The battle was fought over a Project.Mayhem. tower in the neighboring RLSI-V system which the alliance managed to wrestle from the hands of the DRF. Wishing to reclaim the valuable moon on which the tower sat, DRF forces reinforced the structure, and both sides formed up for a major confrontation.
The DRF assembled an estimated 230 pilot Machariel battleship fleet. The fleet made its way to the RLSI-V system, set up on the BWF-ZZ gate in range while it waited for Project.Mayhem. forces to arrive. However, as Project.Mayhem. and their allies were unable to form in time, the DRF took advantage and brought a squadron of dreadnoughts to the system, set them up on the tower in question and waited for it to exit its invulnerability phase. Once vulnerable, the dreadnoughts entered their siege cycles and quickly dispatched the structure.
Project.Mayhem. in the meantime formed a 170 pilot Nightmare battleship fleet together with Snuffed Out [B B C] and WAFFLES. [N0MAD]. The fleet arrived to the BWF-ZZ system, only to find the tower was already lost and DRF forces waited for it on the other side. Not willing to jump into a trap, the Nightmare fleet set up on the RLSI-V gate and waited for DRF forces to jump into it to start the fight.
The two fleets remained likes this for a few minutes, each waiting on the other side of the gate for the other to commit. Finally, the DRF decided to commit, having extracted its dreadnoughts in the meantime. The Machariel fleet burnt towards the BWF-ZZ gate while 2 Apostle force auxiliaries in BWF-ZZ warped to the RSLI-V gate to augment its logistics wing. Once the force auxiliaries exited warp, the Machariel fleet jumped in. The battleships quickly uncloaked and anchored up, firing on the Nightmare fleet which returned the favor.
The two sides quickly exchanged blows, artillery cannons and tachyon beam lasers firing at each other over long distance as the two fleets settled for a long range battle. Losses began to mount as each side had enough firepower to volley through the robust shields and thick armor the other possessed. A barrage of artillery shells would destroy a Nightmare, only for hundreds beams of light to shoot back, focusing on a single Machariel and vaporizing it completely. The trade between the fleets remained even at the beginning.
However, things soon took a turn for the worse for the Nightmare fleet as DRF stealth bomber wings took to the field. Bombing runs saw waves of bombs hit the Nightmare fleet, exploding in a nearly synchronized manner. The splash damage hit many of the battleships, weakening their shields and allowing the Machariels to take advantage of the damage and subsequent confusion. In rapid succession Nightmares were felled as the artillery barrage hit the depleted shields of many of the battleships.
The Nightmare fleet fought back, striking against the Machariels and any bomber it could catch, but the damage had been done. As the number of actual Nightmares dwindled its firepower lessened. Time and again the Nightmare fleet found itself struggling to break through the tank of Machariels, allowing its logistics wing which had so far been completely ignored to pick up the slack and save the besieged ships.
Unable to break through the armor of the Machariels and having already lost the objective, the Nightmare fleet commander only choice was to withdraw. Thus, the fleet quickly warped out, landing at a perch in range of the Oijanen gate. This was done due to the fact the gate was often covered in mobile warp disruption probes, making extract difficult.
Before the fleet could warp to the gate itself and extract, a strategic cruiser suddenly uncloaked in its midst and lit a cynosural beacon. Into the system bridged a Northern Coalition. [NC] Machariel fleet. The fleet had come to reinforce the DRF, engaging the Nightmares immediately upon landing. The Nightmare fleet hastily warped out, managing to flee and only losing a few ships to the Northern Coalition. reinforcements.
The Nightmare fleet had chosen to warp to the IOO-7O gate which was unguarded by DRF forces at the time, the DRF fleeting having warped to the Oijanen gate to pursue the fleeing Nightmares. Once the fleet landed on the gate, it jumped in and warped to a deep safe in space, waiting for hostiles to disperse from BWF-ZZ.
DRF forces and Northern Coalition. declined to pursue further, instead choosing to disperse themselves and allowing the Nightmare fleet after a few minutes to extract itself. With all participants standing down, the fight ended.
The Battle from the Perspective of the Drone Regions Federation Machariel Fleet
Battle report for the BWF-ZZ system can be found here.
All told the battle lasted 29 minutes with Time Dilation not reported and the system hosting an estimated 500 pilots near the end of the fight.
Project.Mayhem. and its allies lost a combined 78 ships, including 45 battleships for a total of 30.47 billion ISK damage.
DRF lost 52 ships in the exchange, including 26 battleships for a total of 16.1 billion ISK damage.
Salivan Harddin is a member of V0LTA, WE FORM V0LTA, and covers battles across New Eden