GE-8JV system, Catch region. In the early hours of the 1st of March, a large scale battle unfolded in the system between no less than five fleets.
The battle was fought over a Brave Collective [BRAVE] Fortizar citadel. The structure had been anchored in the system following the alliance’s move to the region and was meant to serve as a new staging point. However the anchoring structure was discovered by both Pandemic Legion [-10.0] and Goonswarm Federation [CONDI], who decided to attack it in order to generate a fight.
With the structure set to online during the early hours of the 1st of March Brave Collective called for allies to help safeguard the structure. The alliance forming its own Maelstrom battleship fleet to protect the citadel during the crucial online phase. According to Brave Collective fleet commanders the defensive fleet reached at one point 200 pilots, but due to the nature of the alliance believed only a quarter of the pilots fielded mainline ships. This force set up on the Fortizar itself waiting for hostiles to engage it.
Test Alliance Please Ignore [TEST] and Circle-Of-Two [CO2] heeded the call for reinforcements and deployed each a separate fleet. Test Alliance Please Ignore brought a 200 pilot Nightmare battleship fleet while Circle-Of-Two formed a 160 pilot Proteus strategic cruiser fleet. Both fleets made their way to the system, reaching it at the start of the exchange.
Learning of the involvement of Test Alliance Please Ignore and Circle-Of-Two, Goonswarm Federation reached out to Pandemic Legion for reinforcements. Pandemic Legion already deciding to contest the structure, agreed and was set to bring a Maelstrom fleet of its own. However with intelligence on the scale of forces brought to defend the citadel, Pandemic Legion opted to reship, fielding instead a 120 pilot combat carrier fleet with force auxiliaries serving as the logistics backbone. Goonswarm Federation itself brought a 150 pilot Proteus fleet of its own.
The battle started with Goonswarm Federation forces engaging the Maelstrom fleet on their own, as Pandemic Legion was still re-shipping. This quickly led to the Proteus fleet being boxed in by the three fleets, who hammered at it from all direction. The Goonswarm Federation fleet focused its fire on the Maelstroms, able to volley the battleships but soon started losing mainline ships in return. The battle quickly devolved to a back and forth as Maelstroms and strategic cruisers were lost at an even rate.
The Goonswarm Federation fleet was slowly and ruthlessly whittled down, but before it could be completely annihilated Pandemic Legion arrived on the field. A cynosural beacon suddenly lit up near the Maelstrom fleet, heralding the arrival of the combat carrier fleet. The combat carriers set to their task immediately, launching fighter squadrons and targeting hostile ships. The swam of fighters took a heavy toll on the defending ships, tearing them to shreds quickly with focused rocket volleys. Maelstroms, Nightmares and Proteii all fell to the combat carrier onslaught.
Brave Collective kept streaming in reinforcements and quickly organized a dreadnought force in an attempt to counter the combat carriers. The plan was to use the dreadnoughts to overwhelm and destroy the force auxiliaries, thus depriving the combat carriers of their logistics backbone. With 11 dreadnoughts assembled a cynosural beacon was lit up and the dreadnoughts ushered in. The dreadnoughts entered their siege cycles, targeting force auxiliaries and destroying several, including a few combat carriers.
Pandemic Legion foresaw this and had its own dreadnought squadrons waiting in reserve. Once Brave Collective committed its capitals Pandemic Legion brought in its own, targeting the hostile dreadnoughts. In rapid succession the Brave Collective dreadnought force was destroyed. The combat carriers helped their own dreadnoughts in hastening the destruction of the entire hostile capital force. However the defenders kept the Pandemic Legion fleet tackled under a thick blanket of warp disruption probes.
With the main dreadnought force destroyed Pandemic Legion turned its attention to the other fleets. The dreadnoughts joined the carriers in inflicting casualties on the defenders, with one dreadnought in particular given the role of firing on the Fortizar which had just come out of deployment and was attempting to get online. Under the constant barrage from the dreadnought the structure could not online and its health was slowly chipped away by the single capital.
At that point both the Goonswarm Federation and Brave Collective fleets had been thoroughly depleted. Brave Collective was not done fighting though and reformed its fleet, bringing Hurricane battlecruisers instead while interdictors kept swarming in to keep the Pandemic Legion fleet tackled. Circle-Of-Two used the time bought by Brave Collective interdictors to form its own dreadnought force, hoping to inflict some more severe damage on the attackers and perhaps divert its attention from the besieged structure.
A cynosural beacon was secured on top of the thick formation of capitals and lit up, allowing the Circle-Of-Two dreadnoughts to jump into the system. Alas this attack was doomed to fail. With so many force auxiliaries and dreadnoughts already in position as well as combat carriers, the Circle-Of-Two capitals were quickly dispatched. Circle-Of-Two in turn managed to incur only few casualties to Pandemic Legion while losing far more. All the while the lone Pandemic Legion dreadnought kept blasting the Fortizar, leading to the structure’s inevitable destruction.
With the structure destroyed Pandemic Legion started making preparations to extract, looking for a lull in the launch of warp disruption probes. The combat carriers made short work of the re-formed Brave Collective fleet and started clearing out any interdictors and heavy interdictors they could spot. This finally exhausted the Brave Collective reserves leading to the warp disruption cover evaporating. Spotting their chance, Pandemic Legion forces had their force auxiliaries and dreadnoughts finish cycling their respective triage and siege modules and had the entire fleet warp out. This allowed the majority of the fleet to escape the grid leaving Test Alliance Please Ignore and Circle-Of-Two to tackle only a couple capitals.
With the combat carrier fleet off grid Pandemic Legion lit an exit cynosural beacon and had the entire force jump out, leaving the few tackled capitals to be dispatched by the defenders. With both Pandemic Legion and Goonswarm Federation gone, not to mention the wreckage of the Fortizar, the defenders stood down and dispersed leading to the end of the fighting.
Part of the Battle from the Perspective of Circle-Of-Two Proteus Fleet.
The Second Part of the Battle After Brave Collective Re-Shipped from the Perspective of the Brave Collective Hurricane Fleet.
Battle report for the GE-8JV system can be found here.
All told the battle raged for 90 minutes, with Time Dilation reported though exact figures never stated (Claims of severe issues logging into the system). The system itself is estimated to have hosted 750 players at the height of the fighting.
Brave Collective, Test Alliance Please Ignore and Circle-Of-Two lost a combined 516 ships including 33 dreadnoughts, 4 force auxiliaries, 83 battleships 88 battlecruisers and 12 strategic cruisers for a total of 168.78 billion ISK damage.
Pandemic Legion and Goonswarm Federation lost 155 ships between the two alliances, including 4 dreadnoughts, 8 force auxiliaries, 2 combat carriers and 42 strategic cruisers for a total of 78.82 billion ISK damage.
Salivan Harddin is a member of V0LTA, WE FORM V0LTA, and covers battles across New Eden