SF-XJS system, Tenal region. On the 28th of January at 20:00 EVE Standard Time, League of Unaligned Master Pilots [LUMPY] met Drone Regions Federation (DRF) in battle on the HB-5L3 gate in the system.

The battle was fought over a citadel anchored by League of Unaligned Master Pilots in the system as part of the alliance’s entrenchment in the region. The citadel in question, located above the HB-5L3 gate, was suppose to serve as a forward base for future Cobalt Edge operations, which posed a real threat to DRF residents of that region. With the citadel set to finish deploying and go operational that night, both sides prepared for an all out confrontation.

League of Unaligned Master Pilots assembled a Rattlesnake battleship fleet of 40 pilots, with 2 Minokawa force auxiliary in tow to serve as logistics. The Rattlesnake fleet set up 70 kilometers from the HB-5L3 gate. The gate itself had been covered by a dense blanket of mobile warp disruption fields. League of Unaligned Master Pilots had also 3 combat carrier squadrons on standby in case things escalated.

Against this, DRF forces brought 135 pilots split into 2 fleets, a Proteus strategic cruiser fleet and a Cerberus heavy assault cruiser fleet. The force had also a squadron of capitals escorting it, including 3 super carriers(!). The force traveled to the HB-5L3 system, landed on the SF-XJS gate and jumped in, super carriers in tow.

As scouts reports came in of the force assembled against it, the Rattlesnake fleet prepared for a bitter fight. The hostile fleets uncloaked and anchored up, opening fire on the battleships. League of Unaligned Master Pilots did not hold back and returned fire, salvos of missiles and drone fire raining on the attackers. Whats more, a cynosural beacon lit up, heralding the arrival of the League of Unaligned Master Pilots’ combat carrier wing. The combat carriers landed a few dozen kilometers from their own sub capitals and unleashed a swarm of fighters.

Strategic cruisers melted under the combined assault of the Rattlesnake and combat carrier fleet. The League of Unaligned Master Pilots force decided to split its firepower, with battleships and combat carriers following different primaries. Soon the cloud of fighters started chewing through bulky strategic cruisers, devouring the ships whole. The Rattlesnakes concentrated their attacks, volleying mainline ships in coordinated barrages.

In rapid succession, DRF mainline ships exploded in bright flashes, unable to tank the incoming damage. The Proteus fleet was hammered hard, its logistics wing overwhelmed and losses mounted swiftly. The DRF attempted to return fire, but the force auxiliaries were able to rebuff the efforts easily, their capital remote shield transfers keeping their comrades alive. An attempt was made to concentrate fire on one of the Minokawas, but its robust shields held through, soaking the damage without too much trouble.

As the fight kept going, the League of Unaligned Master Pilots realized the presence of both the capitals and super carriers on field. The alliance responded, bringing in more reinforcements to the field, jumping in 6 super carriers of its own as well as a second pair of force auxiliaries. With so much firepower at their disposal, League of Unaligned Master Pilots commanders decided remove the DRF capital presence before tackling the super carriers themselves.

First down were the two Apostle force auxiliaries. The super carriers’ fighter bomber squadrons broke through the ships’ thick armor plating, laying waste to the structure beneath and causing the giant ships to explode. Then came the turn of the dreadnoughts, the fighter bombers descending upon them with the aid of combat carrier fighters, penetrating shields and scoring dozens of torpedo hits on the hulls themselves. All the while, other fighter squadrons chased after nimble heavy assault cruisers as Rattlesnakes kept volleying strategic cruisers.

With most of the hostile capitals removed, specifically the force auxiliaries, the entire League of Unaligned Master Pilots force concentrated its firepower on one of the Nyx super carriers belonging to the DRF. The super carrier weathered the firestorm unleashed upon it, managing to hold out as missiles, fighter fire and torpedoes hit its hull. With the thick armor of the ship managing to absorb much of the damage, League of Unaligned Master Pilots decided to go back to clearing the sub capitals first before attempting to remove the super carriers.

The Proteus and Cerberus fleets, which had been given a short respite from the punishment heaped on them by League of Unaligned Master Pilots found themselves again under fire. Once more, mainline ships were lost in increasing numbers as the fighters veered into the cruisers as swarms of missiles and barrage of drone fire hit the ships. Unable to contest the defenders or inflict any damage, DRF commanders opted to retreat, ordering their fleets to exit the system the same way they came, through the HB-5L3 gate.

Most of the DRF force managed to jump out, with only one Nyx unable to make it to the gate in time. League of Unaligned Master Pilots pounced on the opportunity, its Rattlesnake fleet burning towards the gate to bump the Nyx away. The mass of battleships was able to drag the Nyx away from salvation, forcing the DRF fleets to return to the field.

With DRF fleets jumping back in, the League of Unaligned Master Pilots Rattlesnake and combat carriers wings targeted the returning sub capitals as their super capital brethren hit the Nyx with its fighter bombers. The DRF fleets, having suffered major losses in the first round of fighting, were unable to do anything to extract the tackled Nyx which languished under the League of Unaligned Master Pilots’ fire. The alliance even brought a few dreadnoughts to the field to aid in the super carrier’s demise, but due to an error had been dropped too far from the ship to be of any real use.

The hostile fighter bombers kept their pressure, launching flight after flight of torpedoes and hitting the Nyx’ super structure. Its armor was weakening with every passing moment as layer after layer was breached by the relentless assault. Finally, the attacks broke through, hitting the ship’s own internal sections. Munitions started wreaking havoc in the ship’s innards. As more and more fire was diverted its way, it could hold no longer. A series of explosions, barely noticeable from the external ones, started spreading through the ship, culminating in a massive blinding explosion which ruptured the hull of the ship. Pieces of twisted metal the size of battleships and even carriers were hurled into space as the behemoth died.

With the Nyx destroyed and suffering more losses, the DRF fleets once again turned back and jumped out of the system, allowing League of Unaligned Master Pilots to claim the field.

While the two sides clashed, the League of Unaligned Master Pilots’ citadel finished deploying and became operational without issue. With the citadel online, it entered its scheduled invulnerability cycle, making it secure from enemy attacks. This secured the strategic objective for the alliance.

Thus, with the field won and the objective achieved, League of Unaligned Master Pilots declined to pursue the fleeing DRF forces. Instead, the alliance started extracting its forces, getting its super carriers and capitals to safety. With these heavy assets safe, the Rattlesnake fleet left as well, having looted the field while waiting. Thus the battle of SF-XJS came to and end.

Battle report for the SF-XJS system can be found here.

All told the battle raged for 21 minutes with Time Dilation not reported and the system hosting an estimated 220 pilots at the peak of the fighting.

DRF forces suffered the brunt of the losses, losing 79 ships including a super carrier, 2 force auxiliaries, 2 dreadnoughts, 3 carriers, 30 strategic cruisers and 12 heavy assault cruisers for a total of 81.66 billion ISK damage.
League of Unaligned Master Pilots lost only 5 ships in the fight, mostly tackle for only 622 million ISK damage.

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

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