Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Importance of Fleet Discipline

Today we had a CTA for Fatal Ascension. It didn't go well by any means.

Some fun yet irrelevant stuff involving a massive gatecamp occurred up to the point of interest, so let me summarize it by saying that we camped a gate HARDCORE and smashed everything except for 1 Rapier that got by.

Now to the point of interest:

Rooks and Kings had a Rapier in system. On the other side of our gate (which was high sec on the other side), a Rokh was sitting idly by until our freighters jumped in. Said Rokh jumped in, and after said Rokh drew the fleet fire, the Rapier decloaked and lit a cyno, the cheeky bastard.

R&K filled the field with close range battleships, a pack of guardians, and two Archons which were triaged for repping. They wiped out two Freighters, we wiped out both Carriers, and they destroyed a good chunk our fleet while we were unable to beat them off.

Now, our fleet, not including the freighters, numbered roughly 100. R&K numbered about 50. They took far fewer losses than us. We had to leave to get help because we had lost so many ships.

So what happened? Several things, but let's list them:
1) We were suckered.
2) Pilots were confused by apparently having two FC's (I believe one was cap FC, one was sub-cap FC)
3) Pilots did not focus down the primaries, but instead tried to killmail whore. This is evident in the fact that the only killmail more than half the fleet was on was a carrier.
4) The CTA called for close range fit ships. Almost every ship brought was artillery fit.

Of the above, the causes of death are clearly ranked this way: 3241

First, if you are a DPS boat for a fleet, you are expected to target the primary. Sure, it's not as glorious as getting killmails, on the other hand, things like our CTA won't happen either, where a smaller and definitely evenly teched fleet destroys the bigger one. 

Second, if a fleet must have more than 1 FC, as in our case, time is critical, and each section needs to have its own comms, with the FCs coordinating. I realize that this can be very difficult, as the FC must make decisions while listening for another FC while listening to his fleet, but then again, this is what the FC must do because, well, he's the FC.

Third, if an operation calls for target painters and drakes, you don't bring Blaster boats with Huginns. If the op is most likely to devolve into a knife fight, don't bring a sniper rifle. Even so, with our numbers, we still should have easily alpha'd any primary target, had that target indeed been primaried by the fleet.

Fourth, getting hotdropped happens, and this is no different. The hotdrop created a combat opportunity and played no role in the loss of our fleet except in generating the combat situation.

I would link the battle report, but I can't find the battle report to lay out the final figures. Maybe in the future?


Addendum: 3/21

I just watched the recording of the battle, and they outright wiped the floor with us. Despite having 1/3 the manpower, they wiped us out. Their fleet discipline far outmatched ours, and as a result they were able to destroy us because too many of our pilots were attempting be the final blow on killmails.

When did being the final blow on a killmail become more important than saving billions of ISK?

Why did the fleet completely lose control when presented with a target, not even thinking about why it was being attacked?

I think the answer, while blindingly obvious, displays a deeper problem. The answer is lack of discipline. The underlying problem, however, has to do with leadership.

Recently, the alliance has been kicking out corporations. I am not privvy to details about what level of activity sets the bar for expulsion, but I get the feeling that the recent wave on corporation expulsions have driven individual members to show more activity. In small roams, this bloodlust seems to work out just fine since nothing is on the line except for the pilots' ships. However, in fleet operations, this works against the alliance. With bloodlust promoted, discipline becomes very hard to maintain during critical operations such as this, and the result is clear: billions of ISK lost by the alliance because of the fear it has promoted in kicking corporations out of the alliance.

For those corporations who lost freighters in the attack, they are out those billions, as many of the items destroyed and looted by Rooks and Kings were corporate funded, not alliance funded.

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