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Sins of a Solar Spymaster #15: A History of the Second Great War, Part One - Page 3

Posted Thu, Jun 11, 2009 by Dalmarus



The Great Purge and the PR- Camp: Feb 13th - March 13th 2009


Demoralized by the titan loss, the KenZoku leadership made its single greatest error of the war: the combined RKZ capital fleet was ordered to log off in one station in NPC Delve, PR-. For the next thirty days, coalition subcapitals camped this station. This prevented RKZ from undocking their capitals, meaning that they could do nothing to fight against the proliferation of coalition dickstars. Confidence in RKZ leadership was badly shaken. The Great Purge had begun.

Delve is a uniquely protected region. At this phase of the war, hostile forces only controlled stations in Catch and Period Basis. Coalition capital fleets could operate without support and without risk of hostile capitals ambushing them so long as they sieged only in Delve. With siegework transformed by the PR- camp from an incredibly dangerous, high-risk activity to something a child could arrange, the coalition capital fleet became almost 'self-aware'. From February 13th onwards, thirty to forty capital pilots began operating in shifts, 23/7, as they no longer required a hundred or more subcapitals for support. Individual capital pilots began running the capital fleet, rather than relying on an officially-appointed fleet commander.


The first day saw twenty RKZ towers killed. The next, thirty. Each day, the number increased, peaking at fifty tower kills in one 23-hour server day on Feb 17th. Fleet commanders couldn't find targets fast enough for the all-consuming capital blob; participation soared as the magnitude of the accomplishment grew. The Jita market for strontium - the fuel for sieges - was bought out for days at a time.

Meanwhile, the Northern Coalition was towering up Querious, and stations began to fall there. Occasional resistance cropped up in the form of -A- or RKZ subcapital fleets attacking the capital blob, but these were swiftly beaten back; coalition pilots were so eager for a fight that the announcement of an attack on the capitals brought forth hordes of defenders. By February 23rd, all twenty stations in Delve were either captured or trending towards Goonswarm sovereignty. Delve had fallen, weeks ahead of the deadline.

The Great Purge continued for another three weeks. In that time, coalition forces seized all RKZ-held R64 moons in Delve and Querious, then moved to Period Basis and took the constellation formerly owned by Destructive Influence (A KenZoku corporation) for Zenith Affinity.

The Counterrevolution Begins: March 13th - April 3rd


Throughout the Great Purge, this was the question in the mind of many coalition and KenZoku pilots: When would Against All Authorities intervene? Its borders secure and living in nearby Catch (bordering Querious), -A- was the most powerful of RKZ's allies. Yet while -A- would periodically send fleets roaming into Delve to tangle with the coalition, there was no sustained commitment on their part to rescue KenZoku.  On March 13th, the 30th day of the PR- camp, that changed. An -A- fleet arrived along with their allies Stain Empire (SE) and Red.Overlord (ROL), combined with the RKZ fleet and freed KenZoku's capital fleet.

Invigorated by the influx of allies, KenZoku began plotting to take their space back. On the border between Catch and Querious, 49- became the fulcrum of the next phase of the war, a system a mere three jumps from -A-'s regional capital in FAT. A classic timezone war broke out: in the hours after downtime and through euro primetime, 49- would be packed with hundreds of RKZ and -A- pilots, sieging coalition towers. In the later hours of US and ANZAC timezone, the coalition would return the favor. Given the overwhelming superiority in each's primetime, very little direct conflict occurred.

Exhausted by a month and a half of desperate conquest, Goonswarm logistics began to crack under the strain; errors in timing towers resulted in 49- falling to KenZoku on April 4th. 3BK, another station in Querious, fell to a combined surprise attack of RKZ, -A- and ROL; 3BK hadn't been fully purged of hostile towers and was spammed without a fight, written off as a loss by the coalition.

Silence!: April 4th - April 14th


On the day 49- fell to KenZoku, Sir Molle announced that RKZ's vengeance was at hand. He rationalized the Great Purge as a planned loss, part of a grand strategy to delay and exhaust the coaliton, leaving them ripe for the impending counterattack. A mere three hours after the announcement, the RKZ capital fleet was annihilated in a coalition ambush in 9CG. Yet, my gloating in that week's column proved to be outrageously premature.

While victory in 9CG staunched the coalition's bleeding in Querious and garnered a propaganda coup, the growing timezone superiority of the combined RKZ and -A- forces allowed unrestricted kiting of coalition towers between downtime and late eurotime. Kiting is a method to kill a tower where the attacker keeps the tower's shields between 25% and 50% for many hours. -A- would begin a kite at 8:00 GMT and RKZ would maintain it for 12 hours, finally reinforcing the tower at the end of their primetime. This rendered stront timing nearly impossible for the coalition, because -A- could chose to reinforce the tower at 0800 or allow it be kited, leaving an unpredictable 12 hour timeframe in which the coalition would have to defend the tower.  R64 moons in Querious began to rapidly fall to KenZoku, increasing their holdings from five to sixteen, allowing them to amass a vast warchest for the planned reconquest of Delve. Meanwhile, a breakdown in organizational communication meant that the average coalition pilot wasn't even aware that things were going so badly. Defensive efforts were halfhearted and ineffective. The few remaining coalition towers in 49- came under daily siege; unless a way could be found to stop the enemy from kiting, the coalition's defeat was inevitable - and rapidly approaching.


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