Wednesday, March 26, 2008

After the Party

The conquest of Delve has ended.

While I am sure many will disagree within the Coalition...their objectives have failed. There will be no invasion of NOL, at least in the foreseeable future. BoB forces are now busy cleaning up all the remnants of the invasion and retaking formerly controlled sectors. It has been hasty retreat, and we are finding a majority of the POS installations unguarded...easily looted and destroyed. I could not tell you how many POS module installations we have acquired over the past two weeks...but it is significant. Currently the Coalition has a stronghold in QY6, and there are additional enemy forces basing in the OK-FEM area. These will be the final battles of Delve for this campaign.

A minor offensive has been launched into Querious, mainly just to give a "one - two" punch while we clear our home sectors. While I wonder what our end goals will be, I assume that retribution for MC is not far down the pipe. Cutting off Querious would be a worrisome development to MC...making their logistic train back to Empire space much harder. Querious is so full of disjointed alliance adventures, there is no real cohesive defense in place. While BoB has been getting into big fleet fights...they are generally one sided at best (complete domination at worst).

Still, not all news is good news. Red Alliance 'hot dropped' part of their capital fleet on top of a small BoB capital fleet taking out an undefended POS. Lesson learned with 10 capital losses...and I suppose fair play. There have been so many RA capital losses to BoB over the last year it was almost fitting they finally succeeded in some small fashion. It also teaches the lesson of tactical moderation...losses will occur, so plan for it.

My crews have witnessed some spectacular fighting (and numerous victories) over the last few weeks. CONCORD (in junction with DED) initiated massive improvements to the Pod Pilot HUD on pod-captained ships that allows the disabling of Brackets. This was a huge burden on the communication systems of any pod-captained ship, but now with the firmware fix the effectiveness of my crews has jumped at least 150%. Staying on fleet targets, and maximizing defensive maneuvers has never been easier. Pod Captains that fail to switch over to these systems are really doing themselves, and their crews a huge disservice.

Update on the EVOL Blackguard...she has seen extreme fire and lived.

What a ship and excellent crew. During a POS removal operation, I took the Blackguard forward 2 sectors as advanced scout. We were close to PR- sector and enemy harassment fleets are still quite common there, basing out of the Blood Raider station found there (most likely at a higher bribe rate than BoB). Sure enough after several minutes a forward Vagabond Heavy Assault scout jumps in...I tell the crew to activate all defensive measures and wait for the ship to open fire. Sure enough, he warp scrambles me and begins to open up with his Autocannons. I get on fleet comms and explain the situation....

"2 jumps away (sector), Vagabond aggressed, expecting more hostiles. " I think the FC just took me for dead since I did not get a reply at first. "Damnation class Command Ship here. It will take them 2 weeks to break my 'tank...advise you clean up these clowns." I continued...

There was a bit of a laughter on fleet comms, and the FC sent the support component to my 'aid'. By the time they showed up in the inbound gate (I was on the outbound unfortunately), I had 6 Heavy Recon and Heavy Assault ships all pounding away at the Blackguard's armor. The ship was scrambled, webbed, jammed, and being slowly drained of capacitor...for well over 1.5 minutes (an eternity in nullsec combat).

Once the cavalry arrived, the enemy disengaged and got away....all except the initial Vagabond, who thought he could dance around without getting shot down. Lesson learned for one Vagabond pilot. I asked the FC to rep my armor back up in his Guardian class Logistics ship as I had no Armor Repair system installed...and he noticed I had close to 88% rating left.

"2 weeks is about right I reckon"...I could see him grinning as only one cycle brought me back up to full armor strength. 326k Effective Armor is no joke...except on the enemy ships that find themselves shooting at such a beast.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Of Tactical Retreats

Warfare has always been like the tides back on Penirgman's Vashreon Coast...advancing, and retracting in predictable fashions. Geo politics within the Eve Cluster moderates the warfare in the nullsec systems quite effectively...and often with much foresight. Several months ago, GBC Alliance members held many cluster regions...but now that is all lost to the predictable reaction when a group expands too quickly with too much success.

Today, Band of Brothers is in control of only its home region of Delve, and many of its allies are broken and shattered across the cluster. From what I can tell, the leadership has purposely retracted its military footing over the last few months in the form of a Tactical Retreat...something hardly ever lectured upon in Amarr War Colleges. While I may not be formally trained in such strategy, I can tell it is being executed with deadly precision. The basic maneuver is to fight a series of skirmish battles across several sectors while pulling your most valuable assets back to the home regions...allowing the enemy to become flush with victories. These victories are key in exploiting their belief that they are invincible...which leads to serious errors in strategy.

Once back in Delve it was clear the hammer was coming down...with BoB leadership authorizing the formation of the largest capital fleets I have ever seen...including Empire Navy Fleets. The Coalition was allowed to gain a toe-hold in Delve so they could easily bring forth new reinforcements, and they were utterly crushed by superior tactics and advanced ships during any major battles. It is remarkable to see the ignorance of the enemy as they continue throwing vast fleets to "Grinder Alley"...the route from QY6 to PR- sectors. BoB leadership is obviously banking on continuously destroying Coalition fleets until their stockpiles have run out. Nothing I have seen has led me to believe the leadership present in the Coalition realizes that it cannot defeat BoB in Delve, but that is really what BoB is counting on.

It reminds me of the guerrilla actions of Matari slave revolts on Amarr Prime...but instead of tunnels and secret caches of weapons, the Alliance uses cynojammers and jump bridges. The extension of planetary warfare on a macro scale to fleet operations of this magnitude is surprising. I suppose in essence...the term "war is war...nothing else" is very apt.

Already a Red Alliance Titan was destroyed...with another trapped in NOL (I suspect). Well over 70 enemy tower installations have been destroyed and looted. Only one can guess the level of ship destruction that is still going on as I write this. The conventional wisdom in Eve is that you cannot fight a defensive war and survive, but once again the Alliance is proving the 'CW' wrong.

Fractures are starting to show now within the ranks of the more informed enemies. Mercenary Coalition has taken a 'fake contract' to attack a weak northern alliance that I suspect will allow them to distance themselves from Delve. Several northern alliances have already pulled back seeing how many ships they have lost. Red Alliance has moved into offensive operations within the eastern drone regions. I will not even go into the recruiting that BoB is doing from these alliances...but it is 'robust' after proving who had the sharper fangs. When you are heavily outnumbered but still come out victorious...that has a lasting effect on your legacy.

On a personal combat crews have never seen so much action. In particular, my flagship the EVOL Blackguard, a Damnation class Command Ship has scored numerous victories recently....including 21 in a patrol operation to Fountain. To say I miss the Fountain region is and I believe it is my true home within the Eve Cluster. Having a patrol there was a great morale boost to my crews and me personally. Ever since the retreat, BoB has given up control of Fountain to focus on operations in Delve. On that one patrol, we came away with 60 victories and only 9 losses...fighting 2:1 odds. Lions indeed.

I hope to keep this journal more up to date in the future. The tactics and scale of warfare in the south is truly an event worth documenting for future use...history is being made here, where a few stood against the many, and came out with unbridled glory.