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J5A-IX system, Fountain region. On the 13th of March at 19:30 EVE Standard Time, a battle unfolded in the system between LowSechnaya Sholupen [-LSH-] and The-Culture [-T C-] with the two bringing allies into the mix.

The two alliances have recently been embroiled in a series of ever escalating battles with allies called on both sides, increasing their scale and savagery.

This time, a The-Culture 70 pilot Proteus strategic cruiser fleet was making it’s way home, having formed together with Northern Coalition. [NC] in an attempt to engage a The Initiative. [INIT.] force in the Syndicate region. The Initiative. declined to fight, deciding to dock its fleet in its staging system instead of fighting, leading the allies to burn back home.

However, as the allies made their way back, scouts reported of LowSechnaya Sholupen forming a fleet. With experience of past battles, The-Culture fleet commander contacted his colleague in Northern Coalition. as he expected Red Menace Coalition (RMC) forces to reinforce the LowSechnaya Sholupen fleet and wanted to prepare in advance. This was quickly confirmed by reports of a 130 pilot RMC Typhoon battleship fleet burning in range of the region.

Northern Coalition. agreed to give aid, bringing its already formed portion of the joint Proteus fleet, estimated at around 140 pilots, to a titan in range of The-Culture’s staging and waited for the go ahead signal.

LowSechnaya Sholupen for its part formed a 45 pilot Ishtar heavy assault cruiser fleet and set up on the B-DBYQ gate, the most likely entrance for The-Culture forces to return through, keeping position at long range from the gate itself.

As the allies prepared their counter, more reports came in of a second reinforcement fleet for LowSechnaya Sholupen, this time a The Afterlife. [D3ATH] Tengu strategic cruiser fleet, estimated at 70 pilots.

In order to counter the Tengu fleet, which based on The Afterlife.’s past usage of the hulls was most likely a long range sniping configuration, The-Culture got in contact with Syndicate region resident alliance Psychotic Tendencies. [TISHU]. Psychotic Tendencies. agreed to help the allies, forming a 45 pilot Machariel battleship fleet with triage carrier support. The force waited in range of the region as well, sitting on a titan for The-Culture to give the order to bridge in.

With all the fleets in position, all that was left for The-Culture and LowSechnaya Sholupen to do was to set things in motion. Thus, The-Culture Proteus fleet made the first move, jumping into the J5A-IX system from B-DBYQ and opening fire on the LowSechnaya Sholupen Ishtar fleet, starting the battle.

The two sides exchanged long range fire on the B-DBYQ gate, with the Proteus fleet burning towards the Ishtars who in turn kept their distance and kited out of range of the strategic cruisers. The-Culture lost a few logistics ships in the initial exchange due to some confusion regarding anchoring, but swiftly rallied together and managed to tank the incoming damage.

At this point, the Ishtar fleet seeing it was unable to break The-Culture fleet and with news of a Cerberus heavy assault gang belonging to ChaosTheory. [KOS] entering the system, disengaged and warped off, attempting to fight the Cerberus fleet instead. The-Culture fleet declined to pursue, waiting instead on the B-DBYQ gate and holding its position.

After a futile chase by the Ishtar fleet, the Cerberus gang managed to slip away and LowSechnaya Sholupen returned to the field, landing only 50 kilometers away from the Proteus fleet. This turned to be a mistake, as the medium range was more than enough for the Proteus fleet to start volleying the heavy assault cruisers.

With the LowSechnaya Sholupen fleet taking losses at a rapid rate as it tried to burn away, The-Culture quickly bridged the Northern Coalition. forces into B-DBYQ system in Cloud Ring so they could join in. The Northern Coalition. fleet quickly took the J5A-IX gate, entering the system and joining the fray.

At this point things were quickly set in motion. The LowSechnaya Sholupen fleet retaliated by lighting its own cynosural beacon and ushering in the Typhoon fleet. Both sides quickly anchored and started a brutal fire exchange at medium range, the two fleets keeping a 60 kilometer gap between them.

With the RMC forces committing to the battle, the Machariel fleet was given the go ahead signal as well and its forces bridged into the B-DBYQ system as well, quickly warping to the J5A-IX gate and jumping into the system. As the two sides were still embroiled in their fire exchange, the Machariel fleet quickly de-cloaked and anchored up, its artillery cannons adding their considerable firepower to the mix.

A few moments later, more reinforcements arrived to the field, this time for LowSechnaya Sholupen. The Afterlife. Tengu fleet arrived to the system, landing at long range from the maelstrom and started firing at the logistics cruisers of the Proteus fleet. Unable to contain the rail gun fire, the tank on many of the Oneiros and Guardian logistics cruisers simply evaporated, leading to several losses.

However, the Machariel fleet quickly changed targets, its artillery cannons attempting to snipe the Tengu fleet. Overheating sensor boosters and opening fire at the strategic cruisers, the Tengu fleet was forced to retreat time after time from the grid, as its ships were at danger of being shredded by the artillery shells, as their configuration left no room for tank.

All the while the Proteus fleet continued to fight with the Typhoon and Ishtar fleets. The fire exchanges saw the Proteus fleet manage to soak much of the incoming damage while dishing out more than the attackers could handle. In rapid succession heavy assault cruisers and battleships were simply cut down at an alarming rate.

Realizing quickly they couldn’t break the Proteus fleet, and with the Machariel fleet adding its artillery fire to the mix, the Typhoon fleet attempted to withdraw, many of its battleships hitting their micro jump drives or simply warping off the field, leaving the Ishtar fleet to fend for itself.

To its credit, the LowSechnaya Sholupen Ishtar fleet fought to the bitter end, losing the entire fleet to the strategic cruisers who were now free to hunt its retreating allies.

Seeing its allies lose and disengage, the Tengu fleet withdrew as well, its strategic cruisers retreating to safe spots in the system to re-fit to a covert ops configuration in order to escape. However The-Culture wasn’t about to let them escape scot-free and started probing the strategic cruisers alongside Northern Coalition., its members swapping quickly to interceptors to give pursuit as well.

Thus started a long and ruthless hunt in the system, Northern Coalition. and The-Culture forces scanning down Tengu hulls and warping their fleets on top of them, blasting the now defenseless ships before moving on to the next one. However, seeing the remnants of the Typhoon fleet attempt to escape as well, The-Culture shifted its focus to the fleeing battleships while its allies started the process of extracting.

The route home for the RMC forces soon became a bloody path as The-Culture interceptors descended upon the retreating ships. Battleships were tackled on gates and torn apart by the swarm of frigates. The-Culture took a few losses in the process, but pilots quickly re-shipped and came back to continue and hunt the stragglers as they fled the region.

Finally destroying the last of the stragglers, The-Culture forces returned to their staging system, bringing an end to the bloodshed.

The Battle from the Perspective of the Joint Proteus Fleet

The Battle report for the J5A-IX system and the RMC rout can be found here.

All told the fighting lasted an hour and a half with the main battle seeing an estimated 500 pilots taking part in it. Time Dilation was present at times, peaking to 80% but quickly subsiding, thus having little impact on the fighting.

The-Culture and its allies lost 68 ships in the fighting, including 1 battleship and 1 strategic cruiser for a total of 8.83 billion ISK.
LowSechnaya Sholupen and its allies lost 130 ships in the battle, including 57 battleships, 18 strategic cruisers and 30 heavy assault cruisers for a total of 39.92 billion ISK damage.

Salivan Harddin is a member of Reikoku, Pandemic Legion, and covers battles across New Eden

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