first kill happened at 04:23, the last kill happened at 05:23. It was the longest damned fight I've ever been in. One straight hour. I was on field the entire time. Sitting out at 60km and target painting every primary Almity would call. Firing some heavy missiles as well.
This was a fight on a medium plex. Cruisers on down.
What a long-ass fight. I'd brought eleven refills of ammo, and would have run out entirely, early on, if I hadn't started conserving half way through. After awhile, you just knew which targets you weren't going to break before the Minnie logi got on them, so I wouldn't bother firing missiles at them. InsaneJecke, for one. His tank was too heavy, you couldn't eat through his armor fast enough to make a quick difference. There were other people, like Zostralis, whom you knew you had a fighting chance of killing before logi could rep them up. There were a number of people, we'd get them to a sliver of their lives, only 20% structure, and the reps would kick in.
There were a lot of people on both sides who survived deep into structure. It was that kind of fight. Seeing ships with flames shooting out their backends, not unusual once we hit the 30 minute mark.
When we could get people down, it mostly seemed to be people not in Late Night Alliance [LNA]. The ten logistics the Minmatar had seemed to be mostly Late Night, so it stood to reason that they were watchlisting mostly Late Night people. So if we didn't recognize a name, we targeted them. And mostly got them down. We killed far more Ushra'Khan, Damu'Khonde, and Defiant Legacy than we did LNA, even though there looked to be an even number of Late Night to the other Minmatar in their fleet. In a fight like this, using psychology against the enemy is a useful tactic. Logi were going to be looking out for close friends, Late Night bros, moreso than people from those other alliances. That was the theory. Turned out it wasn't an incorrect assumption. Human nature.
There were long stretches too, when nobody was shooting at anyone. Just Almity and his peeps discussing how to break the Minmatar reps. A long stretch where we did nothing but remove a hundred or so drones from the field.
There were scary moments too. A Blackbird on short scan. All targets dropped to pop it as it landed on grid. That thing could have decimated our six logistics had it not been destroyed quick enough. Then there was the realization that the Minmatar had brought in ECM burst at some point. The struggle to get it off field, since it was causing a certain amount of havoc in the logistics channel, was causing tempers to flare. Eventually we did remove that threat.
I don't remember who it was, but at times, someone would lead a frigate out to the edge of the battle field, where I'd help take it out with missiles and painters.
It was my first time flying a Bellicose. It might be my last, in this type of engagement. Apparently, the word on the street afterwards, is that the target painting may have been helping the Minmatar as much as it was helping us. I'd target paint the primary about a second before Almity's count down to switch targets ended (to ensure every bit of damage was hitting for its maximum amount), but my target painting may have been helping their logisitics lock up our new primary target faster as well. Their logi were being sensor dampened, but the target painting may have been offsetting that. (I'm no expert with all the sig radius math going on, so if this is wrong, feel free to explain why. If it is the correct analysis, feel free to agree.)
Pinky at some point was trying to get help from Agony. (I think. It wasn't entirely clear, other than he wanted us to hold position while he tried to get more people to break the deadlock.) Whatever he was trying to do, didn't pan out.
We were already an hour into the fight, the restlessness was growing. Almity wasn't about to do anything dumb, risky, for the sake of breaking the tension and the boredom that was creeping into this fight. Pinky's reinforcements weren't coming. So the decision was made to leave the field. We left the looting to the Minmatar. So there's that victory to them, the spoils. As for the ISK war ... I have no idea. Eve-kill kinda sucks at creating battle reports for fights this long. I've seen battle reports where we lost the ISK war, I've seen a battle report where it was all even, and Susan posted a report that shows us winning the ISK war. I'm happy to call it a stalemate. There was no clear outcome during the fight, that's for sure.
I'm not sure anyone, but Almity, could have called this fight. He had the calmness and coolness to put up with something this long. There were tempers here and there (especially when the ECM burster was roaming about unchecked.) Almity handled it all. He kept the fleet from erupting when there were those moments of frustration that crept in. Pinky as FC? He probably would have lost it half way into the fight, gone entirely insane from the stress and pressure. DurrHurrDurr? He's a good FC, but his style would have frayed every nerve in fleet, and at some point impatience would have won out and he'd have whelped us all into some overly-risky bid for glory.
So a one hour fight. I've never been in a fight that long. Epic in length, to be sure. Epic in action. Maybe not so epic in terms of it ending in a stalemate, but it was a logistics war. I've learned what logistics wars are all about now. It's not something either side focused on pre-Retribution. I can see these types of fights becoming more commonplace. I'm not sure if that's going to be a good thing, or a bad thing. Talk to me in a couple months on that point. After Fweddit and iLaw have completed their analysis of what went right and what went wrong in this fight. After they've theory-crafted some possible counters to these cruiser logistic chains. If we can't find viable counters, then these lengthy slogs are definitely going to become the norm.
(If you want another outlook on the fight, Susan wrote something. She focuses more on the action itself. So it's a different perspective than my overview of the battle.)
There was some trouble, for both sides, from Caldari awoxers on the acceleration gate. The Rifters. Apparently the Gallente are kicking Caldari ass so badly, that they've come down south to vent their frustrations.