So lastnight was a fairly normal night as far as the war with ASCN goes. We had a group of recon ships buzzing about down south in Paragon, Feyth and Esoteria, we had the alt gang chasing ghosts around Delve and babysitting a small RKK moon mining POS that was coming out of reinforced. A lot of us were simply chilling out on irc, having a laugh at the 'Spin This' thread on the forums and generally winding down to go to bed.
The recon gang was buzzing about near H8-ZT0 and one of our other guys was online down there checking on the POS we'd set up in system, when at about 2:20 to 2:30am they noticed the number of hostile pilots in local starting to gradually increase. Our interest was fully aroused when the guys in H8- reported cyno's in system and that ASCN were bringing in Dreadnaughts.
There is only one response to hearing that enemy dreadnaughts have been spotted near one of your POSes if you're a self respecting BoB member and that response is "wooohhhooooo!! Dreads in the open, it's ganking time!". So Dreads in system, ASCN number's rising and a camp being set up on the inbound gate .... only one thing for us to do and that was to gather a fleet and head down there.
We diverted the gang floating about near NOL-M9 consisting of approximately 20 pilots in mixed ship types to TPAR and then collected stragglers from TPAR and GQ2. As usual BoB's repsonse time to assemble a fleet to do a job is pretty bloody quick, it's one thing even the most ardent BoB hater usually can't avoid grudgingly admiting, our response times are fast. Between spamming in game channels and buzzing irc within about 20 minutes we had a fleet of 50-55 (including a few alts) leaving GQ2 for the seven jump trip to H8-. The BoB gang consisted of the four recon ships and couple of covert ops already inside H8-, 24 battleships and approximately 15-20 support of various types. I remember seeing gang at 51 members just before we arrived at the target and that rose to about 60 with more stragglers coming from GQ2 and TPAR by the time we were cleaning up the loot.
Our covert ops in H8- watching the ASCN gate camp reported that it consisted of 24 battleships, exactly the same number we had and between 30-40 support with 10 Dreads seiging the POS. The ASCN battleships were largely off the gate at sniping spots, their support were around the gate which was bubbled by an interdictor and there were 2 or 3 carriers in system with fighters deployed to the gate camp.
We harried, chived, chased, badgered and hassled our guys to move as fast as possible once we'd heard the dreads had started work on our POS, knowing we had a small window of opportunity to hit them and that we had to fight our way through a particularly nasty gate camp before we could warp in on the dreads. To be honest I wasn't really thinking that we had a POS to save, I was more interested in getting amongst those 10 dreadnaughts and trying to kill a couple of them.
Not one for too much in the way of fancy tactics when the situation doesn't demand it I gave out a fairly simple set of objectives for when we jumped in, explained what I wanted everyone to do and how we were going to do it, repeated it half a dozen times (because in my experience, even with an experienced group, the magic number for giving out instructions is seven, if you tell a group of people less than seven times what you want them to do then someone will not get it! seriously, it's the magic number try it some time!), crossed my fingers and hoped the lag wouldn't be too bad on jump in and gave the order to go.
Remarkably jump in lag was very low and we all loaded pretty quickly into a sea of red! There was an amazing amount of little red crosses buzzing about and I would like to offer my condolences to ASCN for being dolts and deploying drones before we jumped in, it made me feel all warm and fuzzy to kick your teeth in after that little stunt :)
Our battleships started work on theirs with the usual level of efficiency whilst our support cleared the enemy support around the gate. Given the number of enemy support and the danger they posed to our battleships in a prolonged fight it was critical that our support pilots overcame theirs on the gate. I knew there was no doubt our battleships would manage the ASCN battleships given our superior firepower and coordination but if we found our battleships mobbed by their support was going to be messy even if we were killing their BS faster than they were killing ours.
The BoB support pilots in lastnights gang performed brilliantly and had the gate cleared and our battleships protected in double quick time.
The ASCN carriers certainly took their toll lastnight and I am sure we would have lost a lot less of our battleships had they not been there, more than one of our battleships died at other locations in the system trying to escape pursuing fighters (not all of us had the POS in system bookmarked so getting to it quickly to evade fighters was a tad harder than normal, in fact probably the one mistake I made with that fight was not nominating someone to sit at the POS as an emergency warp to point).
Having cleared the gate we ended up with half a dozen ASCN battleships quite a long way from the gate (long enough to be out of range even for our T2 fleet BS setups) and had to warp up to engage them, again brilliant work from our support in getting on them quickly.
As we were mopping up on the gate another ASCN gang started arriving from outside of H8- bringing more battleships (about another 6 if I remember correctly) but we knew the dreads would be trying to get out of seige and escape so our window of opportunity to kill the dreads was starting to close. We abandoned the loot at the gate and warped our fleet onto the dreads at our POS, support in close and scrambling as many as they could get hold of and our battleships in close with short range T2 ammo fitted.
10 BoB battleships and 10-15 BoB support > 10 ASCN dreads and the remnants of their fleet.
Once again our support really carried us at the POS by scrambling so many of the enemy dreads and the concentrated fire of 10 T2 fitted BS at close range was too much for the dread's tanks. Seven enemy dreadnaughts died within three minutes. As we were finishing off the dreads ASCN were warping more support and battleships into the middle of the fight, they were scrambled and died to a combination of our fleet and the POS guns.
Not much more needs to be said really, we had waaaaay too much loot for the fleet to carry, all T1 junk and drones had to be popped rather than collected and we had to fetch haulers all the way from TPAR to carry the capital loot from the dreads (no corp hangar array on the POS, a schoolboy error!).
Once we'd cleaned up, relaxed for 5 mins and done some backslapping, we insta jumped all of our pods back to TPAR with the fleet so no-one got left behind and those needing their sleep could get to bed! Needless to say we ganked another 2 ASCN battleships on the way back to TPAR just for good measure :P
End result of the fight (not including ganks en-route or on the way home) :-
66 Support Ships
8 Support Ships
A big thanks from me to all of our fleet for assembling so quickly, for behaving with their usual high levels of efficiency and for making it a joy to command. Special thanks to the support pilots for their great work and to the other FC's and target callers who backed me up and took over when I was being chased by a bazillion fighters around the system :P
Thanks guys, it was a pleasure!