Now it's fairly common knowledge that BoB is predominantly Euro and that our US/Aussie TZ's are not as strong. This fight happened during our weakest timezone when ASCN are still quite active and can field rather large fleets. In fact ASCN usually pick this timezone to hit our POS's, they still fail repeatedly though as I am about to explain.
With about 130 people in local and BoB gang numbers at 40 we moved a Wyvern (thanks to our Tournament winning teams!) and Archon to the station accompanied by about 10 support (mixed frigs, inties, cruisers) and deployed two medium warp bubbles. As ASCN were hiding in their holes we thought we'd try baiting them out by camping the station.
Needless to say we got no organised response from ASCN... quite why was apparent about 20 mins later when they logged on/jumped in about 10 dreadnaughts. They were obviously waiting to get their fleet prepared to hit our POS again.
Local started spiking to 170, BoB still having 40 in gang and the rest being ASCN. Our FC went to the toilet leaving me in command just as ASCN started moving dreads in and building a larger fleet. I had the mothership and carrier warp back to our POS to get safe and people start taking down the two medium bubbles on the station. As we were preparing to leave our station camp ASCN started undocking people from the station, initially a few frigs undocked and just as we were about to engage them several battleships started undocking behind them before their whole fleet warped in to the station.
All the BoB ships around the station bailed out, arrived at our POS and realigned to the station. A covert ops ship was ordered into position so we could warp back in on ASCN (as we knew that they were undocking people into our bubbles). By the time our covert arrived in position ASCN had cleared out, we warped in and had to turn around empty handed and warp back out.
Messages were sent out across all our comms channels to get people logged on in AZN. We sat in the POS shields regrouping and filling out the gang (big thanks to Algorythm for sorting out the new gang structure!) whilst ASCN sorted themselves out. One of our coverts kept an eye on their dread fleet which was aligned towards our POS at full speed.
ASCN warped their fleet in to our POS at a loading point just as we warped our fleet out of the POS to a safe spot close to the tower. The BoB fleet reached 80 people with approximately 12 BS, 1 Wyvern and 2 Carriers, the rest being support ships. ASCN warped 10 Dreads in to our POS and commenced seiging with a fleet of about 25 BS and 75+ support sat 350-400km from the dreads at a loading spot.
The BoB fleet regrouped at our safe spot and alligned to our POS, massively outnumbered and very heavily outgunned. The general impression amongst our fleet was that as we were so heavily outnumbered we would warp in at long range, try to pop a couple of ASCN battleships and warp back out again, standard long range hit and run tactics, the intent being to whittle down the ASCN fleet and then get on the dreads to save the POS from being reinforced.
I was pretty sure ASCN expected exactly those tactics from us and would have ammo fitted accordingly. I had slightly different plans though, it was balls to the wall time! So, as our covert ops reported the first elements of ASCN's fleet warping down to their dreadnaughts I ordered our guys to warp to a covert ops right on top of the enemy fleet. To be precise our support and interdictors warped to the enemy fleet at zero kilometres and our battleships at optimal for close range high damage ammo.
I have to admit that as our battleships were outnumbered about 2:1 and our support about 3:1+ when we warped in I had the sinking feeling that this was going to be my most glorious fuckup since I started commanding BoB fleets two years ago! In fact not to put too fine a point on it I was shitting myself and the first few moments were painful until our fleet had all loaded the scene and some well ordered target calling had started. I was pretty concerned that we'd hold our nerve to be honest as we came under immediate heavy fire by a more numerous enemy.
Target calling commenced from a couple of BoB FC's who shall remain nameless but one of whom in particular stayed alive throughout and kept very clear and concise target calling going during the whole fight and was absolutely superb. First class work you miserable Aussie git!
ASCN with a massive support advantage swarmed our battleships and it was awful to watch as they were under heavy fire sat there aligned to warp out, largely warp scrambled but plugging away at the primary and secondary targets anyway. This is probably going to be one of many major ass kisses throughout this tale but our battleship pilots started that fight outnumbered 2:1, warped in at close range with a mass of enemy support ships bearing down on them and stuck to their task without a whimper. Bloody well played guys, BoB discipline at it's best.
The simple instruction for our battleship pilots was align to get out but hold your position and keep firing. The guys in battleships had to trust myself for calling an apparently suicidal move, the target callers to keep clear targets communicated over teamspeak and their support pilots to fight outnumbered 3:1 yet keep the battleships free to warp out when they needed to. That takes balls of steel. This may be a game but it's a very unforgiving one where a loss can be painful and carries some weight, not to mention the fact that if you are a BoB pilot you have to win every single time (or you feel like you do, although of course we don't!). Those battleship pilots have my respect.
The covert ops watching the enemy fleet kept calling the enemy battleship numbers for us "20..... 19.... 18....." and so on. The Fleet Commanders calling targets were getting a bit twitchy as ASCN's support swarmed all over our battleships but right or wrong I had a pretty clear vision of how this fight was going to proceed and that meant staying in until our position was utterly untenable or as I hoped, we were getting on top of things. Communicated via teamspeak to the guy calling targets and running the battleship fleet was a very simple instruction that I'll quote pretty much word for word...
Unless it looks totally fucked DO NOT warp outSo the guys stayed, our support worked their way through the enemy support and our battleships whittled down the enemy battleship numbers whilst all the while 400km below us 10 ASCN Dreads pounded away on our POS.
12..... 11....... 10 ASCN Battleships left.... 9..... 8..... 7...... 6....As we were obviously getting well on top of the ASCN fleet at this point the BoB interceptors were ordered down to the enemy dreadnaughts to start getting scrambles on. Our battleship fleet was still swarmed with enemy support but the decision was made to move all our surviving interceptors away from our fleet to get scrambles on the enemy dreads. There was some consternation amongst our battleship pilots at this point as their only defence against the still numerous ASCN support was drones and a few close range HACs.
The remaining enemy battleships went down and our battleships started coordinating their drones to clear out the remaining enemy support whilst aligning for the POS and the enemy dreadnaughts. Once clear of enemy ships our battleships warped down to the enemy dreads and began engaging them. Approximately 10 BoB battleships and 30-40 support engaged the first dread, a Naglfaar within about 40-50km of our POS.
Somehow we managed to lose scramble on the Naglfaar when he was in structure and he warped out as did four other ASCN dreadnaughts (our support pilots were spreading their scrambling power out amongst 10 dreads and we had lost a lot of support by this point). Scramblers were assigned to the remaining dreads and a primary was called (Dash Riprock in a Revelation). Guns, launchers, drones and fighters (from the mothership and 2 other carriers) were placed on the primary. ASCN spent the next 10-15 minutes warping more and more ships in to try and defend their dreads. All guns and fighters were left upon the primary targets whilst drones and some HAC firepower was diverted onto incoming ships. No doubt a check of the kill mails from later in the fight will show that many people actually diverted firepower away from the primary onto incoming ships but the principle remained the same throughout... keep main firepower on the dreads and take out incoming support with secondary fire. Nothing that warped in to try save the dreads survived more than about 30 seconds from that point onwards.
Whilst the fight around the dreadnaughts was raging ASCN kept regrouping at a spot 350-400km away from the POS before sending in groups of ships to engage us. Whilst we were working on the second or third dread (can't remember exactly) ASCN were building quite a large gang at the loading point and preparing to warp in to engage us. Bearing in mind that the BoB fleet had taken some attrition by this point and was considerably smaller than the ASCN fleet to begin with the last thing we needed was a concerted ASCN defensive response as we were trying to kill five dreads. So we called upon 'Evil Steve' a.k.a. Shrike's Avatar!
The Avatar warped in to a covert ops to position itself on the ASCN reinforcement gang, approximately 150-200km from them and 400km from our main fleet and the fight around the dreads. Shrike was lagged out totally upon warp in and couldn't see anything, as he appeared one of our covert ops pilots and myself simply yelled "FIRE, FIRE, FIRE... FIRE THE FUCKING DOOMSDAY!!!" on teamspeak..... so he did! That was pretty much the last we saw of ASCN warping reinforcements in to help their dreads, the Avatar got about 15 kill mails, good timing Molle!
Gradually over the course of about 15 minutes five enemy dreadnaughts were destroyed along with any and all ASCN ships coming in to support. In total it took over an hour to clean up all the loot and salvage all the wrecks. That one fight has probably financed the whole campaign in AZN with loot alone. Thanks ASCN!
Hero's of the fight include BoB's battleship pilots for their nerve to stay in when the situation looked utterly FUBAR, a certain BoB FC (who if he mocks me about the ashes again is going to get sent to a fiery death every time I am in command (good job mate!)), BoB's support pilots who whilst utterly outnumbered kept a swarm of ASCN pilots off us long enough for everyone else to do their jobs and some of the ASCN pilots for not giving up and continuing to try defend the dreads despite the situation being hopeless for them.
Awesome fight, massive props to my brothers and sisters in arms!