|Manufacturer||Wells Technologies, Luthien Armor Works, Ravenna Electronics, Sapphire Metals|
|Mech type||Inner Sphere|
|Communications System||Tek BattleCom|
|Targeting Tracking System||Dalban Hirez|
The Charger is seen as an example of abject failure in BattleMech design. Wells Technologies originally wanted to produce an ultra-heavy scout 'Mech for the Star League Defense Force that was not only fast but could survive contact with the enemy. This was done by building the Charger on an 80-ton frame, making it the heaviest scout 'Mech in existence, and powering it with a massive LTV 400 fusion engine that took up almost sixty percent of the Charger's mass. With a top speed which allowed it to outrun most other 'Mechs the Charger was then given ten tons of heavy Durallex armor, enough to survive repeated hits from an Autocannon/20. However these features left very little room for offensive capability, an intentional deficiency on the part of the design team as they saw any task other than gathering data a distraction.
This was to be the 'Mech's downfall, as its popgun laser array proved to be quite laughable, capable of little more than fighting infantry and light combat vehicles. Its armoring, while respectable, could not stand up to sustained punishment, which meant if the 'Mech got too close to heavy combat or trapped by superior numbers it could be shot to pieces. When the Charger debuted in 2665 it quickly became derided as "a light 'Mech trapped in an assault's frame" and the Star League quickly withdrew it from use; Wells Technologies eventually found itself wallowing in over a thousand Chargers which no one now wanted to buy. In an odd twist of fate, the fall of the Star League and the start of the First Succession War would save the company and the Charger. Desperate for any 'Mech they could get their hands on, the Draconis Combine bought the Charger in large numbers and established a long-term contract with the company.
During the long attritional warfare of the Succession Wars era the Charger proved to be a reliable, low-maintenance 'Mech useful in rear areas and for garrison duty on low-tech worlds, especially in the Periphery. In its limited frontline engagements this close-assault 'Mech proved itself deadly against smaller recon elements like Wasps and Stingers and any machine whose main armament was already destroyed. Its greatest successes often came in less orthodox roles such as counter-insurgency operations. By 3025 nearly five hundred of the original thousand Chargers were still in use, largely with the Combine but also in the other Great Houses too. This was mainly due to battlefield salvage and black-market trading, the latter of which Wells itself took part in due to export restrictions placed on it by the Combine. The company was eventually bought out by its license-holder Luthien Armor Works in 3027 after the discovery of this underhanded dealing, and production of the original Charger ceased altogether in 3030.
In the devastating aftermath of the Fourth Succession War however, the Combine once again needed 'Mechs to replace its losses, and the Coordinator himself ordered LAW to produce a 'Mech which would act as a symbol of the Combine's might. The resulting crash program to produce the Hatamoto-Chi gave LAW the ability to rework the Charger line using rediscovered technology, allowing them to produce "new" assault 'Mechs in half the time through a major modification program rather than starting from scratch. These new Charger variants debuted in time to meet the Clan Invasion, and while still close-in brawlers their varied weaponry and advanced technology made them far superior. Success with the revamped designs was such that by 3068 every Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery unit had at least one new Charger in its inventory, though with the loss of LAW's Luthien plant production on the CGR-3K model ceased and many had moved on to the newer CGR-SA5 model. Some of the original Chargers are still used as labyrinthine fighters by backwater stables on Solaris VII.
Weapons and Equipment
Because the designers of the Charger wanted to discourage any activities that would put the 'Mech in danger, the engineers at Wells Technologies equipped the Charger with five Magna Mk I Small Lasers, mounted in its arms, torso and head. As these leave the 'Mech dangerously undergunned, arguably its most potent weapons are its fists; if the Charger is able to close the distance and get within hand-to-hand combat, it is more than capable of pounding to pieces other 'Mechs, especially lightweight ones.
- The 1A5 variant of the Charger was one of the first variants of the Charger made to take it from the role of scout to assault 'Mech. A Capellan modification to the CGR-1Ls they received as part of the Kapteyn Accords, the engine was downgraded to a 320 version, which reduced the maximum speed of the 'Mech to 64.8 km/h, and four of the small lasers were removed. In their place was a Tomodzuru Autocannon/20 as its primary weapon, two Bical SRM-6 launchers and an Argra 3L Medium Laser, while the 'Mech's armor was increased by five tons. This made the CGR-1A5 extremely dangerous at close ranges and gave it a speed comparable to most 'Mechs in the heavy weight class, while carrying armor on par with other eighty-ton 'Mechs. BV (1.0) = 1,128, BV (2.0) = 1,458
- A Combine-LAW attempt to make the Charger more effective at long ranges, the 1A9 used a reduced 320-rated engine, lowering its top speed to 64.8 km/h, and its arsenal was overhauled. All of the smaller lasers (except for the head mounted one) were replaced with medium lasers and a single LRM-20 launcher was mounted in the right torso, with two tons of reloads carried in the left torso. To make up for the lost mobility, four jump jets were also installed, two in each leg, to allow the Charger to jump up to one hundred and twenty meters. This variant was fielded in time to surprise the Armed Forces of the Federated Suns during the War of 3039, but in years since the design fell into the hands of the Outworlds Alliance thanks to a legal snafu which gave Ravenna Electronics a production license. BV (1.0) = 1,315, BV (2.0) = 1,397
- An export model sold to the Capellan Confederation as part of the Kapteyn Accords, the CGR-1L was a simple modification of the Charger in an attempt to make it more effective following their disastrous use on Chara in 3023. In place of four and a half tons of armor and all five Small Lasers, the 1L mounts a Large Laser in its right arm and two medium lasers in either side torso. While more prone to overheating and less protected - mounting armor comparable to that of a traditional scout 'Mech - it was better capable of defending itself against other scout 'Mechs, and at the time that was good enough for the desperate warriors of the Capellan Confederation Armed Forces. Since then, the CGR-1L has remained in Capellan service as a training 'Mech and, according to rumor, punishment assignment for dissident soldiers. BV (1.0) = 772, BV (2.0) = 980
- A Periphery modification of the Charger, the 2A2 had one ton of armor removed and its weapons stripped out. In their place, the 2A2 carried a medium laser and five Rocket Launcher 10s. This modification gave the Charger an immense amount of firepower that could be used in one shot or over the course of a battle. With the Charger's role as a heavy scout, the one-shot nature of the Rocket Launchers was not considered much of a hindrance as if they had been placed on a dedicated assault 'Mech. BV (1.0) = 944, BV (2.0) = 1,109
- Draconis Combine's 3K was an upgrade of the 1A9 that used an uprated XL engine to raise the Charger's top speed back to 86.4 km/h. The head-mounted small laser was removed, the medium lasers were swapped out for Medium Pulse Lasers, and the LRM-20 launcher was mated with an Artemis IV fire control system to improve accuracy. The addition of a fifth jump jet mounted in the rear torso gave the 'Mech a jumping distance of up to one hundred and fifty meters. This variant was confirmed to have been deployed on An Ting in the War of 3039 and may have been what Davion forces initially dubbed the Charger II; however, descriptions of the Charger II suggest that it was more likely a LRM-equipped variant of the Hatamoto-Chi (presumably the -Kaze). BV (1.0) = 1,485, BV (2.0) = 1,656
- A Jihad-era field refit based on the Combine's CGR-3K, this variant used Triple Strength Myomer and a Sword to create a close-combat 'Mech. To keep the TSM active it used the heat generated from its impressive arsenal: a Light PPC, Snub-Nose PPC, a pair of ER Medium Lasers, and one each of a small laser, ER small laser, and medium laser. Like its progenitor, it could jump 150 meters. The weapons were also more accurate due to the presence of a Targeting Computer. Light Ferro-Fibrous armor protected the chassis. BV (2.0) = 2,092
- An upgrade of the 3K, the Charger C was modified to carry a C3 Slave unit that allowed it to share targeting data with other 'Mechs in its unit. In order to add the slave unit, a medium pulse laser had to be removed from the design. The left over mass went towards extra ammunition for the LRM launcher. BV (1.0) = 1,479, BV (2.0) = 1,592
- The "Kamikaze" variant is produced at a Luthien Armor Works plant on Shimonita that was purchased by the Sapphire Sunset yakuza clan and renamed Sapphire Metals. It has a top speed of 64 km/h, but utilizes improved jump jets that allow it to leap up to 180 meters. It also utilizes Light Ferro-Fibrous armor. It primarily has a long-range armament composed of two Light PPCs and a Heavy PPC. An MML 9 has two tons of ammunition, allowing it to be effective at both short and long range. Should an enemy manage to close, the "Kamikaze" carries a Sword in the shape of a wakizashi. BV (2.0) = 1,781
- A variant of the Charger that took the 1A5 variant to its logical conclusion with new technologies, the SA5 was powered by a 320 rated Light Fusion Engine, giving it a speed of 64.8 km/h, while a MASC system was added allowing the 'Mech to reach speeds of 86.4 km/h in short bursts. The 'Mech was also built on an Endo Steel chassis to save even more weight. The SA5 carried an LB-X Autocannon/20 as its primary weapon. This was backed up by three ER Medium Lasers and two Streak SRM-6 launchers. The 'Mech was protected by fifteen and a half tons of armor. BV (1.0) = 1,613, BV (2.0) = 2,003
- CGR-SB "Challenger"
- This radical modification looks to turn the Charger into a traditional assault 'Mech by reducing the 'Mechs speed to 54 km/h, which allows the use of a smaller engine (incidentally, the commonplace Pitban 240 reactor). The 'Mech is armored with fifteen and a half tons of armor and is armed with four Large Lasers, one in each arm and side torso, and a Medium Laser in its head; twenty-eight heat sinks kept the 'Mech cool. The CGR-SB is fully canonical by virtue of being included in BattleTech Record Sheets Volume Four: Assault 'Mechs, albeit under the name "CGR-SB Charger" and with an introduction year of 2665 like the original Charger. The designation "Challenger" has since been canonized by the Master Unit List, and its introduction date was corrected to 3025. BV (1.0) = 1,330, BV (2.0) = 1,604
According to its backstory as presented in BattleTechnology magazine, issue #0202 (not counted among the canonical sources at this time, and as such apocryphal) the CGR-SB variant, called Challenger by its designers, was devised in 3025 by Stuart Bell, chief Tech of the mercenary unit Hat-in-the-Ring Battalion. The -SB modification concept is remarkable because it is not particularly difficult to apply, using a common and well-known reactor type in the refit and essentially only upgrading the existing weapons so that the Targeting-Tracking System needs not be tampered with.
According to BattleTechnology, the Challenger subtype in turn saw attempts at modification, such as mounting a Donal PPC in the right arm and/or a LRM-15 launcher in the torso. However, these modifications are reportedly quite difficult and tend to overtax the Challenger's Dalban HiRez targeting system.
- This experimental model was a heavily modified CGR-1A, with almost every system given a cutting-edge makeover. The ancient and massive 400-rated engine has been replaced with an XL model. A supercharger combined with MASC gives the 'Mech an astounding top speed. The old weaponry has been replaced with an ER Large Laser and a Medium X-Pulse Laser. Chaff Pods and Laser Anti-Missile Systems supplement Ferro-Fibrous armor, and the 'Mech carries an advanced suite of electronics. BV (2.0) = 2,009
- Charger Storrs
- Used by MechWarrior Timothy Storrs of the Black Widow Battalion since after 3 October 3032, this modified 'Mech seems to be a CGR-SB Challenger with missing components. It has the same armor layout and speed as a CGR-SB, but is missing the large laser from the left torso and three heat sinks. Consequently, the 'Mech as described is eight tons underweight (possibly from combat damage or a botched modification). MechWarrior Storrs appears with no indication that his Charger was modified in the unit's 3031 roster and in a scenario dated 3 October 3032, while the modification is described in a scenario dated 3 March 3033 and referenced again in a scenario dated 28 March 3033; Storr and his Charger are also listed on the Black Widow Training Battalion roster after 3037, though without mentioning a modification. BV (2.0) = ???
- Terry Ford was called "the luckiest MechWarrior alive" in his modified CGR-1A1 "Number Seven", until his luck ran out.
- Jeremiah Rose piloted a CGR-3K Charger during the early battles of his Black Thorns.
- Ty Wu Non of Warrior House Hiritsu piloted a Charger at least since Operation Guerrero.
- Hatamoto-Chi - The HTM (Hatamoto) series of assault BattleMechs created by the Draconis Combine is essentially a redesign of the Charger, with a rebuilt chassis and a weapon load-out based on the Thug. The Hatamoto-Chi was the first variant created, and is considered the standard configuration.
- Cudgel - The Cudgel BattleMech, created on Solaris VII, uses a modified Charger chassis optimized for close-range combat.
- Technical Readout: 3025, p. 106
- MUL online entry for Charger
- Technical Readout: 3039, p. 157
- Technical Readout: 3025 Revised, p. 100
- Technical Readout: 3050 Upgrade, p. 87
- Battlepack: Fourth Succession War, p . 40 "New 'Mechs - CGR-1A5 Charger"
- Master Unit List: Battle Values, p. 78
- Master Unit List: Battle Values, p. 79
- Technical Readout: 3085, p. 191
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Old is the New New, p. 105
- Record Sheets: 3060, p. 202
- Record Sheets: Upgrades, p. 133
- Experimental Technical Readout: Corporations, p. 7
- More Tales of the Black Widow, p. 16
- Main Event
- Binding Force
- Technical Readout: 3039, "First In Centuries", p. 232
- Technical Readout: 3055, "Solaris VII BattleMechs", p. 166
- BattlePack: Fourth Succession War
- Experimental Technical Readout: Corporations
- Master Unit List: Battle Values
- More Tales of the Black Widow
- Record Sheets: 3025/3026
- Record Sheets: 3050
- Record Sheets: 3050 Upgrade (Inner Sphere)
- Record Sheets: 3060
- Record Sheets: 3067
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Old is the New New
- Record Sheets: Upgrades
- Technical Readout: 3025
- Technical Readout: 3039
- Technical Readout: 3050
- Technical Readout: 3050 Revised
- Technical Readout: 3050 Upgrade
- Technical Readout: 3085