Bombers Bar is probably one of the better known public fleet organizers in New Eden. But in case you haven’t heard of them yet, let me explain:
Bombers Bar organizes NPSI-fleets. NPSI means “not purple, shoot it”. Eve shows the members of your fleet as purple by default. So if another ship is not purple to you, it is not in the fleet: Your NPSI fleet will likely try to kill it.
The Hunting Fleet
And as you might have guessed from the name already, Bombers Bar specializes in Bomber fleets, or rather Black Ops* fleets. Black Ops ships are basically all ships that can use a Covert Ops Cloaking Device and warp cloaked. That starts with T2 exploration frigates like the Amarr Anathema or Bombers like the Caldari Manticore over the Sisters of Eve ships like the Stratios and ends with Black Ops Battleships like the Gallente Sin.
Bombers Bar fleets usually consist of one or more hunters, most of the time this will be cloaked and shield-tanked T3 cruisers like the Tengu or Loki. The hunter will look for targets in an area which is in bridge range of a Black Ops Battleship. Meanwhile, the rest of the Bombers Bar fleet will stand by cloaked at the Battleship. Mainly consisting of Bombers for DPS and E-War, some cruisers like the Falcon or Arazu for utility as well as some Blockade Runners that have extra fuel for the Covert Jump Portal Generator of the Black Ops Battleship. The haulers will also take care of any potential loot since most valuable capital modules take up quite some space.
When the hunter finds a target worth to drop the fleet on, he will try to tackle it and light a Covert Cynosural Field Generator.
Generates an undetectable cynosural field which only Black Ops jump drives can lock on to.
Now the Battleship activates it’s Covert Jump Portal Generator and opens a bridge to the cyno of the hunter which the main fleet will take and spawn within a little radius around the hunters cyno. After (hopefully) every ship in the fleet has taken the bridge to the target the Black Ops Battleship can jump to the cyno itself because the fleet might need its bridge to get back home again. Most of the time, the Black Ops Battleship also makes sure to get out of any danger asap since it’s one of the most expensive sup capital ships you can buy.
Usually, Bombers Bar attacks so-called whales. A term for capital ships without or little expected support, or support that will arrive too late before the fleet has killed the target and got out. Nova Valentis said in episode #70 of the New Eden Podcast, the term whaling originated from the great determination of another FC to hunt for carriers. Just like Captain Ahab chased the white whale, Moby Dick.
When a target is successfully tackled, and it is expected to have backup, a Mobile Cynosural Inhibitor can be deployed which will prevent the target from lighting a standard (non-covert) cyno itself, which would enable it’s friends to directly jump in and destroy the bombers.
This structure, once deployed and having completed its automatic activation process, will prevent nearly all cynosural fields being activated within its range. Covert fields can still be used, which is why it is up to the intrepid capsuleer to maintain a relaxed situational awareness, go about their daily duties, and mercilessly shoot out of the sky any black ops infiltrators who might have made it through.
A little hint for all the Rorqual pilots out there: Like a Mobile Depot, a Mobile Cyno Inhibitor needs some time after it is deployed in space until it becomes active. If you want to have the option of your friends to jump in nontheless, you can light a cyno before it becomes active. You can buy the most time when you light the cyno just a few seconds before the inibhitor becomes active. But be aware: The inhibitor will prevent a second cycle of your cyno. So better make the cavalry to jump in soon™.
After landing on the grid, the fleet will spread out around the target and stay at range. Bombers and cruisers usually align to a random celestial or site while dealing damage or applying E-War. When they get targeted, they simple warp off to avoid any potential damage.
How this plays out in practice can be seen by the well-made videos from Doctor Wrecks.
The Counter Trap
But the headline of this post promised to show how to counter this, right? Well, remember the moment the covert cyno gets lit by the hunter and the fleet jumps in. This is the moment a fleet consisting of mainly untanked bombers is the most vulnerable, especially to untargeted, area of effect weapons.
Yes, I’m talking about smart bombs. But not on any ship. You want to have them on a big one, so the smart bombs have a large reach and affect as much of the bombers as possible. A carrier would be of appropriate size.
But then, you need to have a decent bait the hunter will go for, and not too many people in local with you which might scare the hunter. All in all, you need a lot of intel about the Bombers Bar fleet. But since their fleets are public, it is pretty easy to get into one. This can give you enough intel, to set up such a trap.
How it looks when everything works out, can be seen in these two videos. The first one shows the view of a bomber pilot jumping in. The second one shows the perspective of a smartbombing carrier.
WARNING: I strongly recommend to turn the volume down for the video below – especially for headphone users.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is how you can counter a fleet of squishy bombers that drop on your tanky target.
In this battle report you can also see that most parts of the Bombers Bar fleet that where in something more tankier than a bomber did survive the trap.
Congratulations to this very well executed trap. 👍
*Black Ops is often shortened as “Blops” which is also frequently used as a short term for Black Ops Battleships. Blockade Runners are often referred to as Cloaky Haulers while the cruiser-sized Black Ops ships usually get called out by their name because they have very specialized roles.