The Huola Campaign is a broad, unwieldy creature that ebbs and flows like the tide. Depending on the time zone, one side has an advantage over the other side, with too many fights occurring that can be recorded or captured on video. In discussing the campaign at a macro level, pilots fighting in the trenches and the public at large sometimes fail to catch true jewels of the conflict, swept as they are into an endless sea of blood, tears, and sweat. One such jewel is a cruiser battle that commenced at 00:50 EVE Time on July 10, in a medium complex that has long since de-spawned.
At 00:50 EVE Time on July 10, Minmatar forces noticed a J4LP Guardian/Vexor Navy Issue fleet varying between 4-7 Guardians and 29 VNIs. TeaEarlGray HOT of Late Night Alliance’s BlackSite Prophecy [BS.P], the FC for the “Huola Defense Fleet” (made up primarily of Minmatar rather than Gallente or neutral pilots), ordered an upship into cruisers. He originally called for matching Guardian numbers, though the Guardian number for the initial engagement was higher, with some Augorors supplementing the logistics. Additionally, he asked for armored cruisers or T2 AHACs, with present Minmatar militia members bringing what they had on hand, thus creating an eclectic mix of Augoror Navy Issues, Stabber Fleet Issues, and Sacrileges. By the time the fleet slid into the medium complex, the J4LP VNIs had deployed sentries and were prepared to kite at range. Once engaged, however, other Amarrian pilots from groups such as Team Amarrica and WINMATAR. began storming into the medium complex, bolstering the armored cruiser forces for the 24th Imperial Crusade. A more or less complete list of the belligerents is viewable here.
TeaEarlGray HOT was expecting Amarrian forces to come to the aid of J4LP, but while he expected armored cruisers, he was caught somewhat off guard by additional Guardians entering the plex. ECM on both sides were eliminated almost instantaneously, with Gallente “Derptron” pilots focusing their efforts on opposing Griffins throughout the fight. Feign Disorder played a pivotal role in maintaining Guardian logistics on the side of the Minmatar. Importantly, Huola Defense Fleet forces were in the same fleet, sharing the same comms channels–a level of organization that stood in stark contrast to their crusader counterparts.
The Amarrian side of the engagement left much to be desired in terms of organization. Despite being sandwiched between J4LP and Amarrian reinforcements in the form of Team Amarrica and WINMATAR., the Minmatar fleet was able to intercept many of the heavy armored cruisers on the warp-in. Morever, confusion abounded when the WINMATAR. “Burn Huola” fleet was disbanded in favor of joining the J4LP fleet prior to entering the complex. To make matters worse, comms were not united. Although the philosophy was that broadcasts could be shared across all the pilots on the Amarrian side and Guardian logistics could be shared, the reality led to some pilots unsure of the reigning primary target, with several disagreements punctuating comms. As such, as the fighting went underway, the fleet was awkwardly divided into one side led by Almity of Imperial Outlaws’ In Exile. [EXILE] and another half populated by the pilots sharing WINMATAR. comms. Regardless, Amarrian pilots continued to reship from their POSes until the order was given to withdraw–as the fight lasted nearly forty minutes, there was ample time to do so by both sides.
The fighting descended into a bilateral bloodbath in a meatgrinder-esque macabre showdown. Ultimately, Amarrian forces were broken by a number of important tactical elements. As Niluso recounts, “There were two separate Amarrian Guardian chains, and after the fight, we came to the conclusion that they had been acting independently.” When asked if he thought the fight would have ended differently with coordinated logistics on the Amarrian side, he had this to say, “If they were coordinated, yeah, that battle would have lasted a lot longer. It probably would have gone on much longer, giving more people time to reship. But because of that lack of coordination, that’s probably the reason why the fight ended in 40 minutes.” Noting that the fighting was spread out within the complex itself, Niluso adds, “The Fweddit guys were set up at range with sentries, but a lot of our ships were mobile, like our dual-prop SFIs. Another reason we won was most likely due to that mobility, allowing us to apply DPS onto targets.”
If you watch the fight to its conclusion, the Minmatar pilots are ecstatic with their major victory. Indeed, although defeated and despite the hindrances, many Amarrian pilots on the WINMATAR. comms were in agreement that the cruiser fight in Huola was one of the best fights of the campaign so far, if not their EVE careers.
Niluso attributes much of the victory to the leadership of TeaEarlGray HOT, the pilots of Feign Disorder running the Guardian logistics, and Scope Works sensor dampeners countering VNIs and Amarr logistics. He was careful to say, however, that no Huola Defense Fleet pilot should be left out, as every pilot played a role–from the Gallente “Derptron” pilots who hunted down Amarrian Griffins all the way up the chain of command. In the wider campaign, Niluso is hoping for more great fights, as the first three days of “Burn Huola” have offered some really excellent content, though he suspects that the Amarrian crusaders are now switching into a strategy of “bore thy enemy.”
Special thanks to Niluso of Crimson Canakinumab [CCANA] for providing information via interview for this article.
Editors Note: Special thanks to Crosi Wesdo for the video and battle report links.