XW2H-V system, Detorid region. In the early hours of the 7th of June, Pandemic Horde [REKTD] forces sprang a trap for WinterCo super capitals which resulted in the destruction of a titan and two super carriers.
WinterCo had made a habit of using super capital assets with little to no support in the region. The coalition would often use these ships to defend its space against roaming gangs and other fleets, as Pandemic Horde fleet commanders experienced first hand. Deciding to use the fact to their advantage, those fleet commanders devised a plan to punish WinterCo for its hubris as well as score a few super capital kills.
The plan itself saw Pandemic Horde seed WinterCo space the day before with interdictors and stealth bombers. The ships were smuggled in carefully during quiet times as to avoid detection and were parked in select systems where mining and ratting activity was especially high. Next the alliance had to move a large capital force, 85 dreadnoughts and combat carriers in total, close to the area. The ships made the perilous journey from Pandemic Horde staging system in Geminate to the border of Detorid just before the start of the operation, remaining a couple of jumps out of the system.
With the capital ships in place, Pandemic Horde assembled an impressive 100 pilot sub-capital fleet, mainly Loki strategic cruisers as well as a moderate number of torpedo armed stealth bombers. The fleet moved to the region, using a black ops battleship as a jump portal generator while its interdictor pilots logged in to look for prey. They were extremely lucky, finding a dozen Rorqual industrial capital ships mining in an anomaly in the XW2H-V system. One of the seeded interdictors was able to tackle half the ships, with other interdictors burning in to assist.
Once the ships were tackled, a cynosural beacon was lit in the anomaly, allowing the Loki fleet and its bomber support to jump through. Materializing on the grid, the strategic cruisers started bombarding the capital industrial ships which could do little but wither under the barrage. The Rorquals activated their pulse activated nexus invulnerability core (PANIC module), gaining a momentary reprieve from the assault. That said, it was only a matter of time before the modules would burn out and leave the ships exposed once more at the mercy of their enemies.
WinterCo was notified immediately of the situation and started frantically gathering pilots for a response fleet. The initial plan called for a combat carrier fleet, but with overall pilot numbers being low, the WinterCo fleet commander made the decision to allow titans and super carriers to join as well in the hopes of bolstering the fleet’s strength. In the meantime, using the cynosural beacon lit by one of the Rorquals, shield force auxiliaries such as the Lif and the Minokawa trickled through to buy time for WinterCo to organize as well as keep the Rorquals alive.
With the force auxiliaries on the field, Pandemic Horde realized it wouldn’t be able to overcome the shields of the Rorquals. Instead, they focused on the new arrivals, hitting each force auxiliary as it entered triage mode, thus unable to receive aid from sister ships. With their considerable firepower, the Loki fleet was able to destroy a Lif force auxiliary as it struggled in vain to boost its shields in the face of the constant missile barrage.
Realizing their time was running out, WinterCo forces used the still lit beacon to jump through their entire fleet. Approximately 50 pilots landed in the anomaly, including two squadrons of combat carriers, a mixed squadron of super capitals and a squadron of force auxiliaries to serve as logistics. The combat carriers and super carriers targeted the strategic cruisers, sending waves of fighters after the Loki fleet.
Pandemic Horde had gotten the escalation it wanted. However the fleet had to remain on grid and fight it out as best it could while waiting for a cynosural beacon to be brought to the field so that their capital ships could land on top of the WinterCo super capitals. That meant that for a few minutes the fleet was completely at the mercy of WinterCo’s assault. The combined damage output of the fighter swarm made short work of the strategic cruisers, claiming nine ships in less than three minutes.
Enduring the onslaught, the fleet kept the hostile super capitals tackled, and once the beacon was in place the green light was given. The cynosural beacon blazed up at the center of the battle and through it came the Pandemic Horde capital force. The dreadnoughts landed and entered their siege mode immediately, their guns trained on the Hel super carrier. A few volleys later and the super carrier was reduced to a smoldering wreck. The combat carriers on the other hand focused on destroying hostile fighters, aided by the sub-capital fleet that continued to hold the field in spite of losses.
Realizing the gravity of the situation, the WinterCo fleet commander ordered the fleet to clear tackle and warp off. Combat carriers and super carriers diverted their fighters, focusing them on the interdictors and electronic warfare fighters such as the Siren which kept them pinned down. While Pandemic Horde had a massive edge in numbers and firepower, it sadly lacked enough interdictors. With the fighters zeroing in on the far weaker ships, there was little Pandemic Horde could do to keep them alive. Every minute saw another interdictor destroyed, weakening the already tenuous grasp Pandemic Horde had on the super capital vessels.
The slaughter continued unabated as Pandemic Horde brought down a second Hel before switching targets to the Apostle force auxiliaries mixed in the WinterCo fleet. Four Apostles were destroyed in the span of a few minutes, lessening the amount of remote armor repairs from the field for the four Avatar titans that came with the fleet. While three managed to escape, one wasn’t so lucky. With few Apostles remaining on the field to aid it, the Pandemic Horde dreadnoughts were able to dispatch it with relative ease, scoring a third super capital kill.
By then, WinterCo managed to extract its remaining super capital assets. With Pandemic Horde’s tackle wing decimated, the alliance managed to keep tackle only on a handful of capital ships. It then proceeded to systematically destroy the remaining combat carriers and force auxiliaries trapped on the grid, adding to the already staggering damage toll inflicted on WinterCo.
With the last WinterCo capital ships destroyed, Pandemic Horde started extracting its capital force, its sub capitals destroying the wrecks of the enemy ships to deny them any loot. In the confusion the Rorquals themselves managed to escape the slaughter, a small victory for WinterCo considering the cost. With the capital ships safely out of system, the Loki fleet followed suit, starting a long and perilous journey back to its staging system. Thus the battle of XW2H-V came to a close.
The Battle from the Perspective of Pandemic Horde’s Fleet
Battle report for the XW2H-V system can be found here.
All told the battle lasted 31 minutes with the system hosting 276 pilots at the peak of the fighting. Time Dilation was reported briefly, spiking to upwards of 70% at one point before quickly subsiding, otherwise unnoticeable by the combatants.
WinterCo suffered 47 ship losses, including 1 titan, 2 super carriers, 17 force auxiliaries and 5 combat carriers for a total of 190.66 billion ISK damage.
Pandemic Horde lost 29 ships including 9 strategic cruisers for a total of 10.09 billion ISK damage.
Featured image credit: Razorien