|Manufacturer||Earthwerks Incorporated/Kallon Industries (prototype)|
The Linesman was a Capellan Confederation design project developed at the same time as the Cataphract around 3015. Its aim was to create a BattleMech from proven, domestically produced components that could be maintained and supported with relative ease by the resource-poor Confederation with its ailing industry base.
The concept caused a polarized debate among the scientists and officers involved, until Chancellor Maximilian Liao finally stepped in. Since the Capellan industry would only be able to bring one of the two new designs into full production, he decided in favor of the Cataphract and the Linesman design was shelved after five prototypes had been built.
These five prototypes were given to McCarron's Armored Cavalry for field testing and saw combat action during McCarron's Long March in 3022 and 3023. They served with distinction on Beten Kaitos, and one Earthwerks Incorporated weapons technician named Wassili Cherenkow was subsequently awarded ownership of one that he had piloted in a critical situation after its assigned MechWarrior (pilot) had been taken out. Two of the prototypes were destroyed completely over the course of the fighting, and a third was damaged beyond repair and salvaged for spare parts. The two remaining prototypes were returned to the Earthwerks facility on Tikonov after the Long March campaign. Cherenkow quit his service with Earthwerks in 3027 and reportedly joined Romano Liao's personal guard with his 'Mech.
Before the outbreak of the Fourth Succession War, Earthwerks sold the plans for the Linesman, along with the remaining prototype, to Luthien Armor Works in the Draconis Combine during the tech transfers made possible by the Concord of Kapteyn. The design, known as Nainokami in the Draconis Combine, became the basis for the Combine's Daboku/Mauler design project. (The Daboku was not yet written into the universe when the Linesman was invented.) The outer appearance of the Linesman went essentially unchanged in the process.
When it became apparent that enemy forces could close in on the Linesman to stay below the effective range of its weaponry, the designers considered to exchange the Ceres Arms medium lasers for Sunglow 2S large lasers for better defense at short range. However, this required a speed reduction and came with heat problems and no satisfactory solution could be found. While no change was implemented, these considerations already heralded the weapons layout of the later Daboku and Mauler evolutions of the basic design.
The Linesman (alternatively also called "Linienrichter" in German) has only appeared in apocryphal publications, i.e. in sources that are official BattleTech products yet do not meet the current criteria for Canon.
The German-only book Battletech, Die Welt des 31. Jahrhunderts by Heyne, the publisher of the translated German line of BattleTech novels, mentions the Linesman and its abbreviated background history, but does not provide statistics for the 'Mech.
It is generally held that the Linesman was meant to give 3025-era players a chance to play a contemporary version of the popular Mauler.
- In the translated German BattleTech edition by FanPro, the Mauler was officially named the Nainokami, with the FedCom reporting name Schlagetot (roughly "Mauler" or "Slayer"). When Ulisses Spiele took over the German BattleTech license in 2011 they abandoned FanPro's practice of translating official designations, and instead used the original english names for all units.