YVSL-2 system, Cobalt Edge region. On the 5th of February at 13:16 EVE Standard Time a confusing battle unfolded which resulted in the destruction of 8 super carriers.
The battle was instigated by Inner Hell [-INHE] and its allies. The wormhole corporation had raided the drone regions for some time, and was aware of the tendency of some of its inhabitants to use super capitals to scare off roaming gangs. Thus, the corporation and its allies such as achtung partizanen [.OHAI] staged 5 dreadnoughts in range of the region. Once they had wormholes linking their staging systems to Cobalt Edge, the two corporations formed mixed strategic cruiser fleets and started searching for targets in order to force an escalation.
The two hit gold when they found a Rorqual industrial capital ship mining away in an anomaly in the YVSL-2 system. The ship, immobile, was swiftly tackled and held by their interdictors as the two fleets converged on the system. One by one, the two fleets warped to the grid and helped keep tackle on the ship, whose pilot had broadcasted his distress to his allies. Within a few minutes, a Proteus strategic cruiser landed near the panicked ship, lit a cynosural beacon and ushered in a Shadow of xXDEATHXx [X.W.X] capital squadron. The squadron contained several combat carriers, an Apostle force auxiliary and 2 Nyx super carriers.
Having gotten the escalation they wanted, the two wormhole corporations had their own cynosural beacon lit on the field and brought in their 5 dreadnoughts. The capital ships hit the grid, landing in the middle of the fray and entered their siege cycles. Their first target was the force auxiliary. The Apostle came under heavy fire, volley after volley of 2500mm autocannon rounds crashing against its thick armor. After a few minutes the ship caved in, exploding in a bright hot white ball of fire which quickly evaporated, leaving a tortured wreck behind.
However, Inner Hell and achtung partizanen were suffering losses of their own. The combat carrier squadron, backed up by the 2 super carriers, was able to inflict casualties on the assailants. Dozens of fighter squadrons swooped in, targeting mainline ships and interdeictors. As the few interdictors on the field were ripped apart by the swarm of fighters, there was a real danger of the two corporations losing tackle on their prey.
It was at this point that Hard Knocks Citizens [HKRAB] and Lazerhawks [LZHX] interdictors started flooding the system. Unbeknownst to the two corporations, Hard Knocks Citizens had planned a similar operation in the region, amassing a force of 10 super carriers and 2 squadrons of capitals in range. The target was Care For Kids Empire [CARE], a known renter alliance which often uses its super capitals with little to no support. After the alliance had lost 2 super carriers in a previous engagement, Hard Knocks Citizens saw a chance to inflict much greater damage to it.
Thus, Hard Knocks Citizens and Lazerhawks gathered a joint 100 pilot Sleipnir command ship fleet and waited in a wormhole which also connected to the region. When reports of the tackled Rorqual and the escalation in YVSL-2 reached its fleet commander’s ears, he had the fleet pour out of the wormhole and make best speed to the battlefield.
At first, Inner Hell and achtung partizanen were grateful to see the influx of interdictors landing on the field. With dozens of interdictors pouring in, the two were able to keep tackle on most of the fleet. With the Apostle gone, the two concentrated their firepower on destroying the super carriers. The first Nyx was lined up in the dreadnoughts’ sights before the autocannon batteries lit up and started bombarding the ship. Autocannon rounds started hitting the thick armor of the Nyx, denting armor plates and chewing through their thick layers. The super carriers reacted along with their combat carrier escort, targeting the dreadnoughts. Fighter bombers whose high yield torpedoes can cause great damage to capital ships were quickly deployed by the super carriers while the Combat carriers redirected their fighter squadrons, ordering them to fire upon the dreadnoughts.
The devastating torpedo runs of the fighter bombers, supported by the swarm of fighters managed to destroy a couple of the dreadnoughts, depriving a significant chunk of damage from the attackers. Yet this proved too late for one Nyx, the dreadnoughts’ relentless assault had managed to breach its armor and hit the relatively weak structure beneath it. With its armor gone, the ship was swiftly torn apart by the aggressors and succumbed to its damage. It grew ominously silent, its fighter bomber squadrons seemingly drifting aimlessly in space before a series of explosions started spreading on its skin like a rash. Before long, the fires crossed the length and breadth of the super carrier, at which point it ruptured in a series of huge explosions, sending shock waves throughout the field. When the blinding fire of its demise disappeared, a twisted wreck was all that remained of the ship.
It was too soon for Inner Hell and achtung partizanen to celebrate, as the Hard Knocks Citizens\Lazerhawks fleet arrived in system. The command ships warped to the grid, reached their optimal range and opened fire on the two wormhole corporations. Artillery cannons hurled shells at the strategic cruisers, easily overwhelming them. Barrage after barrage claimed victims, sowing confusion in the ranks of Inner Hell and achtung partizanen who were certain the Sleipnir fleet was their ally.
By the time they realized their mistake, it was too late. With a large part of their fleets in shambles, mostly thanks to the Sleipnir fleet’s work, the two corporations had no alternative but to try and retreat, leaving behind their remaining dreadnoughts and those tackled by the command ships. The Hard Knocks Citizens\Lazerhawks fleet proceeded to clear the grid, destroying every sub capital belonging to its opponents and destroying the 3 remaining dreadnoughts with the help of the Shadow of xXDEATHXx carriers and remaining super capital.
This left the Sleipnir fleet in command of the field, and it continued to tackle the Nyx, hoping for further escalation. It came in the form of a squadron of super carriers with another Apostle and a few more combat carriers acting as support. This force jumped into the fray as well, and started targeting the Sleipnir fleet, which by that point had been bleeding mainly interdictors.
With the escalation achieved, the Sleipnir fleet started tackling the new arrivals while making preparations to light a cynosural beacon in order to bring its reinforcements. However to the dismay of its fleet commanders, the defenders had activated the system wide cynosural jammer, making it impossible for the reinforcement fleet to jump in. With the in-gate covered in numerous anchored mobile warp disruption fields, jumping in the super carriers and capitals on the other side would result in delays, and may put the ships in jeopardy. Debating this inwardly, the Sleipnir fleet commander hesitated for a few minutes, which allowed the hostile super capitals time to thin the ranks of the interdictors.
Though not committing the super capitals, the Sleipnir fleet continued to pummel the defenders, training its artillery cannons on the swarm of fighter squadrons on the field and firing. Fighters were obliterated with each volley as the command ships worked to thin their numbers, the super carriers racing to deploy replacements from their limited hangars.
Finally, the decision was made to bring in the reinforcements, and a cynosural beacon was lit on the other side of the connecting gate. Into the 9KE-IT system materialized 10 super carriers as well as 2 squadrons of mixed capitals, including force auxiliaries, combat carriers and dreadnoughts. This force jumped into YVSL-2 via the gate and aligned to the battlefield, the combat carriers and super carriers deploying fighters to clear the mobile warp disruption fields which were pinning them to the gate.
With the mobile warp disruption fields gone, the force warped in, the dreadnoughts landing in the maelstrom while the rest of the fleet landed at range of the fight. The dreadnoughts entered siege cycles and started bombarding the super carriers. The capitals were soon joined by squadrons of fighter bombers which laid devastating torpedo runs on the suffering super carriers. Combat carriers deployed squadrons of space superiority fighters which quickly swooped in, firing on the hostile fighter squadrons and helped the Sleipnir fleet in the task of removing them from the field.
The defending super carriers changed targets, going after the new threat posed by the dreadnoughts. Fighter bombers dove in, torpedoes launched at the immobile ships in an attempt to destroy them. Several dreadnoughts caved in, unable to sustain the repeated strikes and exploded, their wrecks joining the swiftly expanding debris field. However, the fighter bombers were soon beset by space superiority fighters and artillery barrages carried by the command ships, reducing many of them to dust and depriving the super carriers of their fangs.
Realising the imminent danger, super carriers attempted to escape, burning their way out of the cover of warp disruption probes and trying to beat a hasty retreat. Several of them managed to break free and warped out to friendly citadels in the system before initiating emergency jumps out of the system and the carnage. For 7 though, the hope of escape would be dashed as the Sleipnir fleet and its reinforcements descended upon them.
Hel and Nyx super carriers came under fierce fire, and with their force auxiliary support destroyed in the initial fighting, slowly went down to the relentless punishment poured on them. Super carrier after super carrier exploded in great bursts of light and fire, blinding pilots temporarily as though they witnessed a super nova. Every 2 minutes, one of the behemoths was felled as the Sleipnir fleet pressed on its advantage.
Finally, the last super carrier was destroyed, a Nyx. With its destruction, all that was left for the attackers was to clear the grid of any detritus that was still left and withdraw. The surviving capitals as well as the squadron of super carriers was extracted from the field, all the ships injecting cap boosters for a quick shot of energy in order to reach jump levels. With the heavy assets safe, the Sleipnir fleet made its way home, its pilots ransacking the wrecks of their victims on the way out.
Finally, with the Sleipnir fleet gone, the battle itself came to an end, though the system would see further fighting as the various parties returned to skirmish over the debris of the super carriers.
The Battle from the Perspective of the Hard Knocks Citizens\Lazerhawks Fleet
Another Perspective of the Fight from the Hard Knocks Citizens\Lazerhawks Fleet
Battle report for the YVSL-2 system can be found here.
All told the battle was fought for 56 minutes with Time Dilation not reported and the system hosting an estimated 200 pilots at the peak of the fighting.
Inner Hell and achtung partizanen lost 42 ships in the fight, including 5 dreadnoughts and 12 strategic cruisers for a total of 45.32 billion ISK damage.
Hard Knocks Citizens and Lazerhawks lost 44 ships combined, including 5 dreadnoughts and 1 command ship for a total of 21.46 billion ISK damage.
Shadow of xXDEATHXx and Care for Kids Empire lost 79 ships in total, including 8 super carriers, 2 force auxiliaries and 6 carriers for a total of 357.58 billion ISK damage.
Salivan Harddin is a member of V0LTA, WE FORM V0LTA, and covers battles across New Eden