Along with the rest of the CFC, I have deployed to Delve to assist in evicting -A- from the region. This happened, as to be expected, right when I had to leave town for a mini-vacation and the Independence Day holiday. Over the weekend I finally had time to get my feet under me and join some ops. In addition, I’m also taking initiative to lead some fleets, taking the tactics I learned in previous employment and putting them to good use.
So, on Saturday night I took out a small fleet of folks with the intention of setting up a cloaky camp in the Querious pipeline. The fleet comp wasn’t ideal – only 1 dictor, my cloaky Vagabond and 6 stealth bombers fitted with painters and torps. I don’t know how many of my fellow alliance-mates read my blog so I apologize in advance if anyone is offended – what happened next is just as much my fault as an FC as it is theirs and I am pushing our HC to make sure they get reimbursed.
As we were getting ready to go, I asked for a scout who was good with D-scan. Silence greeted me. I said I’d settle for anyone who knew where the D-scan *was*. Hilarity ensued and I picked the first guy that piped up to be my scout. I did a good job explaining what I needed from him, telling him to get +1 and give me intel on numbers in local and a scan of both the in and out gates. He did this perfectly. We move along and pop into a system with a single blue. The blue tells us in local that there is a gang of 3 BC’s heading toward us. I get excited at this and figure that with the advantage of surprise we should be able to get a couple kills.
I stop our scout and call him back to the gate in his system and set up the rest of us on the other side, cloaked and within 20 km of the gate. I did a good job telling my scout what to do (wait until they aggro and then jump back to us) and also did an adequate job telling my dictor what to do (drop a bubble when I call it and then get out of Dodge). What I didn’t do was brief my bomber pilots (this is what we writer types call ‘foreshadowing’). The scout reports a plus 1 in local. I tell him to keep his scanner open and let me know what he gets. He reports plus 2 in local and a Drake on scan. The drake lands and hesitates for a minute; scout reports a second drake and Hurricane on scan. As the second drake and cane land, the first drake jumps through to us. I tell everyone to hold as my scout reports the drake and cane on his side are ‘engaging’. I ask if that means yellow or red boxing and he says ‘red’. We now have them split and I figure we can pop the Drake on our side.
I get our scout back to us and order my dictor to bubble up as the Drake on our side decloaks. To my surprise the Drake aggro’s him and is not headed to the gate. I call DPS on the Drake; 6 bombers and a vaga decloak and we start burning him down (I like to think the drake pilot at least mutters ‘oh crap’ over comms). As he enters armor the second Drake and Cane have waited out their timers and are now fighting us as well. To my shock, I see one of my SB’s pop. I figure it was a freak thing and order the ‘cane locked up. The Drake pops and we start burning the ‘cane. Another friendly down, followed in quick succession by a third and a fourth. I’m not sure what’s going on as all of them are torp fitted but I’m hearing them say they’re ‘scrammed’ over comms. I order everyone to bug out and as we re-group I’m joined by a single Flycatcher (my brave ‘dictor pilot) and two pods. Needless to say, we tuck our tails between our legs and head back to base.
In retrospect, my primary failure was not telling my bomber pilots to stay out of point range. I think that in the heat of the moment they were focused on burning the targets down and wandered into web and disruptor range, or perhaps they were trying to hold a point. I know that one of the Drakes was web and scram fit (as he grabbed me once) but it would have been wise to explain to my bombers that we were there to get a kill and get out. Needless to say I was quite disappointed with the results of this little skirmish.
Going forward (and this is where I hope I don’t offend any of the guys who flew with me), I have to remember that probably 90% of my alliance are willing to PvP but probably don’t have the experience in small gangs that I’m used to. I made the mistake of assuming that they would fight at the limits of torp range and bug out if they started taking damage. I need to make sure that I do a good job explaining the role for everyone before we get in the thick of a fight so that I’m not seeing unexpected blue explosions.