2013/11/16

Fight or flight - a wormhole fleet op report

Two potential fleet engagements in one night. The first one against a small fleet of Adhocracy Incorporated (ADHC), prevented due to our targets leaving grid mere seconds before I wanted to give the order to engage. The second one versus a roaming gang of Future Corps (FCFTW), a member of Sleeper Social Club (SSC), prevented by me giving the order to retreat on account of us being (or just feeling?) outgunned.

Despite the fact that no actual combat occured, I still think of last night's fleet op as a success. Combat in Eve is, to a very large degree, knowing when and where to fight. Yesterday provided a very good opportunity to evaluate enemy fleet compositions, compare it with our own, analyze relevant parameters such as system effects and mass restrictions on holes and formulate and implement appropriate battle plans while being under an intense pressure of time. And in that regard, we learned a lot.

That being said I am still in doubt whether or not I made the right decisions, either in reshipping to a shield fitting before engaging ADHC or in retreating from the incoming FCFTW fleet. There were good reasons to do so, but as always some small amount of uncertainty remains. I would love to get your opinion on how you would have decided if you had been in my shoes.

But let us start at the beginning to give you the complete picture.

As we had done the previous week, we had met up at our POS at around 1830 Eve time. The order of the day was to roll out in cruiser or battlecruiser sized armor brawlers, respectivly accompanied by Guardian logistics and other support ships depending on how many people would show up.

The chain that had been mapped out earlier in the day held several possibilities.


Yankee had been reported as being the home of a Russian cooparation, and while it did not show any activity when we started our roam we hoped they would login later in the evening. In Kilo, a scout of Adhocray Incoprorated had been seen in a Proteus, and that as well showed potential for later.


We started out with four DPS ships (a mixture of T3s and navy battlecruisers) as well as two Guardians, a Devoter and a Pilgrim. The bare minimum needed to get into any sort of fleet engagement with another pvp-oriented cooperation or alliance, but good enough. Other corp mates had send word that they would join us later, and with our scouts both ahead of us and behind us, we rolled out.


While in warp to the Delta hole in Charlie, our forward scout reported numerous sleeper wrecks as well as a Noctis, three Basiliks, a Sleipnir, a Dominix, two Drakes, a Gnosis and two Harbinger Navy Issue on d-scan in Kilo.

When we arrived at the Kilo hole in Delta he had already managed to find the entire fleet minus the Noctis at a combat site. From his observation spot on grid he reported that the fleet belonged to ADHC and that they were shooting sleepers using what looked like to be short to medium ranged weapon systems.


This didn't feel like a PvE gang. Our assumption was that this was actually a small PvP gang looking for trouble, maybe even trying to bait somebody into attacking them specifically.

Compared with our gang, they had three logistics to our two and seven DPS to our four. Additionally, Kilo was a C5 pulsar system, giving their shield gang a huge boost in effective hitpoints while reducing our armor resistances at the same time. Outgunned by numbers alone and severly handicapped by the pulsar effect, we decided against engaging at this point and returned home to reship to shield ships, leaving only a cloaked scout behind.

Our way back home lead us through Yankee, where a Russian covert ops frigate had woken up while we had observed the ADHC guys shooting sleepers. Sadly nothing else seemed to happen in Yankee, and we continued to burn towards Zero.


Arriving in Zero we took a small break. Two additional corp members logged on during that time, and after we had all taken the time to restock on beer or wine, we reshipped to a shield setup and again headed out in the direction of Kilo.

Our fleet now consisted of five DPS ships (again a mixture of T3 and battlecruisers), two Basiliks, an Onyx, a Pilgrim and a Falcon. With the pulsar effect now equally helpful to both fleets and us bringing a Falcon to disrupt their superior logistic setup, both fleets now seemed to be on par with each other.


While we again got into position at the Kilo hole in Delta, our scout was working on providing us with a suitable warp-in. The ADHC fleet had just finished one site and had warped to another. Our scout followed, and to minimize any random element (such as sleepers suddently shooting as us) we agreed that the best time to engage would be when the active sleeper wave would have been almost wiped out by their fleet.

A wreck was bookmarked right in the middle of their fleet. Only a few more seconds.

Me "Scout, let us know when they have cleared half of the second wave."

Scout "Acknowledge."

Me "Alright, the moment we have the go everybody jump and hold cloak. I'll fleet-warp us to the bookmark. HIC, please bubble up when you are in a good spot to do so. Primary will be the Basilisk of ...."

Scout "Check check, they warped away. No second wave. It's an ore site, dammit. They disappeared from d-scan. I think they jumped back into Quebec."

Me "Let us wait a bit, maybe they will come back. There are still enough sleeper sites in Kilo ..."

Sadly, they did not come back. Of course there is the possibility that they had a scout on our site in Delta informing them of our presence, but if they did why did they not bail the second we got there?

Further scouting showed all of them located in Quebec as we had suspected. Additionally, an Archon and a few dreads were on scan as well. Was this their home system? Probably.

With our opportunity gone, we went home again, leaving one scout behind just in case they would continue with the remaining sleeper sites later. They didn't, at least not while we were awake.

Since no activity at all had been reported in Alfa, Hotel or Golf and with Alfa being our static, we decided to roll the hole.


After reshipping into armor ships again (yes, we did that a lot this night), we started scanning for wormholes and general player activity inside our new Alfa.


It didn't take us long to detect a lonely scout from FCFTW arriving at our doorsteps and actually jumping into Zero.


At the same time, our scouts in XBravo reported numerous ships on d-scan, appearantly an armor gang with multiple T3s, logistics and command ships.

We reshipped to shield ships again (...) to use our home systems pulsar effect to our advantage and took position on the Alfa hole in Zero. We knew their scout was watching us, and all signs pointed towards them being eager to fight. For a brief moment it looked like both fleets would be fairly equal in size and setup, them maybe having a slight advantage in numbers which would be easily mitigated by the pulsar effect.

As I said, for a brief moment. Then our scout piped up on comms again, reporting additional ships landing on the Alfa hole in XBravo.


The compositions of both fleets now looked approx. like this.

Our shield gang:

6 DPS (mixture of T3s, BCs and Navy BCs)
2 Logi
1 Neut

Their armor gang:

10 DPS (mostly T3s)
3 Logi
2 CS-Links

With only seconds to decide, I made the choice to retreat from the hole. It just felt as if we were at too much of a disadvantage despite the pulsar effect. In addition, we had everything fielded and no way to get anybody to either log in or to get to Zero in time, and there was no telling whether they would have cloaked support standing by.

As I have already said .... I am really not sure if this was maybe too cautious on our part.

Needless to say, the other guys weren't happy and told us so in local.


What can I say ... I know how it feels when being denied a fight. I would have been pissed as well.

So there you have it. Two potential fleet engagements and how we dealt with the respective situations. What would you have done?

I for myself have learned a lot. And while I take any fight when flying solo I admit that having the responsibility for an entire fleet changes you as you suddenly have to balance your desire to get a good fight with the survival of your fleet.

Have a great weekend everybody,

V



2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the report Vhala. Let me give an additional information. Only seconds after you logged we had to run again. I was looking for some smaller targets when I had two Proteus in scan. For a very short moment I thought about the new possibilities. But then the D-Scan showed AGAIN a fleet parade. About 15 T3s, logistic and command ships showed up. Shortly after they found our ZERO. Uncharted Skies, a well known German whormhole corp was in the hunt. For some odd reasons this was the night of large fleets... Again outnumbered and outgunned I watched the scene until they left. Better luck next time I thought and logged. But indeed: Our intel was good and our decisions were logic. I'm looking forward to our next fleet ops :-)
    Astrum Ron

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  2. Hey, this is Shirralia from ADHc. I was leading the site-running fleet you guys encountered. I just want to say that I'm very sad we didn't get to fight you, we actually had NO idea you guys were out there. The reason we went back to Hub (or Quebec, as you had it marked as, our home system) was the fact that we got a call for help from one of our pilots who were bringing in an Archon, as he got bumped off station in a low-sec system. Sadly we were unable to save him in time. We actually did go back and ran some more sites after that.

    In any case, very good writeup, it's a very interesting read. Thanks!

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