OpEd: The Fall of Tama and the Future of Operation Meatshield

The alleged “Capital of Carnage“, Tama, in the hands of the Caldari for months, just fell back into Gallente control several days ago.

What is Tama and why should you care about it? Well, Tama has been the center of attention for many active groups in the Caldari-Gallente FW space. From the pirates of the Snuff Box alliance, to the fierce aggressor of Rapid Withdrawal, to the Caldari of Operation Meatshield.

[Editor’s Note: What follows is an opinion piece and personal interpretation of the recent battles and ultimate GalMil capture of Tama. The author acknowledges that he does not speak for the Caldari leadership nor does he claim that this account of the events are unbiased.]

More importantly, Tama is a strategic system for Caldari FW space in that it is the entry system for the Caldari newbies from high-sec. Caldari characters created in The Citadel region and The Forge see the station in Nourvukaiken as the first FW station they can have access to without entering the still-scary-for-a-newbie low-sec part of Caldari FW. And of course, the system right next to Nourvukaiken and leading directly into FW space is, you guessed it, Tama! So for the Caldari militia, Tama is a system that matters because it allows for a quick access to FW space for its newbies.

But even for the more experienced players Tama is an important system. Being that close to the economic heart of the EVE universe, Jita, the system sees a lot of traffic from people coming from Jita with their cargoes full of goods, ammo, and weapons. Thus you have a “road” that can save a dozen of jumps for anyone ferrying goods, but that is camped by the most dangerous campers in the game. This fact alone ensured that the system would see a massive amount of kills pretty much perpetually.

The Caldari managed to capture Tama fairly late in 2014. This was part of the Caldari counter-offensive made possible thanks to the new interest the Gallente militia found in fighting pirate groups instead of the defeated Caldari. Since then the Militia has been able to hold the system, but that mostly happened through the intervention of the pirates living there. These third parties would pay a visit to anyone foolhardy enough to plex the system. Combine that with it being close to Nisuwa, a home system for many of Rapid Withdrawal and Spaceship Bebop pilots, and you have a hotbed for conflict.

Then, one day in early 2015, entered an actor that would be central to the recent history of the system:

Operation Meatshield (OM)

A young corporation that decided to make Tama their home, Operation Meatshield was focused on a few tenets.

  • No fear whatsoever.
  • Meatshields, literally.
  • Lots of people.

Operation Meatshield would get as many people as they could, especially newbies, that could at least fly a ship, and then send them into the grinder.

Through a very aggressive recruitment strategy the corporation managed to get some impressive numbers. More importantly, they recruited some well-liked and respected pilots in the Caldari militia, Mr. Duffo (you can check his videos here, they are legit!), Destropia, and Nicholas Goldfinder. This gave a serious boost to their ability to attract players and expertise to train them.

With ships and players, the goal of Operation Meatshield was to defend what was a system in a constant state of war. They sought to defend Tama against the Gallente despite the heavy pirate presence in the system and around it. Their plan was to be the Meatshield (that ‘literally’ was there for a reason), with tons of ships sent toward the enemies of the State be they in a militia or not.

For a while everything went according to plan. OM got their share of fights by just undocking and Tama held. Unfortunately, the pirates and Gallente would not be so easily thwarted. The Gallente pushed for the system several times in the coming months and each of those pushes ended up being bloody affairs. Alongside those pushes, the pirates made their presence felt. While being assailed by the Gallente, the Caldari in system would have to deal with pirate smartbombing battleships right outside their undock (unless of course there was a full-on station camp instead).

In the end, the ability of Operation Meatshield to hold Tama proved to be… lacking. And thus holding the system would necessitate the involvement of most of CalMil.

And this is the heart of what is significant about the recent fall of Tama. The fall is first and foremost the fall of Operation Meatshield. With their objective burned to ashes in front of their very eyes, Operation Meatshield more importantly lost the validity of their modus operandi. What happened to them is of significant importance for the Caldari as it shows that the strategy of trying to swarm and outnumbered what are persistent, driven, and well-equipped enemies is very unlikely to succeed.

Faced with the enemies that we have, the Caldari have no other choice than to step up in Quality. Operation Meatshield would pride themselves in sending a newbie straight to the field in a simple Merlin. If this reminds you of another entity that made the headlines not that long ago, good, it should. Operation Meatshield in a  way followed the Brave example. Brave was also well-known for their swarm tactics and bravado. We all know how the Brave experiment went, with a superior and cunning enemy utterly crushing them. Perhaps the Caldari cannot afford to follow the Brave strategy. Maybe we cannot afford to get our newbies burned in droves. The major legacy Operation Meatshield will leave in Tama is an extended list of kills for the different Gallente corps. The rise of Rapid Withdrawal as one of the top PvP corps in terms of kills is certainly not a coincidence when you take into account that most of their activities happened in the vicinity of Tama.

What happened this August 16 was a perfect storm of Operation Meatshield giving up and the Gallente militia being invited into the system by the chaos caused by several entities joining the mess. Most notorious among them is elements of the Goonswarm Federation, with the infamous Xenuria being offered as a sacrifice in a Capital ship so that the gods of mayhem and chaos could intensify their gaze on the system. To sum it, the mess in Tama proved too much to a lone and isolated Operation Meatshield to handle.

In the end, losing Tama is not an entire loss. By losing Tama the Caldari will hopefully also lose a mentality that is detrimental to it. The mentality of brute force against an enemy that outnumber us and has far more resources to spend than us, and that in an environment where we are surrounded by powerful and committed entities.

The access to one more station deeper into Caldari space will certainly prove to be a boon for the Gallente militia. They can now strike even more in the vicinity of Kedama, Reitsato, and Nagamanen. However, the Caldari have a precious opportunity to start focusing on how to outplay instead of how to overwhelm.

Hopefully the Caldari will seize that opportunity and, one day, take back Tama which is rightfully theirs.

Want to start your own adventures in Faction Warfare? The SQUIDS. [IBLOB] corporation will help you with your first steps in the target-rich environment of Faction Warfare, with plenty of Gallente and Pirates to shoot at!

About Dantelion Shinoni

Member of the [IBLOB] SQUIDS. corporation. Discovering EVE through Faction Warfare. Should be flying Caldari boats but instead has a soft spot for the Golden Horde hulls.

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19 comments

  1. For me Tama was never a Important System to hold cause like you said it was realy messy cause of the pirates. So even while Caldari hold the system it was nearly impossible to enter Tama from High Sec. The main Problem by Tama was there was nearly no one that D-Plexed the System so the Gallente Slowly Creeped the System Down.

  2. I saw no evidence that a concerted effort was made to hold Tama, or that Meatshield ever outnumbered the attackers, as you suggest. I saw some newbies enjoying a target-rich environment, and some vets working on their killboard stats. If SQUIDS and rest of CalMil hung Meatshield out to dry because they disagree with their tactics or their attitude, that’s pretty disgusting, but is typical of the disfunction that keeps CalMil from working together effectively.

    If Meatshield based solely in Tama, they were foolish. Even so, easy enough to resupply and remain focused on Tama from a Nourv base. Losing systems is par for the course in the militia, and is no reason to walk away from the fight.

  3. #shotsfired, haha

    But on a serious note there was some incorrect info in this article:
    – The Operation Meatshield ticker is GETUP not OM.
    – Tama was not captured in late 2014. It was captured on the 29th of March this year (~3 days before operation Meatshield formed)
    – Rapid Withdrawal lives in Suj. Black Fox Marauders (and I suspect a few other BEBOP pilots) along with Mecha Enterprise Fleet live in Nisuwa. (I believe BEBOP now lives in Suj)
    – Tama does not make it easier for the Gallente to strike anywhere. It makes it harder for Caldari to advance in that area.
    – I think it is very important to highlight that Operation Meatshield pilots did not simply ‘give up.’ There were Operation Meatshield fleets and I heard fantastic things about Chichou led fleets trying to bust the Gal’s balls.
    – And although RDRAW pulled a lot of kills from blapping empty pods and many, many Meatshields the warriors of Operation Meatshield also boasted some of the highest involvement and highest kill-counts in the militia.

    Also, Operation Meatshield is recruiting. If you can’t figure out where we are now, then you’re bad and should feel bad. xP

    • Just to correct you:
      – OM wasn’t clearly meant as your ticker but as short version of you corp name to make it easier to write.

      #dispandMead, FavorToCaldari

      • That is possible, I’ve seen it in other fw.com articles. Hence why I suspected it might be a mistake.

        Also why the hate for the Meatshields bro? I don’t even know who you are.

    • To confirm some of what Moglarr said:

      GETUP didn’t give up. They were fighting until the last hour, gallant even in defeat. At some point, however, we stopped seeing the rest of CalMil….

  4. TBH meatshield was bad….. very bad…. They lack the understanding of how FW works and worked only for the PvP. An admiral goal but, it would have been better if they tried a few tactical things like defending targets, attacking targets, or anything else that would have helped calmil. They have a few good pilots and the rest are just sad. They would regularly AWOX farmers because they hate farmers. They wanted to keep Tier 1 as it encouraged the fights…. what a bunch of shit lords.

  5. “”Hopefully the Caldari will seize that opportunity and, one day, take back Tama which is rightfully theirs.””

    Cowards write op-eds saying how others corporations should have acted. Leaders ask what they could have done better to help their friends out.

    Your best shot at taking Tama was to actually defend it. Better to have fought and lost than to have not fought at all.

    +1 to Moglarr who is probably the one Caldari FW dude who “gets it.”

  6. Faruzen en Divalone

    I was there leading few guys from Aligned Fleet CZ-SK corporation and we fought alongside RDRAW and BEBOP. There was endeed a resistance from Meatshield, but it was in a form of “lets fly 15 tristans or merlins into plex with 30 GalMil and lets get slaughtered.” Many times, we destroyed tens of Caldari frigates literally without a fight as they just warped to us and died. Sometimes, we lost a frig or two :). So yes, they fought to the last, but I really had a feeling, that the amount of Caldari pilots and their strength was MUCH weaker than in Suj in the battle before and that they just didint try all that hard to device any strategy. It looked as if they were abandoned by rest of CalMil. However, damned DUST mercs really pissed us off with their good job of defending the system, kicking % back as we thought we are done, gf to them.

  7. IMO the only mistake Meatshield made was using merlins instead of kestrels and an insufficient supply of Mr. Duffo based propaganda.

  8. Thanatos Marathon

    rdraw doesn’t base out of Nisuwa.

    – Than

  9. XDoomXRaptor vanNiekerk

    Abandoned by the rest of Calmil for whatever the childish reasons, we fought till the end and decided to take on overwhelming odds and die in a blaze of glory defending what was ours for the state, outnumbered 1 to 10. Where were you when Tama burned!!!?. Not there? then please stfu

  10. “The contract is voided”

  11. “You have been weighed, you have been measured, and you have been found wanting.”

  12. OK i love GETUP, for what they want to be. But I hate them for what they are. They have some great pilots. and this is making them thinking they are the greatest, the alpha and the omega.
    Shooting farming CAL newbros or guys who just try to find 1v1 by famring plexes in the hopes some GAL come there solo.
    They don’t even try to hide it. They spit on others in CAL chat.

    CAL is not united.
    That is why Caldari is loosing system for system year for year.

    They are all individuals looking for fights. What is fine, but in FW you need some unity to conquer or hold systems. That said it is not very helpful to spit on others in Militia Chat for not beeing what you want them to be.
    It’s easier to give someone the finger than a helping hand.

    But maybe if you stop the bite on others, help them getting better we all see CAL winning systems or even beating GAL that hard, that they first need to take a month or two to adapt on the new situation

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