Dominionix started playing Eve in 2010 and within a week was made head of Goonswarm's Euro Timezone. Here he gives his view of some of last night's fighting in the North.
The European evening hours have been a strong time zone for GSF of late, with great numbers showing for almost every timer. After several weeks of largely offensive ops, we formed up a Drakefleet under Mister Vee to defend a Tech moon coming out in AW1-21. Scouts were already reporting hostile form-ups, a combination of AHACs and Abaddons from NC. with a decent number of logistics in support, numbering somewhere in the region of 150 members. Our Drakefleet, numbering a full 256, decided to get moving as soon as possible, knowing that there was a Cyno Jammer in AW1-21 we would need to clear before our carriers could get in to rep the tower. We may have had the numbers advantage, but our enemies' Abaddons have been a great counter to Drakefleets so this wasn't just going to be a walk in the park.
Before the Dance
We bridged next door, jumped in to system, and began to shoot the Cyno Jammer, as well as a couple of Large Pulse Laser turrets that had been anchored on the bottom of the tower. While this was going on, scouts reported the hostile fleet warping off of the titan in the direction of the station. We weren't sure if they were standing down, or simply re-shipping the rest of their AHACs to Abaddons. We waited, and within a minute or two they were reported back getting ready to bridge, again, in a mix of Abaddons and Zealots. Seconds later, they bridged out... This was odd, we weren't sure why they had decided to mix two doctrines.
By this point we were done with the Cyno Jammer POS, and back at our own. The fleet were asked to look for active cynos in the area, and one was immediately reported next door. Scouts quickly relayed intel, "163 hostiles bridging in to UMI-KK, and aligning for AW1". Mister Vee ordered the fleet to individually warp to the UMI gate at 70km, not wanting to fleet-warp our boosting ships out of the POS, while several friendly carriers jumped in and began to rep the tower. As the majority of the fleet landed at 70km, along with the inevitable few who had been too busy fumbling with themselves to listen properly ending up at zero, the hostile fleet landed on the other side of the gate. The less attentive members of the fleet were asked to quickly get off the gate, and burn back to the anchor, just as the NC. fleet jumped in.
Bubbles went up on the gate, and a tense few seconds past as Northern Coalition allowed their fleet to load grid. Then, to our surprise, a single decloak: Super Twinkey69 in a Damnation. We weren't sure if this was intentional bait, knowing that Command Ships are capable of fielding a significant tank, or simply a mis-click on his part. Either way, with Super Twinkey69 being a known NC. FC, it was too good of an opportunity to pass up, and Mister Vee broadcast the target ordering the Drakes to fire their opening salvo. Super Twinkey69 exploded a few seconds later, as the rest of his fleet de-cloaked.
The fight had started well, but whilst this was going on Mister Vee had decided to turn on Missile Effects - this while literally in the middle of a 256-man Drakefleet, remember - so he could ensure we weren't splitting our damage between multiple targets, and in doing so crashed his client. The fleet stopped moving, and Mister Vee's Vulture changed from purple to blue as it disconnected and e-warped off in to the distance. This took us all by surprise, myself included, as Mister Vee quickly ordered the fleet to re-anchor on my Drake. I set an alignment diagonally away from the hostile fleet, maintaining as much transversal as I could whilst moving us out of their range to buy Mister Vee some time. By now Vee was re-connecting, and asked me to 180 the fleet so that he was in range of the logis as he landed back on grid. The fleet passed back over the location from which Vee had disappeared, but fleet boss had fallen to a random member and Mister Vee was struggling to get an invite back in. I coasted the fleet around the edge of the hostile falloff, broadcasted a few targets which we weren't likely to kill just to keep them busy, and attempted to draw some of the fire while Vee was unable to broadcast for reps. Luckily our logistics managed to pick him out amongst the crowd, and apply enough of their shield transfers for him to get back in fleet in one piece. The order was given to re-anchor on Vee, while he continued to try and get fleet boss so he could move his Vulture back in to the Fleet Command position.
Whilst almost recovered, this brief re-jigging had allowed NC. a nice couple of minutes to get themselves organised, set up on their anchor, and start calling targets. As a result, several GSF Hurricanes felt the full brunt of the hostile fleet, and melted under the force of several hundred Pulse Lasers. Luckily for the Goon Drakefleet, ShutUpAndShave, author of the Goon National Anthem "Little Bees", and such recent hits as "I Robbed A Goon", had turned up with a largely frigate-hull fleet, and nobody was going to stop them smearing themselves in a pretty pattern of explosions and friendly wrecks all over the grid. Laughter was heard over the Mumble command channels as a variety of frigates and Sabres were vaporised by the NC. Zealots. Mister Vee ordered the fleet to stand to attention for the singing of Little Bees in honour of their sacrifice, but it was the few seconds Drakefleet had needed and Mister Vee was set up ready to go, starting by calling Zealots primary, which dropped with reasonable ease under the force of 150-odd Drakes.
This seemed to be the turning point of the fight, up until now our fleet had been on the back-foot trying to recover from the loss of our FC, but with Vee back in charge targets were being called quickly. Three NC. Lokis quickly fell, followed by 20-odd Zealots, and with only a couple of Drakes destroyed the Northern Coalition fleet began to align out. We had organised blap dreads earlier to deal with the heavily tanked Abaddons, but Mister Vee had specifically asked Vily to hold off jumping them in, we hadn't needed them. As the NC. fleet entered warp, a Guardian and a couple of Zealots were left on the field, and quickly dispatched, whilst the remaining Drakes burnt out of bubbles. What we hadn't realised was that rather than warping to a safe, the NC. fleet had gone straight to the tower and landed point-blank on our carriers which were repping it. With the Drakes stuck in bubbles, Vily called for the carriers to light a cyno, and jumped in tracking dreads around the stranded carriers. NC. made a good call, focussing their fire on an armor-tanked carrier (a RAZOR Alliance Archon). With almost all of the nearby friendly carriers being shield-rep fitted for the tower, his tank couldn't hold against the Northern Coalition's combined Abaddon / AHAC fleet, and moments later the carrier died.
By this point the Drakefleet was out of bubbles and in warp to the NC. fleet. Landing about 30-40km off, the Drakes once again opened fire on the Zealots. With the tracking dreads focussing on the Abaddons the Northern Coalition logistics were overwhelmed, and another 10 Zealots quickly perished. The Drakes now moved their fire to Abaddons, taking out 10-or-so of them, while the remains of Suas's frigate fleet caught a couple of warp-outs at planet 1. Northern Coalition turned their attention to the remaining Goon tackle, clearing it reasonably quickly with the excellent tracking of their cruiser-sized Pulse Lasers. They then aligned out, and with no Interdictors left the Drakefleet recons pinned down as many targets as they could, trapping a Proteus and a couple of other ships as the rest of the Northern Coalition fleet entered warp. The fight was over.
Props to the Northern Coalition fleet for bringing a fight still, despite being outnumbered, but I think they suffered pretty heavily as a result of their mixed doctrine and varied optimals. The tower was repped and the remaining capitals cleared the field. With the remaining Northern Coalition fleet still safed somewhere in system, the Drakefleet packed up and headed home.