S25C-K system, Catch region. On the 12th of October, Providence Bloc and HERO Coalition forces clashed once more in the system, re-igniting the conflict over the control of the Northern Catch pocket. This came after more than a week of a forced truce due to a Sansha incursion in the NNLX-K constellation, which effectively ground operations to a halt.
The system was previously held by Providence Bloc but lost in the early stages of the war, though almost reclaimed at one point. It remained highly contested in the last couple of weeks, with the Infrastructure Hub coming out of its final reinforcement timer in the early hours of the 12th of October.
Both parties geared up for the fight, with Providence Bloc bringing a Zealot Heavy Assault Cruiser fleet, with a few Augoror Navy Issue Cruisers mixed in, in total – A hundred pilots. HERO Coalition brought a Cerberus Heavy Assault Cruiser fleet, with many Caracal Cruisers mixed in, a break from their traditional Eagle Heavy Assault Cruiser fleet, numbering a hundred and twenty pilots, with a secondary Ishtar Heavy Assault Cruiser fleet. thirty pilots in size.
Though outnumbered, Providence Bloc did have the advantage of choosing the place of engagement, and waited for HERO Coalition on the BR-N97 gate. HERO Coalition forces entered the system only to find themselves at the optimal range of the Zealot fleet. In rapid succession, Cereberus, Caracals and Scythes were destroyed, while Providence Bloc forces managed to hold well, losing one ship for every five or six their enemies lost. Quickly realizing they cannot hold the field, HERO Coalition chose to retreat to a Tower in the system and await reinforcements.
This allowed Providence Bloc to go and work on removing the Infrastructure Hub. A squadron of Dreadnaughts was called in, who quickly entered siege and destroyed the Infrastructure Hub within one cycle of their guns, and quickly extracted without incident.
With the Infrastructure Hub gone, the Territorial Claim Unit in the system became vulnerable, with its removal, the system could be again claimed by Providence Bloc.
An attempt was made to pin down HERO Coalition’s reinforcements, with little success, but in the end a second engagement flared up between the two fleets once more on the BR-N97 gate. This time Providence Bloc took more casualties, but it was the HERO Coalition’s fleet that was forced to concede the field again.
At this point Providence Bloc forces decided to focus on the Territorial Claim Unit, leaving HERO Coalition to focus on the Sovereignty Blockade Unit. A race was on to see who can basically win the system, with both sides calling in Capital ships. However, it was Providence Bloc which emerged as the clear winner, while HERO Coalition had the added misfortune of attracting Pandemic Legion’s attention, who brought a whole Mothership squadron to the system, managing to destroy a Moros Dreadnaught while the rest of the HERO Coalition Capital group hastily extracted.
With the hostile Territorial Claim Unit removed, Providence Bloc planted its own unit and left the system after the rest of the hostiles cleared. In total Providence Bloc inflicted more than a hundred and sixty losses to HERO Coalition, with damages amounting to twelve billion ISK, and suffering fifty losses and six billion ISK in damages in return.
Fixed Battle Report for the morning engagement in S25C-K system can be found here.
This would have proved a turning point in the war for Providence Bloc had Pandemic Legion not interfered once more. With only an hour left for the Providence Bloc Territorial Claim Unit to online, Pandemic Legion brought in an entire Mothership wing, and quickly removed all Territorial Claim Units in the system. Not content to simply remove them, they planted three of their own before finally leaving.
This forced Providence Bloc to remove said units while hauling and anchoring their own once more. This was done by amassing a large Stealth Bomber fleet, more than a hundred pilot strong, which worked a better part of an hour in removing said Territorial Claim Units, and interrupted briefly by another incursion of Pandemic Legion, this time in a fifty pilot Munnin Heavy Assault Cruiser fleet.
With Pandemic Legion getting only a few kills and the Territorial Claim Units down and new ones set up in their place by Providence Bloc, HERO Coalition saw an opportunity to re-take the system. A ping was sent to all pilots of an emergency fleet scheduled for 18:00 EVE Standard Time. Providence Bloc, however, intercepted the transmission as well, and prepared to meet the HERO Coalition fleet head on. Thus, the two coalitions were poised to once more fight to determine who will have control of the system.
Providence Bloc brought its signature Sentry fleet, mainly Dominix and Armageddon Battleships with Prophecy and Myrmidon Battlecruisers as well, reaching a hundred and sixty pilots, and a thirty pilot Stealth Bomber wing. HERO Coalition brought their signature Eagle Heavy Assault Cruiser fleet, a hundred and seventy pilot strong, with a thirty Ishtar Heavy Assault Cruiser wing giving support. The two sides were quite evenly matched in terms of numbers.
Providence Bloc was set up on the Tower where their Territorial Claim Units were set up, sitting at the edge of the shields and in a position that would make it impossible for HERO Coalition to get a good warp in. A few short skirmishes between the two sides yielded little in terms of damage and losses, until once more Pandemic Legion, for the third time that day, intervened.
Pandemic Legion fielded a one hundred pilot mixed Legion\Proteus Strategic Cruiser fleet. Taking the side of HERO Coalition this time, Pandemic Legion targeted the Providence Bloc Logistics wing, which was quickly overwhelmed. They then turned their attention to the Battleships and Battlecruisers who promptly retreated into the shields of the Tower.
If Providence Bloc forces thought they were safe in their Tower, they were in for a nasty shock, as Pandemic Legion apparently managed to acquire the passwords for the Tower’s shield. This allowed them to jump an Erebus Titan into the system and warp it to the Tower at zero. The sudden appearance of the Titan caused quite a few ships to scatter, thrown out by its sheer mass, with several bumped out of the Tower’s shield, easy prey for Pandemic Legion and HERO Coalition. After a while a Machariel Battleship was used as a substitute to bump a few more ships out, while the Titan jumped out of the system.
Once more, Pandemic Legion extracted from the system, and the fight between HERO Coalition and Providence Bloc resumed in earnest. However, it was heavily one sided in favor of HERO Coalition, and could not be continued much longer as Pandemic Legion returned to the field once more, driving Providence Bloc back to the confines of their Tower.
The two sides used the time of the forced truce by Pandemic Legion’s presence to bring their reinforcements into the system, and after Pandemic Legion seemed to extract for the final time, confronted each other again. Though both fleets exchanged losses, it became quite obvious the the bruised and battered Providence forces were no match to HERO Coalition’s fleet, and had to concede the field.
HERO Coalition used this opportunity to destroy two of the Providence Territorial Claim Units, while setting their own. With only one Territorial Claim Unit hours away from reaching online status for Providence Bloc and under the threat of HERO Coalition’s fleet, the battle for the system seemed lost, and yet, Providence Bloc did not seem to despair, but returned with force to the system, bringing a hundred and sixty pilot Tengu Strategic Cruiser fleet.
This exchange between HERO Coalition and Providence Bloc took a different course than before, as HERO Coalition started losing Logistics and mainline ships one after the other. Though Providence Bloc sustained losses, most of them were Tech I ships, such as Ferox Battlecruisers. As the fighting continued, both fleets quickly exhausted each others’ Logistics wing, and Providence Bloc retreated to the BR-N97 gate, allowing HERO Coalition to take down the last Territorial Claim Unit.
And yet, Providence Bloc were not done, and a battle erupted on the exit gate, as Providence Bloc effectively cut HERO Coalition’s path of retreat, and forced a battle on the gate. The battle itself went badly for HERO Coalition, until the intervention of Pandemic Legion, who were down to only seventy pilots. The battle unfolded both in the S25C-K and in BR-N97 systems, as Providence Bloc attempted to disengage, inflicting a few losses on Pandemic Legion but suffering quite a few in return.
During this commotion, a HERO Coalition Thanatos Carrier was destroyed by Pandemic Legion. The Carrier was sitting in a Tower with its shield down, in order to give fighter support to the HERO Coalition fleet. Providence Bloc attempted in previous fights to destroy it, but each time it raised the Tower’s shields, making it invulnerable. This time, though, it was not so lucky, as an Avatar Titan was brought into the system. With one cycle of its Doomsday weapon, it obliterated the Carrier, which seemed oblivious to its impending doom.
Fixed Battle Report for the first two engagements in S25C-K system can be found here.
Fixed Battle Report for the last engagement in S25C-K system can be found here.
This marked the end of Providence Bloc’s attempts to re-capture S25C-K. Pandemic Legion lingered around and engaged HERO Coalition this time, with mixed success in the BR-N97 system.
Fixed Battle Report for the battle in BR-N97 system can be found here.
In total, Providence Bloc lost forty-four billion ISK, suffering three hundred and seventy ship losses. HERO Coalition did not escape unscathed, with twenty-two billion ISK in damages and two hundred and fifty ships lost. Pandemic Legion suffered the least amount of damage, only losing ten ships throughout the fighting, for two billion ISK in damages.
What should have been a victory and a turning point in the war for Providence Bloc turned quickly into defeat due to the continued interference of Pandemic Legion. However, it was the same Pandemic Legion which previously saved the BR-N97 system for Providence Bloc.
From an outsider’s perspective, it seems Pandemic Legion’s involvement so far is an attempt to maintain the status quo in the war, possibly in order to create more opportunities to intervene and thus force more battles.
Absent though throughout the day, were Northern Coalition(dot) who have been until recently heavily invested in the conflict, on HERO Coalition’s side. This may be attributed to their recent relocation to the Khanid region.
With the impending changes in the Phoebe patch, the EVE universe will grow larger as systems will become more distant due to changes in jump drive ranges and mechanics. The question of whether this will cause the Northern Catch conflict to escalate further, as HERO Coalition and Providence Bloc are allowed a breathing space due to their newly acquired remoteness and thus commit their entire arsenal without fear of third party involvement, or will the rumors of an imminent invasion to the region by an unknown party turn true and shuffle all the cards? Only time will tell.
Special thanks to Draken Forlorn, of Kongsberg Vaapenfabrikk Amarr branch(dot) Corporation, Sev3rance Alliance for granting an interview.