That was how the fight was billed from the CFC side of things.
We were going to kill a super capital, rumored to be an Erebus, in its CSAA (capital ship assembly array) before it was born. That this particular CSAA belonged to Intrepid Crossing (IRC), with whom we are neither at war nor at peace I gather, seemed irrelevant. It was within our range and we were going to try and blow it up. We have been down this path before.
Razor put the POS into reinforce and we were coming back to take it out and the CSAA with it.
This fight was pretty well advertised. The CFC had been put on alert and told to expect a fight, while intel reported that IRC had issued their highest level call to arms and was going to bring in as many allies as they could muster.
The only people who didn’t seem to get notified was CCP, since they clearly did not reinforce the node where we were fighting. Or maybe they did. It is hard to tell, but things got bad.
So it was last night. The call went out that the fleets were forming. DBRB was leading the Alpha Fleet, which filled up very quickly. Zagdul was leading an armor tanked fleet, so we had Abaddons flying with us. And finally there was Lazarus Telraven leading the third fleet, the Drake Fleet.
For reasons unknown, the Drake Fleet ended up in operations channel 2 because Zagdul took channel 3. This seemed to confuse Laz and he kept telling people we were in channel 3 for long past the time it should have taken him to get his brain around it. For Logical Laz, the third fleet should be in channel 3 dammit!
I joined Laz in a Drake, determined to shoot something fun before the month ended.
More after the cut.
And the fleets filled.
As these things tend to go, the Alpha Fleet, the first to go up, attracted the lion’s share of the logistics pilots. They would have a lot of shield repair power with them. By the time it came to Drake Fleet, there were few pilots willing or able to jump into Scimitars. I was able, I just wasn’t willing. I was there to blow stuff up. So while Drake Fleet set sail with about 150 ships, we only had 8 Scimitars with us. Doctrine says we should have 20+.
But what the hell. The logic was, with all those battleships about, who is going to want to shoot Drakes?
The battle was 15 jumps from our normal staging system. I was told that, due to the shape of space in our area, it would take as many as five titan bridges to get us to our destination. As it turned out, due to bad planning, we were not even going to get one. We jumped from gate to gate for 15 systems.
Which doesn’t sound all that bad. Except, of course, when you are pushing about 600 ships through that pipe and Time Dilation (TiDi) starts to kick in and slows everything down. Then 15 jumps can seem like a long haul. Still, we did it, and pushed forward without any sight of the enemy until we were on the gate to jump into Q-VTWJ, the home of our target CSAA.
Then we jumped into chaos. And TiDi. And Lag.
Local showed about 1100 people in system, and almost all of them were right there on the gate.
The battle on the far side of gate was the deciding point of the engagement, and it did not start off at all well for us.
They had capital ships and AHACs and stealth bombers and a pile of battleships waiting for us. A hostile stealth bomber run took out a huge chunk of Alpha Fleet early on. My own shields were down by 50% after the bombers and our logis were too busy trying to keep Laz alive to focus on anybody else.
Meanwhile, TiDi went to 10%, which means that everything was moving at one tenth normal speed. For reasons unclear to me, this also means that the game UI moves at 10% speed, even when you are just opening a window that has nothing to do with combat. And the EVE client doesn’t really like that. It starts to get erratic if you try to do too much in heavy TiDi.
But at the start we seemed to be okay. Laz picked the AHACs and we started to target them, killing one Zealot after another, slowly but surely. The idea that nobody would want to shoot Drakes seemed to be panning out. We slowly soared around the battle engaging and shooting single volleys at the targets called, a single volley being enough to destroy most of our targets.
The field began to thin. We moved on to battleships, closing with the Maelstroms and Rokhs and piling on them with mass missile salvos.
At this point we started seeing the same names recur as the hostiles reshipped and returned to the battle. For example, I think we saw a pilot going by the name of LynyrdSkynyrd in three different ships over the course of the fight. The enemy was quick to reship, while our own reinforcements had to take the TiDi heavy 15 jump pipe back to the battle, hindered by a camp along the way. (And did I hear right, was it HBC peeps shooting us at these camps? Riverini is all over that!)
The turning point came for us when we managed to bubble up a pile of their carriers. This was over an hour into the battle, but we had broken through and were taking out capital ships. As we started in on the carriers, a group of 70 returning pilots showed up and joined our fleet just in time to help out on the kills. Everybody loves to get on a capital ship kill mail.
By this time my EVE client was starting to come apart. I did not get on all of the carrier kills because my client simply refused to acknowledge that certain ships were even online. Laz would broadcast a target and my fleet history would show “Target” with a blank next to it. He would call out the name and no such ship or pilot would be in my overview.
But I hung in there, shooting at what I could until we were all out of targets, which left us alone on the field.
We then warped to the POS that held the CSAA we were after. But we were too late. It had been refueled and repaired. We shot it back into reinforce mode, at which point my EVE client gave up the ghost and just shut down. I do not have any pictures of the carriers or the actual POS and CSAA (the picture at the top is a CSAA from another op) because the client stopped saving screen shots at some point during the fight.
But it was a pretty safe time to fall out of the game and log back in. I was able to get back into the fleet in time for him to bring us out to loot the field. It was littered with wrecks. A smart player in a Noctis could have made bank on abandoned drones and fighters alone.
I got in there and tried to loot some and ended up grabbing wrecks full of Scourge missiles, which happened to be what I was shooting. So I basically replenished my ammo and them some. I didn’t even lose any drones in the fight so couldn’t scoop up any from the field. But it was a big battle. Here is a late fight map update. The system was a big red blotch when measuring destroyed ships.
We then turned for home, which was trial only because TiDi chased us most of the way back. Again, push a big pile of ships through a series of gates and guess what happens.
There was one gate camp on the way, but their bubble was placed off-center and I wandered past it with barely a glance.
And how did we do in the end?
Well, we didn’t kill the CSAA. Mission failed on that front.
On the other hand, we killed a lot of other stuff, including a pile of capital ships. Here are the results from the Dog-Net battle summary right now.
The kill counts were pretty close. I think the CFC won on the ISK count. We lost a lot of battleships, but we put down a lot of expensive capital ships as well. Both sides will no doubt declare victory.
There is a battle summary up at The Mittani that has a better view of the overall battle, including the situation at the “Gate of Death.”
All in all it was a heck of a fight, and a nice way to end the month. And it put me on another 65 kill mails for the month, including 14 carriers and a dreadnought.
No idea if we are going back for another run at the CSAA.
Addendum: Jester says I am suffering from Cognitive Dissonance with this post… but is kind enough to suggest that all real EVE players suffer similarly.
Addendum 2: Looks like the CSAA went down with its titan in the end.