NC Shows Up In Force :: PNQY Falls

Summary of Fighting in PNQY

We had posted a 17:00 start time to allow enough time to move people from GE- and NOL- into Fountain. We actually had been running trains the previous day and a major movement of caps occured at 14:00. IT and some allies were the first to arrive in PNQY with significant numbers.

We camped the most probable hostile in-gate, well aware that they would probably bridge around us, but there were strong signs that at least one of the NC fleets was going to enter from the gates. At this stage I was the FC for the IT sub-cap fleet and the overall PNQY operations FC was focusing on coordinating with scouts & allies. Early on we popped 4 groups of bombers who kept trying – in vain – to bomb our a-hacs into oblivion. This was the one time a-hacs actually paid off in the battle of PNQY.

The NC bridged into system with a fleet similar in size to our entire force in system. They went to work at the station. Instead of warping to them, the primary FC ordered us to kill 2 of the 3 SBUs. If we had won this DPS race we would have saved the system. However, guns were cycling slowly on manual control and we had MUCH less alpha per volley from A-Hacs than the enemy maelstroms and drakes were able to put out.

We warped carriers (but not supers) to one of the SBUs to lend fighter support. Fighters did NOTHING, literally no impact in the lag they were not functional at all. It was then that the NC (at this point still not much larger than us) warped right on top of us at the SBU.

This was actually the perfect engagement range for our a-hacs, and I felt pretty good about our odds on the gate (not knowing just how many more NC were coming). I started to call a set of primaries, and the fleet went to work on close range targets.

Since we had some carriers stuck on field, I called the broadsword on top of them primary. Another FC suggested over channel command that we start with the Maelstroms instead. This was when a third FC abruptly started calling targets (even though myself and the backup FC were both still alive) and he switched the fleet to yet another THIRD set of primaries (this time scorpions).

We had discussed what to shoot ahead of time, and being undermined was annoying, but having stayed up all night to participate I was so tired I just sat back and let the enthusiastic european FCs take over. As each one died, another stepped up.  I would have done things slightly differently, but in hindsight none of it mattered since we were out-numbered and in the wrong ships for the job.

One weakness that quickly stood out was that we had an embarrassingly low number of guardians in contrast to the enemy scimitar force. We did kill things but we were not winning the battle. The hostiles were able to melt 2 of our heavily tanked anchor points, and their scorpions were a major issue for the few guardians we did have on field.

As the fight dragged on, the NC numbers grew substantially. At peak system was over 1600 pilots. We had around 500 including caps, who were warped off-field when it was clear that they were not useful in this lag. Only titans would have made an impact and the primary FC was not willing to risk them with a worsening situation on our hands.

The hostiles were focusing on IT ships the entire fight. Knowing this, we checked in with allies to see if they were having any success killing enemy scorpions. If we could kill enough ECM we thought we might be able to stabilize our logistics / rep-chain. The NC had left our guardians alive (since most were jammed) and focused on HACs to reduce incoming dps. Our friends felt it was going slowly and the our FCs posted in shared channels that we were going to regroup at a friendly POS to evaluate the situation.

It was at this point of the fight that primaries were switched from BS to tackle. We melted lots of frigs and other tackle before warping. Our allies were told we were warping and only a few got bubbled. With the fight not going our way, some serious discussions took place about our options. Super caps were ruled out again and the primary FC actually logged. Many of the FCs who had helped call targets were also either dead or absent when some late-arriving IT leadership asked who could take over the fleet.

During this time, the NC caught a small group of blues outside an IT pos that they couldn’t enter. The blues lost a few ships, including a damnation that was getting reps from shield-hugging armor logistics, leading to a hilariously SLOW death. I asked repeatedly on comms if we wanted to warp in on the NC support who were bubbling themselves on the POS, but the attention had shifted to getting supers out of system by then.

I don’t have a pic of the supposed titan that was tackled (must have been at a safe), but a supercap who was supposedly logged in POS before any hostiles warped in had been in jeopardy for a short time. Of this, I don’t have many first-hand details because the fleet commanders were split between the capital and sub-capital channels with very little global TS chatter.

Kill-board Link – http://www.killboard.it/?a=kill_related&kll_id=234729

Reflections On The Battle of PNQY

In my previous post, I discussed the incendiary and much-debated topic of 0.0 fleet numbers. One fact I highlighted was that, despite IT Alliance being the largest single alliance by a margin of several hundred pilots, the real strength worth paying attention to is that of one’s overall coalition.

The NC that repelled -A-, IT, ROL, Atlas, Init and others in MAX 2.0 is just as large today as it was then. I believe it has actually grown in membership among guests who see the North as a safe-haven and impenetrable fortress (despite PL’s successes to the contrary). In contrast with Northern “BFFs,” IT has lost -A- & ROL as allies, while Atlas has partially merged into Initiative Mercenaries without retaining its former impressive participation levels in CTAs. It doesn’t help that those aforementioned alliances are tied up fighting each other down south.

In PNQY, there were several reasons IT and our allies were beaten, but I will highlight one above all else: strong turnout from several major NC alliances in addition to the expected numbers from GSF + TEST. The presence of Wildly Inappropriate isn’t totally unforeseeable, but Mostly Harmless, Razor, Morsus Mihi and many more were in attendance with considerable sub-cap fleets. That’s not even counting the cap fleet ready to log on and jump in if we had committed our supers to the field.

Our numbers – as reported on other sites – include the caps and supers who were NOT on field during the most intense fighting. Hostile reinforcements were forming and spotted en-route to PNQY throughout the entire fight. The one blue group that made a late appearance was Initiative, but their numbers were not enough to tip the scales. Other IT allies had been on-time or early.

All sides were expecting a large IT supercap fleet to make an appearance. We moved over 100 titans & SC in the 24 hours before the OP, in addition to the ones who were already in Fountain. This projection of power was a double-edged sword, drawing in over 1100 NC with holiday dreams of popping dozens of SC or even Shrike’s 5th Avatar.

The NC had pilots from nearly every sov-holding alliance in the North with caps ready to go and ended up fielding several hundred more sub-caps. With a huge sub-cap advantage, the primary FC for this operation decided not to deploy supers. Carriers were briefly used before being called back when it was clear that fighters were doing absolutely ZERO damage to SBUs and presumably had even less chance of harming moving players as the lag continually worsened.

Aside from the issue of hostile numbers, the second biggest problem was that the FC had called for armor HACs. With limited range, low alpha damage, and a high level of reliance on logistics this was a very poor choice for the amount of lag we encountered. Our now familiar shield fleet setups would have been a better choice.

While some disagreed with the decision not to go take the supers onto the field, the fact remains that 1 station can be retaken. More importantly, this has been a morale boost for the Test/GSF forces (and probably the rest of the NC who have been forced to fight PL recently). That’s a victory that won’t be erased even if the station is re-taken, and it was something I was confident we were going to be able to avoid.

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8 Responses to “NC Shows Up In Force :: PNQY Falls”

  1. I like your corpie in the 4th screenshot who thinks it’s a full NC formup. As a rzr member I don’t remember any ops being scheduled, and I surely would have shown up for a scheduled op against IT; and we definitely didn’t form caps or supers. There was an impromptu call for trib-core supers some time before the fight, but not enough people responded and it was abandoned.

    I realize the battle report doesn’t show everybody who was in the area, but the numbers on it also don’t seem to support that it was a full formup for the central or eastern NC alliances. I’ve been hoping that razor would deploy out west to help, but between :PL: and the east apparently being invaded by russians again it looks unlikely.

    The new arrangement in the western NC regions seems to be quite a big deal. If you consider goons to have come in after max 2 – not really accurate, but they were in a bad way during that campaign – what I’ve heard is that the total number of NC and allied pilots has increased by around 10,000, which iirc is about 40%, and most of these are in the west.

    Regarding the titan, what I hear is that it disappeared from logoffski in 10% armor. One of our titan pilots pinged our supercap jabber with the damage notification from his doomsday because we would have gotten the kill if we’d gotten numbers when they tried to form supers.

  2. The Titan pilot logged while still aggressed, so it was a race between DPS and the 15-minute timer. Guns were still cycling extremely slowly; I think got off 5 volleys in the 13-14 minutes we were shooting the Titan. He was down to 10-20% armor (different clients showed different numbers) and had a hairline of red in structure when he finally logged.

    After seeing the effects of some mechanics for the first time last night, I think I want two things changed:
    1. The 15-minute timer
    2. Bumping – it just seems like such a cheezy way to influence events. Make us use tractor beams, damage crashing ships, or something. Bumping, especially when everything is a sphere, but doesn’t look like a sphere, is a pain.

    Great writeup, btw (and I’m in NC).

  3. GSF and TEST are usually weakest during Euro TZs, when this fight went down.

  4. Yeah this was IT alliance prime, and we could have had a better showing.

    I am a U.S. player and I stayed up for this, so it was annoying not to have a couple hundred more IT show up. Everyone on our side knew that it could end up being an important morale boost for GSF/TEST/NC if they won.

    This was our first major Fountain operation in a long while, and we were moving our guys over from Catch the night before and for several hours before the official 17:00 form-up. Sadly, not everyone got on early enough to move by the time the fight happened.

    Some people are claiming the holiday schedule is harder on alliances where the common member is age 35-40 than ones where the common member is 20-25 due to family / holiday stuff. I don’t know how important the demographics really are in this case.

    I do think that the fact that this was EU prime means that 130ish was pretty good for GSF and TEST. However, there is no way they could have been successful without help from the broader NC (especially in terms of gathering caps on standby to counter-drop us if we used supers).

    Fountain should be a interesting campaign.

  5. I commend your level headedness and fact telling. GF, IT, and a toast to many more in fountain.

    Arkady
    MH

  6. […] have been going badly for IT, and things appeared to be much worse this week than they were when PNQY fell. The latest example is the “fight” for 9R4 where we bridged in a 130 man fleet only to […]

  7. […] first battle after we moved back from Catch was the final timer for PNQY. We had lots of people miss the convoys up from Catch, and there were other mistakes including the […]

  8. […] first battle after we moved back from Catch was the final timer for PNQY. We had lots of people miss the convoys up from Catch, and there were other mistakes including the […]

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