CAIN Celebrates Second Anniversary


Thursday, 18 January YC109 marked the two-year anniversary of the Caldari Independent Navy Reserve's formation, and marked the end of an often tumultuous year for the Reserve. While there was little official fanfare, due to ongoing combat operations, Reserve members took time to celebrate over the last week on their own, and many of the Reserve's veteran pilots reflected on the last year's accomplishments and failures.

The last year has seen a continuing rise to prominence for the Reserve, which has brought both rewards and challenges for Reserve members. A series of sometimes brutal wars has hammered the raw steel of new recruits into a strong core of hardened veterans, giving the Reserve's order of battle significantly more depth than it had this time last year. Key to this was the introduction of a new command staff in April under the leadership of Fleet Admiral Van Cleef, following the retirement of Dev Larren, Cabaeran, and Maze La'Zie, three well-respected naval officers whose increasing planetside duties forced them to ceed their posts. Their high standard provided a goal for a new generation of Reserve pilots to aspire to, and the corporation has been better for it.

This year has seen the Reserve take a much more active role in combatting piracy and terrorism in and around State space, with wars between the Reserve and opponents such as the Serial Killers, the Minmatar terrorists known as the Rogues, Beyond Divinity, and perhaps most notably, the anarchists of the Star Fraction. The last month of the Reserve's second year also saw the Reserve intervening in the Minmatar-Amarr conflict in an ultimately failed attempt to get the Gallente paramilitary Phoenix Wing to abandon their support of the Minmatar forces rallying around the Electus Matari alliance. This more aggressive stance has given the Reserve a much higher profile in the State and the cluster political scene at large, despite a relatively sedate presence on the 'nets of the cluster. It has also shown the courage of the Reserve's line pilots, who have not shirked from their duty in the defense of the State.

To the pilots of the Reserve, congratulations on a successful year and may the third be even better.

CAPT Svetlana Scarlet
Reserve Chief of Diplomatic Staff

Operation Smoldering Cinder Concludes


Operation Smoldering Cinder Status Update

Following the victory in Aunia and Botane on 7 January and increased pressure by Amarr paramilitaries on Electus Matari forces, the Minmatar alliance's operations in Federation and State space had been significantly curtailed, a minor victory for the Reserve's strategic goals for Operation Smoldering Cinder. Unfortunately, Phoenix Wing continued to assist the Electus Matari forces in Minmatar space, and Electus Matari units staged sporadic raids into State space, usually ending in a stalemate. These raiding parties would then run back to Republic territory, where they knew the Reserve would not pursue, in order to prepare for their next attack. In effect, the Minmatar and Gallente forces were using the Reserve's unwillingness to escalate the conflict against us; there can be little doubt that this was an attempt to get us to simply withdraw in order to allow Phoenix Wing to support the Minmatar forces unhindered.

On 11 January, the Reserve general staff approved plans by CAPT Ladel Teravada, Reserve Chief of Naval Intelligence, to stage covert operations into Minmatar space in order to identify Electus Matari strongholds in preparation for punative raids by the Reserve into Minmatar space. Though a regrettable escalation of the conflict, the anticipated expense of continuing the operation against Electus Matari past 16 January due to CONCORD fees forced the Reserve general staff to consider such action in order to curtail the ability of the Minmatar alliance to threaten Reserve operations inside the State before the current declaration expired.

The Reserve's first engagement inside Minmatar space came on that same day during a RIF operation under the command of CAPT Teravada himself; a pair of Reserve recon cruisers engaged and destroyed a lone Phoenix Wing Thorax spotted in the Vullat system. Subsequent inspection of the wreckage by CAPT Teravada revealed that the Thorax had been carrying arms destined for Electus Matari forces, likely manufactured by Gallente sympathizers to supply Republic forces. It was this discovery which tipped the general staff's final decision to engage in full combat operations inside Minmatar space in conjunction with Amarr paramilitary forces.

The first full scale engagement between Reserve forces and Electus Matari forces inside Republic space occurred two days later, in the Onga system. A fleet under the command of FADM Van Cleef encountered a small Electus Matari force near an Amarr station in the system and attempted to engage; unfortunately, it appears in retrospect that the Minmatar fleet had been a ruse to draw Reserve forces into a trap. Immediately after the engagement began, significant reinforcements, including a Phoenix Wing Dominix, arrived in the system and opened fire. Though Reserve forces managed to destroy an enemy Lachesis, the cost was a high one, with a Reserve Tempest falling to the fire of the Electus Matari warships. All other Reserve forces managed to withdraw from Minmatar space in good order thanks to the efforts of Reserve scouts.

Approximately 12 hours later, CAPT Teravada led another RIF operation into Minmatar space with mixed results. A Phoenix Wing Brutix was destroyed when it was pinned down by CAPT Teravada's Crow and LCDR Kadeshi's own Brutix at the Onga gate in Magiko, despite the efforts of an Electus Matari Helios to force CAPT Teravada to disengage. Unfortunately, the Minmatar covert operations frigate escaped, and not long after was able to find discover the staging point for the body of the Reserve fleet; an Electus Matari warfleet, far outgunning the Reserve reconnaissance force, warped in and ambushed the Reserve fleet as they were returning to the staging point. Though the fleet began an immediate retreat, a Caracal was lost in the holding action. With the fleet scattered, CAPT Teravada was unable to lead a proper retreat, forcing the Reserve ships left to attempt to find their way out on their own, and during the withdrawl, the LCDR Kadeshi's Brutix was lost to the Minmatar warfleet; the rest of the Reserve force managed to retreat back to State space.

On 14 January, another Reserve raiding force engaged and destroyed an Electus Matari Stabber, though a Reserve ship was lost when deficient Minmatar traffic control caused a neutral party to be misidentified as a hostile and CONCORD intervened before the situation could be resolved. This engagement was followed up a day later when a Reserve raiding operation, reinforced by a PIE Arbitrator, managed to engage and destroy five Electus Matari vessels at the cost of a single Kestrel, including a Claw piloted by Electus Matari leader Evanda Char.

Unfortunately, with the war dwindling to its last hours, the Reserve had time for but one final engagement after that; on 16 January, shortly before the expiration of the war, a Reserve RIF fleet with a CVA observer engaged an Electus Matari fleet of superior strength. Though able to destroy an Electus Matari Rupture, the Reserve was forced to take a loss of a Lachesis recon cruiser before withdrawing from the field; the superior numbers of small support ships fielded by the Electus Matari fleet, as well as the battleship support that the Reserve fleet lacked, made a smooth withdrawl impossible.

With the war against Electus Matari invalidated due to lack of funds on the Reserve's part, Operation Smoldering Cinder has come to a close. Unfortunately, our overall strategic objective, to prevent the Gallente paramilitary force of Phoenix Wing from participating in the escalation of this regional conflict, has been a failure. Phoenix Wing continues to fly under the Minmatar banner, and they continue to engage in combat operations against Amarr forces, despite repeated pleas for both sides to come to the negotiation table for a peaceful solution.

However, the operation itself has not been a complete loss; Reserve forces have manage to inflict significant damage on the ability of Electus Matari and their Gallente sympathizers, and as the last week wore on, the departure of many corporations from the Electus Matari fold shows that there has been some effect on their morale. Intelligence leads us to believe that many of these corporations did not think the support of the Gallente was worth suffering continued attacks from Caldari forces, and hopefully this will help provide some impetus for Electus Matari to work out a ceasefire with the Amarr, something we have been hoping for (and offering to mediate) since the conflict began.

In addition, the operation has given many newer Reserve pilots significant combat time; experience is one of the most valuable assets any military force can cultivate, and if anything, this war has taught us that our recruits are up to the challenge provided by facing combat. However, the operation also highlighted some deficiencies as well; the Reserve's weakness in raiding warfare and intelligence gathering is a serious need that needs to be addressed, as is the number of Reserve pilots on the field. The general staff will be using the experiences over the last two weeks to determine what needs must be addressed and come up with plans to do so.

Operation Smoldering Cinder Status Update


Reserve combat patrols began on 2 January YC109 in support of Operation Smoldering Cinder; operations are currently being commanded out of the Reserve Forward Operations Base in the Hatakani system, Caldari Border Zone.

Initial operations on the 2nd-6th of January were relatively quiet. Reserve forces launched patrols from Hatakani through State and Federation space in an attempt to flush out Phoenix Wing forces using these areas as bases for their operations. Unfortunately, on 4 January, Phoenix Wing escalated the conflict considerably, joining the Electus Matari alliance in an effort to expand their operations in Republic space in support of the Minmatar paramilitaries. In response, our orders were updated to include expulsion of Electus Matari forces from Federation and State space as well, to restrict this conflict to the Republic and Empire as stated in our original orders.

Our initial patrols met with some success, tracking down Phoenix Wing and Electus Matari pilots operating in the Aunia system as well as several systems in State space; we were able to bottle them up with superior fleet strength and delivered warnings that we would not relent in our demands, which had been delivered to both Phoenix Wing and Electus Matari fleet command. No kills were scored and no losses were taken. We went to great lengths to avoid bloodshed, offering to escort an Electus Matari pilot, Djini, back to Republic territory on one occasion. Though he declined, and clone jumped out of the system, we felt that the mission had been accomplished.

Unfortunately, 7 January would reveal that Phoenix Wing and Electus Matari were only buying time to plan a counterattack against Reserve forces. At 1600 EVT on the 7th, LT Gosok, scouting in Aunia, notified us of four Electus Matari pilots in the system, and put out a call for assistance. A Reserve relief force was dispatched immediately under the command LCDR Trion Kadeshi, and upon arriving at the station where the Electus Matari pilots had been spotted, the Reserve fleet was immediately fired upon. No warning was given, no provocation was made. In the ensuing battle, communications failures and tactical mistakes cost the Reserve a Lachesis-class recon ship. Perhaps the most galling part of this confrontation was that the pilot in command was none other than the exact Djini we offered safe escort from Federation space only a day earlier.

The rest of the fleet retreated in order order to meet up with CAPT Svetlana Scarlet's Cyclone in the Botane system to regroup. It was determined that a battle at this point would be a pointless exercise, and the Reserve fleet pulled back to Hatakani in order to refit and repair. This would only be the beginning of the day's combat; as more Reserve forces arrived on station, a fleet formed up under ADM Derrys and returned to Federation space, arriving at the Aunia system around 1900 hours. They immediately placed the station under blockade.

As time went on, an additional Reserve force was stationed on the Aunia gate in the Auvergne system, while intelligence reported a number of Phoenix Wing and Electus Matari ships arriving into the area at the same time. As a precautionary measure, to prevent our fleets from being defeated in detail, the fleet was ordered to rendezvous at the Auvergne gate in the Aunia system, giving us a strong presence of four battleships, a battlecruiser, a cruiser, and an interceptor. We had hoped to catch inbound reinforcements, but they were entering them system through another gate; on the advice of CAPT Teravada, the fleet shifted to the Botane gate at the same time as communications intercepts determined that Phoenix Wing pilot Jack Malus had entered the system.

This would be the deciding factor in the battle that followed. Caught alone by Reserve forces, Malus came under immediate fire after the cloaking effects of his jump wore off. Electus Matari forces immediately began to converge on our position in support, but by the time they arrived, the Dominix was already going down. Thanks to tight coordination and superior firepower, Reserve forces put down almost all the enemy reinforcements -- two battleships, a battlecruiser, and an assault frigate were destroyed in addition to the Dominix, with only a frigate escaping the Reserve fleet. The Reserve took no losses, though CAPT Scarlet's Scorpion, the Tantalus' Bane, suffered severe damage in the battle and was forced to withdraw after retrieval of salvage.

As she withdrew, she spotted more Electus Matari vessels arriving and the rest of the fleet jumped into the Botane system. Though she was able to make her escape in good order, the rest of the fleet was engaged on the gate by a force mostly consisting of frigates and other light vessels. The Botane star was evidently undergoing a period of immense solar activity at the same time, blinding the sensors of both sides and disrupting communications; in the ensuing haze, most kills were scored by autonomous drones. This second Electus Matari counteroffensive was a complete failure as well; Reserve forces devastated the enemy fleet, wiping out another battlecruiser, an assault frigate, and a pair of frigates with no losses. Only an Electus Matari interceptor managed to escape.

With the Electus Matari forces on the retreat, Reserve forces once again pulled back to the Hatakani system to refit; only an hour later, another Electus Matari force would follow. The interceptor that escaped the Botane battle earlier was scouting ahead, and was destroyed by a Reserve patrol just as the rest of the fleet arrived. Unfortunately, at that point, the enemy fleet had an upper hand against the remaining available Reserve vessels, and an engagement was deemed to be ill-advised at the time. After two hours of sieging Reserve positions, the Electus Matari force retreated.

Unfortunately, the events of 7 January only served to show that the very escalation we had feared when we began Operation Smoldering Cinder was coming to pass. Electus Matari forces have now expanded their operations into Federation and State space, showing that they have no intention of trying to contain the violence now spiralling out of control along the Republic-Empire border. At this point, we are unsure that the objectives set in the original operational orders can still be achieved.

CAIN Begins Combat Operations Against Phoenix Wing


In a short press conference at Caldari Independent Navy Reserve headquarters in Isaziwa today, CAPT Svetlana Scarlet announced that the Reserve had filed a war declaration with CONCORD against Gallente paramilitary force Phoenix Wing in response to what she termed "Gallente interventionism" in the current conflict between the Amarr paramilitary Praetoria Imperialis Excubitoris and the Minmatar paramilitary Electus Matari.

"I do not have much time, so this will be brief, and I will only have time for a few questions," she stated. "The Reserve has been concerned with the current activity in Amarr space for several days now, specifically the intervention of the Gallente in the form of paramilitary Phoenix Wing. Their participation in what is clearly a regional conflict between the Amarr and Minmatar is a dangerous escalation that the Reserve does not feel it can allow to pass unhindered."

"Our objectives with Operation Smoldering Cinder are simple. We intend to interdict Gallente aid provided by Phoenix Wing to the Minmatar forces in this conflict by carrying out attacks against Phoenix Wing forces in the Federation, to cut their logistical chain and pull their forces from the Amarr-Minmatar conflict. We intend to continue those offensive operations until such time as Phoenix Wing can no longer provide that aid, or until they come to the table with acceptable terms for a ceasefire. We have no wish to destroy Phoenix Wing; their efforts against pirate forces in Placid and other regions of Gallente-claimed space have not gone unnoticed, and we applaud such actions. However, this Gallente interventionism in a matter that is not their concern is exactly what I was warning about in my address at the Caldari Prime Memorial on Saturday."

In response to a question asking if this was related to the war declaration by the Curatores Veritatis Alliance against the Minmatar aligned forces, CAPT Scarlet said that Reserve war plans "had been in the planning stages since Saturday, under the auspices of CAPT Teravada's intelligence division," and that the Reserve was unaware of CVA's plans until their public announcement only hours before. "And yes," she added, "we are aware that Phoenix Wing retracted their declaration against PIE some hours ago, but we believe they still intend to provide logistical aid to the Minmatar forces. When we are convinced they are no longer doing so, we still intend to cease hostilities."

There has been no official response from Phoenix Wing to this announcement at the time of this report.