This will be an after action report of Operation Astraea; a raid on the Svarog Clade Orbital Shipyards in Skarkon, led by ARC. It will include the reasoning behind the raid, details regarding the raid and aftermatch. For those who are only interested in the short version: a summary will be at the bottom of the report.
REASONING BEHIND THE RAID
ARC considers the Svarog Clade Orbital Shipyards (SCOS) to be a big and ongoing threat to those living within Empire space. As reported in our observation reports on the SCOS; it is believed that 108 units of the Svarog clade variation(s) of the Zirnitra dreadnought are under construction inside the SCOS and that activity at the SCOS has increased. Because of this and the many unknowns regarding the details regarding Triglavian structures, their objectives and the Zirnitra dreadnoughts being build, ARC has always considered the SCOS to be site of high priority and interest.
Plans to raid the SCOS were started with the report that EDENCOM was able to raid the Veles Clade Rogue Drone “Semiosis Sobornost” after capsuleers repeatedly disrupted the complex with EM bombs. As both the SCOS and Veles Clade Rogue Drone structures in Wirashoda were observed to have identical looking structures, it is assumed that these structures can be disrupted using EM bombs.
PREPERATIONS FOR THE RAID
Preparations began with scouting the SCOS and finding the correct locations for the EM bombs to be detonating. Using simulations, it was quickly determined that it was not possible to hit the 3 Shipyard towers and 6 Pylons with a single point of detonation. As such, bombs would have to be launched at 2 separate locations to make sure all towers and pylons would be hit with each bombing run. In addition to these 2 target locations, multiple attack vectors were plotted to allow for multiple directions of attack. Each attack vector included multiple locations at different intervals. This allowed the bombing runs to be less predictable and harder to prevent or disrupt.
Top down view of the SCOS with the yellow dots indicating the 2 target locations
With the means to attack prepared, support ships and critical assets were moved into Skarkon shortly before executing operation Astraea.
The 1st phase of Operation Astraea: bombing runs
Operation Astaea took place on YC 124-09-03, as originally scheduled. On this day, the fleet started gathering in the system of Isanamo at 18:30 EST. The fleet moved to the system of Autama to enter the Pochven system of Nani through a wormhole connection. The fleet entered Skarkon from Nani and took up position near the SCOS to prepare for the bombing runs. It was unfortunate that several pilots were unable to join the fleet at the last moment but there were enough Purifier bombers to proceed.
2 Squads were formed but they did not have the same amount of bombers. This provided a golden opportunity to gather important data on the vulnerability of Triglavian structures and technology to EM disruption. This was possible as both target locations were positioned in such a way that the central Tower and central 2 pylons would be in the blast radius of both squads. At the same time one of the outwards towers and pylons would be hit by the squad with the most bombers and the other outward tower and pylons would be hit by the squad with the least amount of bombers. This meant that the towers and pylons were exposed to different amount of EM bombs and should therefore show different degrees of disruption.
The 1st bombing run hit at roughly 19:40 EST and the 32nd and final bombing run hit at roughly 21:57 EST. During this time a total of 275 electron bombs have been launched at the SCOS. As there was little room for error, not all bombs managed to detonate at the intended target locations. The most cautious estimates still show that at least 250 electron bombs did detonate at their intended location and at most 6 bombs failed to deliver their payload completely.
The bombing runs were briefly complicated and interrupted/delayed by the arrival of several Kikimora destroyers and 1 Orthrus cruiser that showed up at the SCOS. The Kikimora destroyers belonged to Stribog Clade and several capsuleers were very vocal through the local current router but their messages were ignored.
Initially the Kikimora destroyers and Orthrus were out of position to prevent the bombing runs as they were gathered at the beacon that marks the SCOS location. This meant that one bombing run was performed with zero additional risk as the hostile ships were at least 100km away. The hostile ships quickly corrected this by positioning themselves between and around the Shipyard towers.
While adjusting to the hostile ships on grid and identifying the correct attack vectors to be used, the hostile ships warped away and the bombing runs were resumed. The hostile ships returned a little while later to take up their defensive positions again. Once again, while adjusting and identifying the correct attack vectors, the hostile ships warped off and this time they did not return. While the exact reason for withdrawal remains unknown, it is assumed that the high capsuleer traffic and presence of an Ishtar and Cerberus fleet were the likely cause.
With the direct threat of hostiles hips on grid over, the delay between bombing runs became minimal. When the bombers needed to rearm, there would be a 6 minute interval between the bombing runs. When the bombers were fully armed, the bombing runs would be performed within 3 minutes of each other .
The reloading of the bombers happened almost exclusively in space in order to minimize exposure and risk. A blockade runner industrial was moved into Skarkon before the bombers and its cargo bay was filled with containers with electron bombs. Every time the bombers needed to rearm, they would all travel to the location of the blockade runner and reload their bomb launcher and fill their cargo bay with additional bombs.
The 2nd phase of Operatio Astraea: the raid
After the last bombing run was completed, it was time to start the 2nd phase of Operation Astaea. Several bombers moved to the systems surrounding Skarkon to monitor and report all traffic heading towards Skarkon and one bomber monitored the situation on the SCOS grid. The remaining pilots reshipped. I personally piloted the Astraea, a repurposed Mastodon class deep space transport. The others reshipped into Scimitars and a Scythe class logistical cruisers and they escorted the Astaea to the SCOS grid. Once on grid, the Astraea would fly towards all Shipyard towers and pylons in order to deploy groups of 1,950 marines. In total 31,200 marines were deployed to raid the SCOS and they had the following objectives:
- To work alongside and with any EDENCOM forces, should they be deployed;
- To report on the degree by which the EM bombs had disrupted the Shipyard towers and/or Pylons;
- To gather as much intelligence as possible on the SCOS, the Zirnitra dreadnoughts under construction, the method of construction and the objectives of the Triglavian Collective;
- To recover any objects or materials of interest;
- To sabotage and disrupt the SCOS as much as possible.
In addition to these objectives, the deployed marines were instructed not to hand over any collected intelligence if EDENCOM forces were encountered.
The marines had a 30 minute window in which to perform the raid and to extract themselves back to the Astraea that was waiting for them in a holding pattern in the SCOS. The reason for this small window is that it was expected that the Triglavian Collective would be aware of the objective of the raid and would send reinforcements and any defending forces inside the SCOS would be to dug in to continue the raid after this time. This prediction turned out to be true as Kikimora destroyers from Stribog clade entered the SCOS just as the Astraea had recovered the last of the marines and warped out of the SCOS with its logistical cruiser escorts.
A wormhole was used to return to Empire space. The Astraea was escorted through several low security systems until it was able to reach the CONCORD HQ in Yulai through high security space. The Astraea and the marines are currently under a self-imposed quarantine. Once this quarantine is over, the marines will be waiting to be debriefed by CONCORD.
A lot of thought has been given as to who should debrief the involved marines and where. With the current situation surrounding EDENCOM and the growing tension between the 4 Empires, ARC has chosen CONCORD and CONCORD HQ in Yulai.
The Triglavian Collective has proven to be a threat to all who live within Empire space. It is a threat that is best dealt with by a united front from the 4 Empires, working together. As such it is important that all 4 Empires have access to the same information and any materials recovered from the raid. ARC is not sure if this can be achieved through EDENCOM, given the most recent developments surrounding EDENCOM and the 4 Empires. As such, CONCORD was a logical choice and their HQ would be the best location. ARC will continue to monitor and care for the crew and marines onboard the Astraea and after debriefing, the marines will be returned to their respective organisations.
A word of thanks
ARC considers Operation Astraea to have been a success as all objectives have been achieved without losing any ships or leaving marines behind. ARC would like to express its gratitude to the following people and organisations that have supported Operation Astraea:
- The individual Capsuleers and crew of the Purifier bombers and support ships during operation Astraea;
- The 7.800 Amarr marines belonging to Dark Sefrim Six and Lunarisse Aspenstar, who provided them on behalf of Khimi Harar;
- The 7.800 Caldari marines and Naava Edios, who provided them on behalf of Phoenix Naval Systems;
- The 7.800 Gallente marines belonging to ‘Conflict Resolution Detachment CRD’ and Mortis Astarte, who provided them on behalf of Convocation of Empyreans;
- The 7.800 Minmatar marines belonging to ‘Undosa Met’aa marine core’ and Khaprice, who provided them on behalf of Aesir Arcology.
On the day of YC 124-09-03, a raid on the Svarog Clade Orbital Shipyards was performed by an ARC lead fleet. In order to make sure to hit all 3 Shipyard towers and 6 Pylons, two squads of Purifier bombers performed 32 bombing runs at 2 separate locations between the 3 Shipyard towers. The first bombing run hit at roughly 19:40 EST and the final bombing run hit at roughly 21:57 EST. During these bombing runs a total of 275 electron bombs have been launched and it is estimated that at least 250 electron bombs hit their intended targets and only 6 failed to deliver their payload completely. The central Shipyard tower and central 2 Pylons were inside the blast radius of both squads. The 2 Shipyard towers and 4 Pylons on the outside were inside the blast radius of only 1 squad of bombers.
Several Kikimora class destroyers and one Orthrus class cruiser were able to delay some of the bombing runs. These ships being piloted to mostly Stribog Clade capsuleers objected to the bombing runs and tried to disrupt them by positioning themselves close to the Shipyard towers and Pylons. They did not succeed in destroying any Purifiers and left after a short while.
After the bombing runs were completed, a refitted Mastodon hauler was brought into the SCOS in order to deliver a total of 31.200 marines (7.800 marines originating from each Empire). These marines were deployed to the Shipyards towers and Pylons. Their objective was to work alongside any deployed EDENCOM forces, gather and recover as much information and materials as possible without handing it over to EDENCOM forces and disrupt or sabotage the ongoing construction of the ships in the SCOS as much as possible. According to schedule, the last of the deployed marines were recovered roughly 30 minutes after deployment and the fleet left the SCOS just as hostile forces entered the site.
The Mastodon was successfully escorted out of Skarkon and is currently located in the CONCORD HQ in Yulai. After quarantine is observed, the marines will be awaiting debriefing by CONCORD after which they will be returned to their respective organisations.
(ARC Fleet Commander)