YQB-22 system, Providence region. On the 9th of June at 18:22 EVE Standard Time, a battle took place in the system that would end in disaster for Providence Bloc.

The battle was instigated by RekkingCrew (RC) forces. The group had been embroiled in a long struggle with Providence Bloc over several systems it had captured in the region following Pandemic Legion [-10.0]’s campaign in the area to take the many outposts built by the coalition before the faction citadel change was enacted. In the fallout of the campaign, RC forces entrenched themselves in the region, leading Providence Bloc to mount a long and bloody war to remove them from the area.

While the war itself had shown mixed results, with Providence Bloc regaining ground slowly, RC forces had not sat quietly either and mounted counter offensives as well. One such attack was on an Astrahus citadel anchored on the same grid as one of their staging Fortizar citadels. With the structure reinforced by RC forces, Providence Bloc formed up to protect the structure, gathering a 210 pilot Machariel battleship fleet which included a dreadnought wing as well as a squadron of combat carriers and several force auxiliaries.

The fleet waited in range of the system for the citadel’s invulnerability timer to run out when it spotted RC forces activating a Tenebrex cyno jammer on the Fortizar grid, which would prevent Providence Bloc from directly deploying capitals into the system, thus hampering its escalation ability. Deciding to knock down the structure before it had time to online, Providence Bloc brought in its combat carrier squadron with a couple of force auxiliaries to bash the structure. Providence Bloc lit a cynosural beacon 200 kilometers off the structure and jumped its combat carrier squadron in which unleashed its fighter squadrons against the structure.

RekkingCrew had waited for this, having assembled a 100 pilot Machariel fleet of its own with three force auxiliaries and four dreadnoughts equipped with high angle weapons to aid against Providence Bloc’s sub capital advantage. The force bridged in on the Fortizar and aligned to the jammar to warp at range of the Providence Bloc combat carriers. Providence Bloc had managed to warp off most of its capital force, with only a single combat carrier getting tackled by RC interdictors. RC forces warped to the jammer in order to land at optimal artillery range of the combat carrier but due to the interdiction probe’s positioning, a force auxiliary and a dreadnought got dragged by the interdiction probe, landing instead near the tackled vessel which quickly lit a cynosural beacon, allowing the Providence Bloc’s sub capital fleet to bridge in.

Providence Bloc’s Machariel fleet materialized on grid and swiftly tackled the two RC capital ships which were too far from the rest of the fleet to receive aid. The Providence Bloc fleet started blasting the two ships, dispatching them as the RC Machariel fleet got into range of the Providence Bloc fleet. The two sides exchanged fire, the RC fleet managing to destroy a few hostile battleships before Providence Bloc warped off the field with the tackled combat carrier in tow.

For a while, the two sides remained in the system, neither side making a move. The Tenebrex cyno jammer attempted to initiate self repairs but its timer would be reset by a lone Providence Bloc tactical destroyer which sacrificed itself for the task, warping in and firing at the structure before being unceremoniously dispatched by the RC fleet. With the Tenebrex cyno jammer once again cycling its self repair timer, Providence Bloc bought itself more time.

RC at this point decided to withdraw from the system, warping out and using a jump gate to leave the system as it moved to a system in range and a waiting titan. The group hoped to entice Providence Blco to take the field again as its fleet arrived and sat atop the titan to bridge back in. With RC seemingly withdrawing, Providence Bloc’s fleet returned to the field, warping to the Tenebrex cyno jammer and opening fire. RC saw this and allowed Providence Bloc to slowly chip away at the structure, bidding its time to let its jump fatigue run its course.

In the meantime, the Astrahus had exited its invulnerability phase and initiated self repairs uncontested. The structure was able to complete its self repair cycle, fully restoring its armor and shields thus securing the objective for Providence Bloc early on.

Finally, RC forces were ready and lit a cynosural beacon on their Fortizar. The Machariel fleet jumped back to the system with three force auxiliaries and a couple of high angle weapon dreadnoughts and aligned to the besieged structure. The fleet then warped at 70 kilometers of the structure and set up, Providence Bloc reacting quickly, warping away from the structure to a perch before warping in on the hostile Machariel fleet and burning in. The two forces opening fire.

Providence Bloc had fitted its battleships with autocannons, limiting its engagement range while RC opted for artillery cannons, but being tethered to the force auxiliaries was unable to maneuver much on the grid. Thus Providence Bloc attempted to get beneath the artillery cannons of RC to mitigate their damage. In return, RC decided to disperse its fleet, creating a loose formation of 60 kilometers in diameter which allowed at least parts of the fleet to track the hostiles well.

Both sides started trading mainline ships, the RC artillery cannons volleying hostile ships only for the Providence Bloc autocannons to answer back and chew through the armor of their counterparts. While losses mounted for the two, as the battle continued it became apparent RC forces were taking the lead, often destroying several battleships for each one they lost. This was partly due to the work of the force auxiliaries which struggled to keep as many ships alive in the face of Providence Bloc’s relentless assault.

Providence Bloc realized it wouldn’t be able to claim the lead without getting rid of the force auxiliaries, and with the cynosural jammer still cycling, lit a cynosural beacon to allow its dreadnought wing to take the field. Providence Bloc’s dreadnoughts jumped in, entered siege cycles and started blasting the RC force auxiliaries which went down fast in the face of 30 dreadnoughts. Providence Bloc’s dreadnoughts then targeted their hostile counterparts, which could do little against the onslaught considering they were fitted to counter sub capitals. Using the momentum, Providence Bloc pushed its advantage and equalized the mainline ship trade off between the fleets.

However, RC had expected and indeed anticipated this. It prepared its super capital force in range of the system and jumped it on the Fortizar, a mere 100 kilometers from the melee. The titans in particular activated their lances, aiming them at the group of Providence Bloc dreadnoughts. The lances hit many of the dreadnoughts, delivering immense damage which caused many of them to explode. Those that survived the lance attack by either luck or distance fell prey to the titans’ guns as RC brought more super capitals to the field, including super carriers which unleashed their fighter bombers on the unlucky vessels.

While the Providence Bloc capital force was annihilated, the two battleship fleets continued to clash violently, almost oblivious to the carnage unfolding around them. Machariel after Machariel was brought down in a merciless brawl as the two fleets fought at close range, neither side backing down. With the threat of Providence Bloc’s capital escalation removed, RC forces started bringing in more force auxiliaries to the field to replace those lost. With the new force auxiliaries on the field the RC fleet started stabilizing again, especially as Providence Bloc had lost a sizeable chunk of its battleships. Realizing the fight was lost, Providence Bloc fleet commanders ordered the retreat, the fleet warping out with RC attempting to catch and dispatch stragglers.

With Providence Bloc in retreat and the objective lost, RC forces extracted their super capitals before withdrawing their battered fleet as well. Thus the battle for YQB-22 came to an end.

Battle report for the YQB-22 system can be found here.

All told the battle on its two parts lasted 43 minutes with Time Dilation not reported and the system hosting an estimated 400 pilots at the peak of the fighting.

Providence Bloc lost 105 ships in the battle, including 30 dreadnoughts, 1 combat carrier, 1 force auxiliary and 51 battleships for a total of 117.71 billion ISK damage.
RekkingCrew lost 45 ships in the battle, including 3 dreadnoughts, 3 force auxiliaries and 19 battleships for a total of 33.55 billion ISK damage.