Monday, May 21, 2012
Prelude to a Blood Bath
I logged in early Sunday morning to a flurry of activity going on within the Minmatar militia. The Amarr had not formed, or made an attempt to push any system yet, so Minmatar pilots were forming fleet, and arranging logistics to get in as many reships as possible into base systems.
With the influx of fighting, a lot of Minmatar groups have stepped up to support the cause. Galdornae and Silence IKillYouu, of Ka Pow Pow in Late Night Alliance, purchased and freightered over 100 ships into the warzone in the early morning hours, along with fittings for around 70 of them. Over 50 fit thrashers, 20 fit ruptures, and stacks of other ships were distributed by early evening yesterday --all at sub Jita prices or even free.
The Star Fraction donated a huge fleet of fully fit griffins and blackbirds to the cause yesterday as well. By the time I logged, all the blackbirds were gone and a larger percentage of the griffins. A large number of other pilots were also distributing hulls, fit ships, and supplies in systems all over the warzone in one of the largest joint supply efforts the Minmatar has ever seen.
Total distributed ships yesterday numbered several hundred.
Well fortified, and well shipped, the Minmatar were prepared for a fight of epic proportions. Interestingly, the Amarr made no move to push Kourmonen, and instead scouts reported much Amarr capital activity within Kamela. As Kamela is one of the last defended systems of the Amarr, as well as a supercapital staging point, it was not surprising that their focus would turn to making the system as secure as possible, though the behavior of the Amarr did seem a little peculiar.
Shortly after the Amarr formed up, a large percentage of their forces were titan bridged out to Metropolis. Minmatar forces broken into three groups, one group defensively plexing systems around Arzad, one group killing the control bunker in Kurnieinen, which had recently gone vulnerable, and the main fleet both defending Kourmonen and starting to poke at some plexes in Kamela. Even partially separated between regions, the Amarr forces continued to defend Kamela.
Annah Kitheran, Minmatar strategist and FC once again kept the fleet in cruisers and below. Even as the Amarr forces returned to the area and tried to provoke an all out battlecruiser brawl in a Major plex, Annah and the other FCs did not rise to the bait, instead forcusing on nibbling away at standard and minor plexes. The Amarr's behavior still seemed somewhat off, and Minmatar leadership made it clear that they were keeping a close eye on the situation as a whole.
Unable to force us into shipping up, the Amarr eventually shipped down into tech 1 cruisers and an all out brawl began in one of the standard plexes. With relatively even numbers on both sides, it was going to be a brutal struggle for both sides to gain a foothold.
The Amarr's hand was forced and they revealed the plan that may have contributed to their somewhat dodgy behavior earlier in the day. A massive fleet of AAA and En Garde filled the system and entered the plex at the aid of the Amarr, forcing the Minmatar to retreat. A large portion of the Minmatar fleet --mostly tech 1 cruisers -- died. The Minmatar agreed that the situation could have been much worse for us, had we allowed the Amarr to bait us into shipping up.
I originally thought that the batphone would cause a lot more mudflinging in the already brutal storm of tempers between the factions. However, though agreeing that bringing in neutrals was both an ironic and desperate move, most of the Minmatar on coms agreed that they would do the same thing if pressed into the possibility of losing a vital system. Either way, it will not be the last time that neutrals become involved in the heated war between the Amarr and Minmatar.
The day was far from over. After the neutrals made there way out of the area, another engagement began in a medium plex within Kourmonen. The Minmatar quickly ripped through the Amarr cruisers, but instead of retreating, the Amarr continued to bring back reships, some of which were battlecruisers that couldn't get into the plex. As reshipping pilots from both sides started accumulating on the acceleration gate to the plex, the fight shifted to that area, with both sides bringing back everything from thrashers to battlecruisers.
The fight was a bloodbath, lasting well over a half an hour of straight brawling and many pilots losing as many as 6 ships. The Minmatar were at one point forced off, only to return in an assortment of battlecruisers and battleships. Ka Pow Pow pilot Grimreaper1984, Minmatar's very own Leroy Jenkins, hurtled his triage carrier into the mix, and in the end, the Amarr were forced off for good.
The battle was one of the largest battles the Amarr/Minmatar have ever seen, with kills for both sides numbering in the hundreds. Over 5 billion isk worth of tech 1 cruisers, destroyers, and battlecruisers were destroyed in what may be remembered as one of the greatest engagements of the Pre-Inferno Campaign. All hatred seemed to have been poured out in the fight, and chatter between the two militias was almost jovial, both agreeing that the whole thing had been wildly fun.
However, as Monday brings the last 24 hours before Inferno goes live, things will turn serious once more as both sides battle to deal the most damage and defend the most critical systems. Sunday night's epic engagements may turn into a distant memory as both militias pull out all the stops in the final hours.
There will be blood tonight.