On August 8, HERO lost the fight over the UL-7I8 infrastructure hub's armor reinforcement timer, marking a loss of momentum for its initial offensive against Provibloc. Provibloc’s morale boost from the victory was short-lived, as a string of defeats resulted in the loss of sovereignty in another CVA-owned system in Catch, 7MD-S1, on August 14. After their victory in securing 7MD a few days ago, HERO began a second attempt to take the UL- system after defending against a Provibloc attempt on ERVK-P. 7MD and UL- possess limited tactical or economical significance due to being stationless systems without valuable moons or good truesec. However, their fate may presage the fate of the remaining systems in Catch, and perhaps Providence.
August 20 - Shield Timer
Due to the lack of a station in UL-, HERO only needed to secure victory over two timers in order to destroy CVA’s infrastructure hub and make the TCU vulnerable so HERO could replace it with one of their own. The infrastructure hub's initial shield timer came out of reinforcement on the August 20 at 18:00 EVE Time. This should have been a favourable timer for Provibloc within its EU timezone primetime; however, Provibloc only managed to muster 200 total pilots in comparison to HERO’s 300. Provibloc chose to field 100 kitchen sink ships that outnumbered their actual doctrine ships: 60 Ishtars and 40 Goku stealth bombers. HERO chose to once again field their Eagle/Moa doctrine with Ishtar, Ferox and bomber fleets in support. As the two sides finished rallying their pilots and organizing themselves, each each called upon allies for the upcoming confrontation. Provibloc called upon RUS who formed up a fleet of 80 Tengus while HERO called upon The Unthinkables who came in a Navy Apocalypse doctrine with heavy logistics support.
The fight started when The Unthinkables jumped into UL- through the ERVK-P gate. INK found themselves caught in a bubble and quickly surrounded by the Provibloc Goku fleet. The Unthinkables chose to engage the bombers and called for HERO to support them. As HERO landed on grid, they found themselves confronted with not only the Provibloc Goku bombers, but also a Provibloc kitchen sink fleet. HERO and INK tore through the initial Provibloc forces before the Provibloc Ishtar fleet could land on grid due to Provibloc's lack of discipline and poor doctrine uniformity. As the Ishtars began setting up, the RUS forces landed on grid and began to relieve some of the pressure off Provibloc. The RUS forces quickly saw the dire, unwinnable situation they and Provibloc were in, and after only a few short minutes on grid withdrew from the battle in order to live to fight another day. Provibloc chose to kill off stragglers instead of directly contesting HERO, until they were caught in a bomb run and all died. Provibloc lost not only the strategic objective, but also 19B isk worth of ships.
A video of the fight from HERO FC Blue Ice's perspective
August 21 - Armor Timer
After losing the timer on the previous day, Provibloc’s morale was low and it initially did not form for the timer. At the last minute, they decided to form up and managed to scrape together 50 pilots in a loose Ishtar doctrine. RUS decided to once again aid Provi and committed over 110 pilots to the fight, including 7 dreadnoughts and a Tengu fleet. HERO formed up their usual Eagle/Moa fleet with TEST in Ishtars and The Unthinkables in Navy Apocalypses. Given that the loss of this timer would result in loss of a system, it is surprising that Provibloc had such poor participation numbers, especially in their prime timezone. While HERO was forming on the V-3 jump bridge, Provibloc managed to land a well placed bomb run, scoring them over 2B in kills. This was a cheerful start to what would come to be a depressing failure of a night for the combined forces of RUS and Provibloc.
As HERO entered UL-, they found themselves caught in a trap laid out by RUS and Provibloc forces on the ERVK-P gate. TEST took the brunt of the damage and managed to keep the RUS and Provibloc forces occupied for long enough for The Unthinkables and HERO fleets to get organised and jump in. As The Unthinkables started ripping through Provibloc Ishtars, RUS cynoed in several dreadnoughts to deal with The Unthinkables' Navy Apocalypses and triage carrier support. HERO batphoned Pandemic Legion, who in terrifyingly fast speed put together a capital fleet and cynoed onto the battlefield. Just as Pandemic Legion began targeting and attacking the RUS dreadnoughts, connections to the servers began to die as the DDoS attacks began. Luckily for Pandemic Legion and unluckily for RUS, the Pandemic Legion capitals kept on firing while all parties were disconnected, causing all of the RUS capitals to die. Upon logging back in, Provibloc forces immediately withdrew from the battlefield after seeing the dead RUS fleet and fled back home with their tails between their legs. HERO bashed the infrastucture hub and TCU and placed their own TCU. When the TCU onlined, HERO's sovereignty over UL- was secure for the foreseeable future.
Provibloc in danger?
Despite the losses, Provibloc’s performance in the battles over UL- represented a significant improvement over its performance in the defence of 7MD. If Provibloc can stick to one consistent doctrine such as the Ishtar doctrine and convince their pilots to show up in decent numbers, HERO might have a fight on their hands. As it stands at the moment, the war has so far been immensely onesided. HERO have begun placing sovereignty blockade units in the T-RPFU system, and it appears it will most likely be their next target. T-RPFU is the first station system and first Providence system HERO have targeted. The question remains whether Provibloc will rally against a foe that is now starting to push into Providence itself, or if its members will continue to mine, rat and bicker during CTAs as they have been doing so far.