B-R is in a region currently involved in the ongoing war, and had been used by PL/N3 as a forward staging ground in this conflict for their fleet. Allies of N3/PL Nuilla Secunda (S2N) were found to have failed to maintain their sovereignty over the system, and once discovered by the Russian alliances affiliated with CFC, the attack began. RUS forces first established a foothold, sending a fleet in and capturing the system station preventing access to anyone from N3/PL. They then began contesting control of the system with their own TCU (Territorial Control Unit) while attempting to eradicate the S2N’s own TCU.
As things tend to do in Eve, it quickly escalated. N3/PL brought forth their full force against the RUS, trying to end the battle before it begun by removing the RUS forces and restoring control of the system. Before they could do this, CFC forces arrived and a full on battle begun.
Trading blows hour after hour, Not only the reported Titans were being destroyed on both sides, but super-carriers, dreadnaughts and carriers all descended upon this system to reinforce both sides fleets.
After numerous hours of fighting, the gap between the losses became insurmountable for N3/PL and while for a time it had been a one for one loss on titans, the scales tipped in the favour of CFC who continued to take down these colossal ships while minimising their own losses.
The TCU finally online, N3/PL ordered a retreat and while this is being typed now, CFC and its allies are still chasing down and destroying the remnants of the N3/PL forces.
As previously shown, the real world cost of these galactic exploits can be assessed, and thus far several trillion ISK of damage has been done, approximately equating to $300,000, with an unconfirmed 60+ Titans lost from the N3/PL fleet and 30+ from the CFC side along with numerous other smaller ships. The previous largest battle, (Uemon), saw 12 Titans destroyed and 1 Trillion ISK of damage in comparison, so at this time this has been the largest Battle both for Damage value and Titan loss in EVE history.
CFC appear to have won the battle of BR-5RB, but for the time being the war rages on.It took a perfect storm of events for this battle to occur.
First off, you needed a "surprise" battle. Its not coincidence that most of the biggest battles in EVE happen via a sudden unexpected (a least by one side) turn of events. Battles like Asakai, but not such much like 6VDT-H. Preparation and second thoughts tends to make one cautious and allow the weaker side time to realize they are weaker and going to lose, but spontaneous battles are much more up for grabs by the bold and leads to escalation very quickly, especially in the age of Time Dilation where it is easy to reinforce and much harder to extract.
Secondly, you need two large coalitions with roughly equal forces not only in terms of pilot numbers but also in terms of super capital assets with which to throw at each other. No one is going to throw their super capital forces at an enemy they know can escalate beyond retaliation.
Thirdly, you need massively rich core organizations. Not only a lot of pilots, but a lot of pilots who can afford super capitals and not be afraid to lose them. It doesn't matter how your core organization/pilots got rich, either through space capitalism or space communism, you just need the ISK.
Fourthly, the servers need to handle the load and not crash before the bulk of the causalities start rolling in. Out of all the factors involved in allowing yesterday's fight, this was the biggest surprise and I'd love to hear how it came about. Were the number of pilots more manageable? If so, why? Did drone fleets not get deployed? Did the combatants tell small sub cap fleet pilots to stay home? Did CCP do something different? I'd be willing to bet the same battle would not have happened on a weekend.
Regardless, a battle like BR-5RB was inevitable as the massive coalitions in null sec continue to stockpile ever increasing amounts of super capital assets, and thus a willingness to deploy them to a pitched fight. The first factor is a bit of a random draw and BR-5RB had the added bonus of not only being a surprise fight but one with stakes for both sides on the line: for Pandemic Legion and friends, a massive capital fleet was in that station that they could not evacuate before getting locked out; for CFC and their Russian allies, a chance to lock said assets down and knock a serious blow to the enemy in the long war.
In the end, this battle will be remembered as one of the most exciting things of 2014 and while I'm glad I didn't have to suffer through the tidi I am sad I was not a part of it. Now we have the rest of the week to see the analysis and the outcome of this huge fight.