As HERO and PL continue their ongoing skirmishes in Catch, another blow had been struck against HERO. PL has used its Supercapital superiority to capture the systems of U-QVWD, 1P-WGB, and after a spectacular battle F4R2-Q. It would seem that HERO is steadily losing ground to the seemingly insurmountable foe of PL. The dire situation was usually balanced out by HERO’s ability to field larger numbers in their fleets, but the supercap aggression of PL looks to be unstoppable.
But could the favor be shifting to HERO for a time? The recent battle for the HED-GP station timer indicates that HEROs tenacity in defense of it’s space has finally started to pay off. HERO never backs down from a fight, and this often means that their systems are some of the most active, and dangerous, in all of null sec.
The importance of HED-GP as a supply line cannot be overstated. It offers a direct line to high sec space and the relative safety and resources those regions offer for HERO logistics and resource gathering operations. So when PL launched a blockade of the system, HERO responded in kind.
An hour before the battle, pings were sent and HERO began to form up for the 01:20 timer. Between 00:00 hours and 01:00 GE-8JV swelled from the usual 200-300 people in local to approximately 1,000, probably the highest its ever been as pilots from the Brave Collective, Test Alliance Please Ignore, Spaceship Samurai, Of Sound Mind, The Explicit Alliance, Nerfed Alliance Go Away, Bloodline and FOX.HOUND poured into the system to get ready for battle. Bolstered by the high morale from the recent destruction of a PL Titan and Super Carrier that attempted a Drive-By Doomsday, HERO Coalition was ready for the battle ahead.
HERO’s various allied alliances formed into six different fleets and deployed both around the station and the gates into system. The fleet composition was a mix of doctrine Dominix battleships, with a reserve force for non-doctrine noob ships, and a mixed Ishtar fleet.
As the battle drew closer, nearly 1000 people piled into mumble channels. The usual fleet organization chaos of asking mundane questions ensued. But this was to become an extremely confusing amount of chaos, laden with conspiratorial accusations against PL, as the mumble server crashed under the strain of so many active users. As the server was reset and the confusion died down, HERO braced for the coming storm.
After a short wait, the HERO fleet bridged into HED-GP to join up with a supporting Black Legion. Tengu fleet some 182 men strong, bolstering the HERO fleet and allies to some 700-800 ships.
PL brought their Tengu fleet to the field, augmented by their Bomber fleet, totaling approximately 194 ships in their effort to wrest HED-GP from the grasp of HERO.
PL and it’s Tengus focused on wiping out the HERO support fleets first. With rather devastating efficacy, as many of HEROs anti-bomber and EWAR ships went boom. At this point, PL bombers swooped in and wreaked havoc on the reserve forces of HERO. Who were now much more vulnerable as PL tied down the anti-bomber HERO fleet.
This turn in the battle however meant that the HERO Dominix and Archon fleet was able to take out the PL SBUs rather easily, only taking a few losses.
As the fight drew to a close, the confusion of the withdrawal of the HERO defense fleet left several Archons behind in system. HERO made the ultimately bad decision to try and return it’s dominix fleet to help evac the Archons. This was Pl had counted on, and been able to catch the Dominix fleet in a warp disruption bubble. Leaving the attempted rescue wide open to attack from the PL bombers. The devastating bomb run destroyed 38 of HERO’s ships. This spelled a failure for the rescue attempt as the only remaining Archon was also lost to PL at this time.
In the end, HERO and Friends lost a combined total of 258 ships and 109 Capsules totaling 18bn ISK while PL lost only 67 ships and 32 Capsules totaling just shy of 4bn ISK but the ultimate objective of the HERO fleet, defend HED-GP, was a success.
PL have now consolidated their position in HED-GP with a POS and appear to be setting up to try again in the near future. This fight for HED-GP may be over, but the drums of war continue to pound cadence, foretelling more bloodshed in this strategic system.