The battle was fought over a Project.Mayhem Fortizar citadel. The structure had been deployed by the alliance to serve as a staging citadel and was spotted by the DRF as it was still anchoring. With the structure set to finish deployment on the night of the 9th, it would be vulnerable for 15 minutes as it became operational. Thus, during that window, DRF sought to strike at the citadel and remove the threat to its space, while Project.Mayhem set out to defend the structure, both sides preparing for a major confrontation.
Project.Mayhem, with its allies Snuffed Out [B B C] and WAFFLES. [N0MAD], formed two Proteus strategic cruiser fleets. The first was a joint Project.Mayhem/Snuffed Out 170 pilot fleet, the second a WAFFLES 50 pilot fleet. Two combat carrier squadrons were also assembled and put in reserve for escalation.
The DRF had gathered an impressive full (256 pilot) Machariel battleship fleet. The fleet had made it first to the system, setting up on the Fortizar which, at this point, had exited its deployment stage and attempted to become operational. These attempts were quickly stopped by the arrival of the Machariels, as they opened fire on the structure, chipping away at its hit points.
The defenders finally arrived in the system, bridging onto another citadel on the grid. Once the entirety of the two fleets went through the portal and gathered on the secure citadel, the defending forces aligned towards the Fortizar and prepared to warp. Probing the DRF fleet, the Proteus fleets got a hit and locked onto it, initiating warp. The two fleets landed one after the other on top of the Machariel fleet and started engaging it.
The Machariel fleet reacted, opening fire and activating its micro warp drives to accelerate and increase the distance from the menacing Proteus fleets. Artillery shells started hitting the strategic cruisers, easily overwhelming their thick armor and destroying them. The strategic cruisers were not idle either and managed to spread their warp scramblers across a portion of the fleet, separating a fair number of battleships from the main force and cutting them down. Laser and plasma fire made quick work of the tackled ships.
The two fleets settled into a long range engagement, hovering around 70 kilometers from each other. An ugly trade developed, as the two fleets possessed enough firepower to overwhelm each other. Logistics wings proved to be mostly decoration as battleships and strategic cruisers alike blew up in the ensuing barrages. No side managed to gain the upper hand as losses mounted on both sides. All the while the Machariel fleet kept the Fortizar from becoming operational, slowly bleeding the structure while keeping its main focus on the hostile fleets.
As the exchange continued, DRF reinforcements entered the field. First, a secondary DRF Machariel fleet of approximately 70 pilots, followed by a Pandemic Legion [-10.0] Maelstrom battleship fleet. The Maelstrom fleet had knowledge of the timer and came to participate in the fight, deciding to side with the DRF. These two fleets landed on the grid, each at long range, and soon joined the firefight.
Being hammered on all sides and suffering heavy casualties, the Proteus fleets decided to withdraw, warping out and leaving the grid for the DRF to claim. The DRF in turn focused all its firepower on the Fortizar, blasting it with a thousand artillery cannons. Pandemic Legion lent its own considerable firepower to the mix, helping to demolish the structure.
The Fortizar, unable to withstand the bombardment, succumbed to the immense firepower heaped on it. After languishing for a few minutes, the structure ruptured in a great conflagration, washing the grid with light. Even though the Fortizar was destroyed, the defenders did not give up. At this point, Pandemic Legion decided to withdraw, leaving the system. With Pandemic Legion seemingly gone, the fleets warped back to the grid, landing once more on the Machariel fleets and resuming the fight.
Again, the grid erupted in violence as strategic cruisers and battleships exchanged fire. Within the first minute, a dozen ships were already down, destroyed by the opening volleys. Much like previously, the two sides once more settled into a long range slug. While in the first engagement the two sides were almost equally matched in term of numbers, this time the DRF had a significant edge over the defenders. As mainline ships on both sides were cut down in the battle, without a drastic change, the defenders would be out of mainline ships long before the DRF. Thus, the defenders’ commander made the call to escalate, lighting a cynosural beacon near his fleet and summoning his reserves.
The two carrier squadrons hit the grid, materializing in bright flashes of light before settling in and launching their fighter squadrons. Yet before the carriers could tip the scales to the defenders’ favor, the DRF countered with their own escalation. Another cynosural beacon lit up, allowing two full dreadnought squadrons to enter the field, landing amidst the combat carriers. The dreadnoughts wasted no time, entering their siege cycles and opening fire on the combat carriers. The immense firepower of the dreadnoughts tore into the carriers, literally breaking a few apart.
However, with the carriers far from the main DRF fleets, they were not tackled, allowing several of them to warp out to safety rather than be shredded by the many DRF dreadnoughts which kept landing on the field. Pandemic Legion returned to the system as well, organizing in a safe spot in the system. With their trump card busted and the hostile fleets outnumbering them 2 to 1, not to mention possessing dreadnoughts on the field, the defenders had to finally admit defeat. Rather than see his fleets destroyed, the Proteus commander made the call to retreat, the strategic cruisers warping off the grid for the second and final time.
With the field secure, the DRF extracted its dreadnoughts, having won both the field and the objective. With the fighting done, Pandemic Legion and the secondary DRF fleet decided to hold an honor duel, the two fleets squaring off in the wreckage in a long range exchange. Machariel and Maelstrom battleships exploded as concentrated artillery strikes overwhelmed the ships, burrowing through the thick armor or just penetrating shields. After a few minutes with both sides taking losses the opposing fleet commanders decided to call it a day, extracting their fleets and bringing the battle to a close.
The Battle from the Perspective of the Snuffed Out\Project.Mayhem. Proteus Fleet
Battle report for the Oijanen system can be found here.
All told the battle on its various parts lasted 55 minutes with Time Dilation reported, reaching a peak of 40% at one point though generally remaining around the 70-80% range for most the fight. The system itself hosted 710 pilots at one point.
Project.Mayhem. and its allies lost a combined 79 ships, including 6 carriers and 55 strategic cruisers, not to mention the Fortizar. This puts their losses at 71.02 billion ISK.
The DRF lost 82 ships in the fight, including 66 battleships for a total of 38.42 billion ISK damage.
Pandemic Legion suffered 18 losses, 15 of which were battleships for a total of 5.27 billion ISK damage.
Salivan Harddin is a member of V0LTA, WE FORM V0LTA, and covers battles across New Eden