Battletech Chicago Merc Corps
Wolf’s Dragoons is a name that is synonymous with the best traditions of the mercenary profession operating within the Inner Sphere. They are arguably the most famous mercenary unit ever, considered to embody the ideals of honor, professionalism, and integrity that the less scrupulous members of the mercenary trade are sometimes portrayed in having. They have integrated both Clan and Inner Sphere traditions and personnel and established themselves as a power in the Inner Sphere.When the Dragoons first turned up in the Inner Sphere on April 11, 3005, with their heavily escorted convoy of spaceships carrying no less than five regiments of pristine BattleMechs, their initial appearance caused a panic for the Federated Suns planet of Delos IV with which they made first contact.
Although their material wealth was generally attributed to the chance find of a lost Star League cache, this could not explain their unusually high level of professionalism and training, nor their sometimes peculiar tactics.
First employer: House Davion/The Federated Suns (3005 – 3009)
Hired by Prince Ian Davion, the Dragoons worked for House Davion first. For five years they were granted a base on New Valencia and attacked worlds that belonged to House Liao until their contract expired. Their successful operations included the detection and elimination of a Liao raider base on Halloran V early on, and the capture of New Aragon in 3008.
During the battle for New Aragon, a Dragoon Stalker killed the son of Wayne Waco, CO of the defending mercenary unit Waco Rangers, under dubious circumstances either by kicking in the downed Stinger’s cockpit or by stepping on the pilot after he had ejected from his destroyed ‘Mech. A ComStar inquiry found no evidence of wrongdoing and acquitted the Dragoons of all charges even though the incident was never truly cleared up. Ever since, the Waco Rangers have been sworn enemies of Wolf’s Dragoons.
After the capture of New Aragon, Jaime Wolf recalled the Dragoons to New Valencia and intense starship activity ensued, marking the first of the Dragoon’s secret resupply runs. After 10 months, the Dragoons had mysteriously replaced their losses and acquired stockpiles of equipment from an unknown source.
When the Federated Suns tried to renegotiate the contract they were politely informed that this was not an option. The Dragoons moved on and served House Liao next. One stipulation in their contract was that the Dragoons would not be used to attack their former employer.Second employer: House Liao/The Capellan Confederation (3010 – 3014)
During their employment with the Capellan Confederation, the Dragoons initially fought with great success against House Marik forces on Wallacia, Scarborough and Shiro III. However, they were inexplicably assigned garrison duty on Carver V in 3013; rumours indicate this may have been an attempt by the Liao state to deprive them of combat bonus payments to put financial pressure on the unit and gain control over them.
This forced inactivity caused some unrest among the Dragoons and during this time they fell out with a fellow mercenary unit in Liao employ, McCarron’s Armored Cavalry on the planet Bithinia. The Cavalry held a grudge against the Dragoons from earlier clashes during the time of the Dragoons’ employment with the Federated Suns.
Chancellor Maximilian Liao finally used the Dragoons to destabilize the Free Worlds League in a Liao-incited civil war, by placing Wolf’s Dragoons under the command of Duke Anton Marik in his attempt to to overthrow the Captain-General of the Free Worlds League, his half-brother Janos Marik.
Third employer: Duke Anton Marik/The Marik civil war (3014 – 3015)
The coup started on May 22, 3014. After initial successes, Anton Marik’s forces suffered a series of setbacks and eventually he ordered the Dragoons to divide up and merge into his inept regular forces to bolster them. In light of overdue payment and viewing the orders as suicidal, the Dragoons refused and Jaime Wolf stormed out of a meeting on 28 February, 3015. This prompted the infuriated Anton Marik to take 28 remaining Dragoons hostage, and execute them shortly afterwards. Among those killed were Joshua Wolf as well as Jaime Wolf’s wife and their two younger children.
In retaliation, the Dragoons attacked Anton Marik’s stronghold on New Delos. On October 22, while the rest of the Dragoons were fighting Anton Marik’s house guard, a furious Natasha Kerensky led her newly created Black Widow Company in a direct assault against Anton Marik’s fortified manor, which he had hidden behind an infernal defense line of burning forests. Duke Anton Marik was killed in the action, ending the Marik civil war.
A scenario from the CityTech rulebook recreates the assault of the Black Widow Company on the Edel Compound, Anton Marik’s residence on New Delos, which is defended by fixed gun turrets, heavy tanks, infantry and a handful of BattleMechs: A Stalker, two Warhammers and two Crusaders.
After ravaging New Delos for two days and wiping out the ducal troops almost to the last man, the Dragoons withdrew to the planet Second Chance.
Fourth employer: House Marik/The Free Worlds League (3015 – 3019)
Instead of attacking the Dragoons in their entrenched position after the abortive coup, Janos Marik offered to hire the exhausted unit and the Dragoons went to work for the Free Worlds League proper. Stationed along the League’s border with the Lyran Commonwealth, the Dragoons were given time to recuperate and initially mounted only small strikes. They would later refer to this time as their “cattle raiding” period. Eventually, they embarked on a remarkable deep strike mission that ultimately aimed for the heavily fortified BattleMech factories on Hesperus II. When Lyran intelligence learned of the mission objective they rushed reinforcements to Hesperus II, including the mercenary units Hsien’s Hotheads and Hansen’s Roughriders, who barely managed to fend off the Dragoon assault when it came.
Following the costly defeat, the Dragoons regrouped their forces in 3019 and disappeared, only to reappear in early 3020 resupplied and back to full strength.
Fifth employer: House Steiner/The Lyran Commonwealth (3020 – 3022)
Upon returning, the Dragoons left the employ of House Marik and started to work for the Lyran Commonwealth. Katrina Steiner used the Dragoons to launch attacks on the Draconis Combine, and for the next three years they did so without hesitation. One of their first missions was a successful raid by the Black Widows against New Wessex, where they narrowly evaded the wrath of the Waco Rangers who almost managed to intercept them at their dropzone. The first large Dragoon operation was against the Kurita world of Dromini VI, where they encountered the elite Second Sword of Light regiment among the defenders. During the fighting, a light Kurita scout lance led by Tai-i Minobu Tetsuhara encountered Jaime Wolf himself, whose BattleMech (an Archer painted in blue and gold) was seriously damaged and overheated. Following the warrior code of Bushido, Tetsuhara allowed the respected enemy to withdraw instead of finishing him off in an uneven battle.
In 3021, the Black Widows executed a raid on the Davion world of Doneval II.
Near the end of 3022, the Dragoons informed the Archon that they would be leaving her service to take up work with the Draconis Combine. As always, their contract forbid the Dragoons from being used against their former employer. Although Jaime Wolf himself later noted that the Steiner contract was only a short one, the exact reason behind the unusually short time of employment is unknown.
Sixth employer: House Kurita/The Draconis Combine (3023 – 3028)
The Dragoons’ employment with House Kurita was initially a cordial relationship. Minobu Tetsuhara, who had been reprimanded following the events on Dromini VI and was now dispossessed, was appointed as their liaison officer and quickly forged a fast friendship with Jaime Wolf. The Dragoons were stationed on An Ting, but maintained rotating garrison forces on Capra, Misery and Thestria; later also on Delacruz and Marlowe’s Rift. However, they were also sent to raid the Federated Suns. During a raid on the Davion world of Quentin in June 3023, Jaime Wolf was caught in a trap by enemy ’Mechs and again saved by Tetsuhara (piloting a borrowed Dragoon Vindicator).
Unfortunately, the Dragoons earned the emnity of Kurita warlord Grieg Samsonov when Wolf rejected Samsonov’s demand to give him direct command over the Dragoon units. Subsequently, Samsonov plotted against the Dragoons. Meanwhile, the Coordinator decreed that the Dragoons should assist in the creation of the Ryuken (“Dragon’s Sword”), a group of 5 regiments trained and organized in the fashion of the Dragoons instead of traditional DCMS doctrine. Tetsuhara was given command of the Ryuken which allowed Samsonov to promote Jerry Akuma, incidentially an old enemy of Tetsuhara, to the position of liaison officer to the Dragoons in his stead. The good relationship between the Dragoons and their employer began to deteriorate.
In September 3026 a joint Dragoon/Ryuken assault took place on Barlow’s End. When Tetsuhara was critically wounded in a hovercraft “accident” presumably arranged by Akuma, both he and Akuma were evacuated and replaced by Tai-sa Elijah Satoh who took command of both the Ryuken and the Dragoons. His incompetence, combined with abusive and unfair treatment of the mercenaries, turned the campaign into a disaster and estranged the Ryuken and Wolf’s Dragoons. The Kurita attackers were pushed back by the defenders, namely the White Witches and the elite Eridani Light Horse. The blame for the defeat was laid at the feet of Wolf’s Dragoons and Samsonov and Akuma then worked towards either gaining control of the Dragoons, or destroy them. To this end the Dragoons were ordered to deploy in several smaller units to weaken their strength, and were then harassed by oppressive bureaucracy and supply shortages. Eventually, they took to clandestine raids of Davion supply depots for supplies, without informing their employers.
A scenario from the original BattleTech board game rulebook takes place during one such raid: During the battle for Coursadin (Remis III), elements of the Black Widow Company have withdrawn into an isolated valley to repair and regroup. Davion troops (elements of the 3rd Davion Guards and from the mercenary unit Lindon’s Company) attack them in an attempt to kill Natasha Kerensky herself.
Another supply raid was against executed on Udibi in mid-3027. Frank Woomack’s company retrieved a secret supply stash, but ran afoul of McKinnon’s Raiders.
The Battle for Udibi is presented as a campaign, i.e. a series of scenarios, in The Fox’s Teeth where the timestamp is erroneously given as “May 3029”.
Using these raids as a pretext, the Draconis Combine accused the Dragoons of breach of contract, followed by general anti-Dragoon propaganda, sabotage and engineered riots; the unit was also framed for alleged war crimes. To put further pressure on the Dragoons, Hephaestus, their space station orbiting their HQ world of An Ting, was captured by Kurita special forces masquerading as freedom fighters.
Finding themselves suddenly fighting an intense and taxing shadow war against their own employer for the second time, Jaime Wolf enacted a contingency plan that had been developed after the experience with Anton Marik. In a suicide mission, a small group of dedicated Dragoon soldiers and technicians fought their way into a HPG compound in Cerant, An Ting, on the night of January 3, 3028, and sent a coded message to the scattered Dragoon forces, ordering them to withdraw and regroup on the ice planet Misery.
A scenario from the BattleTroops rulebook recreates the situation: The 1st and 2nd squad of the Fourth Team, Seventh Kommando, Wolf’s Dragoons (7 men each, with Tech Chief Scott a member of the 1st squad) must hold the transmission facility until Scott has managed to send the message; no other trooper can operate the HPG. Four 7-man squads from the An Ting Civilian Guidance Corps, and eventually an elite Kurita Civilian “Volunteer” Squad and a Vulcan ‘Mech, attempt to retake the HPG building without inflicting too much damage.
After the attack on the HPG compound, the Dragoon orbital facility was destroyed with all hands, and Ryuken BattleMechs moved against the Dragoon positions in earnest. However, the Dragoons had entrenched themselves, inflicted heavy losses on the attackers (including killing Jerry Akuma) and managed to retreat to Misery in good order. Misery was chosen as a rallying point for the Dragoon’s combat units because it was within easy reach of all their scattered units, but also because it was far off the escape route of their civilians who fled elsewhere – and last but not least because Jaime Wolf felt the name was fitting.
He then issued a direct challenge to the Draconis Combine, knowing that House Kurita could not ignore it.
The Battle of Misery
The Draconis Combine responded in force. Warlord Grieg Samsonov (on direct, albeit unofficial orders from the Coordinator himself) cruelly sent none other than the unlucky Minobu Tetsuhara, who was promoted to General for just this purpose, to Misery with explicit orders to destroy Wolf’s Dragoons. For this mission Tetsuhara received command of the Ryuken regiments, augmented by several other line regiments. Additional regiments under Samsonov’s direct orders were stationed on DropShips hidden on the far side of the moon with orders to drop behind the enemy lines if and when Tetsuhara managed to draw the entire Dragoon force into battle. Samsonov disliked Tetsuhara with a vengeance and was fully aware that he pitted friend against friend and students against their former teachers.
Torn between friendship and duty, Tetsuhara did his best to carry out his orders. When he noticed that the Dragoons concentrated their BattleMechs in one location but did not deploy conventional or AeroSpace units, he assumed that Wolf wanted a ritual ’Mech battle and felt compelled to comply. In fact, Jaime Wolf knew how to use the Bushido code of honour against him so that the Dragoons could dictate the terms of the engagement.
Both armies set up camp far away from each other. However, it was not until midnight some days later (on April 22, 3028) that Wolf’s Dragoons finally moved out. Michi Noketsuna, Tetsuhara’s aide and friend, reported this to him and observed that they were obviously moving under the cover of the darkness. Tetsuhara could not help but note that there was perhaps another reason: It was just past midnight, and the formal contract between Wolf’s Dragoons and the Draconis Combine had now run out.
The two forces met at an ice field where, much to the surprise of the Kurita forces, the Dragoon BattleMechs began to challenge their counterparts to single combat one after another. After a while, a Kurita ’Mech that had just destroyed his Dragoon opponent was suddenly destroyed by renegade fire from the Dragoon lines. Enraged, the Kurita forces charged across the ice field while the Dragoons retreated. Tetsuhara could not stop his troops even when he realized the trap for what it was. Demolition charges broke up the ice and swallowed many Draconis Combine ’Mechs. The Dragoons then turned around to pick off their remaining pursuers who suddenly found themselves on breaking ground. Only the timely arrival of heavy reinforcements allowed the Kurita troops to withdraw.
The losses from this first encounter already reduced the Draconis Combines’ numerical superiority. Worse, it quickly became apparent that Warlord Samsonov had betrayed Tetsuhara and his troops. Twice, Tetsuhara called in his reinforcements when he had the Dragoons ready to be crushed between hammer and anvil. Twice, the reinforcements failed to appear and Tetsuhara barely managed to disengage in good order. In the weeks of vicious fighting that followed, much of the best blood of both Wolf’s Dragoons and House Kurita was spilled in the icy wastes of aptly named Misery. While both sides suffered from an equally high rate of attrition from the harsh climate, the Dragoons continually outmaneuvered the Kurita troops and rapidly wore them down. Tetsuahara did not know that the snowstorms only blinded his own units. The Dragoons had deployed recon satellites in orbit and by avoiding AeroSpace combat, had prevented Tetsuhara from noticing them.
The fighting ended when both Minobu Tetsuhara and Michi Noketsuna were captured following the destruction of their ‘Mechs, after an attack on the Kurita command post. Tetsuhara had been running from the damaged communication truck to his own BattleMech, a Dragon, when he had suddenly found himself standing before Jaime Wolf’s blue-and-gold Archer. Wolf did not kill him, and the appearance of Kurita reinforcements led by Michi Noketsuna in his red Ostroc ’Mech drove the attackers away for the moment. With his command post destroyed, Tetsuhara tried to regroup his forces, who were hopelessly scattered in the snowstorm, but his makeshift command lance was soon brought to battle and destroyed by a Dragoon lance led by Dechan Fraser.
In the aftermath of the Misery debacle, Tetsuhara saw no other way than to commit seppuku for having failed to carry out his orders to destroy the Dragoons. Jaime Wolf desperately tried to dissuade his friend, explaining how he had been betrayed by his own superiors. Tetsuhara remained adamant, however. In Tetsuhara’s mind, His rescue of Wolf in 3023 made him responsible for Wolf’s life — and therefore responsible for the destruction on both sides. He nevertheless asked Wolf to fulfill a certain role in the ceremony. Only after Wolf had accepted this request he learned that his role would be to kill Tetsuhara before he could show a sign of pain. Although at first shocked, Wolf did as he was asked and shot Tetsuhara with a laser pistol at the conclusion of the ceremony as a last gesture of mutual respect and friendship, in the presence of Natasha Kerensky and all Dragoon battalion commanders who had assembled to show their respect. Many were dismayed.Fourth Succession War
Following the devastating battles on Misery which cost them over half of their personnel, the remaining Dragoons made their way to the Federated Suns and entered the service of House Davion again immediately upon arriving in early June. Unlike before, Jaime Wolf explicitly requested that the Dragoons be used to garrison worlds that would come under attack by the Draconis Combine.
When the leaders of the Inner Sphere met on Terra for the wedding celebration of Hanse Davion and Melissa Steiner, Jaime Wolf brought the ritual swords of the late Minobu Tetsuhara and threw them at the feet of Draconis Combine Coordinator Takashi Kurita. In fluent Japanese he publicly scorned the Coordinator for betraying and ruining a worthy and loyal underling, and pushing aside Takashi Kurita’s claim that it had all been a misunderstanding, declared war between Wolf’s Dragoons and House Kurita. It would be upon Takashi Kurita, and not Jaime Wolf, to present the swords to the Samurai’s widow and explain to her what had happened.
This may have been clever speculation on behalf of Jaime Wolf or his new employer, Hanse Davion: In what could almost be regarded as a war within a war, the Draconis Combine focused their efforts on the Dragoons during the initial phases of the Fourth Succession War that Hanse Davion launched on the very same evening. The actions of the irate House Kurita were thus channeled in a predictable fashion, significantly reducing the threat it potentially posed during the war. In the opening moves, House Kurita only attacked the three planets on the Davion border that were held by Dragoon troops: Glenmora, Harrow’s Sun and Wapakoneta. The Dragoons managed to stay in the fight for months on all three planets against vastly superior odds. However, the Dragoons paid a high price in blood and eventually withdrew to reunite on Crossing, less than a single active regiment in strength. Here, they made a last stand at Tartarus Caldera and again prevailed against four times their numbers. Losing three quarters of their forces they fought the Kurita attackers to a standstill until the DCMS evacuated Crossing on October 28, 3028.
A scenario from Battlepack: Fourth Succession War recreates a fight on Crossing on September 28, 3028: Two of the few survivors of Delta Regiment after the battles on Misery and Wapakoneta, Cpt. Lucas Kent in a HOP-4B Hoplite and Lauren Simmons in a WLF-1 Wolfhound, meet a command lance of the Eighth Galedon Regulars (a Dragon, a Cyclops, a Catapult and a Trebuchet) in the aftermath of a large battle and a fight to the death ensues.
Many observed that the bitter losses (reducing Wolf’s Dragoons from more than five regiments to a single provisional regiment of mixed troops) had broken the spine of the unit, or at least cost them their edge.
In the relative peace that followed the Fourth Succession War, the Dragoons were granted the right to settle upon the world of Outreach on their request, which was ceded to them by Hanse Davion in 3030. Outreach had been the site of the Star League Army Martial Olympics and was known as the “Warrior World”. The Dragoons turned it into a mercenary center, opened a Hiring Hall in 3032 and offered repair, maintenance and training services. Within a few years Outreach rivaled, and eventually surpassed, legendary Galatea which had previously been known as the “Mercenary Star”.
Unbeknownst to all but Wolf’s Dragoons, Outreach also held a forgotten Star League industrial complex. Jaime Wolf had specifically requested this world because he knew of Star League-era manufacturing facilities there. The Federated Commonwealth had suspected as much and sent another unit to Outreach to inspect the ruined factories first. Ironically, that unit had been Snord’s Irregulars (whose connection with Wolf’s Dragoons remained a secret). Cranston Snord provided the full planetary survey data to Jaime Wolf while giving an inconspicious report to House Steiner; based on his report, the world was granted to the Dragoons.
The Dragoons had previously invested in several firms, most notably Blackwell Industries (originally a minor supplier of spare parts), and with their help they reactivated the Star League facilities on Outreach and before long used them to produce BattleMechs of their own. This also enabled them to provide commercial maintenance and repair services on Outreach as well as trade in spare parts.
During this period, Dragoon agents were sent throughout the Inner Sphere to recover war orphans and bring them back to Outreach. Once there, the orphans were given a home, educated, and eventually in most cases, joined the Dragoons. This process allowed the mercenary force to rebuild itself without becoming dependent upon any of the Inner Sphere nations.
The Black Widow Company was the first Dragoon unit available for hire again, and went to action on Tsinghai following a contract signed November 7, 3031. Natasha Kerensky was promoted to Colonel and restructured the Black Widow Company into a battalion strength unit organized with a unique configuration not seen before by the Inner Sphere. Each company, normally comprised of twelve ’Mechs, was now comprised of fifteen ’Mechs and termed a “trinary”.
The Black Widow Battalion was recalled to Outreach in 3035 and served as training cadre for the Dragoons for the next seven years, though they also served in the field during the War of 3039. Over the next several years, one Dragoon unit after another returned to active duty, beginning with Beta Regiment in 3035. By the time of the Clan Invasion, the Dragoons were back to full-strength.
The Clan Invasion
The whole of the Inner Sphere erupted into chaos when the Clan Invasion smashed through the Oberon Confederation and, by 3050, hit the worlds of the Free Rasalhague Republic, Federated Commonwealth, and Draconis Combine. Wolf recalled all Dragoons to Outreach. It was noted that Thomas Marik was angered by the sudden, unannounced withdrawal of Epsilon Regiment and Zeta Battalion from Andurien at the time.