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XZ-SKZ system, Period Basis region. On the 11th of December at 20:18 EVE Standard Time, a battle unfolded in the system between Red Menace Coalition (RMC) forces and a coalition of Stain region residents backed by The-Culture [-T C-].

RMC had been helping its ally LowSechnaya Sholupen [-LSH-] in its disastrous campaign in the Fountain region, leaving its holdings in Period Basis practically undefended. This had not gone unnoticed and soon Stain-region residents exploited the fact, hitting RMC infrastructure and claiming moons and systems for themselves.

Yet following the collapse of the campaign against The-Culture in Fountain, RMC forces returned home to find a coalition of Stain residents led by The Romulans [ROME] encroaching on their territories. Within days of its return, RMC started hitting back against the squatters by reclaiming space and moons. With RMC forces often outnumbering them 2 to 1 and backed by Goonswarm Federation [CONDI], the Stain residents could do very little to resist the RMC.

Members of The Romulans were not about to take this lying down. Keeping tabs on RMC forces and watching their fleets, the alliance came up with a plan to ambush the coalition. RMC had used titans and super carriers in its operations, moving them through gates often without escort and lacking adequate support. Wishing to inflict some damage on RMC, The Romulans planned to bait those super capitals and reached out to several alliances for help. They contacted The-Culture which was more than happy to repay RMC for its part in the invasion of its home.

On the 11th of December, The Romulans and their allies, such as Happy Cartel [HAPPY], formed a joint battleship fleet of mainly Apocalypse Navy Issues and Machariels. The fleet, numbering approximately 35 pilots, also contained a capital squadron which included 2 Apostle force auxiliaries, 2 combat carriers and 5 dreadnoughts. Their mission was to bait RMC forces by reinforcing their tower in the XZ-SKZ system.

Unknown to the RMC, a wormhole leading to the Fountain region from The Romulans area of Stain was scouted by the alliance that day. This allowed The-Culture reinforcements to arrive to the area, bringing a 100 pilot Proteus strategic cruiser fleet. This force remained on a titan prepared for the operation in range of the system, ready to drop in once hostilities commenced.

The Romulan’s small fleet made its way to the XZ-SKZ system and set up on the RMC tower in it. Once ready, the dreadnoughts of their allies entered their siege cycles and opened fire on the tower, slowly pushing it into its invulnerability phase. This alerted RMC forces to the aggression, soon having formed a response force: A 50 pilot Rattlesnake battleship fleet which included 3 Minokawa force auxiliaries and nearly an entire dreadnought squadron. The Romulans scouts even reported several RMC super capitals logging in and idling in range of the system. The sub capitals themselves gathered on a titan and prepared to bridge in on the interlopers as a cynosual beacon was rushed to the system.

As The Romulans dreadnoughts exited their reinforcements cycles, their fleet commander had most of them warp out, save for a single Revelation to use as bait. The dreadnoughts acknowledged the orders and as they left the field a stealth bomber uncloaked and lit a cynosural beacon near the Revelation. Into the system jumped the RMC Rattlesnake fleet with its capital escorts. A moment later The Romulans lit their own cynosural beacon ushering in The-Culture fleet.

The two sides clashed in close combat, Rattlesnakes exchanging fire with strategic cruisers and The Romulans’ battleships. One of the first casualties of the exchange was a The Romulans Apostle force auxiliary, effectively halving the logistics wing of the fleet.

The allies focused their fire on the RMC logistics wing, quickly dispatching the Basilisk logistics cruisers before moving on to the Rattlesnakes themselves. Rattlesnakes which, with much of their logistics wing destroyed, had to rely on the Minokawas for remote shield transfers. The allies did manage to overwhelm a couple of the battleships, but with the Minokawas on the field they were forced to change their targets and focus instead on removing the force auxiliaries.

RMC for its part concentrated its firepower on The Romulans capitals. The first Apostle soon exploded, not long after followed by the second one, destroying the entire logistics backbone of The Romulans force. Then the fleet targeted the combat carriers and the Revelation on the field. The Romulans had called back their dreadnoughts to aid their fleet and remove the hostile force auxiliaries, but with the grid filled with warp disruption probes, the dreadnoughts landed 60 kilometers away from the maelstrom, leaving them outside the optimal range of their guns.

The RMC had no issue with that, and targeted the newly arrived capitals, taking them down in coordinated volleys of cruise missiles and capital munitions. The RMC super capitals remained on standby, unwilling to commit to what turned out to be a trap.

With The Romulans capitals reduced to burning wrecks, RMC forces focused on the battleships themselves. With its force auxiliaries destroyed, the battleship fleet was unable to tank the incoming damage. Barrage after barrage of missile fire and capital munitions tore into the ranks of The Romulans battleships, overwhelming them. Explosions lit the grid in increasing frequency as the battleships succumbed to the incoming fire, unable to tank it with the lack of a logistics wing.

As losses began to mount, the allies finally managed to overcome two of the RMC Minokawas. The remaining allied ships began targeting the RMC dreadnoughts, taking a couple more down. At the same time, the allied fleets merged, allowing the remaining The Romulans battleships to tank and keep fighting as they relied on The-Culture logistics wing, which was relatively intact.

The fight may have gone The Romulans’ way, but RMC forces contacted Goonswarm Federation for help. With reports of a full (256 pilot) Proteus fleet coming to the aid of the RMC fleet, the allies knew they had to extract. The remaining The Romulans and The-Culture ships cleared the RMC tackle squadron from the grid and started the process of extracting. RMC, emboldened by the close presence of the Goonswarm Federation fleet, decided to further escalate and brought in several titans and super carriers.

This turned to be an empty gesture, as the allies had no wish to get trapped on the field and simply disengaged, withdrawing from the system and leaving RMC to hold the field. With the allies gone, RMC and its Goonswarm Federation ally were left to loot the field and extract themselves, ending the fight.

Battle report for the XZ-SKZ system can be found here.

All told the battle lasted 30 minutes with Time Dilation not reported and the system hosting 200 pilots for the majority of the battle.

RMC forces lost 36 ships in the engagement including 2 dreadnoughts, 2 force auxiliaries and 5 battleships for a total of 20.63 billion ISK of damage.
The Romulans and their allies lost 33 ships in comparison, including 5 dreadnoughts, 2 force auxiliaries, 2 carriers and 16 battleships for a total of 33.19 billion ISK damage.

Salivan Harddin is a member of V0LTA, WE FORM V0LTA, and covers battles across New Eden