Taff, Metropolis - A fresh large-scale engagement between Amarr and Minmatar-led militia fleets took place in the Taff system early this week, and was ended by the intervention of a large capital fleet from several null sec alliances dubbed the "Northern Coalition."
Precipitating the conflict some hours before, elements of the 24th Imperial Crusade attacked and reinforced a control tower belonging to known Tribal Liberation Force corporation Dark-Rising. "Credit needs to go to Garst Tyrell of PIE for his part in organising the operation," said PIE Inc. Director Rodj Blake during an interview.
After the reinforced tower burned through much of its strontium, the Imperial Crusade fleet returned with battleships and carrier support to destroy the installation. "The fleet decided to move in before the tower came out of reinforced mode because advanced scouts had reported that a Minmatar fleet may have been forming up," said Admiral Blake, "...we wanted some time to remove any defences before the strontium ran out."
With every intention to defend the tower from the Amarr fleet, Dark-Rising and allies had deployed both ships and sentry gunners. The Minmatar gunners were to prove decisive in this first engagement, with Dark-Rising claiming at least thirteen battleship kills.
These losses were not the only pressing concern to the Amarr fleet. The arrival of Matari and some Gallente militia reinforcements began to turn the odds in the defenders' favour, as well as the presence of pilots from the former KenZoku corporation, Reikoku, who intend to integrate with and formally join the Tribal Liberation Force in the coming days.
"The Dark Rising gunners were well trained," says Rodj Blake. "The senior members of the fleet felt that with larger numbers of ships from both sides arriving in the area it would be prudent to engage the enemy away from the tower." Amarr fleet commanders opted to disengage and move the fighting elsewhere.
"The Dark-Rising fleet along with allies from Reikoku, Com-Star, 3P1C F41L, and Gemeinschaft Interstellarer Soeldner followed the Amarr to the middle station," says Zyck of Dark-Rising in a GalNet statement on the battle. Fighting resumed, with the Amarr and their capital support clustered close to the station and the Minmatar in position some one hundred kilometres away.
"Our group of battlecruisers and [smaller ships] came in on top of the Dark-Rising snipers, who were currently engaging our battleship and carrier fleet," recalls Amarr militia fleet commander Johnny Cruz. "About two minutes into the fight, a 50man Caldari gang warped and joined our side of the fight."
The arriving Caldari fleet restacked the ratio of pilots on either side, leaving the Amarr and Caldari loyalists with the advantage. Reports contrast on the severity of losses incurred by the combatant fleets, though it is confirmed by both sides that the combined Imperial Crusade and State Protectorate fleet held the field and caused the Minmatar and their Gallente allies to withdraw back to their control tower.
Northern Coalition Intervene
On arriving back behind friendly sentry gunners at the control tower, the Minmatar militia were greeted with a cynosural field. Suddenly, a large Northern Coalition capital fleet with pilots from KIA, RAZOR and Morsus Mihi arrived in the system. According to eyewitnesses, the fleet engaged both the Dark-Rising control tower and Reikoku capital ships.
In a costly faux pas , Imperial Crusade pilot Lord Meriak warped his Revelation class Dreadnought to an Amarr scout investigating the Northern Coalition presence in system resulting in the loss of his ship and smaller vessels that came to his aid. "I understand that it was the largest Amarrian ship to be destroyed," said Rodj Blake regarding the loss. "...the sensible course of action was to leave NC and the Reikoku and Minmatar fleet to slug it out between themselves."
The tower and Reikoku capitals were soon destroyed under the overwhelming firepower of the Northern Coalition fleet. "At that point the battle was pretty much over," says Mr. Zyck in his statement, indicating that the Minmatar followed the Amarr example and abandoned Taff.
When asked if they could confirm the widely held suspicion that the Northern Coalition fleet's presence was motivated by a desire to attack Reikoku, several NC pilots refused to comment. "I'm sure I wouldn't have anything interesting to say," said RAZOR pilot Cerys Magente, declining to offer anything further.
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