The battle was fought over a tower belonging to The-Culture, containing a titan in build for Escalating Entropy [CHAOS]. The tower, alongside several of its kind in the area, was reinforced previously by Goonswarm Federation forces who have stepped up their attack on the region following the faltering campaign of their allies in the Red Menace Coalition. With the tower set to exit reinforced mode, both sides prepared for a major engagement.
Having to contest the might of Goonswarm Federation, The-Culture called up allies while assembling a 90 pilot Cerberus heavy assault cruiser fleet. Answering the call were a Northern Coalition. [NC] 60 pilot Cerberus fleet, a joint Pandemic Legion [-10.0]\Psychotic Tendencies. [TISHU] 70 pilot Tengu strategic cruiser fleet in the “Slippery Pete” configuration, and a 100 pilot joint Proteus strategic cruiser fleet fielded by Escalating Entropy and Shadow Cartel [SHDWC]. These fleets converged on the system only to find Goonswarm Federation already in the system and set up on the tower.
Goonswarm Federation brought an overwhelming force to the field which included a super capital wing, a whole dreadnought wing supported by two carrier squadrons and several force auxiliaries as well as a Bhaalgorn battleship fleet. All told it is estimated that Goonswarm Federation forces brought more than 350 pilots to the system. This force was set up near the tower’s shields, the massive number of dreadnoughts able to simply volley it in one shot once it exited its invulnerability mode. With the tower destroyed, Goonswarm Federation forces warped to the next tower set to exit its reinforced mode, leaving only the sub capital fleet behind with a few Apostle force auxiliaries as the allied forces landed on grid, preparing to fight.
Though the main objective was already lost, the allied fleets decided to engage regardless. The Proteus fleet warped at 50 kilometers of the Bhaalgorns, choosing to occupy them while the Cerberus fleets decided to land at a 100 kilometers from the battleships and simply kite. The Tengu fleet took the furthest range, staying at around 170 kilometers from the hostile fleet and sniping from its vantage point.
Without delay, the different fleets started hammering the battleships, salvos of missiles streaked across the void to detonate against their thick armor plates as super heated plasma rained from a distance. The Proteus and Legion strategic cruisers added their firepower from closer still, remaining at medium range and blasting off at the besieged battleships. The Bhaalgorns were not passive either, and returned fire, pulse laser batteries concentrating beams of light into their opposition. However handicapped by the range of its turrets, the Bhaalgorn fleet was only able to lash out at the Proteus fleet, hitting its logistics wing.
The battle was fast becoming one sided. Battleships caved in one by one to the relentless fire heaped on them, the force auxiliaries unable to lock their comrades in time to apply remote armor repairs. The Goonswarm Federation sub capital logistics wing had also been removed from the field by its fleet commanders who feared the Tengu fleet might decimate it, believing instead that the Apostles could handle the enemy fire. This faith was soon proven misplaced, as the Tengu fleet simply tore into the battleships themselves, adding more pressure to the already overwhelmed force auxiliary pilots. Within minutes, losses began mounting for the Goonswarm Federation side as the hostile fleets continued their assault.
Slowly though, the Goonswarm Federation fleet was able to inflict some losses to its enemies, targeting and destroying Guardian logistics cruisers with concentrated bursts of searing light. One by one the cruisers were incinerated, armor plates eviscerated and internal structure exposed to the merciless energy beams. Yet, even as the Bhaalgorn fleet managed to take down the logistics cruisers, it was often forced to pay for each one dearly.
By then, realizing their mistake, the Goonswarm Federation fleet commanders rushed the sub capital logistics wing back in. But just as they feared, the logistics ships could do little besides add more targets for the enemy fleets to fire upon. Goonswarm Federation logistics cruisers quickly succumbed to the incoming fire barrages, though they did manage to slow down the rate of battleship losses, if only by substituting them with their own. At the same time, the Bhaalgorn fleet was able to slowly but surely wear down the Proteus fleet’s logistics wing. Losing nearly half its logistics wing, the Proteus fleet soon found itself in a precarious position, its strategic cruisers unable to tank the incoming damage. With growing speed, the Bhaalgorn fleet was able to dispatch more Proteus and Legion strategic cruisers as well as continue to clear what Guardians still remained on field.
All the while, the capital and super capital wings of the Goonswarm Federation fleet were busy removing the second tower exiting reinforced mode in the system. With the enemy fleets busy fighting the Bhaalgorn fleet, the Goonswarm Federation forces were able to destroy the tower and its modules without interference. With their task complete, the two wings warped back to their struggling sub capital support. Once in the fight, the super carriers and carriers unleashed their hordes of fighter squadrons on the enemy fleets.
Having suffered many casualties and with its logistics wing in ruins, the Proteus fleet chose to retreat, making best speed home. It was shortly followed by Northern Coalition.’s Cerberus fleet. However, The-Culture and Pandemic Legion\Psychotic Tendencies chose to remain and fight, continuing to fire on the Goonswarm Federation fleet, focusing on clearing support fighters among other targets. Yet, being continuously chased by the fighters, the two fleets had to retreat to safe locations in the system, taking a breather before returning again to the field.
The Goonswarm Federation super carriers attempted once again to cover for their beleaguered battleships, sending squadrons of fighters to drive off the attackers. The two allied fleets peppered their opposition with fire, managing to find and lock on an Apostle that was out of position, too far from its comrades to receive aid. The ship had exited its triage cycle and proved vulnerable to the enemy fire, which broke through its thick armor plates and caused havoc in its internal structure. Within moments the ship exploded, its internal systems gone critical and unleashed their stored energy in a great conflagration. While managing to take down one of the force auxiliaries of Goonswarm Federation, The-Culture fleet commander was dispatched in the exchange, forcing its fleet to withdraw alongside the Tengu fleet. This left Goonswarm Federation in command of the field.
Having won the field and the objective, Goonswarm Federation forces extracted their fleet from the system, bringing an end to the fighting.
The Battle from the Perspective of the Tengu Fleet Mainline Ship
Battle report for the G95F-H system can be found here.
All told the battle lasted 45 minutes with the system seeing 770 pilots at the peak of the fighting. Time Dilation spiked at times during the engagement, reaching at one point a peak of 40% before slowly subsiding.
The-Culture and its allies lost a total of 63 ships in the battle, including 8 strategic cruisers and 7 heavy assault cruisers for a total of 22.2 billion ISK damage.
Goonswarm Federation lost in comparison 159 ships, including 1 force auxiliary and 54 battleships for a sum of 40.12 billion ISK damage.
Salivan Harddin is a member of V0LTA, WE FORM V0LTA, and covers battles across New Eden