With the station flipping in LBGI-2, N3 got a foothold in Fountain. It was a psychological victory as the station is not being used as a new forward operating base, continuing to stage out of Delve (M2-XFE) instead. NCdot planted a tower in Y-2ANO and staged their supercarriers there. This would be NCdot’s iron club to bash down CFC infrastructure in Fountain.
The CFC got wind of this and targeted the tower for destruction. They titan-bridged their battleship fleet: Dominix-class battleships with a few special Amarr Navy Apocalypse (NaPocs) to augment DPS. The Dominix is a Gallente battleship that specializes in a heavy armor tank and vast drone bay. The large tanks keep the ships operable giving time for their drones to do their work.
The CFC deployed their drones and waited. Hundreds of sentry drones surveyed the dark space surrounding them. They aimed at the tower and went to work bashing it down. Destroying this tower would leave NCdot supercarrier pilots vulnerable to attack once they logged on and auto-warped back to a foreign tower that would repel their entry. CFC would watch this location close and immediately trap any supercarrier bouncing off the large force field of the tower.
The N3 pilots climbed into Ishtar-class heavy assault cruisers (HAC). They are also Gallente drone ships, but they are faster with smaller tanks. NCdot modified their fleet to optimize speed over defensive tank. This raises the stakes on the fleet commander and pilots. A slow reaction to a tactical order would leave you easy prey to the enemy.
NCdot entered system and launched into the first of three attacks. Seasoned Fleet Commander (FC) Travis Musgrat started his fleet off with a mistake that reminded me of this great Apocalypse Now video:
Coming in that hot gave the CFC FC an opening. NaPocs barraged the Ishtars and ripped 6 of them apart (i.e. they got their balls shot off). The remaining Ishtars oriented themselves in a tight orbit around their FC while dropping their own turret-like sentry drones. Once the drones were in place (40 kilometers from targets) they were controlled from a safer distance (100 kilometers away). The FC was burning to get out of the range of the CFC dps that was raining on them, ordering everyone to overheat their micro warp drives to keep up with him. All the while calling out targets for a counter attack.
Listen to the FC’s voice at the start of this video as he makes a deadly mistake. Note how calm and comical he remains (video,:08).
Once N3 Ishtars were at a safe range they fell into a familiar rhythm, focusing drone fire in quick succession on one battleship after another. If a heavily tanked Dominix caught repairs fast enough, the FC switched targets. The experience of any FC is shown in his ability to orchestrate the range, dps and target’s vulnerability. Additionally he has to manage his fleets tendency shoot the wrong target. If an FC calls a target too early, pilots will switch to the new target to make sure they get credit for that kill too. This splits damage and accomplishes nothing. Note in this video, the rhythm of the combat and the race to repair the targets before they explode.
On the video at 1:15 you can see how well CFC is repairing and the split fire of posting a secondary target too early. A few seconds later N3 gets into a deadly rhythm.
The CFC kept reinforcing and began to break through N3’s logistics so they made a tactical advance to the rear. CFC blocked the exits so the pods that had escaped were caught trying to return to base to reship. This slows reinforcements.
The remaining N3 ships stayed in system and returned for another attack. An NCdot (N3) interceptor came out of warp close to the CFC forces allowing N3 to warp in up into range (video, 5:30). The CFC had a triage carrier repairing the battleships making them unbreakable (video, 5:40). The N3 FC changed targets to the carrier itself but the CFC were dampening the Ishtars range sensors causing the target lock to break. After a few tense seconds the carrier was brought down and destroyed. In the audio there Joke about overheating drones to do more damage. Drones can’t be overheated (video, 6:25).
The CFC had more than one triage carrier and easily kept their battleships from being destroyed. Normally an FC would see that they could not damage ships and forfeit the field, but more confident ones will try to find a way to win. N3 turned & began to target the CFC drones to reduce the incoming damage. Drones and Bombs are some of the few weapon systems that can be targeted and destroyed. N3 then rotated targets trying to find something they could bring down and successfully caught a few battleships.
The CFC had accomplished the destruction of the N3 tower that protected the supers so they left the field. The fighting could have ended there but N3 logged in some of the super carriers that were living in that downed tower. That caught the CFC’s interest and they returned to fight but they were too late. The supers jumped to safety.
The two fleets met on the stargate between Fountain and Delve and fought it out. The CFC replenished its firepower and punished N3. Travis took the fleet into evasive maneuvers in an attempt to break free and comedy ensued video (video 12:10).
Both sides accomplished their mission. The CFC destroyed the forward base of the N3 capital fleet. N3 safely extracted all supercarriers and has now safely relocated them even further into Fountain. At press time N3 had successfully reinforced the outpost station in Y-2NO. The war is rolling on.
Update 1: After rechecking sources: the N3 fleet has returned to Delve and not advanced into Fountain as reported.
What was at risk:
The real power projection in null-sec is the effectiveness of an alliances capital fleet, especially in the form of the prestigious supercapitals, i.e. supercarriers and titans. So critical are these beasts that the pilots that fly them are valued higher than normal pilots and corporations with many of these pilots have a seat in the leadership table of the alliance. It takes 5 months of training to be able to climb into one, and more than a year of training time to pilot them for an alliance. A new pilot will need all that time to earn the ISK for one, they are expensive, just ask the great FC, Dark Razer, who with the slip of a mouse warped instead of aligned.