UQ-PWD system, Catch region. On the 20th of December at 18:11 EVE Standard Time, Vanguard Coalition (VG) and Stain-Wagon (SW) Coalition clashed in the system.

The battle was prompted by an Azbel industrial complex owned by The Volition Cult [VOLT]. The structure had been reinforced repeatedly by VG forces, and was exiting its final reinforcement timer. Should the Volition Cult fail in its defense, it would mean the destruction of the structure. VG amassed a 90 pilot fleet of Tengu strategic cruiser with two Minokawa force auxiliaries in reserve and made best speed to the system, setting up on the structure and waiting for its vulnerability window to arrive.

To defend the structure, The Volition Cult organized a 50 pilot Hurricane battlecruiser fleet. The force made its way to the system while asking allies for help. SW answered the call, flash forming a 60 pilot Gila cruiser fleet. The fleet made its way to join up with The Volition Cult for a joint attack. However, with the structure exiting its invulnerability period and VG forces eager to destroy it, the Volition Cult didn’t wait for reinforcements and went in by itself. The Hurricane fleet landed on top of the Tengu strategic cruisers, opening fire. VG responded in kind, the two fleets exchanging blows at nearly point blank range.

The battle started badly for the defenders. The Volition Cult lost its command ship at the start of the battle, with the Tengu fleet tanking the incoming damage quite comfortably. The strategic cruisers’ railguns had no problem tracking the larger ships, tearing into them and inflicting casualties. However, as the Tengu fleet started annihilating the Hurricane fleet, the SW reinforcements arrived in system. The Gila fleet warped to the grid, landing only 20 kilometers away from the strategic cruisers due to a bad warp-in.

Anchoring up, the Gila fleet attempted to correct their mistake, burning away from the strategic cruisers while unleashing flights of drones and directing them at the Tengu fleet’s logistics wing. The strategic cruisers, baffled, quickly switched targets, and began focusing their efforts on the Gilas. Several of the cruisers were destroyed in the ensuing barrages, but the majority of the fleet managed to reach a safe distance, remaining outside the optimal range of the railguns. With the Gilas out of its reach, the Tengu fleet turned its attention back to the Hurricanes, which still remained near the strategic cruisers. Hurricane after Hurricane exploded, as the charges of super heated plasma overcame their shields and tore through vulnerable hulls.

By then, the Gila fleet had managed to destroy a large portion of the strategic cruisers’ logistics wing. Basilisks were ripped to shreds as the cloud of drones swarmed over them, firing constantly with hundreds of weapon systems. As the number of logistics ships thinned, support ships like the Huginn combat recons started to drop, the number of logistics ships too small to sustain the damage coming from the two defending fleets. With its support squadron severely reduced, the Tengu fleet had difficulty applying damage. Realizing the danger posed to the fleet, the VG fleet commanders quickly organized relief in the form of the two Minokawas. A cynosural beacon lit up and the capital ships jumped in, one after the other, entering triage mode and trying to supplement the declining number of logistics cruisers.

Unable to chase the Gila fleet and forced to contend with the Hurricane fleet, the VG strategic cruisers focused all their attention on removing as many battlecruisers as they could. However, with their decimated logistics wing, the Hurricanes were starting to claim victims, their artillery volleys proving devastating even at such close range. The Gila fleet also took note and started focusing on the strategic cruisers themselves. The swarm of drones descended upon them, and coupled with the artillery barrages of the Volition Cult, claimed more and more victims. The Minokawas did their best, trying to slow the attrition, but dealing with the two fleets at once is an arduous task. They were unable to stop the bleeding, only managing to slow it down.

The defenders were not about to ignore the the two force auxiliaries, and chose to escalate as well. The Volition Cult started warping in carriers, and even an Aeon super carrier to the Azbel itself, as well as lighting a cynosural beacon and bringing in it several dreadnoughts. The Minokawas came under fire as The Volition Cult unleashed its capital squadron on the force auxiliaries.

Sustaining heavy fire and having to keep shield transfers on for its fleet members, the Minokawas faltered. The first Minokawa lost shields, with fighters, artillery shells and drone fire penetrating through and wreaking havoc on its hull. It exploded, unable to bear the punishment. With it removed, losses started piling up again as the second Minokawa came under assault. Two minutes later the remaining Minokawa had succumbed to the hostile barrage, joining its sister in its fate. With their force auxiliaries gone, the strategic cruisers were doomed.

That said, the Volition Cult’s fleet was in tatters. The strategic cruisers were merciless in their assault. Only a few ships remained of the 50 pilot fleet, the vast majority destroyed during the exchange. Yet with SW still at nearly full strength and The Volition Cult capital squadron on the field, not to mention the loss of their entire logistics wing, the VG Tengu fleet was finished. Having suffered major losses, its fleet commanders had decided to withdraw rather risk losing the entire fleet. Quickly, ships that were able to get out were ordered to do so, with only a few getting caught by the defending fleets.

With VG forces retreating, the defenders were left to claim the field, with the Azbel repairing during the fight and secured once more. SW and The Volition Cult dispatched the few stragglers remaining before salvaging the field and extracting, victorious. Thus the battle for the UQ-PWD Azbel came to an end.

Battle report for the UQ-PWD system can be found here.

All told the battle raged for 28 minutes with Time Dilation not reported and the system holding approximately 230 pilots at the height of the fighting.

The Volition Cult and its allies lost 66 ships in the fighting, including 32 battlecruisers and 16 cruisers for a total of 6.21 billion ISK damage.
VG lost 72 ships, including 2 force auxiliaries and 44 strategic cruisers, resulting in 38.45 billion ISK damage total.

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