The Tanker War

During the second half of the war, Alliance forces carried out many missions against the Georgia and Kalidasa systems. Combat meant long periods running on hard burn and fuel losses from ship damage. In an effort to keep the front line ships supplied, convoys of fuel tankers set up deep space refueling points for the Alliance ships. By comparison, the Independent forces were operating from bases nearby and had easy access to fuel, which allowed them to run at hard burn with less concerns for resupply. The Independents' profligate use of hard burns in turn pushed up the Alliance vessels own fuel use.
In order to hamstring the Alliance forces, the Independents sent out many small raiding vessels, often either prewar patrol ships or converted freighters serving as gunships, to hunt the tanker convoys. The tankers were easy prey even for armed freighters and the Alliance was forced to detail more ships to guard the tankers, weakening their offensive power. Tanker duty became less and less popular as the war went on, until it became a de facto punishment assignment.
Discovery of a tanker group became reminiscent of a shark feeding frenzy as the first scout to spot a tanker called for reinforcements and any Independent raider in the area rushed to the attack.