“The war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage.”
      – Emperor Hirohito

Wars have consequences and the nullsec war in Fountain last summer was no exception to that rule. ClusterFuck Coalition (CFC) finished that war in an enviable position. They rested comfortably in their new region, wearing well-earned victory laurels on their collective brow. The spoils of that war included the extending of CFC frontiers through Fountain and possession of that region’s enhanced moon income, as well as the establishment of anew rental alliance to further augment Goonswarm’s income flows. 

While subject to light harassment, Goonswarm’s home space in Deklein is far from its enemies and well buffered by territories held by other CFC members and Goonswarm allies. Goonswarm, which was comprised of  ~9,500 members before the Fountain war, has increased it’s membership to over 11,000 pilots, some of the new members cherry-picked from the losing side of the war. Overall the CFC’s membership count hovers somewhere in the 40K range,up by roughly 30% since the height of the war.

With their borders secure, their fortunes increased and no existential threats on the horizon, CFC’s leadership might have been content to watch from a distance for a time as N3 (a coalition led by Nulli Secundi and Northern Coalition[dot]) and Pandemic Legion (PL), who had entered the Fountain war on the side of Test Alliance Please Ignore (Test), feuded with the southern Russian alliances.  After all, a cardinal rule of foreign policy is to never distract your opponents when they are occupied with beating each other bloody at no cost to you. However, as autumn wore on and the N3/PL forces showed no sign of cracking, CFC’s movers and shakers grew restless.  At the end of October, two proxies, Solar Fleet and Black Legion, were dispatched to assist the Southern Russians and hurry along the demise of N3/PL.

Two weeks later N3 and PL were still holding fast despite the new fronts opened up my Solar and BL. Indeed, the N3/PL morale seemed to be higher than ever as, confident in their supercapital superiority, they deployed capital fleets in a decisive manner that kept their enemies back on their heels. Thus, Goonswarm’s leadership decided that it was time to up the ante and officially involve CFC forces in the conflict, albeit in a manner intended to avoid at least the appearance of a full blown sov war.

On November 15, The Mittani® announced that CFC were entering the southern war as ‘honorable third parties’ (HTP).  HTP status, you’ll recall, is what N3 and PL claimed when they joined Test in the defense of Fountain against CFC’s invasion of that region. Ultimately CFC was able to remove N3 and PL from the field by a coordinated attack on the N3/PL rental space by CFC proxies and CFC agents within the rental alliance.  That accomplished, the CFC was able to quickly overrun Fountain, the remaining defenders having been deprived of the supercapital high cover PL and N3 had provided.

According to the November 15 announcement, CFC was merely doing unto N3/PL as N3/PL had done unto CFC during the Fountain war.

Now, by way of fairness it should be pointed out that, in the case of the Fountain war, CFC was the aggressor; invading Fountain in order to forcibly acquire its moons, which had become much more valuable as a result of the moon-goo re-balance.  Further, none of Goonswarm or the CFC’s territories were invaded or at risk, with the bulk of the fighting occurring in Fountain.  Nor was Goonswarm already under attack by the combined forces of Stainwagon, Darkness of Despair(DD), Against All Authorities(-A-), Solar Fleet and Black Legion at that time. Thus The Mittani®‘s justification of mere tit for tat breaks down fairly quickly.

The Mittani® went on to write that, by declaring HTP status, CFC could pursue the war in the South without risking political consequences. “If your side wins, you share the glory; if your side loses, it was the other guy’s fault because you were just a third party”, he wrote.  However, the strident tone of the marching orders that followed exuded such confidence in a CFC romp over N3/PL that it undermined any chance of distancing CFC from any blame or blow-back were the new offensive to fail:

“I want nothing less than absolute cruelty and sadism on display. No honor, no fun for the foe, nothing but having their faces smashed in shit over and over and over again until they cry, beg, and plead for forgiveness for what they tried to do to us.”

Thus, failure does not seem to have been entertained by CFC’s war planners as a plausible outcome of the formal intervention announcement on November 15.  

Nonetheless, there is little doubt that Goonswarm’s leadership wished to avoid at least the overt appearance of a Southern invasion by the CFC.  Despite the animosity between N3/PL and the Southern Russians, CFC must contend with the possibility that the Russians might put aside their differences with N3 and PL in order to deal with a greater threat to them all pressing from the North.  Such turn-abouts are not uncommon in EVE or real life.  Further, the large scale wars between Northern and Southern nullsec are not so far in the past that the participants, many of whom remain in game, have forgotten them.  Even years later, players on both sides retain many axes yet unground.

So, while the southerners may be persuaded to accept an expanded CFC presence in the south predicated on a mutual dislike of N3, that acceptance could evaporate if CFC pushes its Russian allies too hard or is perceived as a potential conqueror.

Following the HTP announcement, CFC deployed on multiple fronts against N3/PL, their primary force of CFC fleets fighting alongside the Southern Russian fleets in Catch and Curse.  With the main N3/PL forces pinned down countering the primary CFC fleets in Catch and Curse, secondary fronts were opened by CFC against N3/PL, such as Gentlemen’s Agreement’s (Gents) offensive against N3 assets in Kalevala.  While these enfilading attacks enjoyed some initial success, alliances supporting N3/PL, such as Insidious Empire (EMP) led by nullsec veteran Phreeze, deployed to counter them and quickly slammed the door the secondary fronts. By December 8, all lost ground had been recovered by the N3/PL.

Life as an honorable third party was was not going much better for CFC in the combined CFC/RUS/BL/Solar fleets on the Catch/Curse front.

Despite superior numbers, the combined coalition fleets appear not to have been well integrated, and operated without a unified strategy or command and control structure. RUS fleet participation in joint operations began to drop off, reportedly owing to friction with CFC command. To make matters worse, N3/PL stepped up support of their fleet actions with Slowcats; fleets of spider-tanked carriers armed with sentry drones.  The long jump range of the carriers allowed N3/PL to project both offensive and defensive power over a considerable distance.

Unable to come up with an effective counter to the Slowcats, or to effectively leverage the numeric advantage enjoyed by the anti-N3/PL coalition, CFC command became risk averse when it came to deploying their own capital fleets. The result was a slow erosion of CFC/RUS/BL/Solar supercapital high cover; a capital fleet gap that N3/PL would exploit to devastating effect on Friday, December 13.

On December 13, a fleet of Solar supercarriers was detected operating in 78R-PI.  N3/PL command  quickly coordinated a drop and in short order the 13 supercarriers were tackled and under attack by  N3/PL capital and supporting fleets.  Responding to a Solar call for assistance, Black Legion and Stainwagon rushed to the rescue in subcapital fleets. Goonswarm began to form up but, upon assessing the situation, stood down rather than risking a capital fleet fight for which PL/N3 was evidently well prepared.  Lacking capital ship cover, the BL and Stain subcaps were unable to execute a rescue and the entire Solar supercarrier fleet was lost.

That same night, hard on the heels of the 78R debacle, came the loss of a Goonswarm station egg while it was in transit to a friendly system in -A- space.  Apparently Goonswarm leadership was aware that the freighter carrying the egg was being tracked by hostiles, and had been scanned several times along the way.  Despite this intelligence, and despite repeated warnings up the chain of command, the operation was allowed to continue.  As might be expected, the freighter was intercepted short of its destination and destroyed along with its cargo.

Despite a public mea culpa by The Mittani® for the loss of the station egg, the two events rattled nerves within in CFC and caused consternation among the CFC’s Southern allies.  Rank and file members among Southern Russian alliances began asking hard questions about Goon stations being deployed in Southern Russian space.  The repeated set-backs against an outnumbered and supposedly on-the-ropes enemy caused complaints in the CFC ranks against a Goonswarm military doctrine that depended heavily on grinding structures in stealth bombers (the antithesis of fun) and keeping capital fleets on a very short leash, despite that same doctrine’s success in the Fountain campaign.

On December 15 The Mittani® announced that CFC was taking off the kid gloves and going all-in against N3/PL in Southern nullsec.  The timing of this second call to arms is notable.

First of all, given the approaching holidays, fleet participation was virtually guaranteed to slump in short order, negating to a large extent the immediate utility of a chest-thumping call to arms.  The Mittani is not normally so profligate with such announcements, knowing that to use them too often is to dilute their impact.  Throwing one away when it is unlikely to rally the rank and file and bring ships to the line, particularly in the face of a
month long storm of ill-fortune, carries a tang of desperation. 

Further, the December 15 announcement was made only a month after The Mittani®’s previous call for the destruction of N3/PL by the CFC.  Beyond the announcement of Omegafleet (essentially a dreadnaught blob doctrine intended to counter the N3/PL Slowcats) it added little in terms of content to his previous call to arms.  The primary purpose of declaring war on N3/PL a second time seems to have been to invoke the ‘no political consequences’ clause of the HTP policy announced a month previously.  In short, The Mittani was announcing that the month-old war declaration didn’t count as it wasn’t serious, but in the face of CFC set-backs since then, ‘Shit got real’.

However, the THP policy announced in November was, by The Mittani®’s own admission, a blatant
fiction aimed at tweaking the nose of N3.  He was on record at the time calling fervently for the destruction of N3/PL.  In that light he could not reasonably dismiss the previous month’s series of unfortunate events by saying CFC hadn’t been serious and were just engaged in a bit of light-hearted hijinks.  ‘Shit got real’ in this context translates as ‘Mistakes were made’. 

None of this, of course, has been lost on CFC’s enemies.  EMP and Test have begun a siege of Vale of the Silent and both BL and Gents ave been redeployed North to defend that region. This amounts to the first significant attack on CFC territory since the DRF was driven out by Goonswarm and friends. Harassing attacks against Deklein have increased resulting in an uptick of CFC capital ship losses in that region.  Pandemic Legion is rumored to be on the verge of breaking their No Invasion Pact (NIP) with the CFC, which would be a precursor to their participation in an invasion of CFC territory.   
 
The smart money will remain on CFC, at least in the short run.  It has been one of the best led coalitions in the history of New Eden. Its leadership, when at its best, has operated like a cross between a Wall Street private equity firm and the Prussian General Staff, and the resulting string of successes these last two years have been startling.  However, ongoing success can be as much a curse as a blessing. It can lead to complacency; to an assumption that events will tend to break your way for no other reason than that they always have before. And that, my friends, is a wellspring of disaster.

- Mord Fiddle

When you start to try to force events, when you begin to believe your own press releases and think of yourself not as one navigating a sea of events, but as a fixed point driving events, you are in trouble. 

Assuming CFC’s leadership hasn’t become complacent, this recent series of unfortunate events will serve as a wake-up call for them. If they avoid recriminations and wishful thinking as they plan their way out of the current situation, it’ll be Sally-bar-the-door time in Southern nullsec. 

If not, it’s going to be a long winter in the North. 

About the Author: Mord Fiddle’s writings are an invitation to high tea in a world of rave parties. His readers gather at fiddlersedge.blogspot.com for thoughtful analysis, daring prose, deep insights, and Mord’s tendency to use words not writ nor spoken conversationally since Middle English went out of fashion.

  • Candycrush online

    For the mercy of god.
    Finaly a good article on this website.
    No third grade essay english
    No Gevlon Goblin.

    Straight up points and arguments / evidence to back them up.

    and in regards of the content itsself
    “fucking slowcats man”
    I, as a CFC member never thought to encounter god damn 250 carriers with super support.
    I hope tides change as our Superfleet moved down and HC finaly wakes up and figures that having fronts all over EVE is kinda a bad move.
    Alltough. Having our Capitals down in curse it leaves the scrubs such as spaceshit samurai etc. ninja circling our stuff in fountain. They still get dumped on ALL final timers though so meh :p
    Its a fun war and I am looking forward to the capital brawls and I like having 2 fronts to fight on (-FA-) it is some great content beeing created by all involved parties. From 20 man T1 cruiser gangs to 1000+man capital brawls.

    • Chris

      Yeah they probs do, however they are tying up a portion of CFC forces in the area which give N3/PL and Test/EMP a little more breating room.

    • pfft

      No capital fleet in sight after DPS dropped sov. You’re a sperglord.

  • Robo

    Very well written article, nicely structured, factual, no bullshit. Breath of fresh air :)

    • best_burek

      Kinda makes you think what prompted this well written article. Maybe its all the horribly written articles from before. In any case, I applaud the writer for taking the time to write this.

  • Bill Cat

    Winter is coming.

    • MrSeb

      Already here mate.

      • CBJL

        Winter is already here? Jesus H Tittyfucking Christ! I’d hate to see the summer down here in Australia… wait… Winter is never here in Australia! It’s hot, fucking hot, hot and fucking wet, on fire or flooded. Take your pick.

  • Captain Amazing

    Great article. Obviously this means it won’t get discussed much because people whine about terrible articles but then pile on them like flies to shit. Anyway, good work. Actually seems proof-read, too. Standards much higher than EN24 is used to. :d

  • lol

    just so everyone knows its 15 november not november 15 to be english.

    • AmericaF***Yeah!

      just so everyone knows, its november 15 in the good ole US of A.

      • lol

        when americans realise they speak american not english then the better. since comment were made saying good use of english stfu

        • Tegiminis

          your grasp of english is obviously quite good

  • N3

    A good article, a blatant mistake at the start however, N3 and stainwagon did not fight for a while before BL and Solar joined them, we started the war BECAUSE solar joined them and moved staging system to two jumps away from our space.

    Otherwise a good article.

  • MrSeb

    Good article, Thank you for the read.
    Enough to say that things are looking interesting in EVE right now.

  • orly?

    The tide of power ebbs and flows. Nothing lasts forever – just ask the old NC, TEST, Atlas, BoB or the old Russian Block (DRF).

    A certain character in a certain famous book / story line (recently made into mega-movies) said something along the lines of never knowing what’s going to happen when you walk out your door. Hopefully I’ll never lose that feeling undocking for an op, raid or just some fun practicing NBSI…

  • Rengade8169

    Thank you for a cognizant well written piece, it was insightful and thought provoking!

  • editor

    This is a well written and well supported article, very good work!

    .

    .

    .

    And then you dropped this bomb and stumbled just shy of the finish:

    “Pandemic Legion is rumored to be on the verge of breaking their No Invasion Pact (NIP) with the CFC, which would be a precursor to their participation in an invasion of CFC territory.”
    While great knews, please elaborate on how this is more than pure speculation? Don’t finish such a strong piece with such a rumor balltease!

  • Sold

    Goons have a history of hanging their allies out to dry on the pretext that they weren’t worth it anyway. Seems RUSRUS are finding that out for themselves. They should be happy with the territory they have (its better than drone lands anyway) and let N3/PL have the drone lands for renter space. Leave NPC space for a thunderdome and WIcked Creek/Scalding Pass/Immensea new alliance breeding ground.

  • Provi Miner

    Its a problem to be sure, campers are hampering isk gathering in a host of renter systems in every pblrd region. The stealing of renters from rus/rus is a diplo problem that needs to solved before rus/rus call a truce and hang cfc out for a change. TBH if I were rus/rus I would be in serious talks about that very possibility, if not in fact flipping. No way N3 lets rus/rus in but they could be romania of WWII. Something most historians gloss over is how hard the romainians fought for the germans and then how hard they fought for the allies only to be thrown to stalin like a lamb to slaughter. One of many great mistakes made at the end of the war. I see no reason for Rus/Rus not to take what they have and take period basis as well, just a thought.

  • oldgrandma

    well put

  • Thomas

    I think the CFC’s best hope might be if RUS were to self-destruct and then the CFC retreated to fight a defensive war. People are more likely to fleet up if they feel the home is threatened and the CFC could bleed N3 assets before an eventual counter (counter?) attack

    And N3′s best hope is that the war continues as is until RUS suddenly turns on the CFC, then even with the home defence, I think they’d have to slash and burn a lot of territory to cope with the number of flanks. Which would irritate the non-goons so carefully arranged on the front and boost N3 renting money