It was one of those fights where I could tell we were losing, but things in my own little corner of the engagement seemed to go pretty well. So my view of the strategic outcome is more a matter of what I have read and heard elsewhere rather than anything I could attest to personally.
There had been pings earlier in the day to rouse the troops and get them to log in at what is generally a late hour for even USTZ, 04:30 UTC. That translates to 9:30pm here on the west coast, which is about the time I want to be in bed. But I figured I could be a little tired on Friday, so I stayed up for it.
The stated plan was to take out the ihub in SH1-6P, which is where the defenders of the region have massed their forces. To finish off the ihub, which had been reinforced previously, meant an entosis fight across the six systems of the constellation.
If we won the cyno jammer would be disabled and we would be able to drop titans and supers on their staging Keepstar at will. With the jammer still there they can keep out capitals out unless they want to gate in.
The first ping that went out for a Baltec fleet, the battleships doctrine based around the Megathron. That filled up almost instantly, to the point that even though I was logged in before hand I couldn’t get in.
The next up was the Eagle fleet. I managed to get into that before it too filled up, though it filled partially with people in Megathrons and interceptors, so there was a while of sorting that out and getting the right ships in the fleet. It took us a good 40 minutes to get sorted and on a titan and ready to be bridged.
From there we were bridged into Tribute to sit on one of our citadels, where it seemed like we were bringing out the big guns as two titan fleets landed and tethered up around us.
We bridged off the citadel into Venal, something that a PanFam post on Reddit at least implied was unexpected. They had bubble fucked the route through Tribute so we went through Venal, which was clear. They seemed a bit salty about that.
We didn’t see those titans again last night. We went in with the Baltec fleet, swatting aside the Sabres sent to slow us down pretty easily, ending up in Q-CAB2 on the WH-JCA gate. The fight waited for us on the other side of the gate.
In we went. TiDi was surging and while it never got down to the sludge of struggling at 10%, it stayed between 12% and 20% for much of the fight, slowing everything down. The Eagles went through the gate and shot anchored bubbled and Sabres to clear a way for the Baltecs.
Once through the bubbles and anchored up the fight became the usual repetition of locking and shooting targets, changing ammo to suit the situation, and managing drones. For us the fight was trying to hit targets and break their tank before they could get reps, which is tough to do in TiDi, since it gives the logi pilots additional time to respond. The game may be moving slow, but the humans at the controls are still at normal speed. I know when I am flying logi it is easier to land critical reps in that situation.
This time however I was in an Eagle, shooting things.
It was announced pretty soon into the fight that the entosis effort had failed. The locals had won the objective. But we were stuck in and not doing too badly, so there was no rush to get out. We were managing to pick off a target now and again before they got reps. I even saw a name or two I recognized, like Dreydan Trovirr of the Open Comms Show.
He, like many of our targets, caught reps in time and lived.
The locals brought out some HAW dreads, which put some hurt on the Baltec fleet, which was taking the brunt of the fire. Big, fat battleships are hard to resist and the dreads shredded the Bhaalgorns that were with the Baltecs. But we managed to get in and pop some of the dreads along the way.
We were also given a treat when a small pack of Macherials arrived on grid with us, which we blew up as fast as we could lock and shoot. I ended up on the kills of five Machs and five dreads.
In a bit of a surreal situation, it turned out that one of the hostiles was streaming the fight with a very short delay… or no delay because it seemed only seconds behind… which meant we could hear their FC calling targets, allowing our logi to get reps on our ships before the damage hit. I am not sure if that was ignorance or arrogance on their part, but we were happy enough to listen in as we continued to shoot.
As the Baltecs ceased to be much of a force and we became the primary target and the locals brought out their titans it looked like it was time for us to go. We had lost our anchor, Zintage Enaka and were following a backup as we headed back to Q-CAB2 and though Venal again for home.
Once we were into Venal and grouped up the route was clear for our staging. Our fleet, the Harpy fleet that came in after us, and what of the Baltec fleet that managed to get out were not bothered after that. I arrived back at our staging Keepstar safe, having only lost my drones somewhere along the way.
Once there I was able to put the rigs on my ship. I only noticed when we were into Venal that, after I bought the Eagle off a contract, I forgot to put the rigs on.
This is maybe the fourth op I’ve been on in this Eagle too. I’ve glad nobody shot at me, though I am even more glad I didn’t get into the Baltec fleet. However, I might have got to bed sooner if I had been in the Baltec fleet. I didn’t turn the lights out until 1am. Very late for me.
As for the battle, not only did we lose the objective, but the ISK war came out against us as well. I tried to put together a battle report covering the constellation so as to include kills in battles over entosis hacking. (That just adds to our losses.) I didn’t get everybody in the right columns, but all the significant groups were sorted.
We blew up almost 58 billion in hostiles, helped along by those HAW dreads, but lost over 100 billion ISK in the process.
Nearly 2,000 pilots were involved. The locals dialed up Fraternity for some assistance while we had TEST and Brave from Legacy coalition, who have been fighting Fraternity, show up on our side.
In the end though, a fight like that doesn’t change much. We’re not going home, the locals are not going away. I suspect that rather than jumping straight at their staging we might spend some time drawing the locals out. There is a Keepstar sitting 0-YMBJ, one gate from our staging in Pure Blind, that is just begging to be blown up.
Anyway, we shall see where we go from here.
Other posts on the battle: