The relations between Test Alliance Please Ignore and Snuffed Out had been deteriorating rapidly in the past few months. Never truly allies, Snuffed Out had historically nevertheless helped Test Alliance Please Ignore in the defense of Vale of the Silent against the aggression of Pandemic Legion [-10.0] and Northern Coalition. [NC] due to the respect it had for its ally, Circle-Of-Two [CO2].
However after Circle-Of-Two disbanded and Test Alliance Please Ignore’s own machinations came to light in maligning and isolating its own ally, Snuffed Out believed its relationship with Legacy coalition had come to an end. The two entities would still collaborate against common enemies, but only on a case-by-case basis with no standings shared.
Yet certain figures in Test Alliance Please Ignore’s leadership misinterpreted this and believed Snuffed Out was a genuine friend to their coalition. This assertion would lead to disastrous results when a convoy of Test Alliance Please Ignore ships, including a titan, moved through Snuffed Out’s territory. The alliance pounced on the opportunity, destroying a titan and a few battleships in the process.
The incident didn’t end there as the leadership of the two alliances ended up exchanging harsh words in a conversation that would be later leaked to the public, adding fuel to the fire. The second flashpoint would come after Snuffed Out reinforced a RekkingCrew Keepstar citadel in the Camal system in the Derelik region. RekkingCrew had long been supported by Pandemic Legion and Northern Coalition, the two alliances having deep ties to the supercapital hunting group which haunts the south east of New Eden.
Snuffed Out, never one to miss an opportunity to spite the two alliances, sought to destroy the citadel in Camal and reinforced it. Pandemic Legion, Northern Coalition and their myriad of allies would come to defend the structure, Snuffed Out and its own allies such as The Initiative. [INIT.] and friends in the Imperium prepared for a major confrontation. A wrench was thrown into the plan when Test Alliance Please Ignore came to the citadel’s defense at the last minute, forcing Snuffed Out and allies to stand down.
All of this boiled over into an ugly confrontation between Hy Wanto Destroyer, the executor of Snuffed Out, and Vily, the military director of Test Alliance Please Ignore, on The Meta Show on the 23rd of March. The two leaders exchanged heated words, with Hy Wanto Destroyer attacking Vily straight off the bat only to see the latter reply with increasing anger. Though neither side came out of it looking good, Vily in particular was made to look foolish, with Hy Wanto Destroyer promising retribution for Test Alliance Please Ignore’s actions. 24 hours later, he’d get it in 0-O6XF in Esoteria.
The operation had been planned beforehand, with Snuffed Out amassing a large cache of dreadnoughts in the Stain region, allowing it to hit the Esoteria region that serves as Test Alliance Please Ignore’s home. Inner Hell [-INHE] agreed to act as bait. The wormhole corporation is renowned for its roaming fleets, having hit the Esoteria region frequently in the past only to be chased away by Test Alliance Please Ignore’s supercapitals. This meant that, should the corporation manage to tackle a Rorqual industrial capital ship or a supercarrier clearing sites, Test Alliance Please Ignore would react to it like in the past and not suspect a trap at all. In fact, Snuffed Out was counting on it. Thus Inner Hell gathered a 60-pilot Loki strategic cruiser fleet and set out into Esoteria to hunt.
The Initiative, Snuffed Out’s ally, was also informed of the plan and gathered a 120 pilot Stuka fleet (a mixture of stealth bombers, command and precursor destroyers with logistics frigates). In order not to draw suspicion, the alliance took its fleet to reinforce a cynosural jump beacon in the Tribute region belonging to Northern Coalition. The system itself was only a few jumps from a wormhole scouted by The Initiative which would take it to the Esoteria region.
With everything in place, Snuffed Out gathered a 120-pilot dreadnought fleet, with a couple of squadrons of interdictors and heavy interdictors. The fleet waited patiently for Inner Hell’s signal. Its Loki fleet was roaming the Esoteria region, looking for prey. The fleet’s scouts managed to find several Rorquals mining in an anomaly, leading Inner Hell to dispatch its interdictors to tackle them. Inner Hell succeeded in tackling the industrial capital ships and waited for Test Alliance Please Ignore’s response when scouts reported 4 freighters taking gates in the 0-O6XF system. Intrigued, the fleet decided to tackle these as well, catching the defenseless ships on the C-VZAK gate.
Tackled, the freighters could do nothing to resist the Loki fleet which started dismantling them with artillery fire. Test Alliance Please Ignore responded to this in typical fashion, bringing in a cynosural beacon and lighting it to let through force auxiliaries to aid the tackled ships. A few Minokawa force auxiliaries materialized on the field but Inner Hell acted quickly to destroy the ship lighting the cynosural beacon so as not to arouse suspicion. Even with a few force auxiliaries on the field, the freighters could not tank the incoming damage and started succumbing one after the other.
Test Alliance Please Ignore kept bringing in more reinforcements. Supercarriers and force auxiliaries warped to the field, with a new cynosural beacon lit up to replace the one lost. Even with several supercarriers on the field, Snuffed Out kept waiting, looking for bigger fish to take the bait. Its dreadnought fleet had left the dock, ready to jump at a moment’s notice. Yet it didn’t spring the trap.
Unable to free the freighters, in fact losing two of them to the strategic cruisers, Test Alliance Please Ignore decided to jump in a couple of titans to hopefully use bosonic field generators to either destroy or force off the Loki fleet. The two titans materialized on grid, joining two squadrons of supercarriers and several force auxiliaries.
Inner Hell reacted quickly, its interdictors racing around the grid to deploy as many warp disruption probes as possible while its command destroyers spooled their micro jump drives to teleport the Loki fleet away from the Test Alliance Please Ignore titans. A new neutral cynosural beacon lit up close to the Test Alliance Please Ignore titans, heralding their doom. Snuffed Out had sprung its trap.
A 100 dreadnoughts materialized on grid, entered their siege cycles and targeted the Test Alliance Please Ignore titans. Their first barrage caught an Erebus titan, bringing it down in a few short volleys. Then the alliance started burning through the stranded supercarriers, bringing down Hel supercarrier after Hel supercarrier in a quick and gruesome fashion. With so few force auxiliaries on the field, the dreadnought force could safely ignore the ships and concentrate on its primaries.
Test Alliance Please Ignore tried to react to this development, bringing more and more force auxiliaries as well as other capitals to the field. Their reinforcements were however hampered by Snuffed Out interdictors. The alliance had seeded interdictors in Test Alliance Please Ignore’s capital staging system. With the trap sprung, these ships logged into the system, warped to the Keepstar used to house the Test Alliance Please Ignore capitals and deployed warp disruption probes on the docking ramp. With the warp disruption probes present, the Test Alliance Please Ignore capitals could not jump in and join the fray, buying Snuffed Out time.
By this point, The Initiative had joined the fray. Its Stuka fleet followed Snuffed Out primaries, the stealth bombers’ torpedoes adding more firepower to overwhelm the supercarriers. After 7 of them fell to the combined guns of Snuffed Out/The Initiative/Inner Hell, primaries switched to the Avatar titan that jumped in with the Erebus. It too was brought down by the attackers, who quickly targeted the remaining supercapitals on the grid.
Test Alliance Please Ignore fought back with everything it could. The supercarriers used their fighter bombers to dispatch hostile dreadnoughts while friendly ones streamed into the fight alongside combat carriers and force auxiliaries. It was inflicting losses left and right on the Snuffed Out fleet but due to the piecemeal fashion reinforcements were coming through, was unable to make a large dent into the attacking force.
Snuffed Out however, was starting to see the tide turning. Test Alliance Please Ignore was able to bring in enough force auxiliaries to start tanking some of the damage. Probing for weaknesses, Snuffed Out attempted to bring down a few more supercarriers but found their efforts rebuffed. Deciding to thin the force auxiliary numbers, the dreadnoughts brought a couple down before switching back to a Hel supercarrier. The fleet managed to destroy it but by then the dreadnoughts were nearing the end of their second siege cycle.
For Snuffed Out commanders, a third siege cycle was tantamount to suicide, as by then Test Alliance Please Ignore would have had enough time to bring in their capital fleet and wipe out the dreadnoughts. Thus the decision was made to discontinue the siege modules, have dreadnoughts inject as much energy as possible to reach jump capability and escape. The Initiative helped by clearing the interdiction probes littering the grid with its bombers while its destroyers targeted and dispatched hostile interdictors.
In the meantime, Snuffed Out targeted hostile capitals, the Test Alliance Please Ignore force auxiliary numbers negating its ability to take down more supercarriers. The fleet burned through a dozen force auxiliaries as well as a few hostile dreadnoughts until its siege cycles were up. With the siege cycle done, most of the surviving dreadnoughts managed to jump out of the system and reach safety, leaving only a few stragglers for Test Alliance Please Ignore to dispatch.
With Snuffed Out safely out, The Initiative and Inner Hell beat a hasty retreat, leaving Test Alliance Please Ignore in control of the field. Test Alliance Please Ignore destroyed what few Snuffed Out dreadnoughts it was able to tackle before withdrawing as well to take stock of what had just happened, bringing the fight to a close.
The battle from the Inner Hell Loki fleet perspective
The battle from The Initiative Stuka fleet perspective
The battle from the Snuffed Out dreadnoughts’ perspective
Battle report for the 0-O6XF system can be found here.
All told, the battle lasted 19 minutes with Time Dilation not reported and the system hosting near 500 pilots at the peak of the fighting.
Snuffed Out, Inner Hell and The Initiative lost a combined 62 ships, including 34 dreadnoughts, 1 combat carrier, 2 strategic cruisers and 9 stealth bombers for a total of 73.59 billion ISK damage.
Test Alliance Please Ignore lost 59 ships including 2 titans, 8 supercarriers, 15 force auxiliaries, 1 Rorqual and 4 freighters for a total of 393.25 billion ISK damage.
Featured image credit: Razorien