Mercenaries are an important part of the BattleTech fictional universe; the Inner Sphere and Periphery have many private military companies.
As the various mercenary factions are independent and competing businesses, it is quite rare for them to work as a faction together. Nonetheless, some of the companies are quite powerful and their actions have influenced the history of the known universe.
4 Famous mercenaries:
4.1 Bannson's Raiders
4.2 Eridani Light Horse
4.3 Gray Death Legion
4.4 Kell Hounds
4.4.1 Formation and Early Years
4.4.2 Morgan Kell's "Defection"
4.4.3 3029 (Fourth Succession War) to 3049 (the Coming of the Clans)
4.4.4 Coming of the Clans
4.5 McCarron's Armored Cavalry
4.6 Northwind Highlanders
4.6.2 MechWarrior: Dark Age Update
4.7 Snord's Irregulars
4.7.4 Collection and War
4.7.5 Snords' Fall
4.7.6 Enter the Clans
4.7.7 Camelot Command
4.7.10 Troop Movement
4.8 Team Banzai
4.9 Waco's Rangers
4.9.1 The Beginning
4.9.2 Blood Feud
4.9.4 Exodus of House Liao
4.9.5 House Kurita
4.9.6 Meeting of the Widow
4.9.7 Into Steiner
4.9.8 Structure of the Rangers
4.10 Wolf's Dragoons
Employing a mercenary command has always been subject to many varying requirements depending on employer, ranging from simple agreement to complex prerequisites and discussions just to begin talks on a contract. However there are a few requirements that are common across the Inner Sphere and Periphery:
Combat Actions - Will the mercenary command follow the Rules of War and limit their attacks to armed combatants? Will they avoid attacking civilians? Have they ever used and would they consider WMDs?
Employers - Every employer knows mercenaries are soldiers for hire, but some nations view mercenaries critically, especially if they have worked for the Word of Blake, the Free Worlds League, or the Draconis Combine.
Rating - The independent Mercenary Review and Bonding Commission rates units based on the quality of their personnel, their equipment and experience. Higher ratings attract higher rates of pay and more favourable terms in contract negotiations.
Mercenary companies vary in size from very small platoons or lance-sized units up to forces comprising multiple regiments with supporting warships and large weapons backed by arms-manufacturers and the like.
Attitudes differ among mercenary companies. Some like to live in the spotlight, actively pursuing battle, whether for fame or for money, such as Ace Darwin's Whipits, the Bad Dreams, the Black Heart Roses, Blanc's Coyotes, Black Omen, the Fighting Shamrocks, etc. Others prefer to avoid the limelight, like Vinson's Vigilantes, the Broadstreet Bullies, Black Angus’s Boys, Clifton's Rangers, The Furies, Heavyhell Raisers, the Hsien Hotheads, etc. Still more serve the wishes and commands of tyrants.
Important planets for mercenaries include Outreach and Galatea. Though not as famous as these places, run-down mercs and guns-for-hire can also be found lurking down dark alleyways, waiting for their next pay check.
Among the most famous mercenary groups are:
In the MechWarrior: Dark Age setting of the BattleTech universe, Bannson's Raiders, led by CEO Jacob Bannson, are a private army created to defend the interests of the Bannson Universal Unlimited corporation. They recently ended a grand alliance with House Liao, since Jacob Bannson declared that the marriage between his relative and the Liao leader never happened.
Bannson’s Raiders are opportunists, masking their greed for power behind a façade of helping the common man of the Rimward Prefecture.
LOCAL LEADER: Jacob Bannson
QUOTE: “Either we work together, or you don’t work at all.”
Jacob Bannson is a pragmatist, sure that Devlin Stone will never return and that the Republic he left behind is only interested in holding on to power. He is also one of the richest men in the Republic, but his lack of noble blood leads the nobility and even the Senate to consistently thwart his ambitions. This has made Jacob Bannson brooding and bitter. Now, with communications gone and others making their bids for control, he seems ready to indulge his own thirst for power while paying back the nobility for all the offenses (real or imagined) they have committed against him.
Bannson, a charismatic leader, has roused the commoners to his cause and attracted many warriors to follow him, whether accomplished MechWarriors or street thugs. He seems to believe that if the other factions would only listen to him, they would realize he is the logical person to lead them to a better tomorrow. His efforts are certainly aided by the inexhaustible funds that he uses to grease the wheels.
One might think that Bannson’s opportunistic nature would make him an easy target, but, while his followers may be out for whatever they can get, Bannson seems to have a very clear agenda. Though each move may seem random, it is in reality a precise step meant to advance a well-planned objective.
ELITE UNIT: The Scourge
MOTTO: “Never Retreat.”
Originally the private “security force” for Bannson and his corporate empire, with the fall of darkness he has revealed their true nature: a large, well-trained military force.
However, though Bannson has the resources to train this force and provide them with new, well-maintained equipment, he has not been able to acquire the latest military technology due to his commoner status and his lack of ties to the Republic’s military.
Nevertheless, the Scourge have proved their worth and dedication to Bannson and his cause, helped by the fact that the unit keeps all of its salvage: Bannson does not take it to equip any of his other units. Moreover, any ’Mech that a MechWarrior captures on the field becomes his personal property. That is the kind of incentive that most men will gladly kill or be killed for.
VETERAN UNIT: Band of Five
MOTTO: “’Mech or Dagger, Dead Is Dead.”
The Band of Five have quickly become one of the most feared units in the various splinter factions emerging in the ruins of the Republic.
Though they have nowhere near the training or equipment of the other factions, they have a brutality and savagery about them that manifests in their willingness to do anything to achieve victory. Whether on the battlefield or off, whether through traps, ambushes, assassinations, intimidations, hostage taking — only winning matters.
Although they are more a gang or a band of thugs than a true military unit, they usually get the job done. The other faction leaders have attempted to brand them renegades and have accused them of numerous atrocities, but the Band of Five have survived intact. After all, with every side vying for control on numerous worlds, results are what matters — and the Band of Five provide those results in spades.
GREEN UNIT: Wyld’s Jokers
MOTTO: “Of Course We’re Insane.”
The Wyld’s Jokers — named after their “esteemed” leader Geoff “Crazyman” Wyld — are a rag-tag group that formed during the period of violence following the loss of the HPG communication grid. Culled from the fringes of Republic society, it is filled with solitary men and women who enjoyed the peace and prosperity of the Republic but wanted a taste of the rough-and-tumble life the orderly Republic did not generally provide. Trappers, traders, hunters, prospectors, freebooters — anyone with the ability to scrap it out in the toughest situations or even go it alone to accomplish their objectives.
Though each has declared loyalty to Bannson’s cause, Jacob knows that most of them owe allegiance only to themselves. But they are also loyal to the handsome bounty he pays them on the successful completion of each mission, and that kind of loyalty Bannson trusts.
Generally speaking, they are no good in a stand-up fight; their lack of formal military training makes their destruction almost a foregone conclusion in a head-to-head battle. But their strange assortment of skills means that regardless of what Bannson may need done, Wyld’s Jokers has someone who can fit the bill.
Eridani Light Horse
The Eridani Light Horse is a fictitious mercenary group in the science fiction universe of Battletech. They're featured in the games Mechwarrior 3 and Mechwarrior 3: Pirate's Moon.
"We, the Eridani Light Horse, chose not to travel with General Kerensky on his Exodus. Instead, we stood in silent attention as he and his armada of ships departed, for we knew in that moment one era of history had ended and another had begun. We honour him and his beliefs to this day with the black ring around our insignia and by flying our banner always at half-mast. We will always speak the name of the General with respect for we have stood for these hundreds of years since his departure in defense of the Inner Sphere, awaiting a return to the glory of the Star League."
"We remained in the Inner Sphere to defend our homes and loved ones, as we had always done and will continue to do. Though we honour the name Kerensky, we will not stand by and allow his corrupt descendants to defile all he stood for, no matter how loudly they shout his name with reverence."
-Excerpt from Mechwarrior 3 Supplemental Information
The Eridani Light Horse has been featured in multiple texts and games. They include:
Dagger Point, a novel detailing the events on Milos.
Mechwarrior 3, a PC game telling of the events just following the capture of Huntress.
Mechwarrior 3: Pirate's Moon, an expansion to the aforementioned game detailing a conflict between the ELH and Periphery Pirates.
Gray Death Legion
The Gray Death Legion is a fictional mercenary company. It exists within the fictional BattleTech Universe, appearing in seven novels within the series as well as having their own game source book, more than any of the other fictional mercenary regiments within the Battletech universe.
In the BattleTech novels the Gray Death legion is known throughout the Inner Sphere for their use of original tactics and anti-mech infantry. They are the creators of the Gray Death Battle Armor and known for their longstanding loyalty to House Steiner. The Gray Death Legion found a Star League memory core on Helm. Copies of the Gray Death memory core, as it would come to be known, were distributed throughout the Successor States in an effort to promote recovering lost technology.
1 Early history
2.1 Grayson Death Carlyle
2.2 Lori Kalmar Carlyle
2.3 Davis McCall
2.5 Alex Caryle
3 Gray Death Legion Novels
The Gray Death Legion was formed on the planet Trell I by Grayson Death Carlyle, a mercenary apprentice who had used inventive tactics in order to keep the planet from being used as a beachhead for a Draconis Combine invasion of Lyran Commonwealth space. He formed and trained a militia unit called the Trellwan Lancers to combat Combine forces. After forcing Duke Ricol and the Combine forces to flee, Carlyle reformed the Lancers into the Gray Death Legion mercenary unit.
The Legion headed for the mercenary planet Galatea in order to bolster their forces and find work. The Legion negotiated a contract under which the Legion would be required to act as a training cadre to the planet Verthandi's rebel army. They ran the Draconis Combine blockade, only to be trapped on Verthandi until they could win their way home. Grayson Death Caryle eventually took de facto command of the Verthandi rebel forces due to his greater experience and superior equipment. The Gray Death Legion made many raids against the Draconis Combine forces which culminated in an attack on the Combine-held capital city. With the help of Lyran Commonwealth forces summoned by the Gray Death Legion's jumpship, Verthandi was liberated from the Draconis Combine.
Almost immediately following these events, a representative from the Duke of Irian and the Free Worlds League signed the Legion to its service. As part of their contract the Gray Death Legion was given the planet Helm as a holding. The Legion fought against the Capellan Confederation for their employers. When ComStar discovered a Star League storehouse on Helm, they feared that the Legion would discover the memory core and threaten ComStar's monopoly on lost Star League technology. ComStar operatives set up a plot in cooperation with a rogue faction of the Free Worlds League to discredit the Legion and frame them for war crimes. The Free Worlds faction, led by the Duke of Irian, wished to use the "new" technology to wrest control of the Free Worlds League from Janos Marik. The Gray Death Legion landed on Helm too late to save their families, but held off the Duke's forces, found the storehouse and evacuated much of the technology and the Helm memory core offworld.
Grayson Death Carlyle
Founder of the mercenary command known as the Gray Death Legion, forged from the remainders of his father's mercenary unit, Carlyle's Commandos, which was destroyed in a treacherous sneak attack by periphery bandits in a scheme engineered by Hassid Ricol, the Red Duke. Known for his innovative battlefield tactics. Also his exceptional use of anti-BattleMech infantry. In 3028, on the eve of the Fourth Succession War, Carlyle's Gray Death Legion discovered the Helm Star League Library Core on planet Helm in the Free Worlds League. Died in 3065 of cancer. He was married to Lori Kalmar-Carlyle, his second in command, who also died in 3065. They had one child, Alexander Carlyle.
Lori Kalmar Carlyle
Lori Kalmar first meet Grayson when he had cornered her and threatened her with inferno SRM laucher. Later to become NCO of the Grey Death Legion and wife of Grayson Death Carlyle.
Gray Death Legion Novels
Decision at Thunder Rift
The Price of Glory
Blood of Heroes
Tactics of Duty
The Dying Time
The Kell Hounds
The Kell Hounds are a fictional mercenary unit from the BattleTech Universe. They are named for their founders Morgan and Patrick Kell.
The First Regiment is named "The Wild Hunters" with battalion names "the Dragon Dogs", "the Wild Dogs", and "the Mutts". The Second Regiment is named "The Scrapping Pack" with battalion names "the Greyhounds", "the Wolfhounds", and "the Junkyard Dogs". The insignia for the First Battalion is a black leash and broken dog collar studded with spikes, and the insignia for the Second Regiment is a large black hound in mid-leap, half-framed by a red star.
Formation and Early Years
Morgan and Patrick Kell formed the regiment on Galatea in 3010 with a fighter wing, two BattleMech battalions and a third battalion of Jump Infantry. Their early career (and formation) are detailed in the 1988 FASA book of the same name which also gives details of some of the personalities of the early Regiment. Between 3011 and 3029 they worked for the Lyran Commonwealth, Federated Suns and Free Worlds League, working twice for the Federated Suns and Lyran Commonwealth. Most of these involved facing the Draconis Combine except their pirate hunting commission in the Free Worlds League Periphery.
Morgan Kell's "Defection"
After a major battle with Yorinaga Kurita in 3016, Morgan Kell left the Kell Hounds and broke the regiment down to a single combined arms battalion under his brother's command. Morgan, meanwhile, exiled himself to a religious retreat. The unit remained in this state until 3027, largely kept alive by Daniel Allard, Seamus Fitzpatrick and Richard O'Cieran, when Patrick Kell was killed rescuing Melissa Steiner by Yorinaga Kurita and his new unit, the Genyosha. Patrick Kell's death brought Morgan back to the unit and he brought the force back up to regimental strength.
3029 (Fourth Succession War) to 3049 (the Coming of the Clans)
The Fourth Succession War saw the Kell Hounds face and defeat Yorinaga Kurita again and at the end of the battle Kurita committed seppuku and his son joined the Hounds. The Kell Hounds bounced back from this battle and went on to form a third 'Mech battalion for the first time in their history on the Kell homeworld of Arc-Royal. In this time Morgan Kell had children by IVF resulting in Phelan Kell and Caitlen Kell with Salome Ward. Dan Allard also married Morgan's mysterious daughter Megan Kell. In this time the Kell Hounds also fought for the Free Worlds League against the Capellan Confederation and once more for the Federated Suns against the Draconis Combine.
In 3040 Katrina Steiner died and bequeathed Morgan Kell enough money to raise a second regiment of Kell Hounds, with one commanded by Dan Allard and the other by Scott Bradley as lieutenant colonels. The 3040s saw service to the Lyran Commonwealth while Patrick's son Christian Kell joined the unit in 3042 while Phelan Kell was expelled from the elite Lyran academy the Nagelring in 3048 and began to serve as a member of the Second Regiment's scout lance, bandit hunting in the Periphery.
Coming of the Clans
The Kell Hounds were one of the first organised (as opposed to bandit) forces to encounter the Clans, more particularly Clan Wolf. Phelan Kell was among the missing (presumed dead until after the Battle of Tukayyid where he fought with the Wolves). The Kell Hounds fought the Clans on Twycross and Luthien, with Wolf's Dragoons. During a lull in the early fighting, they managed to rebuild their numbers and start to incorporate the Clan technology.
In the years immediately after the Clan invasion, the Kell Hounds pioneered a system of "farming" smaller mercenary units to supply veteran warriors to their ranks. They also lost Salome Ward, wife of Morgan Kell, to the bomb that assassinated Archon Melissa Steiner-Davion and were engaged in the destruction of a "bandit" clan force jointly with Clan Wolf forces.
McCarron's Armored Cavalry
McCarron's Armored Cavalry was integrated into the military of House Liao in the 3060s.
The Northwind Highlanders are an esteemed mercenary group in the BattleTech universe, with a rich history traced back to their Scottish origins.
While serving with House Liao's Capellan Confederation, their homeworld of Northwind was captured by House Davion's Federated Suns during the Second Succession War. Liao used stories of Davion atrocities to cement their loyalty. During the Fourth Succession War, they reached a negotiated deal with Davion to return to Northwind in December 3028. They arrived just as the planet was about to fall to the Draconis Combine. Under Davion, their four regiments were rebuilt to full strength. They had the First Kearny battle standard presented to them by Omi Kurita before launching an attack on Clan Smoke Jaguar in 3058.
During the Second Star League, Members of the Northwind Highlanders (and residents on Northwind itself), remembering their heritage of being descended from the Blackwatch of the First Star League, joined the newly recreated Blackwatch
Later, in the MechWarrior: Dark Age universe, the Northwind Highlanders, led by Countess Tara Campbell, are a part of the Republic of the Sphere and fight to protect it from internal and external foes. The Highlanders are made of three groups. The green unit is the Republican Guards, the veteran unit is the Northwind Fusiliers, and the elite unit is the First Kearny.
MechWarrior: Dark Age Update
The Introduction of the Highlanders describes them as the main military force presiding in Prefecture III, even though this is a SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) of the Republic Armed Forces. Clearly factionalism has even affected the forces of the Republic of the Sphere.
Prefect Tara Campbell, leader of the new Northwind Highlanders, is a stout defender of the Republic of the Sphere and its founder Devlin Stone, stating “In the name of Devlin Stone, we will survive.”
As Legate of Northwind, prior to the current troubles began, Countess Campbell soon became Prefect when the former prefect, Katana Tormark, left to create her own faction, the Dragon’s Fury. She was horrified by how quickly such a person could betray the Republic of the Sphere and how this showed that many had forgotten all they did for their prosperity and protection. Moreover, they seem to have forgotten Devlin Stone and the high ideals he espoused.
Her disgust is compounded toward the other leaders in the Prefecture, who should be setting an example, not letting their avarice lead them astray. Her particular target is ex-Prefect Katana Tormark, whom Tara served under in the past and respected for years. When offered a knighthood in the Republic of the Sphere, Campbell was torn between hero worship and horror. Campbell herself has no real ambition for personal power, convinced that only she can keep the republic and her prefecture from sliding into anarchy. She has thus stepped up to fill Katana’s shoes as Prefect. Countess Campbell has now called upon all who remain loyal to the memory of Devlin Stone and the Republic to stand against the falling darkness.
Using the Republic Army forces in the immediate Prefectures as her base, Campbell began expanding her troops via volunteers and militia forces. She has been biding her time until larger elements of the Republic’s army can be mobilized and assist her in holding together the Great Experiment.
ELITE UNIT: First Kearny
MOTTO: “Our Legacy Is Our Sword.”
The First Kearny Highlanders are the heirs of a military tradition that stretches back more than fifteen centuries — a history unmatched by any other Inner Sphere regiment currently in service. From the first Scottish regiments raised in the seventeenth century, through Humanity’s expansion to the stars in the twenty-second century, through their reincarnation as the Kearny Highlanders on Northwind in the twenty-fourth century, through the centuries of Succession Wars and through today, no unit is more respected for its battlefield prowess or tradition of excellence.
At the time of the Word of Blake Jihad, the Highlanders fielded five full regiments. Only three partial regiments survived that crucible, and when swords turned to ploughshares during the demilitarization and formation of the Republic, all but the First Kearny were decommissioned.
Though peace and prosperity have ruled for two generations, the men and women of the First Kearny have maintained their expertise through gruelling training and a devotion to their legacy. More important, they have sworn an oath that never again will they allow a catastrophe like the Jihad to occur. If ever the Word of Blake rears its head again, they have vowed to see to its immediate destruction.
VETERAN UNIT: Northwind Fusiliers
MOTTO: “A New Tradition”
The Northwind Fusiliers were commissioned soon after the communications grid was lost and rumours of war began to circulate. Although they were originally intended only as a home guard for Northwind, Tara Campbell has deployed them on numerous worlds in her effort to hold the Republic together.
Like the Republican Guards, the Northwind Fusiliers are a relatively new unit. Unlike the Guards, however, not only is the entire officers’ corps taken from the First Kearny, but most of its members are descended from the decommissioned Second Kearny and Northwind Hussars regiments as well. As a result, though the men and women of the Fusiliers had not actively engaged in combat or formal training before the blackout, most of them had kept up the military traditions of their forefathers as weekend warriors. Well-versed in the theories of warfare, they transformed the Fusiliers from a wet-behind-the-ears green unit into a solid line regiment much more quickly than Campbell had believed possible.
GREEN UNIT: Republican Guards
MOTTO: “For the Republic”
The Republican Guards are in essence a citizen’s militia. When Tara Campbell assumed the post of Prefect, she quickly realized that many of the forces formerly at the Prefect’s disposal had sided with various leaders, and fighting had already broken out in the Prefecture.
Realizing she had no choice, she put out a call to every able-bodied man and woman who was willing to fight for the ideals of Devlin Stone and the Republic, which had given them so much peace and prosperity over the past several decades. She received a torrent of responses, with many people simply booking passage on the next DropShip to Northwind, landing on her doorstep with nothing but the clothes on their backs and an old rifle that had been gathering dust in their grandparents’ house for years.
This dedication has served them well, but regardless of their passion for the cause of the Republic, they are a militia formed from people who recently were tending children and desk jobs.
Impetus of War
A Silence in the Heavens
Truth and Shadows
Service for the Dead
Flight of the Falcon
Blood of the Isle
Snord's Irregulars is a mercenary force in the popular sci-fi universe BattleTech owned by WizKids Games Inc.
Khan Kerlin Ward of Clan Wolf knew that the Clans would one day move to fulfil what the Crusaders felt was their destiny, to invade the Inner Sphere and re-establish the Star League. Khan Ward felt that the timing was not right, and that the mission of the Crusading Clans was not proper.
When the Great Debate came to a head within the Grand Council of the Clans, Khan Ward offered a compromise. He proposed that five regiments of warriors be sent into the Inner Sphere to gather intelligence and to test the mettle of its forces.
Equipped with retro-fitted technology and posing as mercenaries, they would be able to learn the strengths and weaknesses of the Inner Sphere governments. For Khan Ward, it was a gamble, designed to buy the Inner Sphere time. For the Inner Sphere, it was the birth of a legend, the coming of Wolf's Dragoons.
For the most part, the Dragoons were freebirth warriors, considered inferior by the Clans to the genetically born truebirths. Clan Wolf had a large number of freebirth warriors, more than enough to form the five regiments of Wolf's Dragoons. It was a good way to discard troublemakers and those freebirths who would not conform to the rigid dictates of Clan society.
One of these was Cranston, a warrior who took the surname of Snord as part of his cover for the mission. A strong freebirth warrior of exceptional fighting ability, Cranston clearly was uncomfortable within Clan society.
Born the only child of a Merchant Caste family, he worked hard to earn a position in the Warrior Caste's lower levels. He was vastly skilled in combat, yet he often balked at Clan rules and traditions. Snord was fascinated with the Star League, and his constant study of the government, military, and artifacts from that era bothered many of his fellow warriors.
To the relief of many, Cranston was given orders to accompany Jaime and Joshua Wolf on their mission. Jaime Wolf both admired and disliked the misfit. He felt that the warrior had great prowess in combat, but was sure that Cranston's non-conforming attitude was destined to cause trouble.
Striking a last blow for eccentricity, Cranston insisted that his young daughter Rhonda be attached to the mission. Such father/child relationships among the Warrior Caste were rare, and many considered these relationships to be abominations. However, despite her father's unorthodox approach to training and warfare, Rhonda grew up to be a skilled MechWarrior in her own right.
After considerable deliberation, Jaime met with Cranston and devised a plan to make use of his unique talents and abilities. While Wolf's Dragoons would begin their Inner Sphere service with House Davion.
Cranston and a smaller team would approach House Steiner and gain service there, forming their own mercenary unit. This unit would be composed mostly of Inner Sphere natives, and would act as additional eyes and ears for the Dragoons.
In particular, they were to search for buried treasure. The Star League Defense Forces had left behind hundreds of hidden military bases. The Exodus fleet had maintained records of where many complexes and caches were hidden, but many other records had been lost during the more violent years of the Clans' formation. Most of these bases, known and unknown, had been discovered by the warring houses, but the Wolf brothers were sure that others still existed undiscovered.
After Wolf's Dragoons appeared in the Inner Sphere on 11 April 3005, Cranston Snord was with them, commanding a battalion of BattleMechs in the Epsilon Regiment. Following Colonel Wolf's orders, Cranston devised an excuse for Wolf to dismiss him from the Dragoons. In Jaime Wolf's own words, "I'm giving you enough rope to hang yourself, so do it right."
An opportunity presented itself in the raid on Halloran in early 3006. Cranston Snord ordered his battalion to attack a Liao outpost for the sole purpose of recovering a rare meerschaum pipe collection. His action infuriated the other warriors of the Dragoons, and provided sufficient grounds for his ouster.
Jaime Wolf publicly berated the MechWarrior and angrily discharged him from the Dragoons. With one strike, Cranston had proven himself a skilled warrior, given birth to tales of his eccentricity, and added to the reputation of Wolf's Dragoons as an elite mercenary unit.
Collection and War
Adopting the guise of a fanatical collector, Snord began the meandering journey that would lead to a bar on Crossing and the legendary poker game of 3007, where he won his first independent unit.
This time, Cranston continued to pursue the mission Colonel Wolf had given him. His year's research indicated that several undiscovered Star League caches were located near the Lyran Commonwealth/Free Worlds League border. His transfer of the Irregulars to this border gave him ready access to the scouting and research information he was likely to need.
Over the years, Cranston Snord's Irregulars continued actions against the Free Worlds League, earning the hatred of that state, and finding their share of rare antiques and Star League era BattleMechs, which they cached under their museum on Clinton. Weathering a Free Worlds League raid which destroyed their museum and captured their treasures.
In seeming contrast to his youthful energy, Cranston Snord suffered a severe heart attack in the spring of 3034. Later that same year, Jake Walmar, still suffering from wounds he received during the Fourth Succession War, retired from active duty to become librarian of the Irregulars' museum on Clinton.
Winston Nearon also stepped down from the ranks, devoting much of his time to helping Cranston recover and to refinishing and repairing his vast collection of weaponry. The heart attack forced Snord to use a cane.
His days in the cockpit of a BattleMech were slipping away. Several other original Irregulars, including Clame McDonald and John Malvinson, mustered out the following year. They were replaced by MechWarriors Rhonda recruited through her contacts in the LCAF.
In keeping with the tradition her father established, Rhonda enlisted only the boldest and most interesting warriors for the ranks of the Irregulars.
Enter the Clans
Within two weeks of the Clans' first verified contact with the Inner Sphere, Jaime Wolf met with Cranston and Rhonda to discuss whether the Dragoons and the Irregulars would help protect the Inner Sphere or fulfil their mission.
He personally conveyed to them the recall order issued by the Grand Council of the Clans. Both Cranston and Rhonda refused to acknowledge the order, claiming more loyalty to the Inner Sphere than to their heritage in the Clan.
The location of lost Star League facilities and other information Snord had uncovered in the past 40 years was communicated across Wolfnet, and many of the old bunkers and complexes were refitted and revitalized by Dragoon operatives for use in the upcoming war.
As the weeks passed, it became painfully clear that the Clans would continue their push deep into the Federated Commonwealth, Rasalhague, and the Draconis Combine, riding a wave of death and destruction. As the Clan Jade Falcons pressed forward into the Commonwealth, the front line approached the Dark Nebula.
A Star League naval base had for centuries been rumoured to be hidden in the Dark nebula. Cranston and Jake Walmar had found several references to such a base, but had never uncovered coordinates for the rumoured facility.
As Cranston continued to study the maps, he realized that if the facility existed, it would offer an excellent base for a counterattack against the flank of the Clans' offensive. Cranston and Jake travelled to the libraries on Derf and Wotan, known for their archives of Star League atlases and star charts.
Although they did not locate the coordinates for the base, they did learn that the SLDF had set up a special astronomical survey station on the northern continent of the planet Apollo. After gaining the information they needed on Apollo, the Irregulars set off to find Camelot Command in the Dark Nebula.
As Rhonda leaned over the reconnaissance tech's shoulder, the Harrier arrived in a small system. A red dwarf star eerily shrouded in a haze of flowing stellar dust, provided dim light. The tech located a small, rotating planetoid with only a scant atmosphere clinging to its surface.
Magnifying a visual scan, Rhonda saw it was black and pitted with the scars of time. Stark white lines of concrete etched its surface. Aged turrets poked up from the surface. On its eastern horizon she saw a massive port, large enough to dry-dock one of the Clan's old Black Lion class battleships.
As the Harrier approached, she recognized a 100-meter-long Cameron Star painted on the concrete equator.
As the Jade Falcon forces approached, following them from Apollo, Rhonda prepared her defenses, whittling down the Clan forces until Star Colonel Damon, bloody and beaten, conceded victory to the Irregulars and turned over the remaining Jade Falcon warriors and equipment, declared as isorla for the battle.
Following the truce of Tukayyid, Colonel Rhonda Snord requested permission from the Federated Commonwealth on several occasions to launch raids into the Clan Jade Falcon occupation zone, but the Commonwealth has so far refused.
Instead, the Federated Commonwealth asked the Irregulars to split their forces, leaving half on Camelot and stationing one battalion on Edasich to defend that world's fusion reactor manufacturing facility.
Semi-retired Cranston Snord also led a lance of Irregulars back to Clinton, the unit's former base. Rhonda Snord finds the unit's current status as garrison forces frustrating, but has so far managed to wait patiently for a more exciting assignment.
Camelot Command remains a fortified Inner Sphere outpost in the middle of Clan territory, much like Wolcott in the Clan Smoke Jaguar occupation zone. Though its small size limits anti-Clan activity staged from it to minor raiding, the station resupplies countless guerrilla activities in the Jade Falcon occupation zone.
Recent, widespread rumours claim that Snord's Irregulars are attempting to recruit warriors among Clan solahma refugees and elements of the Bandit Caste. Colonel Snord denies the rumours but admits to making contacts in the Clan occupation zone on worlds controlled by both Clans Jade Falcon and Steel Viper. Wolfnet believes that this contact amounts to simple intelligence gathering for another raid Colonel Snord intends to propose.
The current political tensions threatening Federated Commonwealth unity propose to sorely test the Irregular's strong, long-established ties to the Lyran Commonwealth.
Though both Snords feel fiercely loyal to their long-time employers, Snord's Irregulars possess a keen understanding of the Clan threat, matched only by Wolf's Dragoons. Having renounced their Clan ties, they may decide that their ultimate duty to protect the entire Inner Sphere from that threat outweighs any debt they owe to any given political faction.
Not much has changed for the Irregulars. With the Refusal War having sapped the strength of Clan Jade Falcon, the Clan's concerns are in rebuilding, not pursuing what it considers to be a band of pirates. Once that Clan has recovered, however, Rhonda Snord's Irregulars is bound to be at the top of Clan Jade Falcon and Marthe Pryde's hit list.
In the meantime, Rhonda Snord will be training her unit and continuing to make contacts in the Clan occupation zone on worlds controlled by both Clans Jade Falcon and Steel Viper. The Irregulars are eager to gain a chance to finally strike back at Clan Jade Falcon and commence raids on their possessions in the Inner Sphere.
Again, it is believed that this contact amounts to simple intelligence gathering for another raid Rhonda Snord intends to propose to her employer. With the current weakened state of the Jade Falcons, Snord is likelier than ever to strike at the Clan.
Reorganized after the Jade Falcon raid on Camelot Command in 3051, Snord's Irregulars currently maintain a rotating troop assignment. In order to more easily integrate her Jade Falcon bondsmen, Rhonda Snord changed her unit's structure from Inner Sphere companies to Clan Clusters and Trinaries.
The First Cluster and Binary Bravo of the Second Cluster, roughly equivalent to a battalion and a company, are stationed on Camelot Command in the Dark Nebula.
The remaining three Trinaries of the Second Cluster, comprising the original three companies of Irregulars and their support platoons commanded by Colonel Rhonda Snord, protect Federated Commonwealth assets on Edasich.
Rhonda rotates her forces to coincide with the irregularly scheduled Federated Commonwealth supply runs into the Dark Nebula, making it impossible for the Clans to discover what forces defend Camelot at any given time.
Waco Rangers are a mercenary force in the popular sci-fi universe BattleTech owned by WizKids Games Inc.
In 31st Century, Captain Wayne Waco of the soon-to-be disbanded 1st Tau Ceti Rangers resigned his commission from House Liao and recruited 15 down-and-out MechWarriors to form a mercenary company called the Waco Rangers. This warriors being of run down and out of work quality. Oddly enough Liao was their first employer, and the Rangers were soon on the front line, attempting to stem a Davion advance.
While on New Aragon in 3008, the Waco Rangers were strung out on picket duty for McCormack's Fusiliers, awaiting the assault of Wolf's Dragoons. Incidentally, the attack by Wolf's Dragoon's was unexpectedly quick, and the Dragoons trapped Captain Waco's only son, Lieutenant John Waco, in the El Diablo Pass. With no substantial evidence, no one is sure what happened next, but some observers later reported that no less than a lance of BattleMechs surrounded John Waco's Stinger and systematically tore it apart. Then the Young Waco ejected, but the Dragoon 'Mechs pursued him, and one crushed the MechWarrior under its foot.
Although those reports were never verified after the Liao forces retreated off New Aragon, Wayne Waco and his men swore a Death Oath to show no mercy to any member of Wolf's Dragoons and to refuse to work for an employer that employs that unit. To this day, every recruit of the Waco Rangers must take this oath, and all Ranger contracts specifically state that their contract is null and void if their employer also hires Wolf's Dragoons.
Some years later, the story of this Death Oath would reach Colonel Jaime Wolf, commander of the Dragoons. While denying any outright cruelty to Wayne Waco's son, Wolf reportedly said, "Fine, fine, another merc to test. I just hope we eventually meet up with the Waco Grangers, or Rangers, or whoever they are."
During the next four years, the Waco Rangers grew rapidly and became known as a unit of misfits. MechWarriors who had left their old units could find a new start in the Rangers with few questions asked. Only needing some degree of skill and a BattleMech, regardless of its condition. If a dispossessed MechWarrior was talented enough, Waco would give the mercenary one of the unit's spare Mechs.
With Waco's Tech staff soon developing a reputation as miracle workers for restoring the unit's dilapidated Mechs. By 3010, the Waco Rangers were one of the most reliable mercenary units in the service of House Liao. As such, it was constantly jumping into one trouble spot to another. Notable among these skirmishes was the defense the planet Thomas against House Davion's 42nd Avalon Hussars regiment in 3011. The Avalon Hussars assaulted the planet en masse, making them easy prey for Waco's hit and-run tactics. By the time Liao reinforcements arrived, forcing the Davion regiment to retreat off-planet, Waco's techs had recovered nearly 30 nearly intact enemy BattleMechs.
Soon the unit was battalion sized, and Captain Waco gave himself promotion to Major. After replacing battle losses, the Rangers still had acquired enough BattleMechs to add two companies to their unit. Within a year, the Waco Rangers would reach two full battalions.
Exodus of House Liao
By mid-3011, Lieutenant Colonel Waco discovered that Maximilian Liao had hired the hated Wolf's Dragoons. Angered by this breach of contract, the Waco Rangers raided Liao's supply bases on Korion and departed Capellan space. Maximilian Liao, feeling justified in hiring any mercenary unit he wished, was outraged. According to the contract, however, Liao was supposed to have given the Rangers advance notice of his intention to hire Wolf's Dragoons so that they could leave Liao's employ officially. Thus, the Waco Rangers gained a large number of spare parts, and Liao was left cursing the peculiarities of mercenaries.
With its fame spreading throughout the Successor States, the Waco Rangers attracted more and more MechWarriors to the unit. As most of its numbers either had no family or were outcasts, the Rangers developed into one big family; As a result they did not mind that some of their pay went toward repairing or rebuilding their rides, it was still in the family.
In 3014, after extensive training and refurbishment, the Rangers negotiated a contract with the Draconis Combine.
For its first mission, Kurita ordered the unit to raid the planet Sara, which was defended by the 3rd Ceti Hussars. As soon as the raiders jumped in-system, their air lances diverted the defending fighters away from the descending Dropships. However, three Davion fighters did delay Noble's Battalion's Overlord Class Dropship, and Keller's company landed without the support of the assault battalion.
As a result, the Hussars battered the company until the Unions arrived, bringing five companies to Keller's aid. The Ceti Hussars fell back to higher ground, far away from the Rangers' drop zone. After securing the landing area, the Rangers began a search-and-destroy campaign, which culminated in a Davion retreat into the dense forests of Mara.
However, upon hearing reports of Davion reinforcements arriving in the system, Colonel Waco ordered a withdrawal. The Rangers were able to carry out all their disabled Mechs and six assorted vehicles of the Ceti Hussars, in addition to tons of supplies and spare parts. Just within two decades, the Waco Rangers were nearly at regimental strength.
Instead of splintering the unit into companies to several planets at once, Colonel Waco insisted on keeping his unit together. Few planets could repel Waco's regiment, and the Rangers always managed to escape before enemy reinforcements could arrive. House Kurita employed the unit mostly in objective raids and offensive campaigns.
Meeting of the Widow
In February of 3021, Colonel Waco and his men landed on New Wessex, a Kurita forward base and staging area, for a few months' rest and repair. While enjoying their vacation, Waco heard that Wolf's Dragoons' Black Widow Company, now hirelings of House Steiner, had infiltrated the forest called Harlow Wood on the planet, from where they were harassing an entire regiment of Kurita regulars.
As the Rangers were dispersed all over the world, the colonel assembled only a company of available, uninjured and sober MechWarriors. He immediately led the company in a two-day march to the command post of the 20th Draconis Regiment.
When Waco and his men arrived, the regimental commander, Brigadier Jinjo Yamashiga, had split his regiment into lances, which were conducting a massive sweep of the entire woods to find the Black Widows' base camp. Unfortunately, the Widows were decimating the lances. 18 out of the 27 Kurita lances had been battered, although the Brigadier forbade the Rangers from participating in the battle.
Waco studied topographical maps to find the Widow's most probable dropship rendezvous point, and then led his 'Mechs to that area. His hunch was correct, but came too late. Waco's company could only trade long-range fire with the Black Widows' Dropships as the latter lifted off. Cheated of his revenge, Colonel Waco sent a scathing report of the Brigadier's incompetence to the Draconis Combine High Command. Brigadier Yamashiga committed suicide one month later.
In 3023, House Kurita informed Colonel Waco of its intention to hire Wolf's Dragoons. Accordingly, Colonel Waco let his contract with the Combine expire and signed up with House Steiner, the Successor State recently vacated by Wolf's Dragoons.
While conducting objective raids for the Lyran Commonwealth, just as they did for their former clients, Colonel Waco tried to discover the location of the Dragoons, but had no success. Then, in mid-3024, his scouts reported that a battalion of Wolf's Dragoons was stationed on the planet Hyperion. Waco immediately decided to organize an assault on the planet.
The Rangers' initial drop and advance went well, and Noble's Assault Battalion seized Ahsiz, the planet's capital, with no opposition. After an unsuccessful search for the Dragoons, Kelly's and Keller's Battalions also entered Ahsiz. However, Wolf's Dragoons soon appeared, and with no fewer than two regiments; the Rangers had stumbled upon one of Wolf's main staging areas. Against these superior numbers, Waco was forced to order a withdrawal, as the Rangers embarked on their Dropships.
Colonel Waco joined Yuri's Special Operations Company to defend the unit against the advancing Dragoons. The resulting fire fight destroyed over half of Yuri's Company, but also cost the Dragoons ten 'Mechs. Colonel Waco's laser-scarred Battlemaster was the last to board a Dropship, as it was occupied with blasting a Banshee into tin foil.
Still Waco intended to have it out with the Dragoons as soon as possible. Operating as a deep-penetration unit, the Waco Rangers gave House Kurita many headaches. The Draconis Combine was forced to detach both the 4th Benjamin Regulars and the 7th Sword of Light Regiment from the front lines to protect supply bases deep inside Kurita territory. The Rangers' fame spread even more, but it would never be a glamour unit such as Wolf's Dragoons. In some MechWarrior circles, it is known as "The Waco Junkers", a name that has caused many broken jaws in planet-side bars.
Structure of the Rangers
The Waco Rangers were structured for optimum results while conducting deep-penetration raids, for missions such as picket duty or reconnaissance. Certain 'Mechs were temporarily reassigned to form special lances.
Noble's Battalion was the Rangers' main striking unit. It usually attacks in a V-formation, with Noble's Company in the front and Henry's and Romy's Companies behind and on either side.
Kelly's Battalion was the secondary assault force and handles most of the unit's mop-up operations. Occasionally, Colonel Waco uses the battalion as his primary strike force so that no one in the battalion can grumble about always getting the dirty jobs. Presently, Kelly's Battalion is the regiment's weakest unit, as its losses in the Battle of Hyperion have yet to be replaced.
Keller's Battalion contained the least experienced MechWarriors in the Rangers. Considered the regiments reserve force, it supports the drive of either battalion.
The Technical Support Group had a long tradition of creating BattleMechs from piles of debris. Although most 'Mechs in the Rangers are not gleaming pieces of machinery, almost all operate with optimum efficiency. Like most mercenary units, they lacked sufficient spare parts, and thus could not field all their 'Mechs. As a result, many of the Rangers' raids centred around capturing equipment rather than attacking enemies. It is not unusual for a tech to weep with joy upon discovering a case of XP32M circuit boards in an enemy supply cache.
The Waco Rangers standard was made up of an outlined five-pointed star. The inner star is red and blue and is divided by a white band and centred with a white W.
When he first organized the Rangers, Waco created a new rank, MechWarrior Sergeant. This MechWarrior acts as the lance's second-in-command, and assumes command when the lance commander is injured or unavailable. Thus, the loss of its commander in battle will not totally demoralize a lance.
The Waco Rangers met their end in the opening phases of the Jihad, when they sold out to the Word of Blake and fought as part of a Renegade Merc battlegroup that attacked Harlech. The Rangers took heavy losses, culminating in a final battle between Colonel Waco and a company of Ranger Mechs, and Jaime Wolf and a lance of Dragoons. The Dragoons carried the day, killing Colonel Waco, but at the cost of Jaime Wolf's life. This prompted the Dragoons to initiate "Condition Feral," a no-mercy order that led to any surviving Waco Ranger mechwarriors being killed on sight.