Ladistier, Essence Region - 10 days ago a Joint Task Force consisting of both Minmatar and Gallente pilots began a a 3-system assault against Caldari held Heydieles, Old Man Star, and Ladistier. The mission: take the area of space from the Caldari, and close the southern flank of the war zone prior to TEST alliance joining the war on the side of the Caldari. Only the first 2 systems were captured by the time TEST was able to join the Caldari militia, but even the infusion brought by TEST was not enough to stem the tide. The final system in the campaign, Ladistier, was surrendered to the Gallente at 02:05 Eve Standard Time on October 21st, and will officially change hands at downtime.
Fighting has been steady for the entire campaign, often exceeding 1,000 ships destroyed in 24 hour periods in systems under direct assault. Unofficial estimates of ships destroyed range from 8,000 - 10,000 for the 10 day period, including losses on both sides as well as a significant number of neutral ships looking for fights in the hot zones.
Ladistier has not been the only place to find action over the last 4 days. Upon entrance into the war, TEST, in collaboration with fellow Caldari alliance Templis Dragonaors, staged an assault on long held Gallente system Eha. Eha has eluded the grasp of Templis recently, and it was also the line Ev0ke was unable to cross in their final month in the war earlier this year. The attack on Eha had the desired effect of pulling resources away from the assault on Ladistier, but thus far Eha has held, and TEST has yet to make a significant dent in contested percentage. Various smaller guerilla assaults have been staged against Gallente systems Nennamaila and Nisuwa as well. All these efforts helped slow the capture of Ladistier, but were not significant enough to force a large recall of forces to actively defend the systems.
Not everything the Caldari have been up to in the last few days has meant defeat. With TEST's help, the Caldari have managed to retake several outlying systems, and they now hold 46 out of 101 systems in the war zone. While they are still presently at tier 1 control, they hold more than enough real estate to upgrade to tier 2 just as soon as they can motivate their membership to donate the required LP and upgrade systems. With extremely significant donations, they could push all the way to tier 3, which would attract a significant number of farmers to their cause. While the influx would deflate the value of SPROT LP (presently worth around 2,000 ISK per unit at present Jita prices, depending on the exact item) it would make the task of plexing non-essential systems far easier, and free up Caldari combat pilots to attack more key areas.
While no love has been lost this past week between the two sides, there are times when even hated enemies will put aside their differences for a greater cause. A report came in today of a joint effort by both the Caldari and Gallente to take on a fleet comprised of Snuff Box, BALKAN EXPRESS, and Stealth Wear inc. The frenemy Factional Warfare fleet was able to take down a Snuff triage Archon as well as 13 command ships, 8 guardians, 3 HACs and a Loki before the pirates were forced off the field. Minutes later, famed smart bombing Panther pirate Santo Trafficante managed to nab a pair of fleeing Snuff box shiny capsules worth 1.5 and 2.9 billion ISK respectively. Though in the middle of a fierce war, both FW parties left each other in peace, though fighting picked up again shortly in Ladistier when the Gallente continued their push.
With Heydieles, Old Man Star, and Ladistier now taken, Russian Minmatar alliance Smile 'n' Wave is said to be moving in and basing out of that area. Meanwhile, the bulk of Gallente forces move north to focus more intently on the threat posed by TEST and other Caldari alliances closer to their home systems. While one battle seems to be ending, another looks to be taking it's place in the very near future. We'll keep you posted!