Bad ‘Mechs – Charger

courtesy of Eldoniousrex

Gunjin Hataka gently wrapped the headband around his head as he knelt before a single candle and a burning stick of incense. He knew that this could very well be his last day alive, so he savored the sensations as he meditated on the nature of bushido. Of being a warrior.

And also why he was cursed with the regiment’s only remaining Charger

Technically, it was a promotion of sorts. He was now piloting the heaviest ‘Mech in his lance, almost double the weight of his Chu-i’s Phoenix Hawk. A proud Combine design that had served with distinction throughout the Succession Wars and bore the visage of a true samurai.

But Hataka knew the truth. Although his Charger massed 80 tons, it had the same armament as a lowly Locust. Five small lasers meant he must close to perilously short-range combat in order to be even remotely effective, and at that distance, he might as well start punching with his reinforced left arm. And with so little armor protecting him, the odds of closing to that distance was vanishingly small. His new ‘Mech made almost every assignment a suicide mission.

Hataka felt like a warrior of the divine wind about to attack in a war fought many centuries before he was born. Thus, it was only appropriate he honored their memories in a similar tradition. 

After several moments, Hataka bowed low enough so the rising sun on his headband touched the floorboards. Then he stood and walked away confident he would never return.

MW5 Charger

courtesy of PGI

Of all the ‘Mechs SLDF procurement somehow approved, the Charger CGR-1A1 is perhaps its biggest mistake. By the end of the Star League, corruption was so rampant that procurement officers rubber-stamped an assault ‘Mech that had so few weapons it wouldn’t concern most light ‘Mechs if one were to encounter one on the battlefield. The ‘Mech’s massive LTV 400 engine was also so expensive that you could purchase multiple traditional scout ‘Mechs for the price of a single Charger.


And yet, through grift, graft, or grit, Wells Technologies managed to secure funding to produce an assault scout ‘Mech–a battlefield role that never existed until Wells Technologies dreamt it up. Their proposal, the Charger, was an 80-ton ‘Mech equipped with the largest engine available, so large that it actually comprised more than 60% of the ‘Mech’s total weight. Ten tons of armor meant that the Charger was more than adequately protected in its role as a scout, but this left a mere 2.5 tons left for weapons. 

Wells did the best they could, but the end result was still so pathetic that the finished machine was almost immediately ejected from the SLDF after its introduction in the year 2665. A top speed of 86 kph was only barely acceptable for a scout, and five small lasers meant that the Charger was outgunned by nearly every ‘Mech in existence. 

Nobody saw the benefit of an 80-ton scout ‘Mech that couldn’t fight, so every Charger was returned to Wells Technologies en-masse. This resulted in Wells warehousing over a thousand Chargers as the company desperately tried to find a buyer. Lucky for them, the fall of the Star League and the start of the First Succession War brought forth an eager buyer happy to take every Charger Wells had in stock and more.


The Draconis Combine contracted Wells for an exclusive production contract in addition to every ‘Mech they had. Chargers were then distributed throughout the DCMS to fulfill whatever role was required of them, but because of their poor armament, the Charger was most often relegated to anti-insurgency work or garrison duty in low-conflict zones. Oddly enough, this led to numerous Chargers surviving the Succession Wars where many other designs didn’t.

Still, the DCMS wasn’t entirely filled with fools, and this meant that Wells Technologies would frequently receive requests for alternate variants that emphasized firepower over mobility. Most often this meant dropping the 400-rated engine down a few steps and improving the armament by adding a large autocannon. Several variants sold to the Capellan Confederation through the Kapteyn Accords did exactly that, and the Charger gained a reputation as a fearsome assault ‘Mech on the other side of the Inner Sphere.

Back in the Combine, the Charger would eventually serve as the base chassis for the vastly-superior Hatamoto-Chi, a ‘Mech that took the Charger‘s samurai aesthetic and dialed it to an extreme that wouldn’t be matched until well after the Jihad. While developing the Hatamoto-Chi, Luthien Armor Works also used newer technologies to retool the elderly Charger, coming up with the CGR-3K model. This replaced the standard engine with an XL version which added enough room to replace the Charger‘s armament with four medium pulse lasers and an LRM-20 with Artemis IV fire control. It also gained additional mobility thanks to five jump jets. 


As for Wells Technologies, they were less successful than their machine. Although the Charger was ostensibly a Combine ‘Mech and Wells Technologies was under an export restriction, the company sold Chargers on the black market illegally to recoup its costs on several other failed ventures. Combine officials eventually found out and punished Wells with enough lawsuits to push the company into insolvency. Luthien Armor Works then purchased Wells for a steal, ending the centuries-old company in 3027. 

There’s absolutely an argument to be made for the Charger as an ideal melee fighter. Its mass and barrel fist could be employed to devastating effect if a foe were foolish enough to close the distance with a Charger. But few pilots would be foolish enough to close with a Charger after recognizing its distinctive silhouette even after multiple upgrades gave the ‘Mech vastly improved firepower.

The Charger remained in production by Luthien Armor Works until the factory’s destruction during the Jihad. After that, Charger numbers finally dwindled until they eventually disappeared for good.

Consider this Sarna’s Christmas gift to you, dear readers. We’ll have one more news update before the end of the year and then it’s off to 2022.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

Christmas Urbie

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About Sean

Hooked on BattleTech at an early age, Sean honestly can't remember whether it was the cartoon, the serial novels or the short-lived TCG that did him in. Whatever it was, his passion for giant shooty robots never died, so now he writes about the latest and greatest in 'Mech related news.

38 thoughts on “Bad ‘Mechs – Charger

  1. Scott Bier

    “Charger would eventually serve as the base chassis for the vastly-superior Hatamoto-Chi,”
    All of mine in MWO named after Geikko. (Geisha)
    Hatamoto-Chi Yukikazu
    Hatamoto-Chi Kikisora
    Hatamoto-Chi Fumiyuki

    Hatamoto-Chi = Love

  2. Flashfreeze

    As a DM, I found the Charger to be a great way to spook low-weight/early-game teams with the threat of destruction while limiting the actual possibility of such.

    Not that I haven’t ended up punching the occasional overconfident Hunchback driver in the face.

    (I also have no doubt the Charger eventually went extinct, since so many ‘Mechs in the 75-to-85-ton weight class eventually outperformed it. Still, I’d be sad to see it go.)

    1. NomadicChronicler

      You wealthy inner sphere gits. So used to all your toys and options. You wouldn’t last one month beyond the black where a single heavy can dominate a whole world and “inter planetary wars” are fought with up-armoured industrial mechs that are touting welded on weapons platforms with exposed gunners.

      Yes, with it’s current 7.6mil c-bill cost and lack of jump-jets; Charger is a both a bit on the hefty side in terms of up-front expenditure on top of being a very, very specialized tool requiring proper preparation and a deft hand to utilize to it’s full potential but given even a sliver of opportunity, it delivers large results.
      The thing is, here in the darkskies, battles are only one of the crucial parts of a planetary garrison’s existence, more often than not, not being able to keep the hardware operational to 90+% rates and ammo bins full is what kills you.

      A garrison centered upon a mixed lance consisting of a Charger, A Phoenix Hawk or two and an OstScout; backed by some local outriders providing smoke, extended scouting and indirect fire as well as some distraction will reap a significant price from even a well prepared and supplied opfor, let alone your average periphery raiders.

      Also, if any of you poncy lyrian idiots are reading these, please send us another one of your raiding forces will you. We could do with a cash infusion this year again.

  3. Outlaw

    I love the export models with the reduced engine size. 1A5 is always a fun little knife fighter to pull out on an unsuspecting opponent.

  4. Andre

    The Succession War era Cicada deserves an entry in this series. It’s twice as heavy as a Locust, and **over** twice as expensive, but with the same movement profile, armor load, and LESS space for weapons. It has almost zero redeeming qualities over it’s smaller counterpart, with it’s slightly improved charge/melee capabilities and *somewhat* sturdier internal construction small comfort for such a lemon of a Battlemech.

    The Cicada goes beyond mediocre. Considering what you get for the price, its appallingly bad. And that’s true whether you consider BV or C-Bill cost. The only people it would impress are Green PBIs that don’t know any better, or illiterate pirates looking for a way to steal from unarmed farmers.

    1. Samuel Crosbie

      There will always be Chargers out there…somewhere in the black. Just waiting for the right moment…to suck hardcore once again.

    2. Ashalar

      The Cicada is excellent for low threat level moving target practice.

      That and free salvage with easy C-Bills. If you can find a trading partner willing to take a banged-up Cicada of your hands.

  5. Magpie

    Another great article and art, always a pleasure!
    Thank you and Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays!

  6. CoKien

    The Charger is quite a good Mech. It is very effective if it is used as a close assault vehicle, but, of course, it will need some fire support. The Charger is also able to defeat any other Mech of the same era in a 1-on-1 duel (though it might be defeated by the very same Mechs as well). But of course, if someone use a Charger as Sniper, or tries to chase down a Locust by trying to run circles around it, the Mech sucks. Like every other Mech, which is not properly used. If used properly, a Charger wil literally kick ass.

    1. Kantoken

      Did you… did you read the article at all? Every single thing you bring forward is defeated by something in the article. “If used properly” needs to have “and your opponent is an idiot” added to it. The Charger is a bad ‘mech. And there it ends.

      1. CoKien

        Of course, I did, but I still disagree. I am using a Charger 1A1 in almost every BT game in over 10 years, and it is still performing quite well. However, I usually don`t use it to hunt down light Mechs, but to attack slower medium, heavy, and assault Mechs since very few Mechs in the 3025-era can afford to ignore two or more of the Chargers kicks. The Charger is fast enough to close in quickly, and its armor is tough enough to withstand most incoming fire. Even if not, it does not have any ammo, so it is very hard to destroy a Charger completly.

        Furthermore, its firepower is not as bad, as the article, or you yourself, claim (neither a Wolverine, a Trebuchet, a Griffin, a Centurion, a Shadow Hawk, and even Mechs like a Crusader or a Crusader do a lot more than 15 points of damage). Its range is. But since the Charger is supposed to close in and slug it out, that is not a major drawback, in fact.

  7. Vermonster

    Can’t argue with this one. Only way to fix a Charger is to pull the reactor for a less omfy one. And if you are redoing the drive chain the only reason to stick with the Charger is already being tooled up for the chassis. The Hatamoto the ultimate experession of that.
    Mechs that suck… have second the motion for the Cicada. It has the same problem as the Charger, only worse. The only reason to change it is because something completley new would cost to much, but it sucks harder than the Assassin. The worst 3025 mech and it too little to carry enough armour to justify an XL or even light engine price. This is a case of where scrapping the tooling for the chassis makes sense, as 40 tons is a range where dropping five tons makes the same mech for less money.

  8. Leafseason

    You could have also mentioned that the Capellans sometimes assigned their chargers as punishment for unruly MechWarriors

  9. SilentCadence

    There are a….few….ways to keep a Charger fast, and still give it both a mediocrely good punch, while not turning it into a glass cannon. Light 400, 1x LPPC, 1x MML9 w/ 2 tons of ammo (CASE protected), 2x ERML, 2x MXPL, TSM, Endo, and 12 tons of Light FF. Its absolutely brutal against mediums who aren’t expecting the loadout and TSM enhanced fists of fury.

    Although of course, the introtech Challenger rebuild with quad LLs still works quite well as a budget Awesome. Same if you upgrade it to post-Helm with DHS & quad ERLLs.

    Its not quite the lovable-hateable mascot that is the Urbie, but I do try to give it some love on occasion.
    Before immediately forgetting about it.

  10. Madness Divine

    I want to insult the upgraded Charger but whoever put IS medium pulse lasers on it already did that.

  11. CF

    One place the _Charger_ *can* be successful: Urban Combat. Range isn’t that big an issue, and the _Charger_ can quite literally kick the s*** out of a target — gives new meaning to “Curb-Stomp Battle”…. :)

  12. Jeremy M Ward

    The Charger didn’t go extinct. It’s being manufactured in at least two factories, one in DC space and the other in the Outworlds/Raven Alliance. The Civil War era KMZ and the SA5 variants are still being manufactured at the Sapphire Metals complex on Shimonita by Sapphire Metals into the Dark Age. It was a former Luthien Armor Works factory bought by the local Yakuza gang, producing mechs for the DCMS, especially the Ghost Regiments and later anyone else who could buy them..

    Both the KMZ and the SA5 are in use by the DC and eventually multiple factions all the way through the Dark Ages, The remaining 3Ks were converted into yet another sword wielding melee variant called the 3Kr. Meanwhile, the Charger 1A9 from the War of 3039 is being produced by Ravenna Electronics in the Raven Alliance since they had a license to produce it. It carries 4 medium lasers, an LRM-20, 1 small laser, 22 SHS, moves 4/6/4, and has ten tons of armor.

    The original is a physical attack, popgun scout with delusions of grandeur, but the Challenger and later variants make up for how bad the basic Charger is.

  13. Mr. Popo

    I unironically like the Charger both because of the fact it is objectively poorly designed and because it still can be fairly effective, especially for its BV. Remember, it’s cheaper to run a Charger than a Shadow Hawk, and the Charger has the same move profile (minus jump jets) and only a bit less non-melee damage (granted, the Shadow Hawk is able to do the damage at longer ranges). The Charger is at that sweet spot where it’s armored enough that outside a headcap you won’t be taking it out quickly, so if you try to focus it down before it gets into melee then you are ignoring the other mechs that ARE raining fire on you, and if you ignore it you discover that 16 damage kicks are scary. And 5/8 is fast enough that it’ll get into range fairly quickly.

  14. Andre

    I took on some 1A1 Chargers with a bunch of 55 ton 5/8/5’s. Small map but I got massacred when they closed range (and won initive). That said I’d go for pretty much any 5/8/0 mech from TRO3025 1st ed than the 1A1.

    In my BTU (always based from 3015 onwards and before clans) the Charger is a DC mech with a 4/6/0 move profile and an LRM 20, Large Laser, 2 medium lasers, SRM 6. 2 tons LRM ammo, 1 SRM. 14.5 armour & 17 HS’s. Nice unit.

  15. Greatclub

    I’ve done demos with me in a charger and the n00b in a centurion.

    Surprisingly even. Which isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of a mech 30 tons heavier, I admit .

  16. Patrick Coyle

    I have a Succession War-era 7th Sword of Light company that includes a standard Charger (going on the assumption that the skill and political correctness of the pilot was more important than the quality of his machine at that time).

    When I painted it up, I put the Kool-Aid Man’s face on it, as best I could. I like to imagine the pilot joking that it invokes a great spirit who demolished all obstacles before him and brought joy to the liberated masses. If I could figure out an appropriate Japanese kanji equivalent of “Oh Yeah!” I’d paint that on the shoulders.

    1. Flashfreeze

      What you want is “そうそう” which phonetically is “so so” and conveys a meaning of “Oh yeah! That’s right!” but also coincidentally happens to also translate into “funeral rites” as well as “rudeness from being in a hurry” but also “distinguished,” which allows you to go for several layers of puns.

      1. Toastrider

        While I don’t speak the languages, it is my understanding that both Japanese and Chinese excel at those multilevel puns.

  17. Steel Shanks

    Alright, I argued about the Assassin, and the Quickdraw, but you may be right on this one. However, as the Charger-1A1 is terribly hilarious, the Charger-1A5 is a shit kicker, especially in tight urban combat zones. The AC20 and dual SRM6’s, that will cause someone to have a bad day, and if you throw in a Light Engine, you can upgrade a laser to a Large Laser, then upgrade the second to an ER Med Laser. The Large and ER are a good combo at longer ranges, then close in with the AC20-Dual SRM6 combo, it’s brutal… However, this is a niche role, and Chargers basically suck… course with the Draconis Combine being the second crappiest House, ( Cappellan’s are still the worst ) who cares about their Mechs LOL!!! The only thing worse than a Drac or a Capellan is a damned Clanner… I do like the design of PGI’s Charger though, it looks good.

  18. Jackelmandingo

    You take the 3K as a base and swap out the LRM20 w/Art and the Ferro-Fibrous for Endo Steel and add two tons of armor, an LRM10 w/Art, TSM, 4 Small Lasers and a C3 master comp. Move the arm mounted MedPL’s to the side torso’s and match up with Small Lasers. Do the laser TSM heat juggle and pow.
    5/8(10)/5 Charger that can one shot with a 1/6 punch to the head with each arm.
    Also group up with 3 Hatamoto-Hi HTM-C as they come with baked in C3 slaves.
    Now go forth and spread the wisdom of the Dragon, all over your enemies faces.
    With the power of the ‘Sumo Charger’.

    1. George Spelvin


      The Charger isn’t quite so undergunned once you realize the ‘Mech itself is the weapon.

      It’s sooo satisfying when the enemy ignores my “joke’ Charger to concentrate fire on its “serious’ lance mates. Then I get within eight hexes…

      Cobberin’ Time!

  19. Christopher Lyons

    While a locust can tell you what’s on the other side of a hill it’s best defense is doing a recon run at full throttle and hope that if the answer is a heavy lance that speed is enough. A Charger can pop over that same hill. Take fire, call in the artillery and stick around long enough to tell you if you hit anything. I think that’ was it’s intended role. Unfortunately that was something the Star League didn’t need with it’s space superiority. It was something the Houses or Periphery could us however so the Star League bought it to keep it out of their hands and it turned into a scandal.

    It can beat to death anything in 3025 that moves 4/6, which is a lot, and it’s an 8mp zone of control anything faster than it does not want to be in. A Charger may be expensive in c-bills (if anyone will pay you to take it off your hands) buy its BV is cheep. It’s mediocre at worst and in 3025 in the right hands it’s a monster.

    I love the Leio models a bit more though, An AC20 and two SRM 6s is just mean.


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