Operation Cascade Fire Status Update, 30 April 109


After last week's heavy fighting among the Amarr homeworlds, where allied forces were able to inflict significant casualties on a Star Fraction force that appeared somewhat surprised by the strength of the counterattack, this week's fighting seemed to indicate a quick adaptation on the part of enemy forces. Much of the week bogged down in a stalemate, with both sides attempting to attack small groups of opposing pilots away from the body of each side's main fleet. Star Fraction's superior experience with fighting this kind of conflict led to allied forces taking higher casualties from this sort of raiding warfare, but the amount of casualties inflicted during these raids were not substantial enough to shift the balance on either side. Most losses were light vessels; neither side seemed willing to commit much in the way of battleships to this kind of fighting, though there were a few isolated incidents throughout the week. The enemy appears to largely have given up the all-interceptor fast attack squadrons they previously used for raiding due to improvements in anti-interceptor tactics on the part of the allied fleet; heavy and light cruisers with battlecruiser and/or interceptor backup appear to be the preferred method as of the end of the week.

In an effort to break the stalemate, Reserve forces, in concert with other members of the Aegis Militia coalition (now including the Intaki Union) and other allied pilots, began to take the offensive on several occasions throughout the week. Unfortunately, these engagements have come at a high cost; Star Fraction's higher pound-for-pound fleet strength has proven to be a significant hurdle for the allied fleet in most of these engagements. Allied forces are taking two to three times as many losses, in raw logistical terms, as Star Fraction forces during these battles, which will be unsustainable over the long term, though they pose no significant impediment at present. The most significant fleet engagements this week in terms of Reserve involvement were engagements on 27 and 29 April, both in the Ashab system.

The engagement on the 27th was the first major fleet engagement Reserve forces had participated in with the recently-arriving Intaki Union fleet, and as a result suffered from some of the same problems as the Reserve's first engagement of the war, namely problems with coordination and communication. Three battleships and a cruiser were lost by the allies while taking down a single battleship on the Fraction side, as well as a Curse which had been killed during a siege of the Fraction forward headquarters in Amarr earlier. Though heavy losses were taken and troubles prevented this battle from being a success, the action laid the basis for further cooperation with Intaki Union forces, which would lead to the second engagement.

On 29 April, a Reserve force under the command of ADM Derrys Otireya joined up with an Intaki Union fleet under Tomahawk Bliss and a small number of other allied pilots in an attempt to take the offensive once again. Though the fleet was once again able to siege the Fraction forward headquarters, eventually the fleet pulled back into Ashab, where a Star Fraction fleet followed and engaged. The allied fleet had been split, and had fewer heavy vessels than the Star Fraction fleet, which led to heavy losses on the part of the allies. Reserve forces, making up most of the heavy vessels, took some of the heaviest casualties, including three Raven battleships and a Dominix battleship, as well as a number of smaller vessels. Total allied losses were in the range of 15+ vessels, while enemy casualties were at least three battleships and a Minmatar Navy-issue Stabber. The size of the battle -- some 35-40+ ships, and its length (long enough that reinforcements arrived on both sides through the course of the fighting) led to a severe degradation of the local traffic control system as well as a considerable amount of sensor interference, impeding the efforts of both fleets during the fight. There is still some dispute as to the events as a result.

The last week's events do not change the overall state of the war overly; the general state of the campaign is bogged down, with neither side able to make significant gains against each other's positions. However, in order to break this stalemate, it will be necessary for allied forces to reevaluate their tactics and find a way to counter the Star Fraction's advantages, specifically their heavier fleets. Until that time, it is likely most combat between the two sides will be largely limited to raiding warfare, to which allied forces are considerably more vulnerable than the Star Fraction.