Lantorn, 1600 ET — Today, in the system of Lantorn, a Faction Fortizar belonging to Snuffed Out was destroyed. The Fortizar was previously the spot of a nearly 1 trillion ISK fight several days ago.
As the timer ticked down for the hull reinforcement window to end, Snuffed Out prepared their forces by undocking carriers, dreadnaughts, and force auxiliaries (FAX) and waiting for the attackers to arrive. First to arrive was Siege Green in a Machariel fleet with FAX support in tow. Shortly following this fleet, an additional Machariel fleet from Rekking Crew (RC) jumped in and the fight for the Fortizar began. Snuffed Out quickly sent the fighters from their carriers over to the Machariel fleets and began to attack. Swarms of drones began to attack the fighters while the timer continued to tick down, favoring the defenders. After losing droves of fighters, the Snuffed Out carriers recalled them. At this point, the timer was stopped at around 16 minutes and 20 seconds.
At this point, more than 1000 people were in local as representatives from all over the galaxy, including nullsec, who brought their own fleets to the fray. This included the primary defenders, Snuffed Out with their duct-taped coalition of wormholers and assorted smaller groups with capitals and a fleet of Tempest Fleet Issues. Attacking the structure were Siege Green and RC in Machariel fleets with FAX support. They were followed by a large fleet of destroyers from The Rogue University, seemingly tasked with anti-fighter support. Other groups brought a variety of third-party fleets ranging from Cormorants to Tornadoes, intended to be slippery and “whore” on killmails. Here is a local scan and a directional scan from the beginning of the fight.
After a while of Snuffed Out patiently waiting with their capitals on their Fortizar, they pinged them off to a nearby structure and warped them to 0 kilometers of the enemy fleets. Almost immediately, targeting switched over to the Snuffed Out capitals. Within a few minutes, an additional wing of Snuffed Out dreadnaughts was jumped into the system. These dreads began to focus on neutralizing the capacitor of the enemy force auxiliary wing. For those unaware, neutralizing the capacitor of an active FAX means that, simply put, the ship cannot repair itself or its allies let alone activate its defensive modules, making it an easy target for destruction. The defending Tempest Fleet Issue group followed these dreads into battle, signaling the beginning of the subcap fight on the grid and the timer began to tick back down again.
After the attacking FAX were destroyed, their subcap fleets repositioned, trying to make an attempt to continue to attack the structure. It was paused again at approximately 10 minutes remaining. This move was tactically sound as it would mean that the defending capital wing would need to, again, warp their fleet over to engage which they promptly did. Attacking subcapital fleets were immediately barraged with another round of fighters which caused the attackers to ping off again. They could not shake the capital fleet of the defending forces despite being in subcapital ships which are much more nimble and able to move around the grid. What followed was a riveting game of cat and mouse as the attacking fleet never stayed in one spot long enough for the defending carrier wing to spread their fighters efficiently.
One fleet would warp in and begin attacking the structure. As soon as fighters began to swarm, the other fleet would warp in and do the same. The swarmed fleet would then ping off to another spot on the grid while waiting for the fighters to come again. This is a tactic that only works extremely well in low-security space as warp disruption probes would prevent these fleets from warping around the grid and force them to stay static. In spite of this tactic, defenders were able to peel off a few ships every time a warp took place. At the end of the day, what needed to happen here was that either fleet needed to be hurt enough to decide to stop engaging. However, for the kill of a Faction Fortizar, very few folks would stop engaging if they saw there was a chance for success.
Throughout this game of cat and mouse, an attacking destroyer fleet who was tasked to clear the tackle from their friendly Machariels took the brunt of the fighter swarm. Whether it can be attributed to overstaying on the grid or providing a distraction to the enemy fleets, it resulted in a massive loss of fleet members as dozens of wrecks were left behind when they finally warped out from the center of the swarm. With this distraction, the attackers were able to get a large chunk of damage on the structure, pushing it to about 60-70% hull. However, with each warp, precious seconds were lost on the timer as both groups would warp at the same time or warp right after the other, meaning that there were moments where zero damage was applied to the structure.
As the Fortizar fell below 30% structure, the defending forces undocked a new challenge for the attackers. They brought heavy interdictors with their Tempest Fleet Issues for tackle and warped right on top of the attacking forces. Each time the TFIs followed a warp, 3-4 of the Machariels on-grid were destroyed. In one fighter spray, the Monitor flag cruiser belonging to TheLastSporton was destroyed. Another ample distraction from the forces shooting the Fortizar. In spite of these best efforts to make the attacking forces move more frequently and make a mistake, both attacking groups continued to attack the Fortizar as it entered the final minutes of its life.
Throughout this engagement, local remained at around 1000 pilots very steadily and time dilation was not a huge factor in the battle. There were moments where it ticked up to between 40-60% but those moments were fleeting and went away almost as quickly as they came. Without time dilation, large fights are a very different dynamic as large fleets of battleships are able to move quickly from point to point on the grid. Initial battle reports show another 100 billion ISK was extracted from the system today. These battle reports will likely shift and change as zKillboard updates and the sides are most certainly not correct. And though, in the end, this Fortizar was only worth 26 billion ISK, it was a decent endcap to the saga of Snuffed Out’s Trillion ISK Faction Fortizar.