Catch continues to burn, following on from HERO’s defeat at V-3YG7 where the station was put into its first timer, HERO have been attempting to slow Pandemic Legion (PL) attempts to take the systems of MB-NKE, HED-GP, ZXIC-7, WQH-4K, 2J-WJY, U-QVWD and of course V-3YG7. Since the last battle at V-3YG7, PL has managed to capture the system of U-QVWD, but has HERO successfully managed to destroy the Sovereignty Blockade Units (SBUs) in WQH-4K, 2J-WJY and MB-NKE which left the systems of V-3YG7, HED-GP, and ZXIC-7 under contention.
3 days since the start of the renewed hostilities between the groups the first timer in HED-GP came out last night at 23:15 and this hotly contested system once again became the focal point in the conflict.
HERO formed up to prepare to defend this key strategic system (as HED-GP is the Catch region’s only Highsec connecting system). The HERO fleet, comprised of 427 Brave Collective, 90 Test Alliance Please Ignore (TEST), 31 Nerfed Alliance Go Away, 11 Bloodline pilots formed their standard fleet composition of 29 Ishtar’s, 68 Tengus, 91 Eagles, and over 400 frigates ranging from simple tech 1 Electronic Warfare Frigates to Interceptors and Harpies a total of approximately 650 HERO pilots formed for the fight.
The HERO fleet then Titan bridged into HED-GP and made its way to the station where PL were waiting with the same fleet composition that they brought for the battle at V-3YG7 consisting of 86 Tempest Fleet Issue Tempests, 25 Armageddon’s, a pantheon of Triage Archons with support in the form of various types of Tech 3 cruisers.
As of 22:53 battle commenced and first to arrive on field were the Ishtars of TEST at which point they immediately started suffering heavy losses with 31 ships being killed to a 3rd party Goonswarm Bomber Fleet which accounted for nearly 30% of the TEST fleet. The HERO Tengu & Eagle fleet landed soon after followed by the HERO frigate wing.
The main fleets began trading blows and as time progressed the PL doctrine became clear, using their Armageddons to neut and target paint they successfully managed to deactivate the Tengu and Eagle hardeners and bloom their small signature size to allow a devastating hammer blow from the Fleet Issue Tempests to alpha them off the field. The PL Tech 3 cruisers used combined electronic warfare of tracking disruption to reduce HERO’s ability to apply damage. Add in intel being relayed to PL from within the HERO fleet and already things were looking grim. HERO logistics team worked hard to try and save as many ships as they could, but the stream of losses continued with HERO losing up to ten ships every minute. The majority of which was the HERO frigate wings, but Eagle and Tengus were also dropping quickly. PL had the upper hand and they were pushing as hard as they could.
HERO Fleet Commander Blue Ice then, similar to the previous fight in V-3YG7, began to look at how to reduce the effectiveness of the PL Triage Archons that were effectively halting the HERO fleet’s ability to inflict any damage to the PL fleet. Targeting Gen Monash’s Archon which was in Triage HERO unleashed all the firepower they had and slowly, but surely wear him down until inevitably the carrier was destroyed. After number of failed attempts to kill some of the other Archons as a number of them had now exited triage allowing them to receive remote reps from their fleet mates Blue Ice used the opportunity to switch back to PL’s main fleet and managed to catch them out destroying 3 Armageddons, 3 Legions and a Loki in quick succession before the Archons managed to re-enter triage. Once again, HERO’s ability to deal damage to the PL fleet stopped.
As the fight dragged on HERO losses continued to stack up and the fleets damage dwindled as PL picked off ship after ship.
From the outside, HERO was about to lose the day. But quietly, while the fight was raging on around the station, a group of HERO carriers were undocking and re-docking from the HED-GP station attempting to repair it. A risky maneuver because if the station was lost it would have left the carriers stranded at the mercy of the PL fleet, but it was a tactic that was working, slowly, but surely, the station was slowly repaired back up to the required armour level. At around 00:00 a HERO Harpy fleet landed on one of the PL SBU’s and cleared the way for a small HERO Dreadnought group to cyno in and destroy it, releasing the system from vulnerability and turning the station to invulnerable. HERO had quite suddenly snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and saved the system.
Fleets from both sides stood down and pulled out back to their respective staging areas which allowed HERO to reform a couple of hours later also bring V-3YG7 out of contention without any contest from PL. HERO has so far managed to save five of the seven systems contested by PL since the new year with only the final timer for ZXIC-7 to be contested.
Total Butchers Bill:- HERO 757 ships lost worth 31.37bn ISK lost, PL 52 ships lost worth 10.1bn ISK, unrelated 3rd parties 21 ships lost worth 557.15m ISK
Battle report can be found here.