Disclaimer: The author is an Officer in one of the Alliances involved but the analysis and opinions herein are entirely his own.
There was a double shot of PVP action in Y-C3EQ last Friday evening, with the GOTG Coalition helping Suicide Squad, an ally of Pandemic Horde, defend an infrastructure hub for the 7D-0SQ system, one of several they still control in Pure Blind.
There were two separate main battle line actions, only the latter of which is presented above. GOTG coalition brought armor Lokis with relevant support ships and faced off against The Initiative (INIT) in Ishtars and GSF in Cerberuses. Interestingly, neither side decided to deploy capitals in either engagement, though we neither confirm nor deny they weren’t held in reserve. The GOTG side was FC’d by George Soletters, of Resilience., backed up by the indomitable Erebus Silentkill, who is indeed coming into his own as a target-caller on these higher-level ops.
While the light fleets of Suicide Squad and Goonswarm Federation & Co. focused on entosising infrastructure nodes, during both timers, the backup fleets brawled it out in classic style. The initial engagement went more to the GSF side ISK-wise, the smart-bombs being used to negate the Ishtar’s drone-reliant damage output resulting in a nightmare for logistics pilots locking up broadcasters only to see they were at 50% shields! Despite having to relinquish the field, the timer was won. The second round had somewhat greater numbers on both sides, which saw the smartbomb-equipped vessels successfully destroy the majority of the Ishtars’ heavy drones after the first few waves. To which the GSF side logically countered by launching their Sentry drones, which allowed them to engage from long range but have rather less tracking ability and damage output. The high-alpha volley of the Lokis ensured that well-timed volleys orchestrated by Erebus were able to obliterate DPS ships and logi alike, which to the opposing side’s credit proved challenging to break otherwise.
After trading blows, the GSF side retired from the field, allowing the survivors some time to loot. Overall the engagements lasted about an hour each, and resulted in a narrow victory in the ISK war, and the 7D-0SQ ihub being secured for the defenders.
Early on the 2nd of April, members of Anzac Alliance, an AUTZ corp and member of Darkness. Alliance were logging in and preparing for their day when they received some intel of 5 GSF dreadnoughts cloaked in a nearby system within jump range of the Upper Deklein pipe, part of GOTG sov not in direct jump range of their forward staging from ROIR-Y. Despite this, the decision to undock several Rorquals was made. After all, that ‘roid goo must flow, and if pilots got the opportunity to “Shake the rust off those Nidhoggurs”, then so much the better. When asking a member the rationale behind the decision to mine with so many enemy assets nearby, the response was:
If everyone stops mining because there’s a possibility of getting hotdropped, then the other side has already won.
GSF entered the system with bombers and within moments the expensive ‘Excavator’ drones were stowed safely in a mobile depot and the call for reinforcements had gone out. The 1st wave of Darkness. subcaps and a small group of carriers and Minikowa-class force auxiliaries jumped to the distressed Rorqual’s cyno beacon in its dying moments. At this point, the GSF dreads (pretty obviously flown by a single multiboxer and piloted just a little suspiciously too well under permissible TOS guidelines) cloaked up in the nearby system jumped in and joined the fray. The added firepower, combined with the unfortunate timing of the Rorqual’s industrial core cycle still being active the moment its invulnerability cycle finished resulted in it being unable to catch force-auxiliary repairs, and it went down. Despite this, and the GSF dreadnought pilots taking one of the Minikowas down with them, the end result was 2 capitals for 5, green in the ISK war, and another GSF raiding fleet eliminated, but good on them, they went balls-deep and brought a nice little fight right to our doorstep.
There are myriad reasons behind the supposed lag in getting home defense operations organised. For one thing, the long truce with Pandemic Horde which placed all mining anomalies off-limits for PVP’ers of both alliances did much, in this author’s opinion, to dull many miners situational awareness. Also, no Alliance is free of pilots with more ISK than sense who will just park ships in space, not pay attention, and die quietly. If this “Hybrid” deployment which has been analysed in detail by EN24 results in a long-term culture of situational awareness among miners and home defense fleets as lethal as a well-oiled battery of Tachyon lasers, then that’s a good thing. That said, events such as those on the 30th, needing a near-twin of an engagement in order to perfect a tactic is a luxury which is rarely granted in a war against a vastly larger, hostile neighbor that’s unlikely to let up anytime soon. It is also important to recognise that the GSF (in stark contrast to operations staged out of Hakonnen last year) is pulling in substantial kills despite operating under a supercap umbrella. It can, naturally, be said that the two SIGs involved contain the bulk of the GSF’s more skilled PVP’ers, with the bulk of the “carebears” so often claimed to constitute the bulk of GSF’s coalition” left behind in Delve. Its different if an FC is running a sig where one has some quality control involved but any FC organising a general coalition home defense fleet must work with a toss up on the individual quality of the pilots available at that moment. Regardless, there is no disputing that these GSF sigs are bringing quality content and certainly are upping their game, as a hard-fought engagement on April 4th in DO6H demonstrated that the pendulum of battle can indeed swing both ways.
Unsurprisingly, this hasn’t done anything to temper the typical sophomoric behaviour (which is the Goon definition of “Psyops”) which certain persons bring into play when they attack this or that target. Even a comment on one of this author’s videos got twisted about and was the subject of nearly 200 (mildly amusing) Reddit comments. The fact that a budding young videographer, Bad Juice, has additionally been the target of such foolishness on his 1st video during his first day in the corp of which this author is now an acting officer, is equally laughable. The idea that there is any such notion of “GOTG Propaganda”… or even any semblance of a “party line” narrative, is funniest of all. Whatever gets released recording such deeds as the campaign in hakonnen, The invasion of the dronelands, the defense of the 9-4 Keepstar, the Battle of ROIR, and the work shared above, is made by a small cadre of dedicated volunteers… who essentially just report events as they see and feel about them as they see fit. And sorry, our loyalty is not for sale. So if the legions of comment bots in other Alliances’ overthought and overfunded ministries of propaganda want to spew things in this or that direction, claiming there is some masterful hidden hand behind it all then this author can confidently state that the overall attitude from highest to lowest, is to get lost with yourself.