“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
Fleet Commanders have a difficult and thankless task. They are often called apon to make decisions in the heat of the moment, with only a small amount of information to go on.
Sometimes these decisions work out, and other times they don’t. Case in point, a recent fight in southern cloud ring.
Taking back O-ZXUV
As part of the recent push by TCF/Defi4nt to take over administration of cloud ring from Mostly Harmless they have been clearing out some systems held by Evoke and Sons of Tangra. Recently Mostly Harmless was called in to help clean out the system of O-ZXUV where there were a number of Pos’s that needed killing.
The mood of late has been (from my perspective in any case) that we’re sick of constant small skirmishes and that we wanted to get this done as fast and as efficiently as possible. So with a combined fleet numbering nearly 200 of Mostly harmless, TCF, Defi4nt and council with a very high proportion of that being capital ships, we went on a rampage around cloud ring, reinforcing 10 POS’s on the friday night and continuing successfully into the weekend.
On Saturday, however, one fight stood out in my mind as being something interesting to write about.
Sometimes Mistakes are made.
Our capital fleet had been going for 4 hours after down time and had moved on to the final POS prior to handing over to the US time zone. A cynosural beacon was opened in O-ZXUV and local filled up with 180+ friendly ships. As the system had 5 exits, there was no way we could effectively lock it down with our relatively small battleship/support fleet (everyone who could fly one was in a capital ship) and so the FC was concerned that we were going to be hot-dropped while our dreadnoughts were in seige mode. (A dread in seige cannot manoeuver or be remotely repaired, but outputs many times the normal amount of damage).
The POS came out of reinforced and our capital fleet warped into range and went into seige almost immediately, with about 10 dreads selected to remain out of seige mode as an anti-hot-drop fleet if required. It turned out that this was a good decision as when we were half way through the seige cycle (10 minutes I believe) a hostile cynosural field opened right on top of the capital fleet and local spiked to over 250 as Sons of Tangra jumped a battleship fleet in.
Now, over the next 2 minutes, our FC remained calm and called targets at an ever increasing rate. it turned out that SoT had brought 9 guardian logistics ships and about 30 battleships. but they were very quickly wiped out with the combined firepower of our dreadnoughts and the support fleet that came in.
Again, I was in my trusty Hictor and had the enjoyable task of locking them all down. I committed a near-mortal sin in doing so however, the hostile fleet were all short range and had jumped in on top of our capital fleet so all our bubbles went on our cap fleet. Most of the dreads were in seige at the time so they couldn’t have warped out, but still I felt bad about it.
Towards the end of the fight, the FC gave up calling targets entirely and just told us to order our overviews alphabetically and kill everything. At this point targets were dying faster than I could lock them. The hostile fleet was melting under the withering fire of the sieged dreads… it was a turkey shoot.
Some of the battleships must have tried to warp out towards the end because I got on killmails for ships that I didn’t target, who must have gotten stuck in my bubble. This is always satisfying for a HIC pilot.
Here are the battle statistics at the end:
As you can see, they were slaughtered and we lost two interceptors. we were in shock at the end of it. It is fights like these that do NOT leave you cheering for victory, but rather makes you feel numb and pensive. There was hardly any chatter on teamspeak and hardly any smack talk in local. The FC had nothing but pity in his voice. There must have been a mistake, either with the person lighting the cyno beacon or with the intel that the SoT FC had been given, or perhaps we destroyed the cyno ship before the entire fleet could bridge in…. whatever happened, something went wrong and they paid for it with an entire fleet destroyed. only a couple got out including 2 logistics ships.
The one dreadnought of ours that their fleet primaried was in my corporation and he posted a screenshot of where he was at the end.
It was a close call, that’s for sure, but overall a miserable failure.
…and so let us end this blog with a moment’s silence in remembrance of all the Mistakes that FC’s have made, and the death and destruction that these cause. Let us remember that it could have been us making those mistakes, and remember to always respect a valiant enemy before we put the “surprise butt secs” ascii-art in local.