|Manufacturer||Ford Military Limited|
|Mech type||Inner Sphere BattleMech|
|Chassis||Chariot Type II Endo Steel|
|Communications System||Opus I Ultrabeam|
|Targeting Tracking System||Orion 80|
The Thorn is a light BattleMech which was originally intended to operate as a scout. When the 'Mech first debuted for the Hegemony Armed Forces in the twenty-fifth century, it was with a great deal of hype that unfortunately the Thorn could never truly match. Critics who look at the 'Mech generally see it in one of two ways: as a light 'Mech that is not fast enough for its own good or a light 'Mech that tries to do a job only a heavier 'Mech should. Looking at the Thorn with neither bias, it is easy to see where these two viewpoints come from. The Thorn is too slow to function in the traditional light 'Mech role of scouting and it does not have the armor or staying power of heavier machines. Facing competition from the Locust it was only when Ford Military Limited decided in 2549 to rebuild the Thorn with the very latest in technology, including the first-ever use of an Endo Steel chassis and Cellular Ammunition Storage Equipment, that the HAF renewed their interest. Once in service the Thorn found its niche as a light 'Mech hunter and infantry support platform. As supporters quickly pointed out the Thorn was ton-for-ton superior to most other light 'Mechs in terms of combat power and could reduce an opponent of similar weight to scrap in minutes. This aspect made it very popular for light 'Mech companies expecting heavy fighting and infantry in need of fire support.
The Thorn continued to serve following the creation of the Star League Defense Force and often fought alongside the likes of similar designs such as Hoplites and Hussars. Unfortunately the reliance on advanced technology doomed the Thorn when the Star League dissolved and the Succession Wars began. With the orbital manufacturing centers necessary for Endo Steel production destroyed by the time of the Second Succession War, it became impossible to maintain what Thorns the Great Houses inherited in their original condition. Ford Military was forced to produce the original downgraded version in an attempt to keep the line going, but sporadic production barely kept it alive and by the time the Succession Wars were over the original Thorn could only be found in service to the Com Guards.
When ComStar decided to supply the Draconis Combine as part of Operation Rosebud the Thorn was among those Star League-era 'Mechs gifted to the DCMS, albeit with all of its advanced technology stripped out. That this necessitate the quite radical approach of rebuilding the 'Mech from the ground-up with a standard chassis only highlighted the lengths ComStar would go to in order to maintain its monopoly on lostech. When the Clans invaded it was discovered they had also maintained the Thorn in large numbers, although most were still stored in Brian Caches and reserved for use by solahma troops. The invasion also forced ComStar to begin a hasty rearmament program that included the development of a new variant, the THE-N1. Following the ComStar Schism the Word of Blake was able to seize Terra for themselves and direct the Thorn production line to equip their own military forces for the coming Jihad.
Weapons and Equipment
The Thorn carries a weapons array that is not usually seen on light 'Mechs: a Zeus-5 LRM launcher mounted in the right arm with one ton of reloads in the right torso, paired with two Hellion Spitfire Medium Lasers split between the head and left arm. The long reach the LRM launcher provides is necessary since the Thorn lacks the speed to catch faster light 'Mechs, although it is easily damaged in hand-to-hand combat. In particular if the reload system is damaged missiles will become lodged in the upper arm, a most dangerous situation. Luckily the launcher can be easily replaced in a few hours. Indeed the entire 'Mech is noted for its ease of maintenance, a factor in ComStar's ability to completely rebuild it later on, with techs able to climb into its limbs to effect repairs on the inside.
Four and a half tons of armor provides the Thorn with good protection, especially when mated with CASE to contain any ammunition explosions. The use of an Endo Steel chassis is what allows the Thorn to carry all of this equipment, an alloy twice as strong as standard materials if somewhat bulky. The GM 120 fusion engine gives the Thorn a respectable cruising speed of 65 km/h but the lack of jump jets further compounds its issues with catching other light 'Mechs. Built with the standard number of ten engine-mounted heat sinks the Thorn is regarded as a "cool running" design, although the placement of the head laser right below the cockpit (despite additional cooling systems) makes repeated firings uncomfortable.
- The original pre-Endo Steel model introduced in 2490, the THE-F was replaced with the THE-N model, although during the Succession Wars when the advanced systems of the THE-N were lost sporadic production of this variant was restarted. ComStar used its blueprints to produce the downgraded THE-S factory refit, and save for different sub-system components, both are functionally identical.
- The advanced model employed by the Star League Defense Force Royal Divisions in 2743 changed the role of the 'Mech from a missile to an energy boat, replacing the LRM launcher with an ER Large Laser, retaining one medium laser and downgrading the other to a Small Laser. Dropping the no longer required CASE, the 'Mech also used a MASC system for temporary speed bursts and Double Heat Sinks to vent its increased waste heat output. The THE-Nb mounted an XL Engine to save the weight to mount this extra equipment, at the cost of reduced survivability.  BV (2.0) = 770
- Developed in 3051 on the orders of Precentor Martial Anastasius Focht to try and close the gap between the Clans and Com Guards, the factory refit THE-N1 received its baptism of fire during the Battle of Tukayyid. Having reached a similar conclusion that resulted in the THE-Nb, the CASE was dropped and the standard engine was swapped for an XL Engine to allow the standard weaponry to be stripped for an all energy weapon array: a right arm mounted Kinslaughter H-class ER PPC and a head-mounted Intek Small Laser. This new weapons array, enhanced by double heat sinks, added a level of lethality never seen before on the Thorn. BV (1.0) = 595, BV (2.0) = 656
- A new production variant of the THE-N1 developed by the Word of Blake in 3071, the THE-N2 took its cues from both the THE-N and THE-T variants, swapping the ER-PPC with an MML 7 and the standard small laser for a Diverse Optics ER Small Laser. A two-ton CASE protected ammo bay allowed the THE-N2 to carry both LRM and SRM munitions to make best use of the Multi-Missile Launcher. BV (1.0) = ??, BV (2.0) = 410
- Supplied by ComStar to the Draconis Combine as part of Operation Rosebud in 3035, the THE-S was a downgraded factory refit of the THE-N. Stripping out the advanced Endo Steel chassis and CASE, the use of a heavier standard chassis forced a reduction in the Thorns armor protection by half a ton, most of which was removed from the head and rear torso. The communications system was also changed to a more primitive Olmstead 30, although the Omicron VII targeting-tracking system was similar in capabilities to the Orion 80 it replaced.  BV (1.0) = 445, BV (2.0) = 510
- Technical Readout: 3039, pp. 240-241
- Technical Readout: 3050 Upgrade, pp. 186-187 "Thorn 'Mech Profile"
- Combat Operations, p. 129
- Record Sheets: 3050 Upgrades Unabridged (Clan & Star League), p. 224
- Technical Readout: 2750, pp. 18-19, "Thorn 'Mech Profile"
- Technical Readout: 3025 Revised, pp. 8-9, "Thorn 'Mech Profile"
- Historical: Operation Klondike, p. 159 "SLDF Royal Units - THE-Nb Thorn"
- Record Sheets: Operation Klondike, p. 21
- Combat Operations, p. 135
- Record Sheets: Upgrades, p. 35
- Record Sheets: 3050 Upgrades Unabridged (Clan & Star League), p. 225
- Record Sheets: 3050 Upgrades Unabridged (Clan & Star League), p. 226
- Combat Operations, p. 137
- Record Sheets: 3039, p. 63
- Record Sheets: 3039, p. 64