Last night was an interesting example of tactics in Eve combat.
Here's the scenario: A ~50 ship Caldari militia fleet of doctrine type "Kitchen Sink" is floating around Nennamaila looking for trouble. We form up a fleet of about 25 pilots and go for the "Armour Fleet" doctrine of a core of damage cruisers and four Exequror logistics cruisers as well as miscellaneous other ships.
They move to flip an IHub in a neighbouring system and we want to fight in a medium plex that will give us a way to keep our logi at range. They try to intercept us at the gate when we jump in but we avoid the fight there and get to the plex and setup. They do not come in after us, and some of our pilots wonder why? Surely two to one odds is sufficient to persuade them to try the fight? Are they cowards?
Of course not. Its easy to denigrate the enemy in these situations but the fact of the matter is that the Caldari were probably playing it smart. Here's why:
1) Logistics for the Win - Just four tech 1 logistics cruisers is enough to keep a well fit armour cruiser alive under tremendous enemy battering. Meanwhile that cruiser and his buddies are burning through the enemy fleet with no logistics. We knew this; its why our FC insisted we needed four logi ships before trying to engage. We shouldn't be surprised the enemy fleet knew this as well.
2) High Ground - The enemy wanted to engage us on the stargate because they knew if we jumped into them our logistics would be at optimal range for them and easily dispatched while we tried to set up cap chains and repair locks. We avoided that and setup perfectly in a plex thus effectively achieving high ground in a defensive position with our logi safely at range and unapproachable without running the gauntlet of the combat DPS ships.
Those two combined probably meant that a fight would go heavily in our favour. We knew this and it should not be a surprise that the Caldari FC wanted to avoid it and waited, hoping we would get anxious and do something to lose an advantage.
Another possible reason for not fighting us could have been:
3) Strategic versus Tactical - Shooting the IHub may have been boring but flipping the system would have put the warzone further in Caldari control and thus give more points towards the next tier and much better loyalty point story prices. This means their banked and future LPs would count for far more than they could have got by trying to fight us first.
I had to log off but eventually the fight did happen, and it looks like our better fleet composition and high ground paid off for us. I'll try and get the story of what happened but in any case I see no reason to call the Caldari cowards in this case.