Two weeks into World War Bee and New Eden’s null sec war has finally had a major engagement. Fountain was extremely busy as PandaFam and associates battered the castle doors, taking down some iHubs in the region. The total ISK war is running about 60-40 against Imperium, with the butcher’s bill standing at about 3 trillion ISK. Despite a few marquee engagements, this week felt quieter than the opening week of the war, attested to by the fact that each week has yielded about 1.5 trillion in losses. The two major theaters still appear to be Fountain and its border with Aridia and Paragon Soul, Querious, Period Basis, Esoteria, with small fights leaking into Delve.
The Northern Campaign
The Northern Campaign’s week started off strong for PandaFam as they successfully reinforced iHubs across the Taurus constellation – the entrance to Fountain from Aridia – setting up a fight for a Tuesday reinforcement timer. Sunday’s remaining action saw some smaller fights in Fountain: an Ansiblex reinforcement attack, some small ship skirmishes, and the loss of a Tenebrex Cyno Jammer, as well as an Ansiblex. Monday was a relatively quiet day in the North as forces gathered for Tuesday’s face-off, although an Initiative (INIT) Tatara was lost in Aridia undefended, and no additional iHubs were lost thanks to able response fleets across EU prime time.
Tuesday saw some of the biggest action of the war to date in Fountain. Early EVE time, PanFam and the Imperium faced off over a Raitaru in MN5N-X, leading to an out-gunned Imperium fleet losing nearly 200 ships at a cost of 36 billion ISK. The day’s headline would no doubt be the Taurus Battle, pitting PandaFam and Legacy against the Imperium. The battle raged across the constellation, ultimately costing the Imperium 230 billion ISK and two Initiative iHubs in 9D6O-M and YRNJ-8.
Initiative FC Dark Shines had this to say. “[It] kicked off in L-A when PanfFam rage-formed to hit some objectives in the Taurus pocket. They had two Muninn fleets and a Ferox fleet from the start. The rest of the Imperium started rage-forming as we bridged ahead of them into L-A and set up camp on the D4KU gate to cut them off. We had around 150 in our Zealot fleet, so already the odds were approaching 3:1 in PanFam’s favour. They jumped into us and the fight kicked off. It was bloody for us but they were held down on the gate grid, which is what I wanted. It was buying time for our numbers to grow and Imperium fleets to arrive. As Goons arrived in IGE we bridged them forward onto the fight along with INIT reinforcements.”
Dark Shines continued, “I made the decision to drop 80~ carriers above the gate to try and assist with cleaning up hostile subs. This turned out to be a mistake. As tidi kicked in to 10% it gave hostiles plenty of time to get their allies into system, until eventually we were heavily outnumbered by 600 ~ 700 people. We managed to free about 50% of the carriers but the remaining died to PanFam. After that our subs disengaged. We reformed and tried to contest the iHub timers but [their] numbers were simply too many.”
After Tuesday’s excitement, Wednesday was a very quiet day as far as fights go. Only one skirmish but INIT lost two more iHubs, in PNQY-Y and AC2E-3. A fight erupted Thursday over the KVN-36 jump bridge where again Imperium forces were outnumbered and lost 35 billion ISK. On the plus side, all of the enemy FCs were head shot. Among other fights, there was a small skirmish as well as Goons losing a Fortizar in Aridia. Later in the day, Imperium fleets rallied to defend a faction Fortizar in L-A5XP as its timer came up.
Again, INIT’s Dark Shines explained, “We set up to engage on the L-A Fortizar. Once again all of PanFam formed and we asked Goons for assistance. They brought a Sacrilege fleet while we were in a Zealot Fleet. Hostiles warped in their three Muninn fleets and engaged at range, but either due to overconfidence or the E-War we were applying, they burned into tether range and engaged us at zero. At this point we started forming our second fleet, Abaddons, and got triage into both the INIT fleets and the Goon Sac fleet. It was 1,000 people just sitting at 0 punching the crap out of each other, it was great. In the end, PanFam withdrew and the Fortizar repaired. We won the objective but not the ISK war. Our own ships cost about two-times the value of PanFam’s so we will always lose the ISK war in trading engagements.”
Friday was another quiet day as the Initiative defended all but one of the iHubs across Fountain, losing only P5-EFH. Saturday was also fairly calm in the North, as the Initiative only lost a Tatara in 3ZTV-V as attacking and defending fleets bounced around the Taurus constellation. The only other fight in Fountain on Saturday was again over the KVN-36 jump bridge.
“That was my favourite fight so far,” Dark Shines said. “As we were forming, pings went out for PanFam to rage form. We undocked and headed south, towards KVN to get into Delve, but as we were leaving PanFam undocked and bridged to NPC Fountain. I thought it was to cut us off from getting into KVN but our scout spotted the KVN jump bridge was actually under attack by PanFam. It had been reinforced, and a breakdown in communication meant we didn’t know about it. We logged our ghosts off in C-N and started rage forming Abaddons and triage.
“We took a bridge to C-N and jumped into KVN but the jump bridge was already at 5% hull. I had hoped that if we set up on the gate they would at least fight us as we were outnumbered. They killed the bridge and warped on us at 0, setting up to blast us with Quake ammo again. As the fight kicked off we both started rage pinging for more numbers. With triage on grid, and our Abaddons spread over the gate we were able to hold most battleships. Our logi ate crap, as usual, because 200 Muninns will do that to you. Test tried to bomb us but it was mostly ineffective, due to us being spread out. The brawl continued but as we were starting to hold, and as we began to alpha Claymores, hostiles began to burn away and disengage. They bridged a third or fourth fleet into NPC Fountain, but by that time the main Goon fleet began to land in KVN and PanFam ran.”
Dark Shines also had a few thoughts about the overall war. “Despite what TAPI [Test Alliance Please Ignore] tried to tell everyone their war plans got interrupted from day one. They expected to have Legacy provide the subcap power in Catch while their entire coalition, PanFam, Legacy etc, provided the super cap cover to contest Goons. Meanwhile the subs of Winter and PandaFam would push on Fountain vs INIT. Instead, PandaFam are pushing INIT, but TAPI have had to stay home to defend their space leaving their coalition supers mostly useless in Catch. In general, PanFam have been doing all of the heavy lifting. But their own push is only been driven by a handful of people, so it’s going to be interesting to see what happens in the coming weeks. Everyone has wins and losses, at the end of the day we are having fun. All politics aside, hopefully hostiles are as well – this is why we join null blocs and play EVE, for this kind of content.”
The Southern Campaign
Where the North had a handful of major battles and few minor skirmishes, the South had many scuffles across the week. Sunday started with five dreadnoughts from Get Off My Lawn attempting to reinforce a POS, only to be jumped by a TEST torpedo bomber fleet, losing three dreads in IP6V-X, while Goons destroyed a TEST Raitaru in UR-E46. Fleets traded fights back and forth in TCAG-3, HZAQ-W, and then in G-M4GK. A Goonswarm Offensive Logistics (GSOL) convoy was caught out in 8RQJ-2 and fleets fought over 49-U6U. As the day wore into EU Prime, Goons formed to defend timers across Period Basis, preventing iHub losses. Fighting then continued in TCAG-3 and G-M4GK across the border systems between Period Basis and Paragon Soul. Goons also stepped into Catch to chase Evictus Feroxes.
Monday had more iHub defenses across Querious, Delve, and Period Basis, with only a Querious iHub being lost and most invading entosis ships destroyed. There was another set of border skirmishes in TCAG-3 and G-M4GK, as well as Goons taking a POS in XZ-SKZ but losing a Fortizar in Gehi.
Tuesday was quiet in the South until the Taurus battle. At roughly 2200 hours, TEST and friends deployed a sizable subcapital fleet into L-A5XP, which sparked the bloodiest battle of the war thus far. Just over 2,800 pilots and a staggering 1,533 ships were lost in the initial engagement. The total destroyed sits at 274.6 billion ISK, with the majority being Imperium losses, which totaled 222.6 billion ISK.
A handful of other fights across the theater saw Goons destroy several TEST POSes in TCAG-3. After the Taurus brawl, only two major fights happened in the South, a TEST POS destroyed in XZ-SKZ and the saving of an iHub in 3-FKCZ.
Thursday saw action in Delve border system 1-SMEB as TEST fleets attempted to fight over Ansiblexes all day. A group of third-party raiders made an appearance in Delve’s ZXB-VC only to be welped. Friday saw Goons reverse their skirmish losses from the previous day, as TEST continued to assault the 1-SMEB Ansiblex. Later in the day, after Goons attacked the G-M4GK Ansiblex, they wiped a TEST Muninn fleet.
Saturday saw on the biggest battles in the Southern theater to date as Goons attempted to take the TEST iHub in XZ-SKZ but failed to carry the objective.
Imperium FC Asher Elias described the fight this way. “Outnumbered [as] we were with subs, I think we did pretty well. We put out our dread hackers too early which was most of the isk difference. Other than that we fought well even being significantly outnumbered. We held [Progodlegend’s] fleet in POS with a dozen HAW dreads, a malformed Baltec fleet and some Harpies so that was a move for us and a morale win for our guys to watch them get camped in by an inferior force. They got overwhelming sub[capital] numbers into the constellation making there no way to contest for us once that happened but we traded well other than those dreads, morale was high on our side I can’t speak for theirs.”
Bastion CEO Carneros was on hand as well. “I was in a special role (as were all the Phoenixes in that battle report.) We did not have a combat mission. We volunteered for a special mission and went to do offensive entosis in hostile systems. If you look closely at our fits, you will notice a tech 3 entosis module. Our idea was to start entosing a node and use torpedoes on whomever attacks us. I was initially attacked by a small Jackdaw fleet and I tanked it just fine. Then two or three Muninn fleets arrived and my Phoenix melted like butter. A rescue force nearby, intended to come help, was so outnumbered that they could not come help.”