Writer’s Note: Siberian Squads and Northern Coalition fleet commanders did not respond to requests for interviews.
5ZXX-K system, Pure Blind region. On the 2nd of March at 17:25 EVE Standard Time, a bewildering battle took place in the system, leaving eight super carriers dead and more than 400 billion ISK damage inflicted on all participants.
The chain of events that led to that outcome began with a gate camp on the 8S-0E1 gate by local residents of the Pure Blind region. The gate camp encountered a Raven battleship belonging to Out of Sight. [OOS] which promptly lit a cynosural beacon for a Hel super carrier and a Naglfar dreadnought. The residents, members of Banderlogs Alliance [.RU], French ConneXion [FXR] and Old Sch00l [OLDS] quickly organized a small capital force to destroy the super carrier.
By the time a couple of capital squadrons had been arranged and brought to the field, the Hel was reinforced by a sister ship and a Minokawa force auxiliary. The Pure Blind residents’ dreadnoughts landed near the hostile super carriers and prepared to fire, entering their siege cycles when a third combatant appeared.
Triumvirate. [TRI] had been fighting a long and arduous war with the residents of Pure Blind, and thus had scouts throughout the region. One of them picked up on the commotion and the alliance hastily formed a capital fleet of its own to intervene in the fighting, and possibly snag a couple of super carrier kills while destroying their opponents’ capital ships. The alliance managed to assemble around 60 pilots with two combat carrier squadrons, two dreadnought squadrons and a good number of force auxiliaries for logistics support as well as a smattering of heavy interdictors to hold down the super carriers.
A cynosural beacon suddenly blazed near the Pure Blind residents’ fleet, heralding the arrival of the Triumvirate fleet. The combat carriers launched fighters while dreadnoughts entered siege cycles, ready to dispatch their hated opponents before destroying the super carriers as heavy interdictors tackled them. Yet as the first shots were being fired, fortunes reversed once more.
As it turned out, the two super carriers were part of a Siberian Squads [SB-SQ] fleet. The fleet seemingly attempted to either lure out the local residents’ capital force, or that of Triumvirate. Regardless, with the two hostile capital forces trading blows, Siberian Squads chose to pounce. It brought in its entire super capital force, 27 super carriers, with an equal number of force auxiliaries and a Muninn heavy assault cruiser fleet serving as support. All told the fleet was estimated at around 110 pilots.
Triumvirate immediately realized it would not be able to contest such a force and decided to prepare to extract. Dreadnoughts were told to cycle down their siege modules and inject capacitor as combat carriers targeted tackle in order to allow the immobile ships to jump out at the first opportunity. Siberian Squads in the meantime launched fighters and fighter bombers, targeting hostile capitals and dispatching them one after the other.
This could heavy easily been Triumvirate’s demise had not a fourth(!) party chose to intervene. Snuffed Out [B B C] had spotted the commotion as well and managed to swiftly assemble a 130 pilot dreadnought fleet. The force moved ships in range of the system, and once the jump reactivation timers had cleared, jumped into the field. The capital fleet materialized on top of the Siberian Squads super carriers. Dreadnoughts entered siege cycle immediately and targeted the Siberian Squads force auxiliaries while combat carriers deployed space superiority fighters to “de-fang” (destroy hostile fighters) the super carriers and apply energy neutralizing pressure on the force auxiliaries. Embedded interdictors and heavy interdictors did their best to pin down the hostile ships.
Triumvirate took advantage of the ensuing chaos, taking pot shots at the Snuffed Out dreadnoughts while continuing to prepare its own capital ships for extraction. Siberian Squads seeing this and realizing the trouble it was in, decided to try and disengage. Super carriers attempted to gain distance from the mass of hostile dreadnoughts and get out of the range of their guns. Fighters and heavy assault cruisers targeted interdictors and heavy interdictors to clear the field and allow the super carriers to escape.
Snuffed Out continued to focus its attention of the Siberian Squads force auxiliaries, taking 16 down in the span of three minutes. With this, the critical mass of force auxiliaries was broken, meaning they didn’t have enough shield transfers to keep the super carriers alive against a sustained barrage from the Snuffed Out dreadnoughts. Thus, Snuffed Out switched targets, concentrating its firepower on the super carriers that were still slowly burning away.
One by one, the super carriers fell to the dreadnoughts’ guns. Worse yet for Siberian Squads, Snuffed Out itself received reinforcements in the shape of an The Initiative. [INIT.] Loki strategic cruiser fleet. The alliance had deployed to the area previously and was contacted by Snuffed Out once the conflagration had been spotted. It managed to gather 220 pilots, mostly in strategic cruisers but with a full capital wing. The capitals jumped in to add their firepower to the mix while the strategic cruisers burned to the system, warping in to the field to aid in the destruction of the super carriers.
It seemed like the Siberian Squads super carriers’s fate was sealed when a fifth force decided to join the battle. Northern Coalition. [NC] and its myriad of allies had been alerted to the fighting and formed their own fleet, an estimated 200 pilot Ferox battlecruiser fleet. This force raced to the system, only a few jumps behind The Initiative fleet that spotted it. With Northern Coalition about to join the battle, both Snuffed Out and The Initiative knew their time was up. Whatsmore, the Siberian Squads super carriers had managed to create enough distance between them and the Snuffed Out\The Initiative capitals, mitigating much of the damage of their dreadnoughts. Plans were made to retreat, with dreadnoughts told to deactivate siege modules and inject capacitor.
By this point, Triumvirate had managed to slip away, its capital ships jumping out safely after suffering only light losses in comparison to Siberian Squads and local Pure Blind residents, whose entire capital force had been destroyed. The Northern Coalition Ferox fleet entered the system and warped to the field, attempting to tackle the Snuffed Out\The Initiative capital ships. The Initiative Loki fleet responded, targeting interdictors and heavy interdictors to keep friendly capitals free and allow them to jump out. The Ferox fleet in response targeted the strategic cruisers, starting an ugly sub capital brawl.
The Loki fleet found itself hammered in by the battlecruisers, losing mainline ships in rapid succession. Yet the fleet persisted in concentrating its firepower on tackle ships, allowing the vast majority of the surviving Snuffed Out\The Initiative capital forces to extract safely. With its capitals safe, The Initiative Loki fleet decided to disengage, warping its battered force out and allowing Northern Coalition to claim the field. Northern Coalition cleared the field of all hostiles, destroying various stragglers while basically allowing Siberian Squads to safely retreat, saving 19 of the 27 super carriers which dropped at the beginning of the battle.
With Northern Coalition in control, the fighting had basically been decided, though small skirmishes over the wrecks of the many capital and super capital ships would persist after the battle itself. Thus the confusing battle of 5ZXX-K came to an end.
The Snuffed Out escalation, as captured by one of its dreadnought pilots.
Battle report for the 5ZXX-K system can be found here.
The battle lasted a full hour, with Time Dilation not reported as being a contributing factor. The last precise system pilot count recorded was at 600 pilots, but that was before both The Initiative and Northern Coalition’s sub capital fleets entered the system. A cautious estimate would put the peak pilot count at around 900 pilots.
Siberian Squads lost 55 ships including 8 super carriers, 27 force auxiliaries, 1 dreadnought and 4 heavy assault cruisers for a total of 240 billion ISK damage.
Triumvirate lost 20 ships including 11 dreadnoughts and 1 combat carrier for a total of 26.3 billion ISK damage.
Snuffed Out and The Initiative lost a combined 115 ships including 29 dreadnoughts, 3 combat carriers and 42 strategic cruisers for a total of 122.1 billion ISK damage.
Pure Blind residents lost a combined 28 ships including 7 dreadnoughts and 3 combat carriers for a total of 23.6 billion ISK damage.