MJYW-3 system, Cloud Ring region. On the 18th of February at 21:15 EVE Standard Time, The-Culture [-T C-] and Pandemic Horde [REKTD] forces clashed in the system in a battle that escalated in to a full capital brawl.
The battle was prompted by The-Culture. The alliance had scouted a major battle taking place in the neighboring O-BDXB system between various fleets. Wishing to join in, The-Culture formed an estimated 70 pilot Ferox battlecruiser fleet. The force traveled in range of the system, assembling on a titan and waited to be bridged in. The-Culture scouts in the meantime moved a cynosural beacon to the area in order to allow the fleet to portal through.
Pandemic Horde had participated in the fighting, but as it died down started extracting its forces. The alliance had an estimated 100 pilot Hurricane battlecruiser fleet. The fleet traveled into the MJYW-3 system and prepared to warp to the QXW-PV gate in order to continue its journey home. The-Culture realized this and quickly set up its cynosural beacon on the QXW-PV gate, waiting for the Pandemic Horde fleet to enter warp before lighting the beacon and bridging through. Once Pandemic Horde forces were in warp, the bulk of The-Culture Ferox fleet landed in the system.
Exiting warp, the Pandemic Horde Hurricane fleet landed amid the Ferox battlecruisers. In a snap decision, the Pandemic Horde fleet decided to engage, and both sides anchored up, burning away from each other and opened fire. Railguns and artillery cannons exchanged fire as the two fleets chose to fight at medium range, remaining 30 to 50 kilometers apart throughout the fight.
From the start, neither side was able to tank the incoming damage. With both fleets relying on overwhelming coordinated barrages, opposing mainline ships succumbed to the incoming fire leaving logistics wings scrambling. Besides mainline ships, support and even logistics cruisers found themselves targeted, added to the growing list of casualties as the battle progressed. The trade in losses remained even between the two sides, leading to a protracted and bloody fight.
However, as time went by, The-Culture found itself in a precarious position. It started the battle with a numerical disadvantage, but things got relatively worse as the two sides ground each other to dust. The-Culture’s logistics wing sustained far greater casualties than its Pandemic Horde equivalent. With the majority of Scimitar logistics cruisers destroyed, the logistics wing was nearly defunct. With damage lessening on both sides due to the destruction of many battlecruisers, the presence of a logistics wing could made the difference between victory and defeat.
To compensate, The-Culture made arrangements to bring in a Minokawa force auxiliary to supplement its withering logistics wing. With a cynosural beacon prepared for the ship to jump into the system, The-Culture fleet commanders were surprised to see not one, but three Minokawas on the field. This was a result of an error in communications, but it served as a pretext for Pandemic Horde to counter escalate. A new cynosural beacon lit up near the force auxiliaries and a mixed Pandemic Horde capital squadron materialized.
Pandemic Horde brought several dreadnoughts, combat carriers and force auxiliaries to counter The-Culture’s reinforcements. Quickly realizing they couldn’t tank both the Hurricane fleet and the capital squadron, The-Culture fleet commanders had the force auxiliaries withdraw while its own fleet warped to a perch above the gate. Interdictors and interceptors were sent to tackle the Pandemic Horde capitals while reinforcements were hastily formed and brought in range of the system. Besides getting more replacement battlecruisers, The-Culture had three squadrons of dreadnoughts moved in range of the system in order to help destroy the Pandemic Horde capitals which were pinned on grid.
Once reinforcements were in position, the Ferox fleet warped down to the tackled Pandemic Horde capitals and lit a cynosural beacon, bridging in fresh reinforcements as well as its dreadnought squadrons. The dreadnoughts entered their siege cycles and started hammering their Pandemic Horde counterparts, as the Ferox fleet and the remnants of the Hurricane fleet continued to battle.
The-Culture first targeted the Pandemic Horde Minokawa before moving on to the combat carriers and dreadnoughts. By the time the second Pandemic Horde Minokawa came under attack, a new cynosural beacon appeared on the field, heralding the arrival of Pandemic Horde reinforcements. Pandemic Horde had gathered three combat carrier squadrons and a dreadnought squadron and brought them to the field, countering The-Culture’s capital force. The combat carriers deployed their fighter squadrons while the new dreadnoughts quickly joined their brethren, fighting The-Culture’s capitals.
The two sides started trading blows, dreadnoughts exploding left and right as the two sides focused their firepower on enemy vessels. The-Culture, seemingly trading favorably at the start, decided to continue and committed its dreadnoughts through another siege cycle. Yet as the battle gathered pace, the trade started to even out before leaning more and more to Pandemic Horde’s favor. Realizing this, The-Culture called pilots to exit siege and prepare to extract. However the fleet had not secured an emergency exit beacon, leaving many dreadnoughts to exit siege cycles and get tackled by the Pandemic Horde combat carriers who started deploying Siren fighters.
By the time a cynosural beacon was secured, two thirds of The-Culture’s dreadnought force lay in ruin. The remaining ships either warped out to a safe citadel in the system or jumped out to safety. The Ferox fleet followed suit, warping out and allowing the Pandemic Horde combat carriers to safely extract, the Hurricane fleet having left some time before, what remained of it.
With both fleets disengaging, the battle came to a close.
Part of Initial Exchange from the Perspective of the Pandemic Horde Hurricane Fleet
Battle report for the MJYW-3 system can be found here.
All told the battle lasted 52 minutes with Time Dilation not reported and the system hosting an estimated 220 pilots at the height of the fighting.
Pandemic Horde lost 145 ships in the fighting, including 14 dreadnoughts, 2 force auxiliaries, 2 combat carriers and 65 battlecruisers for a total of 74.99 billion ISK damage.
The-Culture lost 114 ships in the battle, including 20 dreadnoughts and 47 battlecruisers for a total of 74.23 billion ISK damage.
Salivan Harddin is a member of V0LTA, WE FORM V0LTA, and covers battles across New Eden