Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Capital Engagement

Have you ever had that feeling that you just grabbed a tiger by the tail? Letting go is not an option, but holding on might be even more dangerous.

Last night we rolled into a new static connection looking for some pew. There was nothing in the static so we continued down the chain and soon found some guys moving around in a C5. We put a couple of scouts in there watching the activity.

Based on d-scan and tower observations, we deduced that they were rolling a wormhole using an Orca. It made a couple of trips out into space, disappeared off d-scan for a minute and then returned to the tower. Evidently, we caught the tail end of this process as a battleship made the trip on the third pass. The Orca then warped to yet another point in space and repeated the process while another pilot jumped into a Revelation.

While there were no pilots on d-scan in the immediate vicinity, we deployed probes and found the null sec connection the Orca had jumped last. The scanning scout pulls probes and warps just as the other scout sitting on their tower announces that the Revelation has warped to the wormhole. Sure enough, he lands and jumps. Then jumps back and crits the wormhole.

Our scout sitting on that wormhole returns to the static connection we entered thinking they will attempt to close it next. We are expecting an Orca or a couple of battleships at the static connection. However, one of their pilots jumps in a battleship (Dominix) I think and warps to the null sec. A few seconds later, the signature disappears but the pilot does not show back up on d-scan or at the tower. We assume he was trapped outside the wormhole. Pro tip: Jump the battleship and Orca before the Revelation!

Will they roll the wormhole we are sitting on? Evidently not, they ship into Archons, Lokis and Revelations for site running. Really! They are going to run sites without closing their static? Yes sir! Bob is going to be happy tonight!

At this point, we make a bat phone call. Our band of pilots is ready and able to make the tackle, but we are going to need more firepower to take down a C5 escalation fleet. Several people answer the call and we get the expected "absolutely" we will come for a capital kill. Followed by the unexpected announcement that they are only 7 jumps out! Sweet! Bob must really be anxious for some blood to be spilled this evening.

Their fleet comes rolling in and is sitting on the high sec of the targets static connection as they finish the first site and warp back to their tower. One of the pilots jumps in an Anathema and we scramble the fleet off the wormhole quickly in case he heads toward high sec. Sure enough, he warps straight to the static and then straight to the high sec. Another pilot warps to him in high sec and they both burn back to the targets home system to start the next site.

At this point, they have 2 Archons, 1 Loki, 1 cloaked Falcon, 2 Revelations and 1 Moros in their escalation fleet. We regroup on the high sec and assign points as they near completion of the site. With 2 Guardian sleepers left, we jump the wormhole and warp the entire fleet on top of them.

All ships are immediately locked and pointed except the Loki who flees the field. That is certainly Ok with us since he was the biggest threat to us anyway. However, we are now at that moment when I realize that my plan worked perfectly. But now what? I am certainly no expert on capital fleet fights.

And thus the grind begins. We pick a carrier and apply both nuets and dps. It is immediately apparent to all involved that this is not going to be a short fight. The carrier pilot is well skilled and their group is not panicking. They are working together and trying various things to thin us out.

The first option they employ is snipers but our heavy interdictor quickly makes them back off this strategy. The second option is Falcons, but the swarm of hostile drones coupled with some very eager T3 pilots at various ranges from the celestials scuttles this option after a couple of attempts as well.

The static wormhole is a 1B wormhole and is only stage 2 after we jump our fleet in. Therefore, we send a couple of our pilots back home for higher DPS ships and a bunch of ammo. We are in the process of bringing another pilot in with an Armaggedon when the targets decide to roll the wormhole. One of them jumps in a hole rolling Dominix and jumps the static both ways killing it before we can get the Armegeddon into the battle.

The race is on for the next wormhole. We get it first and land several ships, the Dominix lands 100km off then warps away and back. We have 3 people now on the hole to catch him when he comes back, but he still gets away with 7 points of disruption on him. However, we partially accomplished our goal as he gave up after this attempt.

We send a scout into the c2 and find a route to k-space. The new high sec connection is 18 jumps from the last location and we get several more pilots in route.

Since we are having little luck breaking the tank of Lennah (Archon), we decide to push the carriers futher apart so that they cannot refit off each other. In addition, the targets decide to kill the trigger in the site and spawn a wave of battleships to put more pressure on us. While this is going on, several pilots (including myself) end up colliding with each other and get blapped by the dreads when our transversal drops. Oops! During the push operation, a couple of the dreads manage to drift out of range of their tackle and warp off. This actually helps us as it reduces the threats we are dealing with on the field.

In the meantime, the targets who escaped have reshipped to bombers and are making near constant bombing runs on us from a variety of positions. The damage isn't killing anyone, but it is forcing us to pay attention. Between the dread left on the field, the sleepers and the bomb damage, the Guarian pilots are being kept quite busy.

Finally, another nueting pilot arrives who also has a ship scanner and we confirm that we are nowhere near to draining Lennah so we swap our attention to the dread. He eventually sieges and we are able to take him down before he can get back out of the siege cycle. George Jetfather is the first to fall in the Revelation.

We now turn our attention back to Lennah in the carrier and the death of the dread seems to have taken the life out of him. At this point, we are waiting for him to run out of stront and it appears that we have successfully outlasted his supply. Lennah falls. Surprise, he still had lots of stront, evidently with the death of the dread, he decided to quit prolonging the agony.

With only Assault Force left on the field in an Archon, we manage to transfer a Hobgoblin to one of our Guardian pilots and the last kill rolls in pretty quickly.

We loot what we can carry and head back home happy with the 3 kills. I learned a lot from this engagement and would like to say a special thank you to the targets for running sites without securing their static connection! You gave us a great fight.

I am off to buy a couple of Bhaalgorns. It takes a lot of neuts to bring down a carrier!

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