The trap was set up by Project.Mayhem. [16-13] and Snuffed Out [B B C]. The two alliances have worked with The Initiative. in the past and decided to collaborate on this project as well. Pandemic Horde had garnered a reputation for using its carrier fleet with impunity within its space, often deploying it with little to no support. Choosing to capitalize on this fact, the allies planned to force an engagement in the MPPA-A system. The system hosted mining fleets, including several Rorqual capital industrial ships which could serve as a catalyst.
In order to catch the ships before they could be alerted by Pandemic Horde’s intelligence channels, Project.Mayhem. and Snuffed Out seeded interdictors in safe spots across the system and kept them logged off. A cynosural beacon was also secreted with the interdictors to allow the allies to bridge into the system directly to support their interdictors once the trap was sprung.
With the preparations complete, Project.Mayhem. and Snuffed Out moved a dreadnought squadron into range while assembling a Tengu strategic cruiser fleet. The force numbered 160 pilots in total and made its way to a The Initiative. titan which was set up for the operation. The Initiative. had its own fleet prepared, a 90 pilot Machariel battleship fleet with a dreadnought squadron. The fleet remained logged off so as not to alert Pandemic Horde. With everything else in place, Project.Mayhem. and Snuffed Out logged in their interdictor pilots and zeroed in on several Rorquals which were blissfully mining in an anomaly.
The interdictors managed to land on top of the capital ships and immediately deployed warp disruption probes to pin them down. The Rorquals responded by lighting a cynosural beacon and alerting the entire alliance. Swiftly a response fleet organized, an estimated 150 pilot Hurricane battlecruiser fleet as well as three squadrons of combat carriers. Several force auxiliaries also joined the fleet in order to aid the tackled Rorquals once their pulse activated nexus invulnerability cores burnt out.
In the meantime the Tengu fleet had its own cynosural beacon lit up in the anomaly to allow it to bridge through. The Tengu fleet materialized a short distance from the Rorquals and started to apply damage. The fleet targeted the random ships which warped in to try and assist the Rorquals by eliminating the interdictors. This allowed one of the Rorquals to escape but the other three were soon pointed by heavy interdictors, making sure they stayed put.
The Hurricane fleet burnt to the system but was still a few jumps away. This left the Rorquals at the mercy of the Tengu fleet. With their invulnerability period drawing to a close, Snuffed Out\Project.Mayhem. brought in three dreadnoughts to assist in the Rorquals’ destruction. This was a part of the bait attempt, as the Tengu fleet feared Pandemic Horde would not commit. Their fears were alleviated when four force auxiliaries jumped into the still burning cynosural beacon of the Rorquals. A few moments later a Tengu uncloaked 100 kilometers off, heralding the arrival of the Pandemic Horde combat carrier wing.
The combat carriers deployed fighter squadrons and sent them forth while the Hurricane fleet finally reached the system and warped near the Tengu fleet. The Hurricane fleet anchored up and started exchanging fire with the strategic cruisers, aided by a swarm of fighters. With Pandemic Horde committed, The Initiative. logged in its forces and re-assembled its fleet, the Machariels burning to the titan in order to bridge in while the capitals prepared to jump in once the order was given. Project.Mayhem. and Snuffed Out interdictors rushed over to the carriers and started deploying warp disruption probes, engulfing the entire formation and pinning it to the grid.
The Tengu fleet itself returned fire, targeting the Hurricane fleet and the fighters as another cynosural beacon suddenly blazed up. The beacon was lit on top of the Pandemic Horde combat carriers and signaled the trap being sprung. The Initiative.’s Machariel fleet bridged through to the beacon, followed by The Initiative.’s capitals. The Initiative.’s dreadnought squadron landed and its ships entered their siege cycles, firing at point blank range at the stranded combat carriers. Along with the dreadnoughts came a few force auxiliaries and several combat carriers whose main job was to counter the fighter squadrons of Pandemic Horde using space superiority fighters.
Pandemic Horde quickly found itself overwhelmed as The Initiative. fleet started tearing through its carrier wing. Carrier after carrier was destroyed by the combined firepower of the battleships and dreadnoughts. Many of the Pandemic Horde fighters were intercepted by The Initiative.’s fighter squadrons and torn apart.
The Tengu fleet in the meantime engaged the Hurricanes, both fleets fighting in a bloody close range battle. The Hurricane fleet focused on the Tengu fleet’s support, gunning force recons and Scimitar logistics cruisers. The support wing of the Tengu fleet attempted to get out of range but was hounded by the battlecruisers who kept shadowing it. The strategic cruisers themselves had no problem volleying Hurricanes and worked to reduce their number and lessen the overall damage.
Snuffed Out\Project.Mayhem. used the opportunity to bring in the remainder of their dreadnoughts to the field. The entire dreadnought squadron was reunited and concentrated its firepower on the force auxiliaries. The force auxiliaries were comfortable tanking the Tengu fleet and its three dreadnoughts, but with the rest of the dreadnoughts brought in, they were soon overwhelmed. The force auxiliaries were brought down in succession, the Tengu fleet taking quick reprieves from destroying the battlecruisers in order to aid in their demise.
As the Pandemic Horde force auxiliaries lay in ruins the Snuffed Out\Project.Mayhem. dreadnoughts started eyeing the tackled Rorquals. The Hurricane fleet itself continued to lose mainline ships at a staggering rate. Keeping its focus on the logistics and support wing of Snuffed Out\Project.Mayhem., it was beginning to show the impact of its growing losses. The rate at which the Tengu fleet’s support was dropping slowed down considerably until at one point simply ceased altogether. At that point so many battlecruisers were lost that it ceased to have the sufficient numbers to volley even the more fragile Scimitars.
While the battle over the Rorquals kept raging, The Initiative. was systematically dismantling the the carrier wing. The carriers attempted to defend themselves and managed to destroy one dreadnought but had lost half their number in the process. With no force auxiliaries to provide remote repairs the capital ships were helpless against The Initiative.’s attacks. The Initiative. continued its remorseless assault, destroying nearly the entire combat carrier wing within 10 minutes of its appearance on the grid. Only a few ships managed to escape the slaughter.
Having taken care of the combat carriers, the Machariel fleet moved in to support the Tengu fleet. The battered Hurricane fleet soon came under increasing fire from the battleships who burnt in with autocannons blazing. Having lost the combat carriers and with most of the Rorquals destroyed during the fighting, the remnants of the Hurricane fleet had no alternative but to flee. The Tengu and Machariel fleets tried to snatch as many ships as possible, interdictors and interceptors diving in to catch as many as possible. Those caught were unceremoniously dispatched, leading to very few survivors of the fight.
With the stragglers removed and the last Rorqual destroyed, the grid was under the control of the allied fleets. The two fleets then started arranging extraction for their capital assets while looting the field of any valuables, stripping the wrecks of the Rorquals and the combat carriers. The many fighters left stranded in space after the deaths of their carriers were destroyed by the allied fleets in the meantime.
After the dreadnoughts and force auxiliaries exited their respective siege and triage cycles, the ships jumped out of the system and started the long haul home, soon joined by their sub-capital fleets who withdrew from the system, their work complete. This marked the end of the battle of MPPA-A.
The Battle from the Perspective of the Snuffed Out\Project.Mayhem. Fleet
The Battle from the Perspective of The Initiative. Capitals
Battle report for the MPPA-A system can be found here.
All told the battle lasted 30 minutes with Time Dilation spiking once to 80% and quickly subsiding. The system hosted 445 pilots at the peak of the fighting.
Pandemic Horde lost 202 ships in the fighting including 3 Rorquals, 4 force auxiliaries, 25 combat carriers and 85 battlecruisers for a total of 107.99 billion ISK damage.
Snuffed Out, Project.Mayhem. and The Initiative. lost only 19 ships combined, including 1 dreadnought for a total of 8.44 billion ISK damage.
Salivan Harddin is a member of Hoover Inc., Pandemic Legion, and covers battles across New Eden