The battle was prompted after Goonswarm Federation reinforced a Mercenary Coalition citadel above the A2-V27 gate in the Kaira system. The latter had deployed to the area for a short contract, and seemed to have attracted the attention of the now Delve resident alliance. With the citadel set to exit reinforced mode during the late hours of the 8th of October, both sides prepared for an engagement.
Goonswarm Federation formed a 120 pilot Proteus strategic cruiser fleet, with a support Cerberus heavy assault cruiser gang, estimated at 30 pilots, coming in later to reinforce it. The fleet entered the system via the A2-V27 gate and warped to the citadel, setting up as it exited its invulnerability period. Once vulnerable, the Goonswarm Federation fleet opened fire on the structure, slowly hammering away at it.
Meanwhile, Mercenary Coalition organized a 100 pilot Ferox battlecruiser fleet, which remained docked in the citadel. The force allowed the Goonswarm Federation fleet to fire upon the citadel, buying more time for Mercenary Coalition reinforcements to arrive. Mercenary Coalition managed to secure the help of Shadow Cartel [SHDWC], which used wormhole space to move a 50 pilot Proteus fleet to the system. A The Bastard Cartel [TBC] Cerberus gang, estimated at 30 pilots, was also contacted and agreed to render help to Mercenary Coalition, using a wormhole route as well to arrive on the scene.
Once its allies were close by, and with news of the incoming Goonswarm Federation Cerberus fleet, the Mercenary Coalition fleet undocked before warping off to the A2-V27 gate itself. The Proteus fleet wasted no time and chased after the Ferox fleet, both sides meeting on the A2-V27 gate and opening fire.
The battle was a close range affair as the two sides exchanged blows. Without hesitation, the hostile fleets started to hammer at each others’ logistics wings as they burnt for range. Rail guns and laser batteries fired volley after volley at the much more fragile ships. Scimitar, Guardian and Oneiros logistics cruisers were caught in the crossfire and destroyed, super heated plasma charges smashing their way through shields and armor plating to incinerate the hull below.
By then, the Cerberus fleet of Goonswarm Federation had jumped in and burnt away from the gate, targeting Mercenary Coalition’s logistics wing and adding its meager firepower to the mix. Salvos of missiles slammed against the the tough shields, managing to penetrate them and detonating on the exposed structure. This added to the already considerable pressure exerted on the Mercenary Coalition fleet by the main Goonswarm Federation fleet. However, before things could go out of hand, the Ferox fleet was reinforced by the Shadow Cartel Proteus fleet, which landed on top of the Goonswarm Federation main force.
Without delay, the new arrivals opened fire on the hostile strategic cruisers, managing to fell quite a few in their opening barrages. With the Goonswarm Federation Proteus fleet breaking, the Ferox fleet changed its targets, focusing on the strategic cruisers themselves. In coordinated volleys, the rail guns of the Feroxes took a heavy toll from the hostile fleet, the coordinated salvos of the two fleets proving too much for its logistics wing to cope with.
As this brutal fighting was going on, a second battle was developing at the edge of it all as The Bastard Cartel’s Cerberus gang engaged the Goonswarm Federation Cerberus reinforcement wing. The two sides dueled, trading missile salvos over long distances, their vapor trails crisscrossing across the gate grid before being quickly dispersed by the solar winds. The two fleets proved to be equal in strength and logistic support, tanking much of the damage they inflicted on each other and only losing the odd ship through the entire engagement.
Things were going badly for the Goonswarm Federation main force. The fleet was continuously hammered by its foes as it tried burning away. Losses continued to mount as the Shadow Cartel fleet kept pace with the receding strategic cruisers while the Mercenary Coalition fleet, which lacked propulsion modules due to its heavy tank configuration, switched to long range ammunition and continued to fire away. Volley after volley found its mark, smashing through armor plates and inflicting terrible damage inside the strategic cruisers. Critical systems were destroyed, crippling the ships which were either later destroyed by internal meltdowns or ripped apart by continuous plasma barrages.
The Goonswarm Federation Proteus fleet continued to fire back, but its firepower was easily soaked by its enemies, their logistics wings managing to repair the damage it could pour. As the fighting continued, the Goonswarm Federation Proteus fleet made it to more than 80 kilometers off the gate, outside the optimal range of the Ferox fleet. Not wishing to be outdone by the Shadow Cartel fleet which kept pace and continued to inflict losses on its hostile counterpart, the Ferox fleet warped to the Citadel, then warping back down on top of the beleaguered Goonswarm Federation Proteus fleet to resume what was surely going to be a massacre.
With the Ferox fleet once again on top of it, the hundreds of rail gun turrets it possessed trained on its mainline ships and loaded high damage munitions, dooming the Proteus fleet. Making the call to retreat, the fleet was too far from the gate to burn back without suffering more losses, and too close to warp to it. The only choice was to bail. With the call made, the Goonswarm Federation Proteus fleet warped off, its ships heading in all directions as they dispersed among the planets, moons and asteroid belts present in the system. Its enemies, though, were not about to let it leave unscathed and pressed their advantage, sending interceptors to tackle the fleeing strategic cruisers. Warping between the celestial bodies of the system, the Mercenary Coalition and Shadow Cartel fleets started the arduous job of mopping up the stragglers their tackle wings caught.
By now, the majority of the main fleet, and the Cerberus wing as well, had managed to warp back to the gate and clear their aggression timers. Jumping out, Goonswarm Federation conceded the field, allowing Mercenary Coalition and its allies to claim it. With the field won, the allies dispatched the last of the stragglers before safely extracting to their individual staging systems. Thus the citadel was saved, allowing Mercenary Coalition to continue its operations unhindered and claim the strategic victory as well. With this the battle finally came to an end.
Battle report for the Kaira system can be found here.
All told the battle lasted 13 minutes with the system hosting an estimated 340 pilots at the peak of the fighting and no Time Dilation reported.
Goonswarm Federation forces lost 41 ships in the engagement, including 28 strategic cruisers for a total of 18.06 billion ISK damage.
Mercenary Coalition and its allies lost 13 in total, mainly logistics and tackle ships, for 1.66 billion ISK damage.
Salivan Harddin is a member of V0LTA, WE FORM V0LTA, and covers battles across New Eden