The Little House on the Prairie (Pipebomb Strike)

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The Little House on the Prairie (Pipebomb Strike)
Part of Pipebombing Campaign (Third Era)
A Pipebombing Rokh in the wreckball aftermath.
Date14th July 2014
Result Decisive Pipebombing Strike
Rooks and Kings Goonswarm, CFC Coalition
12 Pipebomb Rokhs ~250man fleet, predominantly Assault Frigate (Harpy) and associated support (Interceptors, Dictors, logistics)
Casualties and losses
1 Pipebombing Rokh 309 Ships including pods, of which 139 Assault Frigates

The last strike of the Third Pipebomb Era took place in July 2014. However, this period marked the beginning of regular Pipebomb strikes on the Chinese Serenity server.

Background and Reluctance to Strike

By the summer of 2014, Rooks and Kings had been using pipebombing for several years as a primary doctrine. Over this time, numerous CFC Harpy Fleets had been destroyed. This fact is noted both in videos such as War Crimes in Fountain and even in the CFC's own Harpy Infographic, across which is blazoned a pipebomb warning (see right bar).

As a result, we simply began to consider the Harpy as too easy a target for pipebombing, due its low EHP. Obviously if such a fleet was in our path then action might have to be taken. But by 2014, Harpy fleets had been all but ruled out when pipebombing for sport. Fleets of higher EHP vessels were almost always sought instead as targets.

"Don't Get Pipebombed"

However, on this day a number of factors conspired to break that rule. It began, ironically, with Black Ops Battleship hunting. This was a conventional doctrine we had specifically selected to use on a 'break' from pipebombing. This meant that unlike our Black Ops Pipebombers, which married the pipebombing doctrine to an independent jump drive, these Black Ops Battleships were fit with normal missiles and guns.

One such Black Ops Battleship hotdrop took place in the system of BUZ-DB, a well known productivity system (colloquially termed Carebear Heaven) of the BOVRIL bOREers Mining CO-OP, a corporation within the BRAVE Collective. Although the intended target was a Drake battlecruiser (who also died), the hotdrop lead to the demise of a BOVRIL Procurer mining vessel).

Slaughter of the Innocent

While the Procurer was certainly a legitimate target, there is little doubt that his death was somewhat indulgent on our part, especially considering the ships used.

The internet being what it is, this soon led to an outraged thread on the /r/Eve subreddit. "Back to Amazing Battleship fights", the title ironically proclaimed (since to be clear, Widows versus Procurers are not the stuff amazing fights are made of). So, indeed, who could blame the odd pitchfork being reached for? We had been a little excessive.

German war machine vs Little House on the Prairie. -Ghoststalker744
I was in comms when this went down.
None of us believed that R&K had blopsed a Procurer. -cruftbox

The suggestion was, essentially, to go "pick on someone your own size".

A Timely Call

It turns out that 'someone' suitable was in fact close to hand - a marauding CFC/Goonswarm fleet a few hundred strong. Although they were close by, the first we knew of it was from a conversation with Ammzi, then of Love Squad corporation. Three days earlier, their alliance had made a Pipebombing strike of their own against a CFC Harpy fleet, with solid results: 151 ships killed (including pods), among them 48 Harpies, for the loss of three Pipebombing Battleships.

Screenshot from Pasta's Pipebombing of CFC Harpies, three days earlier (July 11th)

Not ones to be deterred, CFC had now returned to Catch with an even larger Harpy fleet.

Ammzi > Are you guys still set up in catch area with regards to pipebombing?
Lord Maldoror > A lot of the core guys are on holiday atm, so mostly just some light hunting. Could be a small pipebomb now and then but the middle of this month will be fairly quiet for us
Ammzi > 220 harpy fleet just arrived in catch
Ammzi > CFC
Ammzi > they are burning to Q-U96U atm
Ammzi > 4 jumps out

We thanked Ammzi for the intel but gave a fairly lukewarm response in terms of whether we'd go for the strike. While certainly a large fleet it was, in the end, just Harpies - and we'd planned to take a break with pipebombing.

Then we remembered BOVRIL corp's Procurer in BUZ-DB and its grisly fate at the hands of our Black Ops drop. It so happens that the rallying cry of the 'BOVRIL bOREers' Corporation is "Blood for the Blood God!". What better chance to atone for blood than by fetching more blood?

Into Action

In the meantime, the CFC fleet had engaged BRAVE Collective (to which BOVRIL & the Procurer pilot belong) on their home station in GE-8JV. Vastly outnumbered, the BRAVE fleet was forced to redock. However, this action (unintentionally) provided the time required to encircle the CFC fleet with the Light Interdictors and cyno ships that form the snare for a Pipebombing.

After leaving GE-8JV, the CFC fleet struck a course through BUZ-DB. Shortly thereafter, the attack was made. Whilst the fleet was in warp to their doom, there was just sufficient time to log a (spy) account into Goonswarm Mumble and record the stricken fleet's perception of the events unfolding:

The Wreckball

As is something of a tradition, after the pipebombing strike we left the 'Wreckball' unlooted and began the return journey to a relay Titan. A mere two jumps later, we were passing through BUZ-DB - the system of the Procurer's earlier death. Since we were in the neighbourhood, it seemed appropriate to mention that several billion ISK in loot was floating a few jumps away:

The Wreckball, ripe for looting
[ 2014.07.14 22:33:31 ] EVE System > Channel changed to Local : BUZ-DB
[ 2014.07.14 22:33:39 ] Jeb Hekard > Hey RnK!
[ 2014.07.14 22:33:55 ] Alazais > o/
[ 2014.07.14 22:34:00 ] Agent Xer0 > o/
[ 2014.07.14 22:34:04 ] Egosession > o7
[ 2014.07.14 22:34:08 ] Alazais > We found 300 goons charging around.
[ 2014.07.14 22:34:08 ] skuggan > \o
[ 2014.07.14 22:34:14 ] matt jaker > 7o
[ 2014.07.14 22:34:16 ] Rammel Kas > you guys just do a number on goons next door?
[ 2014.07.14 22:34:18 ] Alazais > They're dead now :)
[ 2014.07.14 22:34:19 ] Jeb Hekard > Welcome to the Skull Throne. Thanks for handling the Goon infestation
[ 2014.07.14 22:34:28 ] Rammel Kas > rofl
[ 2014.07.14 22:34:40 ] Alazais > a few billion in loot there if you guys fancy
[ 2014.07.14 22:34:53 ] Alazais > we didn't loot anything, and their survivors left
[ 2014.07.14 22:34:55 ] matt jaker > wonderful
[ 2014.07.14 22:35:06 ] Alazais > Q-U on the X4 gate
[ 2014.07.14 22:35:09 ] matt jaker > we will mop up

And so, the same people that were hit by us in the Blacks Ops drop earlier in the day, were now sifting through the wreckage of their more regular enemies. More to the point, they found themselves furnished with the fruits of the killing that they themselves had (inadvertently) initiated via the outcry over the lost Procurer. Such is the circle of life in Eve and the interconnectedness of its actions.

On a less abstract note, we were forwarded a Fraps recording from the BRAVE Coalition fleet after they salvaged the wreckball. Our finest scientists worked on deciphering its contents and failed. How much actually relates to these events, we're not sure. Thus, we simply offer an audio snippet that includes perhaps the finest Wookie call to grace an Eve fleet: