I don't often list kills that I'm part of as my KOTW, but this time, it's rather instructive:
The moral to this kill and all the related ones is: when attacking a structure in low-sec, don't assume that only the defenders are going to defend.
Once you pop out of station in more than a few capital ships, it's usually pretty safe to assume that someone is watching you do it. One of the things that gets continuously drilled into the heads of capital FCs is that you have to control the sub-cap battlefield before you risk your capital ships. Caps are only safe if you have the system to yourself, and dreads are not safe even then thanks to their siege timers. If someone sees you launch your capital ship fleet against a target, they're going to start to wonder if they can hit your capitals. That's where your sub-caps come in. They provide the necessary screen, sacrificing themselves if necessary to ensure the caps can get out.
In this case, this particular group decided to attack a POS in a low-sec system. Unbeknownst to them, a friendly scout saw them un-dock and saw their preparations. Had they had a sizable sub-cap screening force, all might yet have been well. Failing that, if you're going to drop caps on something or someone, have ships that can sacrifice themselves to ensure the escape of the caps. At the top of the list are large groups of Blackbirds and Scorpions, and insured battleships fit with eight heavy energy neuts and lots of cap boosters. Even if you have to lose two neut battleships and five Blackbirds to ensure the escape of a dread, it's still a good trade on your part. Since it's low-sec, you don't have to worry about bubbles; all you have to do is jam or neut the tackle off your dreads.
In this case, the attacking capital fleet had only a tiny sub-cap support fleet and it was not geared to assist the caps in any meaningful way. The carriers, likewise, were fitted for mutual support but not for true combat. I haven't covered carrier fitting on this blog yet, but a carrier taken into combat should have a neut or two of its own unless it's going for a triage fit.
The lack of sub-cap support rendered this capital fleet helpless against what was initially a very minor hot-drop. Our supers were brought in only once the area was secured to ensure the kills. In short, Rote Kapelle used our sub-caps to support and protect our capital ships, not the other way around. By contrast our opponents in this fight warped in a couple of desultory Blackbirds and no neut ships at all. Our three hictors, including your humble narrator, were never in any danger whatsoever of losing our grip on these capitals.
In the meantime, isn't that a pretty dread kill? I've talked before about polishing sneakers. This is a polished sneaker writ large. Yeah, it's a dreadnought but a dread is still a tech 1 ship. Faction damage mods on a dread? Sure! CONCORD guns? OK, yeah, I can kinda see that too if the size of your cap fleet is limited and you have to maximize DPS. Even a faction defensive mod might be situationally useful. But tech 2 rigs and dead-space defenses? Nuh uh. Bad idea on a dread.
What were we doing there? We didn't care who the POS belonged to and we certainly weren't defending it. But we ended up doing so because we wanted some capital ship kills. ;-) It's a lesson you should take to heart for your own capital ship operations: even if your opponent is no threat whatsoever, support your capital ships! Because you never know when an annoying intruder is going to show up and spoil the party.