Though no stranger to the Lonetrek region, Rote Kapelle’s return to the area saw it settle near The Bastard Cartel, a relatively new entity in the area, as far as the former was concerned. Wishing to test this new opponent as well as gauge its strength, Rote Kapelle chose to anchor a citadel in the Hykanima system in the Black Rise region, which serves as The Bastard Cartel’s staging. The Bastard Cartel did not take kindly to this and reinforced the structure, and the two sides ended up clashing over it on the 1st of October as The Bastard Cartel utilized its advantage in numbers and firepower to overwhelm Rote Kapelle.
Even as it claimed victory in Hykanima, The Bastard Cartel pressed on, reinforcing Rote Kapelle’s citadel in its own staging system of Tartoken. Being familiar with the kind of numbers and firepower The Bastard Cartel could muster, Rote Kapelle prepared its defense of the citadel, contacting possible allies to bolster its numbers. Escalating Entropy answered the call, and the two alliance collaborated, planning to go after The Bastard Cartel’s dreadnoughts.
For the defense of the citadel, Rote Kapelle assembled a 30 pilot Rattlesnake battleship fleet with 2 Minokawa force auxiliaries, one held in reserve, and 5 dreadnoughts which also remained docked in station. Escalating Entropy for its part organized a 45 pilot Machariel battleship fleet and parked it a few jumps away from the system in order to hide it, bidding its time in order for The Bastard Cartel to commit its capitals before springing the trap.
The Bastard Cartel, unaware of Escalating Entropy’s fleet, organized a 50 pilot Machariel fleet of its own, complete with 2 Apostle force auxiliaries and several dreadnoughts and carriers. The capital squadron however did not accompany the main fleet, instead remaining in range of the target system and waiting for orders to engage. The sub capital fleet itself traveled to Tartoken without incident and set up on the citadel which had come out of its reinforced mode. Without hesitation, the Machariels started pounding the structure with their autocannons unopposed.
At this point, Rote Kapelle undocked its fleet, warping straight on top of the Machariel fleet with its lone Minokawa in tow. The Rattlesnakes anchored up and opened fire, blasting the Machariels with their cruise missiles at point blank range. The Machariels returned fire, the two sides maneuvering around each other but remaining in close proximity.
The autocannon rounds hammered against the Rattlesnakes’ shields, managing to overwhelm one of the ships which was torn apart by the relentless hail of shells. At the same time, missile salvos and drone fire overcame the thick armor plates of the opposing battleships, destroying the tough Machariels. The exchange continued for a few brutal minutes, as the Rote Kapelle Minokawa worked under immense pressure to sustain its comrades.
As the battle wore on, Rote Kapelle was able for the most part soak the incoming damage thanks to its force auxiliary while slowly but surely dismantling the hostile fleet. Realizing the Minokawa, it’s only logistics ship, was the linchpin of the entire Rote Kapelle fleet, the Machariels quickly started to drain its capacitor. Using their energy neutralizers while lighting a cynosural beacon on the grid, The Bastard Cartel jumped their capital squadron in. The fleet, though continuing to lose ships, hoped to tank the incoming damage of the Rattlesnakes using its Apostles while disposing of their enemies’ Minokawa with its dreadnoughts and carriers.
Hitting the field, the dreadnoughts entered their siege cycle while the carriers unleashed their squadrons of fighters and focused fire alongside the sub capital fleet on the Minokawa. It tried to valiantly tank the incoming damage, but with its capacitor constantly drained and the amount of firepower unleashed upon its shields from the dreadnoughts at nearly point blank range, it could do nothing to halt its demise. Within moments, its shields faltered and the enemy barrage slammed against its hull, breaking apart armor plates and devastating internal systems. It languished a while under the enemy fire before its own systems went critical and caused a chain reaction which broke apart its hull in great explosions, releasing it from its misery.
For Escalating Entropy, this was the moment it was waiting for. Without further delay, the Machariel fleet raced towards the system, rushing through star gates before arriving at Tartoken. Once in system, it warped to the citadel, landing near The Bastard Cartel capitals and support fleet. Without hesitation, the new arrivals opened fire, targeting the Apostles of The Bastard Cartel. Rote Kapelle started coordinating primaries with Escalating Entropy, and the two fleets focused their firepower on the hostile force auxiliaries.
One by one the hostile force auxiliaries were destroyed, energy neutralizers shutting down their internal armor repairers and making them easy prey for the sub capital fleets to dispatch. With its force auxiliaries gone and being heavily outnumbered by their opposition, The Bastard Cartel Machariels opted to withdraw, leaving their enemies to snag the remaining capitals on the field. Rote Kapelle had undocked its capitals during the fight and by then warped them to the citadel, bringing in mainly dreadnoughts and a replacement Minokawa.
With friendly dreadnoughts assisting, the two battleship fleets started tearing apart The Bastard Cartel dreadnoughts, most of them still in their siege cycles, unable to move. One by one the combined firepower of the allies simply melted the dreadnoughts, chewing through shields, armor and finally structure before the giants caved in and blew apart in a series of explosions, their tortured wrecks added to the debris field which started forming on top of the Rote Kapelle citadel. After the dreadnoughts came the turn of the carriers. Only one managed to escape, having been bumped away from the rest of its brethren upon entry to the system.
With the last of The Bastard Cartel capitals destroyed, the allies started looting the field, declining to pursue the retreating sub capital fleet. With the grid secured and the citadel saved, the allies parted ways, safely extracting to their respective staging system. Thus, the battle of Tartoken came to a close.
The Battle from the Perspective of the Rote Kapelle Rattlesnake Fleet Mainline Ship
The Battle from the Perspective of the Escalating Entropy Machariel Fleet Mainline Ship
Battle report for the Tartoken system can be found here.
The battle lasted 14 minutes with Time Dilation not reported and the system hosting an estimated 140 pilots at the height of the fighting.
Rote Kapelle and Escalating Entropy lost 5 ships in the fighting, including 1 force auxiliary and 2 battleships for a total of 5.35 billion ISK damage.
The Bastard Cartel lost 20 ships including 5 dreadnoughts, 2 force auxiliaries, 1 carrier and 8 battleships for a total of 26.01 billion ISK damage.
Salivan Harddin is a member of V0LTA, WE FORM V0LTA, and covers battles across New Eden