The citadel in question had previously been reinforced by Victory or Whatever [VWUT] with their allies Siege Green [SSGRN], and was now exiting its final reinforcement timer. The two entities had clashed with Panic Attack in the last few weeks over multiple structures due to an ongoing feud between Panic Attack and Victory or Whatever.
Having only recently bought the Fortizar from another alliance that was leaving the region, Panic Attack didn’t have enough time to reset the structure’s exit timer. Thus, the citadel was set to become vulnerable around the prime time of Victory or Whatever’s allies. In the knowledge that Victory or Whatever would call upon these allies, Panic Attack secured allies of its own for the coming fight, with Pandemic Horde [REKTD] forming the bulk of the forces.
Pandemic Horde assembled a 128-pilot Machariel battleship fleet and made its way to the system. Panic Attack and local allies pooled together 30 pilots, mostly in Typhoon battleships. The two alliances also had a squadron of capital ships on standby, including force auxiliaries, combat carriers, and anti-subcapital high angle weapon (HAW) dreadnoughts. The Machariel fleet set up by the Fortizar while the Typhoon fleet waited for hostiles to arrive before joining in by the Fortizar.
Against this force, Victory or Whatever had assembled three fleets. The first fleet was a combined Victory or Whatever/Siege Green Rattlesnake battleship fleet numbering 47 pilots and including a couple of force auxiliaries. The second fleet was composed of an estimated 80 pilots in Cerberus heavy assault cruisers belonging to Northern Coalition [NC]. The third fleet was made up of some 49 pilots from the Guardians of the Galaxy (GotG) coalition, fielding a wing of Ferox battlecruisers. The Rattlesnake fleet bridged to the system onto the Fortizar grid, warped out and regrouped before returning, landing at point blank of the Machariels. The two other fleets arrived shortly after, each using wormholes and gates to enter the system and warping to the grid at range from the two opposing fleets.
The Machariel fleet, which had until then remained tethered on the citadel, broke anchor and immediately engaged the Rattlesnakes. The two sides exchanged fire at point blank range while the Cerberus and Ferox fleet remained at a long distance, lobbing shots from their relative safety. The amount of firepower on the field easily overwhelmed the Machariels, incurring mainline ship losses at a rapid pace. Panic Attack also suffered from the barrage, with the enemy’s Rattlesnakes dealing especially severe damage to their Typhoon wing.
Pandemic Horde and Panic Attack for their part focused their firepower onto the Rattlesnake fleet. Using electronic warfare to try and shut down the logistics wing of Victory or Whatever/Siege Green, they applied target spectrum breakers in order to cause the Rattlesnakes to lose lock and thus disrupt their damage output. Despite being able to clear a few cruisers, mainly heavy interdictors, and logistics cruisers, the defenders weren’t able to destroy the battleships themselves. As the Rattlesnake fleet moved away to increase distance and lessen the overall damage output of Pandemic Horde, things looked bleak for the defenders.
At this point, a third party entered the fray, with Snuffed Out [B B C] bringing in a Nightmare battleship fleet numbering 25 pilots. This fleet had previously got wind of the battle and decided to come as a neutral third party. Registering the many fleets on the grid, however, Snuffed Out struck a temporary truce with the Rattlesnake fleet of Victory or Whatever/Siege Green. It remained out of the fray for a while before warping within range of the Machariel fleet and adding its firepower to the mix.
With a fourth fleet on the field shooting it, the Machariel fleet was certain to break. Instead, the fleet commander, while using a perched position, probed down the Nightmare fleet. Warping to it, the Machariels landed among the Nightmares. The tackle wing then attempted to capture as many ships as possible, but due to the nature of Nightmares and their velocity bonus, the ships were able to slip away from Pandemic Horde’s grasp. This left only two battleships and a single Scimitar logistics cruiser as a consolation prize. The intimidation worked, however, and for most of the battle, the Nightmare fleet remained passive, only intervening towards the end.
In the temporary absence of the Machariel fleet, the Typhoon fleet became the primary target for the hostiles. Several supporting battleships were brought down by the attackers, thinning the already sparse ranks of the Panic Attack forces. The Machariel fleet then swiftly returned to the main scene of fighting and yet again added its firepower to the mix. Realizing that they needed to level the playing field, the stand-by capital force was called onto the field. The force auxiliaries, in particular, were needed to help stabilize the fleets, and even if unable to staunch the bleeding, then at least alleviate it.
The fleet commanders of Victory or Whatever/Siege Green, for their part, brought in two force auxiliaries as well. These were required due to the low number of logistics ships that remained active on the field. The two fleets continued to slug at each other, the Machariel fleet targeting and destroying the two Rattlesnake force auxiliaries before moving on to the mainline ships. Deprived of their mainline support, the battleships started to melt under the concentrated firepower of Pandemic Horde and Panic Attack. Within five minutes, a quarter of the Rattlesnake fleet had been annihilated, including a replacement force auxiliary. The added pressure of the Pandemic Horde/Panic Attack dreadnoughts finally tipped the battle in the defenders’ favor. Having suffered heavy losses, the Rattlesnake fleet retreated, warping off the field to re-group. In the meantime, the Machariel and Typhoon fleets were not idle as the GotG Ferox fleet made a mistake and drifted too close to the two. The battlecruisers, compared to the Rattlesnakes before them, proved easy prey to the artillery cannons and cruise missile batteries of the defenders. In a few short volleys, a fifth of the GotG fleet was laid to rest, prompting the fleet to warp out to a ping before maneuvering to the back of the citadel and mainly focusing on pausing the repair timer rather than engaging the defending fleets again.
In this commotion, the NC Cerberus fleet continued to apply pressure onto the defending fleets, but lacking the critical mass to break the repping power of the two force auxiliaries on the field, it could do little to break the tank of the Machariels. Thus, it kept orbiting the Fortizar at a safe distance, waiting for an opportunity to strike.
Victory or Whatever/Siege Green forces were now facing a dilemma. Either retreat, and allow the Fortizar to live, or commit again and possibly suffer further losses. The fleet had already lost nearly a third of its mainline ships. Further fighting would certainly see more heavy losses. In the end, the fleet commanders decided to commit fully, bringing in reinforcements and warping to the Fortizar once again, this time maintaining long range from the Machariel fleet. Their target was simple, the Fortizar itself.
This approach transformed the nature of the fight. It was no longer a static defense of the Fortizar but an active game of tag. Time after time, Victory or Whatever/Siege Green would warp onto the field, targeting the citadel, and each time Pandemic Horde forces would perch before probing out the battleships and warping in, closely followed by Panic Attack forces. At that point, Victory or Whatever/Siege Green would warp off, leaving only a few ships which were too slow to align and enter warp to get tackled by Pandemic Horde. These unlucky souls would be easily dispatched by the Machariel and Typhoon fleets. Rinse and repeat.
At the same time, Victory or Whatever/Siege Green brought a few capital ships to the field to aid in the offensive. Some of the ships were caught by the defenders and destroyed. However, the defenders’ capitals shared the same fate. Northern Coalition forces would periodically switch targets to some of the support dreadnoughts which were unable to receive remote repair due to their active siege cycles. Three defending dreadnoughts perished this way, compared to only a single dreadnought and a couple combat carriers on the side of Victory or Whatever/Siege Green.
Finally, the hit and run tactic began to pay off for Victory or Whatever and Siege Green. The Rattlesnake fleet, together with the Ferox and Cerberus fleets were able to chip away at the Fortizar’s hit points, this time with the help of the Nightmare fleet that still hovered around. Ever so slowly, the Fortizar’s health points sank further and further. A few times during the fight, the structure was spared further bombardment and its self-repair countdown resumed, but to no avail. With less than a minute remaining on the clock, the attackers managed to reduce the citadel’s hit points to zero. The structure exploded, leaving behind nothing but a large wreck.
With the structure destroyed, the defenders lost their objective. Both the Machariel and Typhoon fleets had suffered heavy losses, in particular, the Machariel fleet which was close to losing the critical mass it needed to volley through hostile ships. It was now time to call it quits. Both fleets warped off the field, leaving a tackled force auxiliary behind for the attackers to dispatch.
With Victory or Whatever and Siege Green and allies in command of the field, it was time to loot and withdraw. GotG was the first to depart, having suffered some losses and its pilots weary due to their timezone. Victory or Whatever and Siege Green were next to leave, planning to commit to a different timer. The departure of the other fleets left Northern Coalition’s Cerberus fleet as well as the Snuffed Out Nightmare fleet. Snuffed Out pounced on the Cerberus fleet and the two started their own engagement, exchanging long range fire.
The Nightmares were able to volley a couple of heavy assault cruisers but the returning missile barrage proved deadly, bringing down two battleships. Realizing a continued exchange would only result in further losses, and considering the disparity in size, the Snuffed Out fleet commander decided to retreat, leaving Northern Coalition literally the last fleet standing.
With no hostiles left and only various scavengers looting the battlefield, Northern Coalition decided to extract as well, leaving the system behind and putting an end to the fighting.
The battle from the perspective of the Pandemic Horde Machariel fleet.
The battle report for the Hagilur system can be found here.
All told, the battle lasted an hour, with time dilation not reported and the system hosting approximately 400 pilots at the peak of the fighting.
Panic Attack and Pandemic Horde suffered a combined 73 ship losses, including 3 dreadnoughts, 1 force auxiliary and 28 battleships for a total of 56.24 billion ISK damage.
Victory or Whatever and its various allies lost a combined 80 ship losses, including a dreadnought, 3 force auxiliaries, 2 combat carriers, 26 battleships, 12 battlecruisers and 6 heavy assault cruisers for a total of 44.93 billion ISK damage.
Snuffed Out lost 5 ships in the battle, including 4 battleships for a total of 4 billion ISK damage.
Featured and secondary image credit: Razorien