[YC119 New Eden Capsuleer's Writing Contest] The Youil Offensive – A chronicle of the State Protectorate’s military offensive against the Federal Defence Union in late YC118 (Part 1)


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The Youil Offensive – A chronicle of the State Protectorate’s military offensive against the Federal Defence Union in late YC118

Authored by Commander Edward Adams, Heiian Conglomerate for submission into the academic category for the YC119 New Eden Capsuleer’s Writing Contest.

About the Author:

Edward Adams joined the State Protectorate in late YC116 upon receiving a commission within the Revenent Defence Corperation of the Ishuk-Raata Enforcement Directive alliance. After serving with distinction over a period of a year, achieving the rank of Commander, he resigned his commission within I-RED after they withdrew from the State Protectorate and transferred to the Crimson Serpent Syndicate Corporation within Heiian Conglomerate. There, he was permitted to retain his rank of Commander and presently serves on the board of directors as one of the main leaders of the Conglomerate.

Abstract:

This chronicle was compiled to memorialise the offensive undertaken by the State Protectorate in the latter months of YC118, as well as to document historical events within the CONCORD Emergency Militia War Powers Act conflict from an eyewitness account for the benefit of future generations. Beginning with the Fall of Okkamon in September YC118, it follows the course of history from the Siege of Aivonen to the Liberation of Nennmaila, all the way to the conquest of Vlillirier and the present day. As a longstanding serviceman of the State Protectorate, it is the personal opinion of the author that the sacrifices made by the baseliners, the capsuleers and the Militia organisations on both sides of the Caldari-Federation conflict should not be forgotten as a mere footnote upon history, but remembered as a key moment of the war in which extraordinary acts of heroism and bravery were committed as well as those of utter brutality and merciless conduct. It is not the wish of the author to take a solely partisan view of the conflict, but to present the underlying emotions and cause that catalysed the offensive.

Darkness Falls

The months leading up to the Youil Offensive saw a series of disastrous setbacks for the State Protectorate (STPRO), all of which created serious concerns within the Caldari Militia Coalition’s (CMC) leadership and the general rank-and-file membership vocal enough to raise their opinions. Despite an initial swathe of success for the State Protectorate in which six solar systems were captured and the Federal Defence Union lost Tier 3 status, the former would undergo some deeply challenging events that would test the will of their pilots to continue fighting. One of the most notable events during this tumultuous period includes the Fall of Okkamon on the 28th of September YC118, occurring at a lightning pace after a consistent effort by Federal pilots to maintain the system at roughly ten to twenty percent contested for a period of a week coupled with a final thrust over the course of two days fighting. With total losses of six thousand million ISK on the Gallentean side and double that for the Caldari, this monumental and unprecedented defeat saw the departure of Distortion, an alliance commanding approximately one hundred pilots commissioned under the State Protectorate’s banner to the null-security regions where they would disband and reform into the Circle-of-Two alliance as a constituent member [1]. Additionally, other corporations contracted to the State Protectorate such as Holy Cookie, which had their headquarters in the Okkamon system, resigned their commissions to ensure continued access to their corporate hangars and offices.

This mass exodus of pilots, coupled with the loss of a major bastion system, greatly shook the morale of the State Protectorate for weeks as they were unable to comprehend how an alliance that had received a great deal of support from the CMC and had access to large amounts of equipment and financial resources, not to mention the pilots, were unable to contest what was traditionally considered to be a ‘bastion’ system of the State Protectorate. After an inquiry held into the debacle, it was determined by investigators in a report to the Caldari Militia Coalition that several factors were to blame for the loss of the system:

  1. The constant levels of contestation before the major push in Okkamon were maintained at fifteen to twenty percent for several days by a small cadre of FDU pilots, in a deliberate ploy to ensure that the residents were desensitised and did not assume that an offensive was imminent [2]. It is a hallmark of CMC policy that headquarter systems are to be kept ideally at ‘stable’ conditions at all times, in which a system has not a single percentage of contestation from opposing forces, and if it is not then efforts should be made to return it to such a state.

  2. The lack of will or interest in the majority of the residents of Okkamon to effectively safeguard their own system by implementing a concerted defensive effort. Whilst several pilots did attempt to return the system to stable conditions, they could not cover the system twenty-four hours a day and thus were doomed to failure.

  3. Reports from State Protectorate pilots confirmed that stockpiled ships in Okkamon held by Distortion were not properly fit, and in most cases lacked adequate stocks of ammunition. A lack of operational readiness crippled the ability of Caldari pilots to get back into the fray through substandard reshipping qualities, which in light of the fourth point in the report only served to further strengthen the FDU’s advantages.

  4. The advent of the ‘Citadels’, deployable structures marketed by the Upwell Consortium billed as the replacement to Control Towers utilised by capsuleers for years prior, effectively rendered the main advantage of the defending forces in that they could acquire replacement ships from space station hangars and docks moot, as even the common Astrahus-class citadel that costs no more than one thousand million InterStellar Kredits possesses the capability to store fully fitted combat vessels. Along with vulnerability timers being placed in favour of the defender, and a sizeable defensive armament complimenting any defensive force, they are incredibly difficult to uproot and takes a minimum of a week to destroy. By that stage, the offensive in a system would be over.

These lessons would be taken to heart by those that remained, especially by the more experienced organisations in the State Protectorate. A period of rearmament and recruitment ensued, along with a strategy drawn up to counter-attack the Federal Defence Union’s control over the system of Enaluri. It was at this moment Templis CALSF received a message from an emissary of the Federal Defence Union, in which they warned the State Protectorate not to attempt to capture ‘no go’ systems in exchange for not assaulting home systems, in the aftermath of their capture of Okkamon. It was at this juncture, during a leadership meeting of the CMC, that this threat was deemed to be the final straw with many in attendance laughing it off [3]. I remembered in particular stating that I would rather drink a bowl of strychnine soup, rather than be dictated where I could and could not assault systems intent on liberating them and that if we complied with this request we would be subservient to the Federal Defence Union forever. The green-light was given to liberate Enaluri and its two vital State Protectorate space stations, and after a herculean effort by Commander Ylein Kashuken and the SQUIDS. Corporation followed up by a relief squadron sent by myself, the system fell into a vulnerable state. Despite stiff resistance from local pirates fielding a Maller-class cruiser squadron supported by Augoror-class logistics cruisers, and eventual reinforcements from Rapid Withdrawal and their allies Snuffed Out, the system was successfully captured on the 21st of October YC118 [4] by a combined State Protectorate task force initially under the command of myself for the first few hours, and then under the stalwart leadership of the renowned pilot codenamed ‘TheLastSparton’. Despite losing a Naglfar-class dreadnought in the final moments [5], the operation was judged to be a success and a wave of jubilation spread throughout the ranks, commissioned and enlisted. The Federal system of Mercomesier was also captured a day later on the 22nd of October, further raising morale through a surgical strike at a key FDU logistics depot. However, despite these successes, the Federal Defence Union worked to strike at one of the main arteries of the State Protectorate’s heart, through a concerted effort to capture the headquarters of Templis CALSF in the Aivonen solar system.

The Siege of Aivonen, prosecuted by a combined Federal Defence Union task force in the waning days of October, saw some of the heaviest fighting conducted between them and the State Protectorate since the Siege of Kehjari months earlier. Six hundred capsule pilots descended upon Aivonen, during which some ten thousand vessels totalling forty-five thousand million InterStellar Kredits were destroyed over the course of the Siege which lasted just over a week of constant warfare in which the State Protectorate fought fiercely to defend the system. It began when, according to a report authored by Luminaire General Julianus Soter for the Villore Assembly, an Astrahus-class citadel was successfully anchored within the Aivonen system, subsequently designated and referred to henceforth as ‘Icarus Station’ [6]. Icarus Station was then supplied with over nine thousand million InterStellar Kredits worth of combat vessels, mainly those focused towards attrition-warfare such as the Atron-class frigate and the Catalyst-class destroyer. When that task was complete, the Federal Defence Union initiated their assault on the 24th of October. For five days, Caldari forces managed to contain the Federal Defence Union onslaught, supported by sizeable ship stocks, disciplined personnel and competent fleet commanders, as well as benefitting from the presence of a Templis Leviathan-class Titan that provided enhanced starship defensive capabilities through its fleet warfare and co-ordination software. State forces even managed to launch a limited counter-attack on the Federal solar system of Athounon on the 25th, striking the Infrastructure Hub with stealth-bomber class vessels [7]. As with Okkamon, the main belligerents on the Federal side included forces from the Villore Accords, Spaceship Bebop and Black Fox Marauders, as well as some minor organisations involved such as Prima Gallicus. Local organisations in the area also made an appearance in the fighting, including the Exodus alliance that assisted the State Protectorate and the anarchist group Rote Kapelle throwing their lot in with the Gallente. It should be noted that the offensive on Aivonen was not universally supported by all Federal Defence Union organisations, some of the most significant protestations were heard from Rapid Withdrawal in that they refused to officially support the campaign as a corporation, notwithstanding those individuals that went against corporate policy and joined up with their Federal comrades.

Realising the strategic implications of leaving Icarus Station intact, Templis rallied the State Protectorate in forming a strike fleet consisting of cruiser-class vessels to take the Astrahus’ shields offline. Due to a lack of funding on the side of the Federal Defence Union as reported by General Soter, the Caldari were successful in this operation [8]. Undeterred by this momentary setback, the Gallente liquidated an Anshar-class jump freighter to raise capital to purchase an emergency defence force composed of Hurricane-Fleet Issue-class battlecruisers complemented with Scimitar-class logistic cruisers. Under the command of the tenacious Ashley Traynor, then a GMVA fleet commander, the Caldari fleet tasked with dealing with the armour timer was prevented from doing so and the protective shielding came back online [9]. The failure to destroy Icarus Station was the turning point in the defensive campaign, as they would have to endure another week before getting another chance to destroy its cloning and hangar facilities, and by then the situation in Aivonen had started to deteriorate in favour of the Gallenteans. The momentum the Caldari had built and sustained begun to falter on the 29th of October, with the Federal Defence Union slowly but surely managing to inch up the percentage of contestation within the system until the 31st, when the Caldari were unable to stabilise the system down to an acceptable level and were defeated on the 1st of November, when the Infrastructure Hub was rendered vulnerable and subsequently destroyed [10]. Captain Lynx Artrald reported in the days after that forty-five thousand million ISK was destroyed on both sides [11], disputed slightly with General Soter claiming losses of thirty-eight to forty thousand million for the FDU and State Protectorate respectively [12]. 40,000 baseliner crews were also reported as killed in action, with many others having survived being rescued or becoming prisoners of war as they were recovered by either side. Reeling from this second major loss in the space of two months, the State Protectorate would retreat to lick its wounds and plot to strike back at the Federal Defence Union.

The Gathering Storm

The Youil Offensive in YC118 was one of the last major offensive operations undertaken by the State Protectorate and its affiliated organisations in recent times, as prior to this point the Federal Defence Union enjoyed an unprecedented superiority in terms of controlling territory, with the State Protectorate never managing to control over fifty percent of the designated solar systems in the CEMWPA zone at any point during the years since the total domination of the contested territories by the forces of the FDU in the late months of YC116. However, with the recent defeat at Aivonen fresh in the minds of the leadership of the Caldari Militia Coalition, strategies and plans were drawn up to see the State Protectorate recover lost ground, liberate new territory and take the fight to the Federal Defence Union in their core systems. This would be accomplished via an assault co-ordinated on multiple fronts. Templis CALSF would focus on liberating Aivonen, then sweeping up through Enaluri to capture Nennamaila and Hallanen. The Bloc would be charged with taking Eha, traditionally one of the most storied systems of the Federal Defence Union, but also supporting the effort made by SQUIDS and Black Shark Cult, that would be responsible for assaulting solar systems in Placid and Essence. Organisations such as Heiian Conglomerate had greater operational flexibility and assisted where possible, often contributing in leadership and strategic services to the other Alliances contracted to the State Protectorate. And perhaps one of the most important objectives was executed primarily by the Exodus/Plexodus group that would collectively assault Vlillirier, the longest-held system in the history of the CONCORD Emergency Militia War Powers Act [13] and the pride of the Federal Defence Union [14]. In addition, the recent influx of Alpha-status capsuleer pilots swelled the ranks of the State Protectorate, providing legions of men and women for the task at hand and positively revitalising the Militia as an entity able to conduct offensive operational campaigns [15].

Aivonen was recovered a mere four days after its loss in the Siege on the 5th of November, with most Templis forces having temporarily relocated to their Astrahus-class citadels within the system. The recovery of Templis CALSF’s headquarters in such a short amount of time made some question the will of the Federal Defence Union to hold on to their conquests, and thus the offensive was deemed to be underway shortly after. The Heiian Conglomerate and Bloc managed to push successfully on several systems in the Kurala constellation, recovering Vaaralen on the 28th of November. Commander Kashuken and her personal squadron of pilots targeted the Hallanen solar system, managing to contest the system enough for a mixed force of Templis CALSF, Bloc, Heiian Conglomerate and other State Protectorate pilots to arrive and assume responsibility for the system’s liberation which was completed on the 29th of November without a major organised Federal Defence Union response [16]. In a magnificent display of commitment to the Coalition’s objectives, Nennamaila was liberated the next day on the 30th by a State Protectorate capital squadron, coincidentally on the fifth anniversary of its conquest by the Federal Defence Union back in YC113 [17][18].

December YC118 saw the most impressive and by far the most successful offensive that the State Protectorate had undertook for several years. After the capture of Nennamaila, several individual pilots including Commander Kashuken spearheaded the push to Tier 3 [19], in which the loyalty-point gains are increased by seventy-five percent on top of the base amount by the faction that possesses it. Coupled with the recent influx of alpha-status pilots, organisations such as Black Shark Cult were successful in rallying many to their cause. Assaulting on multiple fronts in Black Rise and the Citadel, Placid and in Essence, the State Protectorate managed to capture a total of fifteen systems in exchange for the Federal Defence Union recapturing Intaki on the 9th of December, within the space of two weeks according to Captain Artrald writing on the 14th of December [20]. The State Protectorate’s forward operation base of Costolle in Verge Vendor proved to be an effective staging ground for their conquest of Federal systems, such as the capture of Covryn and Iges on the 4th and 5th of December[21][22], as well as the entirety of the Serthoulde constellation by the 13th. The Viriette and Fislipesnes constellations were also successfully captured during the first few weeks of December. Eventually, the peripheral systems surrounding Vlillirier such as Alsavoinen and Anchauttes began to fall one by one, directing State Protectorate pilots further into the heartlands of the Federal Defence Union and the capital of the GMVA and Spaceship Bebop.

Whilst the majority of the fighting occurred in Black Rise and Placid, it must be noted that the Citadel region saw its fair share of combat too. With the strategic withdrawal of Templis from Hasmijaala to the Aivonen solar system in early YC118[23], the Citadel had become a nigh-impenetrable stronghold of the Rapid Withdrawal Corporation and its allies Schneckt, both headquartered in the Sujarento solar system. Whilst the CMC never sanctioned any direct assaults on Sujarento or Hasmijaala, preferring to take advantage of the bad blood caused by the recent civil war in the Federal Defence Union[24], Conoco and VK.com acted independently and began to push several systems. After interviewing senior Rapid Withdrawal commander Ouso Borghese, it was gleaned that the standing orders were to defend the Citadel at all costs and subsequently they repulsed the efforts of the State Protectorate to make inroads into the region, despite being outnumbered on a two to three-to-one basis. Poor leadership and lack of adherence to doctrine hampered Conoco’s offensive efforts, permitting Rapid Withdrawal defence fleets to easily overwhelm and annihilate them. Additionally, this saw a major expansion of their industrial capability and defensive stocks, with a reported thirty carriers ordered and a massive construction campaign after concerns that the rest of the Federal Defence Union would be crushed underfoot by the State Protectorate’s onslaught leaving the Citadel region as their next target through process of elimination.

Whilst RDRAW did not actively participate in the defence of Vlillirier or Eha, they did intervene on numerous occasions when the State Protectorate was assaulting peripheral systems. In Vaaralen and Mushikegi, a combined RDRAW and Schneckt battlegroup was jumped in via a cynosaural field, forcing the STPRO assault squadron off. And elsewhere in Placid, a tactic was implemented whereby RDRAW would utilise a cynosaural field to deploy a battlegroup tailored to securing the immediate vicinity of the I-HUB, subsequently being reinforced by at least one carrier using its ship maintenance bay as a means to transport doctrines more suited to contest installations and facilities within the system. These tactics, whilst effective in concept and in practice, served only to delay and not to deter the State Protectorate from capturing the peripheral systems surrounding the primary targets.

Three weeks into December, the State Protectorate had well in advance of sixty solar systems under its control with the number rising by the day. Tier 3 was firmly in control, enticing more recruits and veterans alike into signing contracts committing them for a tour of duty in the warzone, serving to increase the warfighting capabilities as the seemingly inexorable march of Caldari forces streamed into Placid intent on securing the region for the State.

An All-Out Assault

As the peripheral solar systems surrounding Vlillirier and Eha fell one by one, the noose tightened around the Federal defenders. State Protectorate pilots flocked to the battlegrounds as the frontline was pushed ever forward, encircling the two systems in a ring of blue steel. With FDU defenders tied up in Vlillirier and a token force defending Eha, they were either unwilling or unable to defend solar systems that lay only a few jumps away. In the instance of the capture of the Frarie solar system, with only a token force of stealth bombers and destroyers, the main opposition manifested itself from local pirates attempting to interfere with STPRO operations despite it being a mere two jumps from Vlillirier. With the seizing of Oicx on the 21st of December [25], an infamous solar system ingrained into the minds of many of the veteran pilots for the ‘Oicx Massacre’ in YC116, victory in Vlillirier and Eha was considered to be a matter of time as pilots concentrated their efforts on offensive operations within the latter two systems as the majority of Placid and a good proportion of Black Rise had fallen into Caldari hands by that juncture.

Utilising the SQUIDS. Astrahus-class citadel within system, as well as enjoying the support of the Exodus/Plexodus alliance, the rest of the State Protectorate fuelled the flames of the furnace through pouring in tens of pilots and hundreds of millions of InterSteller Kredits worth of starships and equipment. Doctrines such as the Merlin-class frigate supported by Bantam-class logistic frigates, Cormorant-class destroyers, Caracal-class cruisers, Moa-class cruisers and Osprey-class logistics cruisers were all employed, permitting those capsuleers of alpha-status rank to contribute. Innovative tactics to reduce the defenders propensity to resort to attrition warfare were employed, such as Imperial Navy Slicers equipped with beam lasers, as well as Eagle-class heavy assault cruisers tactically positioned to pick off targets of opportunity with long-range high performance railguns. Pilots of all stripes united in effort and cause to ensure that victory would be assured, as Heiian Conglomerate, Templis CALSF, Bloc and Black Shark Cult arrived en masse to reinforce the beleaguered garrison of Plexodus/Exodus and SQUIDS. forces. Complimented with a handful of competent fleet commanders, morale was at unprecedented levels and as a result the tactical effectiveness of the squadrons deployed exponentially increased and the amount of installations secured began to rise.

The Federal Defence Union pilots valiantly resisted against the invasion fleet for as long as they could muster pilots, eventually resorting to acts of suicidal engagements to delay the conquest of the system in order to conduct evacuations of assets and personnel, with reports of fleets of crewless frigates entering into installations and facilities with the sole objective to buy as much time as possible. State Protectorate forces supported by Exodus and allies in Shadow Cartel managed to interdict a Federation capital force composed of two Thanatos-class carriers and one Archon-class carrier seeking to extricate themselves from the system on the 22nd of December, completely annihilating them within five minutes of the destruction of the first [26][27][28]. By this point, it was crystal clear to the senior commanders of the State Protectorate force charged with assaulting Vlillirier that the battle was drawing to a close. Two days after the Fall of Oicx, in the early hours of the 23rd of December, Vlillirier and Eha were contested to critical levels and subsequently made vulnerable that same day. Taking no chances of permitting Federal forces to muster a counter-attack on the Infrastructure Hub, a State Protectorate capital force was deployed and within twenty minutes the longest-held system in the history of the CONCORD Emergency Militia War Powers Act had fallen [29]. This was truly a momentous occasion, as the mere thought that Vlillirier would fall was previously considered an impossibility, a common sentiment shared by both the State Protectorate and the Federal Defence Union according to Commander Traynor [30].