Monday, January 18, 2010

The great POS op

Once we purchased our two new POS's and all supporting infrastructure, we then planned how we were going to move and set it all up. Right up to the very beginning of the operation, however, most of it was all just very ad hoc. We had an idea of what needed to be done, but none of us were experienced in the logistics of organising a corp to get it done. But being the CEO, it was up to me to make sure it happened.

So an evemail was sent to the corp by the 'primary organiser' of the POS op. Discussions were had with people in corp chat. After all that, we had 9 corp members state they would show up at the allotted time. We felt this was enough, and moved forward with the plans.

Hours before the time, I discussed the operation with the 'primary organiser' and discovered that there was significant confusion with timezones. He wanted it to be 05:00 Eve time on Sunday, but because that was his Saturday, he mistakenly announced it as 05:00 Saturday.

After I slapped him around a little (!), I quickly tried to correct the announcement. Some people still turned up at the now-incorrect time of 05:00 Saturday, not having seen the changes in time. Some even woke up at 4am in their time zone to attend, and I had to apologise to the now-grumpy pilots who had interrupted their valued sleep... It was a big mess, but it taught some of us a strong lesson - be clear on what timezone Eve time is. :)

So at 05:00 Eve time on Sunday, the operation finally began. More than 30 people turned up! We ran out of available slots in the Vent server, and we had people overflowing in the fleet chat, needing to rely on text commands.

With so many turning up, when it was only expected to be 9 or 10, organising the fleet turned into a 20-minute nightmare. At first there was a bug and I was unable to create squads or move anyone around. So then it was disbanded and we tried again. It worked the second time around, so I organised 3 squads. Two scouting squads and a transport squad.

I quickly decided that I need to spend more time on organising fleets in future.. It would have been much better splitting scouts into named teams rather than 'scouts 1' and 'scouts 2', especially when the squads were set up quickly to accommodate people, rather than for any operational purpose...

I also realised that with having to manage a fleet of 30 pilots in a manner that was completely unlike a roam or combat fleet, it was going to be rather intense. I ended up having to dock in a station so I could have the fleet chat maximised to the full height of the display to allow me to monitor ongoing intel reports. I also had a 'command' chat window maximised as well, so that myself and the POS organisers could discuss logistics.

I sent about a dozen of the pilots to monitor each of the systems that were on the transport route, as well as each of the systems on either side of the route. Cloaked scouts were sent to the potentially hostile 'primary' systems, like the lowsec and nullsec border systems, while uncloaked frigates were sent to the secondary systems to sit in a safe spot. The purpose of these scouts was to maintain 'eyes' on the entire area, to monitor potential hostile activity, and determine the best time or route to where the POS was being set up.

After all the scouts were in position, it was reported that a large red gate camp was in one of the primary systems, so an alternative route was organised that would go around the 'hot zone' and come in from behind. It would add about 5 jumps to the transport operation of the POS infrastructure.

I reassigned some of the scouts, and added a few new ones, so that the alternative primary and secondary systems were monitored. Finally all scouts were in position, and all systems along the alternative route were quiet. The transport began its journey.

It was a single transport ship which had two forward scouts to be 1-2 jumps ahead of it, and 1 rear scout. These would complement the scouts monitoring the systems along the route. I also had the remainder of the fleet not involved in scouting to act as a reserve combat fleet, and they were following along about 1-2 jumps behind the transport, ready to provide combat support should it be necessary.

My plan was that no one would be bunched up in any system along the route, and no one would be bunched up with the transports. If anyone looked for suspicious activity, it would rest with the reserve combat fleet.

All of this was done with me sitting in a station, watching reports, getting status updates, being aware of which systems were covered and where the moving fleets were, with the printed map in front of me on the desk. There was no way I could have done all this while flying my ship as well.

Tactical decisions were ordered to various pilots or fleets based on intel, rather than my direct operational involvement.

I felt like a real life fleet commander. :)

Two hours after the op started, the transport arrived in the destination system, and the POS guys began setting it up. Apart from single scouts, I ordered the main fleet docked up 2 systems away, to ensure they would not draw attention to the POS location, but still be close enough to get there if required.

Then the transport headed back to the empire system it had started from, as that was only the first of 3 planned trips. The red gate camp along the primary route had dissipated by now, so after reassigning scouts along the primary route, we were able to get it back through the hot zones safely.

Logistics conversation ended up deciding that instead of 2 more transport trips, we would put all the remaining POS infrastructure into a Charon freighter that had been donated to the corp just the night before.

I reassigned the scouts once again along the alternative (safer) route, and once again when everyone was in place and the primary and secondary systems were clear, the freighter set off on the journey.

Again, it went smoothly, and again the main fleet docked up 2 systems away from the POS location, before finishing up the op with the same tactics back into empire.

Four hours after the op began, we finished.

I drank beer.

That was the single most intense, enjoyable and longest-lasting op I've ever been on or responsible for. It was fantastic!!

Thank you to all the OUCH members that answered the 'call to arms' and stepped forward to help OUCH set up and secure its first POS. Your support, your adherence to orders and your fleet discipline were all exemplary. Great job!


  1. Sounds like a blast BC! :) Great to see BC back in action, by the way!.

  2. this is definitely not the Black Claw I remember!

    Good job on the op. A lot of planning goes into that kind of stuff that peons like me in our own corps never realize.

    makes me happy i just have to know where to point my ACs.

  3. Thanks Grimmlock. I'm curious... what is the Black Claw that you remember? :)

  4. Well, i'm glad everything worked out for us. Were both of them set up, or just one? Because from what I know, only one was set up in the lolsec system, so I'm wondering what the other tower will be for... it'd be nice to have a place to manufacture in Berta, *hint hint* :P.

    Anyways, I'm sorry I couldn't make the op, but I"m glad everything went without a hitch after the initial confusion and whatnot.

  5. It was an awesome op! I'm proud to have been part of it.

  6. Do we need another vent server?

  7. Epic op. Gave me a massive buzz after we finished and thank you for the awesome fleet direction.

    Gonna leave a few comments back "at base" if you will but yeah, was a good time.

    Shame the support fleet never got to show their teeth but that just means the FC'ing was spot on.

  8. Gah', we don't need another server, I just need to upgrade the current server to accept more slots.

  9. The best POS ops are the boring, uneventful, lonesome ones.