In just a few short weeks FozzieSov will hit EVE Online. It is my hope that as a result, every small alliance in the game heads out to the frontier and attempts to stake a claim in the new wild west of EVE.
Because FozzieSov is just a new Grind with a lower barrier to entry (Entosis Links instead of Supers) it should create a needed element of chaos in the universe which hopefully results in more engagements. I'm not 100% sold on the whole deal yet, but it appears better than what we have now so I'm happy.
In preparation of this new war, I thought it would be fun to write an article series about Guerrilla Warfare as it applies to EVE Online.
"The enemy advances, we retreat; the enemy camps, we harass; the enemy tires, we attack; the enemy retreats, we pursue." - Mao Zedong
The first lesson takes us back to the American Revolution and a group of Light Infantry called Morgan's Riflemen. This was a group of "Patriots" led by Daniel Morgan against the British.
Richard Henry Lee to Arthur Lee Feby. 24th 1775
... these Men who from their amazing hardihood, their method of living so long in the woods without carrying provisions with them, the exceeding quickness with which they can march to distant parts, and above all, the dexterity to which they have arrived in the use of the Rifle Gun. Their is not one of these Men who wish a distance less than 200 yards on a larger object than an Orange. Every shot is fatal.
What distinguished this group from the others was their skill, equipment, and tactics.
Each of the 500 men were accomplished Marksmen and could "hit an Orange at 200 yards" making them extraordinarily lethal at a range that was untouchable by the British Muskets. This was bolstered by their ability to hunt and live off the land for months at a time with no provisions made them uniquely mobile and hard to combat.
The reason for their far superior accuracy was due to the use of Rifles instead of Smooth Bore Muskets. Rifles used "Rifled" barrels that are grooved so as to cause the ball to spin as it moves down the rifle. As a result the ball was tighter fitted to the barrel and more difficult to load. This was a trade off of Long Range Accuracy over Rate of Fire.
Both Rifle and Musket were "Muzzle Loaded" meaning the bullets went in from the tip of the barrel. In a Musket it was very easy to reload due to the loose fitting barrel, while a Rifle required a Ram Rod and possibly even a mallet to jam to ball down the barrel.
A Musket of that era was accurate to hit a man sized target at 40-50 yards and a volley from a line of infantry was almost completely useless beyond 100-150 yards.
A Rifle was accurate beyond 200 yards and up to 400 yards in skilled hands.
This difference in equipment allowed for asymmetrical warfare where a group of fast moving men who were at home in the woods could flank and harass much larger fighting forces with immunity by Sniping the targets at a long range that was untouchable by Musket Carrying Red Coats.
George Washington to Daniel Morgan, June 13, 1777, archival grayscale:
"To Col. Morgan
Sir: The Corps of Rangers newly formed, and under your command, are to be considered as a body of Light Infantry and are to act as such, for which reason they will be exempted from the common duties of the line. At present, you are to take a Post at Van Veghten Bridge and watch, with very small scouting parties (to avoid fatiguing your men to much, under the present appearance of things) the Enemy's left flank, and particularly in case of any movement of the enemy you are instantly to fall upon their flanks and gall them as much as possible, taking especial care not to be surrounded, or have your retreat to the Army cut off.
I have sent for spears, which I expect shortly to receive and deliver to you, as a defense against horse; till you are furnished with these, take care not to be caught in such a situation as to give them any advantage over you. It occurs to me that if you were to dress a Company or two of true Woods Men in the right Indian style, and let them make the attack accompanied with screaming and yelling as Indians do, it would have very good consequences especially if as little as possible is said, or known of the matter beforehand"
So how does this apply to EVE Online?
Hit and Run Harassment
Whether you are the larger force or not, you should be engaged in perpetual harassment of your enemies. Stay mobile and use Black Ops Drops to strike behind enemy lines. Do high speed roams through hostile space with Interceptor Fleets and Nano Cruisers. Use Interdictors in rolling bubble camps.
"Facing a superior British line commanded by Colonel Banastre Tarleton, they met it head-on to fire three rounds (before the marching British muskets were in range), conducting a planned withdrawal to another location and duplicating the effort, then joined the main force against the now-depleted and disheartened British lines, who quickly fell into retreat. This was seen as the worst British defeat since the battle at Saratoga, both victories credited to Morgan's Riflemen and described as key turning points in the war."
Keep your enemies tired and discouraged.
Sniper Ships and Tactics
The idea behind sniping in EVE is to apply DPS to a target from a range beyond the enemies maximum range. This is typically done at a range of between 80km and 250km.
The advantage for shooting at 100km is in the warp mechanics that disallow warping to any point that is less than 150km from you. However, this does not protect you from Micro Jump Drives which hurl ships 100km without losing lock. Nor does it protect you from those in the game who realize that the 150km limit is easily beaten by sending a cloaked ship or interceptor 50km - 100km beyond the enemy fleet then warping to the fleet member at range to effectively do a 100km warp.
That leaves a 200km to 250km range for safety, however this range is easily countered by Combat Scan Probes. As a result some fleets like Rail Tengus attempt to make their ships unscannable by increasing Sensor Strength.
Like most things in EVE, just because there is a counter doesn't mean your opponent knows about it or is prepared to use it. Making this still a very viable tactic especially when done with great attention and skill.
Snipers should use an "Always Aligned" technique of some sort. In most cases this means landing on grid, aligning to a celestial, then engaging until something warps in or gets to close, at which point the fleet is warped away.
The draw back of a celestial is that your enemy can warp to it also, so many people will use a "Rolling Warp To Interceptor" which is an Interceptor fitted for maximum speed that lands on grid with the fleet, then shoots off in alignment to a celestial (the Sun for example) that is away from the enemy fleet to manage transversal velocities. This Interceptor should be moving at between 5km/s and 8km/s which means the fleet will have a new warp to point every 30 seconds or less. Obviously the faster the Rolling Inty the better.
The last method for avoiding getting Tackled in a Sniper is to use ABC Sniping which is a very old defensive sniping tactic. The idea here is to create Safe Spots near a Gate, Station, Poco, POS, or whatever else you are defending in preparation for a fight.
Personally I use it with an Alpha Artillery Tornado to instapop people as they undock from stations.
The idea is to create 3 spots... An A which is your first firing position, then a B which is your second firing position, and finally a C which is your off grid escape spot. These bookmarks are all in a straight line and are typically on the align line to celestial to make it easier.
Positioning would be A at 100km from the undock, then B 200km on a straight align line through the undock and 100km on the opposite side of the undock, and finally a C which is 300km or more from your B spot but along the same align line.
Once setup you simply warp to A, Snipe a few targets until they charge at you, warp to B, Snipe them as they turn around to burn at you, then to end the engagement warp to C.
Just watch out for bubbles on your align line.
(ABC Sniping was taught to me by Shakudo and Xavier back around 2010 and I credit it to them)
Shoot The FC then Shoot The Anchor
The final and most important lesson from Morgan's Riflemen was not the obvious Hit and Run and Sniping, but the less obvious Target Prioritization.
Every FC worth calling an FC knows that Target Prioritization is Critical and can change the outcome of any engagement.
However they typically limit the criteria for this Prioritization to EWAR, Logistics, and High DPS.
A Fleet consisting of 2 Guardians, 5 Armor Hacs, and 2 Armor Scorpions would result in a prioritization of either the Guardians then Scorpions or Scorpions then Guardians depending on ranges, the FC, and the Fleet the FC is leading.
"Morgan's company used guerrilla tactics, first shooting the Indian guides who led the British forces through the rugged terrain. They then targeted the officers. The British Army considered these guerrilla tactics to be dishonorable; however, they created chaos within the British ranks."
As you can see Morgan's Riflemen when confronted with this made the decision to Prioritize the Indians Guides and British Officers. This is contrary to perhaps the more obvious tactic of first targeting the more dangerous Cavalry Units which in open terrain could run them down.
If you look back at your own EVE experience I'm sure you remember times when the FC died early in the fight and no one stepped up to take command. Typically it causes the entire fleet to fall apart and eventually retreat. But even if someone does step up, there is a break in the flow of the fleet that encourages mistakes.
In the current meta of EVE Online the use of Anchors (Indian Guides?) has become more and more prevalent. An Anchor is a pilot that everyone else will "Anchor On" by approaching or Keeping at Range. In some cases there is a DPS Anchor, Logi Anchor, and Ewar Anchor. These Anchors are the more skilled pilots in most cases and it is their job to Maneuver the fleet in a tactically advantageous manner.
This tactic allows unskilled pilots to contribute to a fight by being what is termed as "F1 Monkeys" that simply lock the broadcasted target, hit F1, and repeat.
But what happens when the Anchor dies?
Best case scenario a new anchor is quickly called and the fleet adapts after a short disruption. That disruption gives their enemies a small advantage is tracking, tackling, and possibly even Tanking as primary calls are delayed.
The more likely scenario is that the entire fleet comes to a stop and then starts to fall apart as individual pilots begin trying to pilot for themselves in random directions. This Chaos is typically followed a overstressed FC calling retreat so that he can reorganize his fleet.
An important part of this tactic is Identification, because how do you know who the FC and Anchor are?
To figure out the FC of an enemy fleet you will need to use local, previous experience with the group, and some intel. Typically the more active pilots are FCs. Because they are often in fleets they tend to have more kills than line members. Creating a list of your Enemies FCs allows you not only to chop the head off an enemy fleet, but then chop down the secondary FC as well.
The Anchor more often than not is also the FC, so finding the Anchor is a great way to find the FC. To do this simply observe your opponents and look at who they are all following around like a big snake. The one at the front is your man.