Tuesday, 10 March 2009

PROJECT LEEROY: A Roam in Three Acts

Every op begins with an idea. It could be as simple as kill everything we meet! but it's still an idea. I'm not normally an ideas-person when it comes to ops, but this time I had a brain-wave.

We've been at war with GiS and Com-Star for... I've forgot how long, actually, and I can't be arsed checking. At least a month, maybe two. It all blurs together after a while. We took heavy losses before we 'decced, before we learned to not attempt to out-blob the blob. Our primary guerrilla-style skirmish tactics -- get in, pop one or two and get out before backup comes down on our heads -- has been working fairly well, but it's little stuff, t1 frigates vs t2 frigates, as General Coochie demonstrates in her latest video. It puts limits on what can be engaged and what can't. And as much as we despise the use of electronic warfare in combat, our targets utilise Falcons more than any other vessel, so must we run in gangs with ewar support.

One of the things I learned early on with the Bastards is that they put together a mean wolf-pack. It's one of our big strengths, but it's a tactic we hadn't really used in the war. GiS and their ally alliance Cloud 7 Nebulosa are the type of fighters who bring a hammer when a screwdriver is more appropriate; Com-Star are the screwdriver in that particular toolbox, but when offered even numbers or more in opposition, they tend to fall back.

I went to the Bastards' discussion forum and left my proposal for others to consider:
I say as many of us as possible fit up our best destroyers, name every one LEEROY JENKINS, then run around GiS/Com-star territory in small hunter-killer gangs for a couple hours.
The idea, I felt, would serve well to get under our war-targets' skins and cause severe consternation trying to keep track of that many small hit-and-run gangs.

I didn't actually expect people to like the dea, much less suggest running one so soon.

Last night was a slow one, despite numerous targets flitting about the area. I missed getting in on an awesome ransom by about thirty seconds. Somebody noticed we had a good sixteen or eighteen people online, and the call went out for a Mark 1 run of PROJECT LEEROY. The Bastards have a gift for spontaneity like that.


I'd not been able to get the Catalysts I'd ordered earlier delivered that evening, but RoninData was kind enough to let me borrow one of his. As I was directing my crews to pull modules off some of my small fleet of cheap-fit frigates, Ronin and the tacklers had already charged in and were several systems into hostile territory, probing out some GiS-friendlies who clearly thought they were safe enough from the local predators in their mission-site. As I undocked, someone called tackle, and the race was on: could I and the other destroyer pilots get there in time to lay the hurt on?

Keeping pace with the venerable Flashfresh in his Thrasher, I bolted through the gates, passing numerous pilots with extreme negative standings. One, a Hawk, turned on the gate as I shot past, and was hot on my trail for the next couple systems; as I reached Ualkin, he passed me, clearly expecting me to warp on to the next gate.

Warping instead to our tackle, I found the enemy Maelstrom floundering as our pack wiped out his Coercer support and moved in for the kill. We'd chewed halfway into the battleship's shields when more backup arrived in the form of a Thorax. The more deadly of the two threats, we left the Maelstrom tackled as we melted the cruiser, then finished the job. Somewhere in the middle of it all, the Hawk warped in, then booked it to safety.

Three Cloud 7 down, no losses for PROJECT LEEROY. We warped to a safe spot to wait out our GCC timers.

The Long Pursuit

Our probers in Gukarla spotted a Jaguar in a deadspace whilst some of our fleet were still waiting down their timers. The rest of us dove in, leading to the longest chase I've ever been involved in. Our tackler, Hera, could easily keep up with the speedy assault frigate, but couldn't get close enough to do damage without getting chewed up by the Jaguar's turrets.

Over the course of half an hour or so, we warped back and forth between a cluster of wrecks the Jaguar had caused and Hera in an attempt to get close enough to slap webs on the target and bring it down. Even with a single web, the AF was moving faster than my afterburner-fit destroyer, which really did my nut in. The closest I ever managed to get was maybe 15km, at which point I let off with my seven neutron blasters in a futile attempt to do damage, any damage, since my single drone had been destroyed by Angel Cartel pirates in the Maelstrom's mission.

I was starting to suggest we weren't actually going to get this particular kill, with Ronin insisting that after giving us this much trouble the fecker had to die, when someone managed a close warp-in and slapped dual webs on the Jaguar, whereupon it died in very short order. Congratulations were exchanged in Local channels as the pilot warped his pod away, having led us some 1350 kilometres in his bid for freedom.

The Lions' Den

The point of PROJECT LEEROY was, in the end, to annoy GiS and Com-Star. At last, an hour and a half after setting out from Evati, we entered Egmar, the heart of GiS operations, taking the fight to the enemy. Our fleet warped in on the undock-point of GiS' main base station and waited. Spirits were high, and everyone was cheerfully ready to see what our targets would bring.

The first ship to arrive was a Drake, flown by the same pilot who'd been following me in his Hawk at the start of the operation. Not being outlaw nor an actual war-target, we couldn't shoot him, so instead we playfully bumped his ship around on the station. Props to him for restraining himself and not aggressing; I can't begin to imagine how great the temptation must have been. Other Cloud 7 ships showed up but made no moves toward engaging.

At last, a viable target undocked... in a Deimos. Quite possibly the biggest mistake he could have made. There was a general round of sinister laugher on comms which boded no good for DeMoLiScHeN as his heavy-assault cruiser was subsequently pointed and melted on his own base under the eyes of his allies.

Another war target undocked in a Vulture; licking our chops, we began to circle him like a shiver of sharks smelling blood. Alas, the heavy backup showed up as we started to bite into the command ship's shield-tank, and the order was given to warp out to random celestials. Objective accomplished: we'd given GiS a bloody nose, time to GTFO. Sitting at a safe-spot I'd made on my last incursion into Egmar, waiting to see if any more targets of opportunitty presented themselves, I was cheered to realise I'd scored the killing blow on the Deimos.

But our targets' backs were up now, and we withdrew to Evati, leaving GiS to lick their wounds.

Every op begins with an idea. PROJECT LEEROY turned out to be a surprisingly good idea. We've been analysing our experience and picking apart the issues we encountered. LEEROY may well make a Mark 2 appearance at some point in the future.


Kirith Kodachi said...

Excellent work Shae!


cain jacobi said...

Nice work Shae

Shae Tiann said...

♥ KK ;)

Mynxee said...

Was a great idea, brilliant in execution and besides all that, much fun. Plus we got some darn nice loot out of the deal, too. Good job writing up the details.

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