One of Rote's long-time members has a thing for moons and moon income. It's even caused him to briefly seek his fortunes with a null sov alliance where that sort of thing is common. But in Rote it's definitely not. We typically have no more than one or two POSes at any given time, the most important of which is our staging POS in our home system. The vast bulk of our members have no interest in defending or attacking structures and view such things through one lens: "Will it get us a fight?" If the answer is no... not interested.
That leaves this particular member in a bit of quandary. Anyone in Rote Kapelle can call a CTA; at any given time, there are four or five scheduled by various people in the alliance. But the typical attendance is between five and 15, since that's the typical fleet size we run. That's generally not sufficient to attack or defend a POS. Still, if you have enough alts and enough dreads and enough brazen courage to attack a small Goonswarm POS with your own alts and a few friends, you're free to do so, have it generate a reinforced tower timer, and CTA for that timer.
So that's exactly what happened.
Over on the Goon side, very ironically, it appears the same situation was happening. A single Goon FC has a little miniature moon fiefdom going. And this particular small tower and its moon belonged to him. So he gathered a small dread fleet of his own... and reinforced the main Rote Kapelle staging tower in our home system, which up to that point had never been shot at, much less reinforced. So now we had two CTA timers. Only this time, the bulk of our alliance expressed interest on the forums in showing up to defend our main POS since intel reported that there was a near-100% chance that this Goon FC would form up a fleet to finish it off.
When CCP Seagull talks about "instigators", this is what she's talking about, and it doesn't have to be someone who instigates a full-on null-sec war. You can have smaller scale instigators and enablers, and that's what we had here.
The night of the op arrived and soon our TS filled up with something like 70 Rote Kapelle members, more or less the biggest assemblage our alliance has seen since I joined about 18 months ago. It was sort of a reunion party. Still, the bulk of the alliance was instructed not to actually log into EVE since we wanted to hide our numbers and have no more than 20 or 25 people in Local when the Goons showed up. A few of us were asked to log in POS gunners and sit inside the shields. Everyone else was told what the fleet comp would be (armor HACs) and told to be ready to hop into one and from there into the waiting fleet immediately upon being told to log in, so that's what we did.
Was there spying involved? Probably. I wasn't part of that. But it meant that the rank-and-file fleet member had no idea that Black Legion was going to show up. Our plan was to hide our numbers, log in en masse, use the confusion of tripling the count of Rote people in system to break out of any camp that the Goons tried to establish outside our home station, then go in and see if we could knock down a few capital ships. Any cap kills we inflicted would, in our view, more than make up the loss of our POS.
And so we waited, about 25 of us logged in, plus a small group of Usurpers that we assumed were bombers (this later proved accurate), plus a few other randoms on both sides, bringing the local count to about 60 or so. In due course, the Goons and their allies started jumping in, more than 100 strong, bringing the count to about 165. There was a little bit of shifting of assets on both sides and the fleet was told the Goon support fleet comp: shield, Drakes and Cyclones, lots of logi, lots of tackle. As I've mentioned on this blog before, Rote's idea of an armor HAC fleet tends to run pretty strong into tech3s. We were ordered to log in, get into fleet, and get into ships and in the end we undocked about 65 strong, about one third of that Lokis, Legions, and Proteii. I personally was in a Legion. Despite initially not thinking much of them, it has quickly become my second favorite tech3 after my much-loved Lokis. That pushed Local to 200.
The good news: it took us only a couple of minutes to get logged in, into ships, fleet assembled, and undocked. As we did it, the Goon caps landed on the POS and started shooting. The Rote POS gunners picked our primary and went to work. Sure enough, the Goon sub-cap fleet was positioned to try to prevent us leaving the station area but clearly weren't ready for our numbers to triple and we caught them a little by surprise, knocking down ten to fifteen of them very quickly to about three losses on our side. As is becoming Rote custom for this sort of thing, we disdained logi in favor of triage carriers.
From this point, things started happening really fast. Almost simultaneously, three things happened: the Black Legion caps jumped in and started engaging the Goon caps, the Goon sub-cap fleet was called in to defend their caps, and we rolled in behind them after killing a few Goon stragglers on the station, leaving behind one of our triage carriers still in mid-cycle. Break-out of the station camp, successful. Local count: 265. Once on the POS, our fleet really settled down and started smiting the Goon sub-cap fleet, wiping out nearly all of their support fleet with almost no friendly losses except the POS itself. And that's already replaced, etc. etc. But kudos to Goons for staying on the strategic objective even under fire from Black Legion.
Meanwhile, the Black Legion guys did a great job attacking the Goon caps while the Usurpers came in and randomly bombed both sides from time to time. The results to the Goon cap fleet, you've already read. Lots of dead ones, but a lot of them did get out alive. Following a bit of looting (complicated by the aforementioned heavily stabbed bombers), we had about an hour of AAR discussion, talking about what went right and wrong. Overall, I was personally thrilled at how we did. Yeah, the POS was lost but it bought us a terrific fight. The biggest mistake we made? Everyone on our side killed should have come back in a dictor and started high-speed orbits around the Goon caps to ensure that none of them left our home system alive. Live and learn.
As it was, a number of Goon caps got out, their pilots probably wondering just what the hell went wrong. Isn't this little NPC null-sec alliance bad and friendless and alone... therefore that's why they live in NPC null? Whereas the truth is there are lots of people that will form up explicitly to fight Goons regardless of circumstances.
There have been various funny :words: written on the forums about the fight. My favorite comes from Goon pilot (and sub-cap FC?) schadenfreud, who said on FHC:
Looking forward to more fights in the future. I'm going back to Delve for now, Test is a lot more fun to dunk on than welping drakes into tech 3s.Sorry about that... ;-) Seriously though, his post is really good reading and gives a nice perspective from the other side. Take some time and go read it.(1) The one funny thing he says to my mind is he felt their fleet was logi light, whereas I counted more than a dozen Goon Scimis and Basis...
Anyway, just my perspective of what went down in TXW-EI on Thursday night. For one day, my little alliance had the biggest fight in New Eden... and it was a blast. Come back soon, Goons!
(1) This post is also hysterical.