Mercenaries (BattleTech)

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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.


Mercenary companies vary in size from very small platoons or lance-sized units up to forces comprising multiple regiments with supporting warships; 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.[1]


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.[2]

Famous mercenaries[edit]

Among the most famous mercenary groups are:

Bannson's Raiders[edit]

Within the fictional MechWarrior: Dark Age setting of the BattleTech universe, Bannson's Raiders, is a private army created to defend the interests of the Bannson Universal Unlimited corporation. Bannson’s Raiders are opportunistic, masking greed behind a façade of helping the common man.

Led by Jacob Bannson a pragmatist, with the belief that Devlin Stone will never return and that the Republic is only interested in holding on to power. As one of the richest men in the Republic, though with the lack of a noble heritage leads to many confrontations with the nobility within the republic, the knights and paladins of the sphere, and even the Senate.

Eridani Light Horse[edit]

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

Gray Death Legion[edit]

Main article: Gray Death Legion

Kell Hounds[edit]

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.[3]

Formation and Early Years[edit]

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"[edit]

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)[edit]

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[edit]

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.

Northwind Highlanders[edit]

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[edit]

The Introduction of the Highlanders describes them as the main military force presiding in Prefecture III, even though this is a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) 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.

Wolf's Dragoons[edit]

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.


  1. ^ "Mercenaries Supplemental"
  2. ^ "Mercenaries Supplemental II"
  3. ^ Battletech Field Manual: Mercenaries, (C) 1997 FASA Corporation, pages 66-67

External links[edit]