet commanders still come into play. It’s difficult to say whether or not the attack would have been successful had time dilation started earlier, as it did in 9-4RP2, or if more pilots had turned out for either side, pushing the even servers harder. With most corporations unwilling to throw assets into sieges which all but guarantee heavy losses, and with time dilation making it even more difficult for the aggressor if they bring large numbers, Keepstar losses like this remain one of Eve’s more illusive outcomes.