Hubris is a bitch, it'll get you every time.
-A- is learning the lumps that the rest of us learned a year ago, and it stings. To understand what happened, it could be helpful to know who in heaven's name would put sixteen supercarriers on a hostile undock; at a glance this looks like a high-class retard move. but the initial idea is something groups like PL, NCdot, and Raidendot have been doing for some time.
We called it fishing.
The idea is to lurk around unjammed systems with dictors and cyno ships while a fleet of supercarriers lurk within striking distance. The hapless cap pilot that blind jumps to the beacon can find himself in a dire situation - a cyno firing and neut-fit supers landing on his face. The applied DPS can be high enough to kill carriers on the undock of a station even before the aggro timer wears off. In essence, that's what Makalu and his band were doing in K-6 on August 15th.
Hubris was rife, and why not? That morning had seen whole fleets of HBC ships go up in flames, caught moving to its new staging system and unable to respond to threats in proper form. SoCo Tornado gangs camped multiple undocks across the area making the logistics of the move technically possible, but requiring a herculean effort to accomplish. In a word, the SoCo had their usual RUS timezone domination routine in full effect.
Now when I woke up, I found the welps and such saw that the reason was that we were split; checking I found no moving fleets up anywhere and so I pinged to form them up. PL - if nothing else - moves very efficiently; when deploying, within 48 hours we have a base operational and three days after that we'll have everything moved in. Our last move saw every corp moved and every man save one moved in about 12 hours, so we're getting better.
I decided to put this expertise to use and start shuttling the masses of the HBC to their new home, avoiding more losses to camping SoCo Tornadoes. I gave the guided tour speech as we went, explaining the how's and why's of what we were doing - of how the front had shifted and our current homes were completely out of balance movement-wise, meaning the SoCo could move around easier than we could. To fight more effectively, we'd need to live in a slightly more dangerous staging system in Delve. Jumping carriers unscouted to beacons was dangerous, assing off on the undock also now dangerous. We had managed to move into bridge range, unfortunately the enemy has also now moved into bridge range... so some of you may die.
I sure am glad that carrier pilot took everything I said to heart.
Maybe Maka didn't know that the relocation fleet had swollen to over 150 men. Maybe he didn't believe the response would be as swift as it was. Who the hell knows; what we do know is what happened next:
As we prepare for the next bridge timer, a scout says “Beacon bubbled, hostile cyno on beacon...they've bubbled our carrier that jumped to the beacon”. I raged a little at the guy. At this point I didn't think there was any response we could give before our carrier died. 16 Supercarriers from ROL and AAA were beating the piss out of him and it didn't look like they'd be there for very long. Sure enough, seconds later he was down and the supers were aligning out. As my tirade bled off they jumped into warp... to the station.
Makalu, this is where you went wrong, if you had a question - this is where the hubris got you. You went there to showboat.
Fishing requires knowing when to get in and when to get the fuck out, too. Maka fleet warped his supers to the station as the call went out across PL comms for a ready check on supers. I personally was unsure - not believing it, thinking there was no way, this HAD to be bait, it looked too good to be true. HBC super numbers came back really amazing, and for once Lenid Kalkin, long known as the sole voice of reason in PL, was on the side that said 'Kill Them'. The call was given in Jabber: Keep them bubbled - We're committing.
The superfleet spun up alarmingly fast. People I hadn't seen in months, who I assumed had gotten married and or died, were suddenly on comms. The end total would see 37 Titans and 85 Supercarriers, and that doesn't count the scores of dreads and carriers that would eventually hit grid.
For now though, a single TEST Erebus would see the field as the initial in cyno was in the wrong fleet, and for some reason so was this Erebus. Panic ensues until Sort Dragon drops out of warp near him using his Erebus to be the cyno point for the remainder of the incoming Supercapital fleet.
'Cyno up, jump jump jump jump everybody in' and then local just stopped. TiDi red lined instantly as the fighter bombers hit the field and the 'DDs free on target' command was given.
That target was the only SoCo supercapital to survive this fight. As the DD's all spooled up, the agile Hel popped just out of bubbles and leapt into warp; his friends would meet death on flaming wings, abandoned and alone.
The risk of attacking a home system should never be underestimated. TEST, whatever else they may be, are 100% going to commit everything to the cause when it is in their living room. Makalu broke this rule, and 652 members of TEST ALLIANCE PLEASE IGNORE showed him to the door.
Dingo gave the order to suicide bubble everything under the onslaught of bombs and Tengu missiles, but it became quickly apparent that the meager 200-man gang Malaku had under his wings wouldn't be able to free the now mired supers from mess they'd gotten themselves into. Next up, anchored bubbles began to appear in space around the superfleet. TiDi meant that most titans wouldn't see another DD for about fifty minutes, and it also meant that the supers were taking forever to die.
No matter, Makalu pulled the support fleet. He was outnumbered four to one and faced with a supercapital fleet of over 100 ships; this fight, for -A-, was lost.
The ride home was comforted by insults like “at least we're not like PL”.
Over 2 hours the remaining trapped supers were put to the sword. Slowly dying, all in all 10 Nyxes, 4 Aeons, and 1 Hel would lie in smoldering ruin on the K-6 undock. One of the Aeon pilots, Yakuzik, couldn't take it; she self destructed taking all hands with her.
An orderly draw-down of the caps and supers took about fifteen minutes; in the end there were over 1000 HBC forces in system that came to defend their new front lawn. The cost to TEST: some 10 billion in dictors, 2 carriers (including the initial carrier who died at the beacon), and 43 rifters.
One is forced to wonder who's call it was to commit to that station, and what his line of reasoning was when he made the call. One thing is for sure, the fabled AAA supercap fleet just got its first learning welp, and helped name the K-6 station in the process.
Beware the Hubris.
Editor's Note: From an -A- perspective, we have the following comment on the decision to withdraw their subcap fleet from the trapped supercarriers; we would welcome a formal battle report from an -A- contributor, should one volunteer. Please use the 'contact us' link below.