EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was submitted by Vily and has been left as-is aside from correction of typos
So before the fight begins let me lay out the cards as best I can.
A single NC. POS in HED-GP at Planet 6-2 has been reinforced. This POS is the originator of many attacks in Catch as it is where NC.’s bridging Erebus in the area is parked. As such yesterday when PL and NC. chose not to fight us for the Sov timers in Eastern Catch this tower, as well as an R64, were reinforced due to the limited opposition at the time. HED-GP is 5 gate jumps from NC. staging, 2 gate jumps and a bridge (or 11 jumps) from PL staging and a central point for both enemy and hostile operations in the region of Catch. It also holds the TEST alliance Jump bridge from V-3 and is the core high-sec null-sec entry point for the central south.
Through spy provided intelligence, we knew of both Pandemic Legion and Northern Coalition form-ups. Compositions were unknown but both entities are operating off the core double armor doctrines of Machariels or Tech3 Armor cruisers so there is very little variety in the opposition we plan to face. Once it was confirmed that both entities would be forming we marshaled and coordinated with all local southern entities. The Legacy Coalition as a whole was deployed as well as local allies Pheonix Federation and Providence Bloc. Goonswarm was liaised with in preparation for the fight to try and mitigate them attacking us or Co2 versus our predicted enemies.
With a POS timer of 21:39 EVT both sides of the battle began forming as early as 21:00. With the advantage of being within direct bridge range TEST held back on our choice of Machariels or Maelstroms waiting for the enemy to play as much of their hand as possible before we chose what cards would be best to employ against them. Once it was confirmed that NC. was on
Once it was confirmed that NC. was on, we moved into position on various Titans and although we were late no pressure was being applied via POS repping. Our enemies wanted the fight they felt no need to rush us. As such, we took our time and got setup properly in the system. The enemy had deployed 8 FAX along with roughly 270ish Machariel fleet split into two volley massed groups. There was no confusion about how this fight would go once it began.
We moved onto the grid to facilitate loading and tactical maneuvering and then we went.
Warped directly onto the center of the enemy Machariel blob, or as close as we could, and began volleying into them with them volleying into us at the same hard rate. We did not hesitate with capitals and dropped our Bomb dreads, Haw dreads and High-end subcap FAX in right away. Hesitation would not be good in this battle, we must be strong start to finish. PF and Brave dropped their Dreadnaughts as well, easily putting the number of capitals in battle at over 70 from just our side almost right away. PL and NC. and Waffles were not phased and had also prepared for this situation and almost immediately followed up with their counterbomb.
It is also within this timeframe that Goonswarm’s Nightmare fleet came in at range and began to wreak havoc in multiple directions, headshotting PL’s commander as well as other random friendly targets. They would burn their way into forces enemy to us in short order though, keeping to the targets they deemed most dangerous to their empire.
The subcapital battle was bloody straight from the start. While I survived the first head shot attempt in my vulture, the second one would find its mark and my vulture would be lost early on. My Broadsword from which I was bringing in the capital force would serve as my subcapital eyes at this point. As this was happening we also would bring in our sniper Phoenix and carriers at range after a slight cyno hiccup. This would begin to swing the capital balance slightly in our edge although only by a notch. The subcapital battle proceeded harshly Maelstroms killing Machariels and Machariels burning down Maelstroms. The machariels backed by copious amounts of triage and advantaged by tidi and stronger linkships would begin to slowly and consistently win the subcap fight but at a cost.
Dreadnaughts traded at point blank range for a non-considerable period of time, some friendly fire incidents occurred, but hull for hull and target for target the battle continued. With the subcap fight slowly being lost due to the strength of Machariels over Maelstroms in Tidi, hesitation and fear grew but reships happened unfailingly, there would be no ground given. Our enemies proceeded the same, pouring forth additional dreadnought and Force Auxiliaries to make up for losses as they happened. It was somewhere along this point as well that Triumvirate arrived in a Tengufleet to assist the NC and PL forces. Brave would continue to pour forth their capital reinforcements, Co2 would arrive with some capital forces as well unwilling to let someone have a capital battle without them.
The subcapital fight was getting messier for us at this time. Killing only 1/4 to 1/3 of broadcasted targets. While Maelstroms continued to die at double the rate or worse. This slow process of losing a component of the battle creates a dangerous ultimatum if something doesn’t change. Bombing runs combined by multiple fleets of fire were taking their toll upon our attention starved subcaps as the larger battle took more precedence.
After about the second wave of reinforcements by the enemy we pulled the trigger and called for TEST’s shield Supercapital forces. We called and deployed them within a few short minutes of notice and put them in at range with our carrier group. 25 Supercarriers and 7 Titans would assist in greatly tipping the power on the battlefield. Doomsday’s and Heavy Bombers dancing out to strike down FAX and Dreadnaughts alike, declaring that TEST would hold the line in the battle no matter the cost. From the deployed range there was a very limited risk, able to wreak destruction and pound out the pain without any really worry about counter play with enemy supercapital assets held in the north.
The mental swing of watching TEST’s supers coming in would also declare to both allies and enemies alike who the victor would be. Supercapitals are deployed only with absolute confidence and this was a declaration. More TEST capitals would come in, each eager to be appart of the enemy purge, while at the same time the enemy reinforcements would slow and then stop. Even Providence would arrive towards the end with additional capitals to pound the victory home.
The supercapital damage paired with the sniper dreadnaughts and short range dreadnaught and carriers would push the damage advantage far in our favor, taking trading at one to one to a rate of four to one or better. We cleared FAX first followed by carriers then all the remaining dreadnaughts one by one. While it was not instant, the enemy caps would eventually disappear. Until there was nothing but the subcapitals remaining, surrounded by a horde of carriers and enemy dreads all now willing to provide them with their full attention. The enemy would dive into their POS for a good 30 seconds but the firepower on the field would not let that be a haven survive for even a full minute before it would fall, chasing the remaining machariels out of the POS and shortly later out of the system.
After that salvage and looting, operations would begin after a short but clean extraction of the super assets. TEST taking the first step into using the force we continue to hope to build.