3L3N-X system, Tenerifis region. On the 10th of October at 17:30 EVE Standard Time, Phoenix Federation (PF) coalition led by Fidelas Constans [FCON] and Stain Wagon (SW) coalition clashed in the system in a bloody battle that saw both sides incur major losses.
The battle was fought over a SW tower in the region which PF had previously reinforced and was coming out of its invulnerability phase. SW formed up to defend it, drawing no less than 240 pilots in a Proteus strategic cruiser fleet, complete with 3 Apostle force auxiliary ships and 12 dreadnoughts. While the fleet traveled to the system, the capital squadron moved in range of the system, waiting until needed. Against this, PF managed to gather a 170 pilot Hurricane Fleet Issue battlecruiser fleet, with 20 dreadnoughts of its own ready to jump in at any moment. The PF fleet assembled on a titan in range of the system and waited to be bridged in.
Both sides had also called in allies to reinforce them, with PF getting the support of an 80 pilot Vanguard Coalition (VG) Tengu strategic cruiser fleet, while SW had an estimated 80 pilot Gila cruiser fleet belonging to League of Unaligned Master Pilots [LUMPY] to draw upon.
SW forces were the first to arrive in the system, waiting on their entry way, the Q-S7ZD gate, for PF’s fleet to arrive. They didn’t have to wait long as a cynosural beacon was quickly lit a thousand kilometers above the gate, ushering in the PF force. Without a moment to spare, SW interdictors warped to the cynosural beacon and started deploying interdiction probes, pinning the battlecruisers down and allowing the strategic cruisers enough time to align and warp on top of them. PF attempted to clear the interdictors, opening fire and volleying them in great numbers, but by then the SW fleet had landed near the battlecruisers, opening fire and starting the fight.
The first exchange was brutal, as SW focused on the PF support wing, causing Huginn and Lachesis combat recon cruisers to simply evaporate in the opening volleys, beam laser batteries and rail guns incinerating them almost instantly in devastating concentrated barrages. PF did not remain silent, and hundreds of artillery cannons thundered in return, hurtling high explosive shells at the strategic cruisers. The storm of shells landed with such force that it tore through the armor plates of the strategic cruisers, detonating within the soft structure and simply tearing apart their hulls.
The two sides continued to fight at close range, the space around them quickly filling with debris. After removing much of PF’s support, SW concentrated its efforts in removing as many battlecruisers from the field as possible. One by one the slender Hurricane Fleet Issues were torn apart in the crossfire. Unfazed by this, artillery cannons lit in answering barrages, continuing to take a heavy toll on the SW fleet as Proteus and Legion strategic cruisers were felled with each volley.
While the two sides were trading ships, it was SW that had the upper hand, managing to destroy 3-4 mainline ships for each one it lost. With its numerical superiority and higher rate of fire, it was certain that within minutes it would manage to stabilize and soak the incoming damage. Before this could happen, however, VG forces entered the field. The fleet was moving towards the system and was only 4 jumps out when the conflict started. Hurrying, the Tengu fleet jumped into 3L3N-X from Q-S7ZD. Without a moment to spare, the Tengus aligned towards the fight and warped 50 kilometers from the maelstrom, in range of SW’s logistics wing.
Without warning, the Tengus opened fire on the SW Guardian logistics cruisers. Plasma charges crashed into hulls and eviscerated them with every volley. In an instant, the flow of the battle was threatening to turn against SW. Regardless, SW continued to fight, concentrating their fire on the battlecruisers even as their logistics wing was being torn apart. Yet, even as the SW fleet found itself caught in the crossfire and suffering mounting losses, PF’s fleet was in much worse shape.
Suffering mounting losses, the Hurricane Fleet Issue force was exhausted. Its damage output was dropping dangerously as it lost more and more mainline ships with each passing minute. By now, SW reinforcements arrived in the shape of the League of Unaligned Master Pilots’ Gila fleet. Much like the Tengu fleet, the Gilas entered through Q-S7ZD and warped at range of the fight, keeping the two brawling fleets mostly between itself and the VG Tengus. Hordes of drones were unleashed and flew in a great cloud into the midst of the PF fleet. The drones swarmed the battlecruisers, their smaller guns stripping shields and armor before destroying the exposed structure below.
And yet, things were about to escalate even further. With the Tengu fleet slowly but surely demolishing the logistics wing of SW, the Proteus fleet was in real danger of incurring far greater losses. PF still had a sufficient amount of battlecruisers on the field to continue to volley the strategic cruisers, and with the immense pressure put by the Tengu fleet on its remaining logistics cruisers, things could get a lot uglier for SW. Thus, the decision was made to bring in the force auxiliaries. A cynosural beacon was lit on the field between the warring sides and into the system jumped the three Apostles, who entered their triage mode and attempted to stabilize the Proteus fleet; PF was not about to allow this to go unanswered.
In response, another cynosural beacon was set ablaze near the Apostles and into the melee jumped both of PF’s dreadnought squadrons. The dreadnoughts entered their siege cycles and trained their capital turrets on the force auxiliaries. Salvo after salvo hit the force auxiliaries with great force, breaking apart armor plates with ease as capital munitions were heaped on the suffering Apostles. The ships tried to resist the onslaught, their pilots overheating every system and trying to soak the immense damage hurled at them, but to no avail. One by one the Apostles caved in, their hulls exploding in great balls of fire which spread across the field before evaporating instantly from the vacuum of space. All the while the four sub-capital fleets continued to exchange blows, seemingly oblivious to what was going on a few kilometers away from them.
SW wasn’t going to allow PF to escalate without a proper response, and jumped in its own dreadnoughts to the still lit cynosural beacon. Immediately, the new arrivals entered their siege cycles and opened fire, targeting the PF dreadnoughts. In a sense, the battle had devolved into two separate engagements, a sub-capital brawl and a dreadnought duel.
The dreadnoughts were fighting at close range. PF held the advantage there, both in numbers and fitting, as approximately half the SW dreadnoughts were in a long range configuration, having been prepared to fight a possible PF Rattlesnake battleship fleet which never materialized. Even so, the trade that ensued was relatively even, as dreadnoughts exchanged blows. A PF Naglfar would fall suddenly silent, only for geysers of flame and molten metal to erupt from within its hull as its systems went critical and the reactors overloaded, unleashing their fury within its bleeding structure. A SW Moros would then break apart, the catastrophic damage caused to its structure by repeated, relentless volleys tearing it into great twisted chunks of metal flung across the battlefield. More exchanges like this went back and forth as the two opposing capital squadrons fought on.
In the sub-capital fight, things were heading towards a clear and decisive outcome. SW, with League of Unaligned Master Pilots was in control of the battle, obliterating the PF fleet which attempted to draw the strategic cruisers away from the fighting capitals. Though managing to drag the Proteus fleet away from its dreadnoughts, SW interdictors had the capital ships under a thick cover of interdictions probes, making sure the giants could not leave the battle. The Hurricane Fleet Issue force was by then depleted, having lost most of its mainline ships. It could not pose a serious challenge to the Proteus fleet, which kept swarming it without pause.
The Tengu fleet, having thinned the number of logistics cruisers enough, burnt in and switched to close range and high damage ammo. Rail guns fired at the strategic cruisers, who could do little to resist the inferno unleashed upon them. Yet, seeing the shape their allies were in, and the numerical superiority of their enemies, the VG fleet commanders quickly changed their plans, diverting their fleet’s flight direction and gaining instead distance from what had become a mop-up operation. With some distance put between the two sides, the Tengu fleet disengaged and warped back to the Q-S7ZD gate, jumping out and extracting its forces.
At that point for PF, an orderly retreat was impossible. With most of its fleet gone and its remaining dreadnoughts tackled, it was every pilot for itself. Those that could warped off to safety, leaving the field to SW and League of Unaligned Master Pilots to claim. With victory achieved in the sub-capital battle, the two allies descended on the still tackled capitals. One by one, the behemoths were overcome by the swarm of strategic cruisers and Gilas. Laser fire, plasma charges and flights of drones ate at the dreadnoughts, bringing them down.
With the last dreadnought dispatched, SW forces repaired their tower, securing both the field and the objective. With their work done, SW and its allies looted the field before extracting safely, bringing an end to the fight.
The Battle from the Perspective of the Stain Wagon Coalition Proteus Fleet Mainline Ship
The Battle from the Perspective of the Vanguard Coalition Tengu Fleet Heavy Interdictor
Battle report for the 3L3N-X system can be found here.
All told the battle lasted 35 minutes with Time Dilation spiking at times to 50% before slowly subsiding. The system itself hosted 520 pilots at the peak of the fighting.
SW forces lost 98 ships in the fight, including 10 dreadnoughts, 4 force auxiliaries and 34 strategic cruisers for a total of 60.75 billion ISK damage.
PF lost 138 ships during the battle, including 19 dreadnoughts and 68 battlecruisers for a sum of 96.58 billion ISK damage.
League of Unaligned Master Pilots and VG forces suffered light losses, with only 10 ships destroyed for a negligible 1 billion ISK amount.
Salivan Harddin is a member of V0LTA, WE FORM V0LTA, and covers battles across New Eden