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Fabian Strategy: You keep using that word…

May 24, 2016

By Seraph IX Basarab

Hello, my name is Seraph IX Basarab. I’m a diplomat for TISHU and have written for EN24 since 2011. I usually write opinion pieces analyzing Eve politics and military conflicts.

If you’ve been even remotely involved in World War Bee, you may have heard the term “Fabian Strategy” being thrown around by CFC/Goon leadership. In this article, I’m going to show that they have no clue what the term actually means by giving a brief overview of the historical Fabian strategy and what has been going on in Eve during World War Bee. I usually do not write such long articles about low sec alliances, but I thought I would change it up a bit this time.

The “Fabian Strategy” is named after Fabius Maximus, a Roman leader during the 2nd Punic War in which Hannibal of Carthage led his mercenary army through Spain and over the Alps into northern Italy. Hannibal had a much stronger military force defeating Roman armies time and time again. Fabius opted to avoid direct pitched battles and instead targeting Hannibal’s supply lines. His mercenary forces were not unlike the “elite pvp” oriented alliances the CFC mocks. They rely on the “high” off of big battles to continue fighting. The mercenaries also fought for plunder and pay. Hannibal was always concerned his troops would turn back or revolt if he could not attain these things. Fabius knew this and his strategy to “deny content” seemed to work until internal political opposition began opposing him. The key factor in making this strategy work was due to the fact that Hannibal lacked the necessary tools to carry out a siege. His forces could only bypass stronger Roman fortifications leaving them to wander the Italian countryside. The secondary key factor would be the loyalty of Rome’s allies. With the Carthaginians being cut off from their home country, resupplying was difficult if at times even impossible.

Several key aspects are missing in World War Bee and why the strategy the CFC is employing is poorly named. For one, the CFC would need to be able to hold onto key structures within the North resembling the fortified cities the Romans held despite Carthaginian advance. The CFC lacks the “siege superiority” over the MBC, which the Romans had over Carthage. Had the CFC maintained a long drawn out fight in Vale, they may have been able to stall until citadels came online, after which such structures could provide the fortifications they needed despite losing any of their sov. By this method, the CFC could have flooded the north with citadels leaving a viable network of defensible structures which would require a large force to take down.

For this strategy to work, it is also necessary for the attackers to be in some way limited by time. Hannibal’s forces wanted large quick victories and CFC leadership assumed that the MBC carried the same mentality. Even today the assumption is still that “MBC will get bored and leave.” This may have been true under the old system where sov generally bred soft PvE oriented entities. The newer sov requires that forces are militarily capable much more so than the previous system where numbers were enough. Because the amount of space a single entity can hold is much smaller, the “creamy safe AFK ratting” area is much smaller. Even entities you would never imagine taking and holding sov have done so. Large portions of the MBC were not just marauding mercenaries looking for “gudfites” and then to go back to wherever they came from. They put down roots and are building over the rubble that once was the CFC. Time is not on the CFC’s side. They are the ones that need to prove they are still relevant in today’s Eve.

Lastly, Rome was much more capable of keeping their allies’ loyalty either by coercion or by guile. This was key in ensuring that Carthage did not have a safe place in Italy for the duration of the war. When I first started talking to Circle-of-Two in December of 2015, the idea that they would leave the CFC was unlikely. However many recognized Co2 as being the most militarily capable alliance in the coalition (save for the Goons due to their huge numbers) as well as one of two alliances (Init being the other) not dependent on the CFC for its existence. The Goons should have gone out of their way to show these two entities in particular just how important they were. Despite propaganda and out of context chatlogs attempting to show Co2 in a bad light, truth of the matter is they held out as loyal to the CFC to the very moment when Goons opted to abandon Vale leaving Co2’s flank open for attack. Goons decided to throw their allies to the lions and hope the lions would get full off of their flesh.

Whatever the CFC is doing with the Swordfleet it’s not a Fabian Strategy. It’s just “wulfpax” mixed in with some pseudo-intellectualism. The CFC’s not really accomplishing anything and other than forging Pandemic Horde’s identity through prolonged conflict. The Goons had always mocked Mordus Angels and other entities for using frigates to harass their space as ineffective and yet at the same time this is exactly what CFC leadership is claiming as the winning strategy. There is a complete lack of consistency that is obvious to anyone paying attention. Perhaps this is what I have always found off-putting about the CFC. Plenty of entities throw in a little spin or propaganda from their perspective regarding conflicts. However, the CFC relies upon misinforming its own members to a gross degree all while snobbishly throwing around wild proclamations and misusing terminology most people are too lazy to check to benefit the few at the top. If you can manage success, it can pay off quite well, at least for a short while. If you only hit failure after failure, your credibility will ride the sinking slopes all the way to the bottom.