Bad ‘Mechs – Wolf Trap

Wolf Trap Bad Mechs

Courtesy of Eldoniousrex

“There’s nothing wrong with it!” Chu-i Yashida Dayu shouted.

“I disagree,” countered Sho-i Todano Malloy. “It bears the mark of our enemy.” 

“The word ‘wolf’ does not belong to House Davion, nor the Lyrans, nor anyone else in the Inner Sphere. Not even the damnable Clans can claim an entire species, let alone its moniker.”

Malloy brushed away his commanding officer’s points. “I shall not dishonor the Dragon by riding into battle in this… filth!”

“It’s not filth!” Exasperation punctuated the Chu-i’s words. “It has the exact same movement profile and armament as the new CN9-D Centurions.”

“I will take a Centurion, then.” 

Dayu rolled his eyes. “As if riding into battle like an ancient Roman soldier is somehow more befitting a samurai.” 

“Yet the Romans at least fought with a similar sense of honor. Not like the Davion dogs and their Wolfhounds.”

The Chu-i raised a finger. “Which is entirely why it is called the Wolf TRAP. It is to trap the very wolves that hound you!” 

“Clever wordplay cannot obscure this ‘Mech’s inspiration, nor can its state-of-the-art design tempt me into dishonor,” the Sho-i steadily replied. “If this ‘Mech is the only one available, I will await the new shipment of Grand Dragons from Luthien.”

“This is not a hovercar rental agency! The Dragon commands its soldiers, and the Dragon requires each of its warriors to wield the most powerful armaments available, regardless of its name or what its cockpit assembly looks like!”

There was silence between the two for a moment. Then, “I will not disobey the Dragon. But neither will I sully my honor.” 

Sho-i Malloy knelt before his commanding officer and drew his wakizashi. 

“What are you doing?” Dayu first asked in disbelief, but soon his expression changed to alarm at what was about to happen in the middle of the ‘Mechbay. “Sho-i! I order you to stop!” 

Heedless of the Chu-i’s words, Malloy plunged the blade into his guts. Thankfully, the Dragon’s healthcare plan had extended coverage for self-inflicted knife wounds incurred during attempts at honorable suicide. Sho-i Malloy’s protest was noted, but upon his return to active duty, the Wolf Trap was still there waiting for him. Malloy’s wakizashi, however, was not returned. 

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Wolf Trap : Bad 'Mechs a Sarna Tale | Battletopia Stories
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Wolf Trap 3050By all technical measures, the Wolf Trap was the absolute pinnacle of Draconis arms manufacturing at the height of the Clan Invasion. It used then-cutting-edge technology such as Endo Steel, extralight engines, and cellular ammunition storage to both save weight and save its pilots to fight the Dragon’s enemies even if the ‘Mech suffered a catastrophic ammo hit. For a 45-ton ‘Mech, the Wolf Trap was fast, heavily armed, and sufficiently armored to take more punishment than most ‘Mechs in the same weight class. It was relatively cheap to build, easy to maintain, and used off-the-shelf components shared with many other common DCMS designs. By all accounts, the Wolf Trap should have been a runaway success for Luthien Armor Works and the Draconis Combine.

And yet, the vast majority of Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery MechWarriors would revile the machine after less than a decade of service. That animosity could be traced back to a single unfortunate design flaw and the natural tendency for militaries--even armies as tightly constrained as the DCMS--to run wild with rumors and hearsay. 

During the Fourth Succession War, the Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery suffered heavy losses at the hands of what was then an entirely new ‘Mech: the Wolfhound. Small, swift, powerfully armed, and heavily armored for a light ‘Mech, the Wolfhound was able to engage Kuritan Panthers and Jenners with impunity, suffering far fewer casualties than its rivals. It wasn’t until the War of 3039 that the Draconis Combine managed to capture a few examples and transport them to Luthien for reverse engineering. Unwilling to outright copy the design, knowing that its soldiers would be loathed to pilot a ‘Mech so heavily associated with the Federated Commonwealth, Luthien Armor Works instead opted to use elements of the Wolfhound‘s design to create the Wolf Trap

Wolf Trap CCG

The resulting ‘Mech bore almost no resemblance to the ‘Mech that spawned it. The Wolf Trap is ten tons heavier, carries a mixed armament of ammunition and energy-based weapons, and has a similar movement profile. The distinctive cockpit is perhaps the only cosmetic resemblance shared.

Had the Wolf Trap been used in its intended role--hunting and destroying the Wolfhound--it probably would have gone down as one of the finest ‘Mechs to ever roll off the assembly lines at Luthien Armor Works. Instead, the Clans invaded, and the Wolf Trap was pressed into service against a vastly superior foe.

Although the Wolf Trap used the best technology the Inner Sphere had to offer at the time, the Clans were simply better in every measurable metric. Key to the Wolf Trap‘s destruction was the Clan ER PPC, which could penetrate the right and left shoulders of the Wolf Trap in a single blow to damage or outright destroy the fragile XL engine found therein. Furthermore, the Wolf Trap stored all of its ammunition in a single bin in the right torso. Although CASE kept the pilot alive, a hit to the ammunition was still consistently catastrophic to the Wolf Trap’s engine, resulting in Clan MechWarriors specifically targeting the Wolf Trap’s right side.

Once reports of the Wolf Trap‘s fragility made it back behind the front lines, rumors abounded that the ‘Mech somehow inherited a cleverly concealed flaw that the Davions deliberately designed to sabotage anyone who tried to copy the Wolfhound. Combined with the true reports of Wolf Traps being slaughtered wholesale in House Kurita’s fight against the Clan Smoke Jaguar and Nova Cat, the Wolf Trap was forever tainted. Originally called the Tora, Luthien Armor Works was forced to rechristen the design to match its FedCom reporting name in order to distance its association with Combine tradition--a move which only further alienated the Wolf Trap from potential pilots.

WFT-2X Wolf Trap

The Wolf Trap debuted in 3051 but quickly found itself a pariah. Even an acceptable showing during the defense of Luthien wasn’t enough to redeem the Wolf Trap in the eyes of DCMS MechWarriors. Despite its innovations, the Wolf Trap could never distance itself enough from both its origins and its combat record, with the DCMS officially ending procurement of the design after just ten years of production.

For those willing to endure the dishonor of sitting in its cockpit, the Wolf Trap was a capable medium ‘Mech--at least, on paper. In the right arm, an Imperator Code Red LB 10-X autocannon built under license and the same one found in the Akuma assault ‘Mech and the Tokugawa heavy tank. In the center torso, the tried and true Shigunga LRM-10. In the left torso, twin medium lasers provided close-in defense. Seven and a half tons of armor matched the Wolfhound, and the Hermes 270 XL engine helped propel the Wolf Trap to a running speed of 97 kph.

It is precisely the same movement and armament as the CN9-D Centurion, although the Wolf Trap was both lighter and cheaper to build than a brand-new Centurion.

Although the Wolf Trap‘s production run was short, so few MechWarriors wanted to pilot the machine that the Draconis Combine had warehouses full of the ‘Mech by the time the Word of Blake launched its deadly Jihad. Desperate for materiel, the DCMS pressed these older ‘Mechs into service and authorized Luthien Armor Works to develop an upgrade package. Produced on the world of Abiy Adi, the WFT-2 replaces the Imperator autocannon with a plasma rifle, the Shigunga LRM launcher with an MML-9, and the two medium lasers with three extended-range medium lasers. Additionally, three light machine guns are linked in a machine gun array, and its heat sinks are upgraded to double models.

Another Jihad-era variant was the WFT-2B, nicknamed the “Bear Trap.” Based on the WFT-2X produced by supervising technician Akihisa Inoue,  the WFT-2B came armed with an Imperator Dragon’s Fire Gauss rifle and two Diverse Optics Type 25PX medium X-pulse lasers. It also upgrades its cooling system to double heat sinks and improves the Wolf Trap‘s protection with eight tons of New Samarkand Royal ferro-fibrous armor.

Wolf Trap 3050U

Wolf Traps also found their way into the Word of Blake. Salvaged WFT-1s were converted to the Word’s WFT-B model, which replaced the LRM-10 with an LRM-5 in order to make room for an improved C3 Computer. An extra half-ton of armor provided slightly more protection. Similarly, older WFT-1s  that couldn’t be upgraded to WFT-2 standards were often given the WTF-C field conversion package, which instead removed one of the medium lasers to fit a C3 slave unit.

The fierce fighting of the Jihad eliminated most of the DCMS’s stores of Wolf Traps. Today, the DCMS fields more capable, fully home-grown designs such as the Avalanche and newer variants of the Panther. These ‘Mechs have no shortage of eager warriors willing to risk their lives in defense of the Combine. A Wolf Trap found today would not only be a relic of a bygone era but more than likely an abandoned ‘Mech, unloved and forgotten by a cruel Inner Sphere.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

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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.

23 thoughts on “Bad ‘Mechs – Wolf Trap

  1. Flashfreeze

    Ah, the Wolf Trap. The Charms candy of the Battletech setting, by which I mean, perfectly serviceable on paper and while under third-party observation, but rejected by everyone in service out of superstition.

    Despite its flaws I have a soft spot for the Wolf Trap. I once had to ‘make do’ with salvage in a campaign decades ago or go Dispossessed, and cobbled together a Wolf Trap/Phoenix Hawk hybrid FrankenMech. That thing served me far longer and far better than it had any right to.

    1. Samuel Crosbie

      So the only flaw is the ammo and xl engine in the torsos? Which are easily penetrated?

      1. Craig

        Yep that’s my big problem with the mech. that being said 6-9 is pretty swift and the Wolftrap makes use of the saved tonnage.

        Unlike the Dragon and the Centurion, at least both lasers face forward!

  2. Steel Shanks

    Give Me a Centurion any day, especially a CN9-AL, painted with a Purple Eagle…

    As for the Wolf Trap, Oof… Ugly as sin, discount Dragon, Kurita crap… Man, You Dracs and yer terrible Mechs… It’s a sad sight on the battlefield. Shares that Right Side weakness, like a certain model of Griffin I know… Wolf Trap deserves to be here for sure…

    Glory to Marik, and the Free Worlds League…

  3. cpip

    After reading they were dumped on the mercenary market, I know I added one to my Merc list.

    I’d love to get a plastic of it.

  4. Taurian Concordat Welcomes All

    I for one like the Wolf Trap for the same reason I like all Draconis Combine ‘mechs: they look excellent when stolen and even better bearing down on their original owners. The Dragon and Jenner in particular steal the show in Davion livery.

  5. James Bixby

    the Grand Dragons Crit seeking little buddy! This beast is undone as much by the DCMS’s “head on” style of fighting as it is any weakness exposed by the clan invasion the whole Inner Sphere was unprepared for. I had to take a few of these as cheap stopgap mechs in a Jihad campaign and they became rockstar cavalry machines completely erasing the Blitzkriegs I wanted to negotiate for.

    seriously, give these puppies a second look if you can

  6. Monte

    I don’t seek them out and that torso tends to result in engine kills on that XL engine but for the time frame and weight it’s not a bad mech by any means.

  7. Steampunk Chef

    That one typographical error up there caused me to confuse it with the Whitworth.
    “Produced on the world of Abiy Adi, the WTF-2…”

  8. Max

    This is one of those write ups where the lore is the “bad” not the mech. (Not griping I enjoy both)

    I’ve had a lot of luck with the wolf trap, used as it should be. I enjoyed the line about it having same weapons as a Centurion model but yeah no those 5 mere tons put it into. A different class when it comes to tanking or front line duty.

    Used as a quick flanker crit seeking (and I’ve found it’s great if not a bit BV pricy for BA stomping) mech. It can shine.

    Also for some reason I really like the look.

    By sheer luck I had to dust my mini off last night for my weekly game night. Served me pretty well as the company vee Hunter. To be fair an lbx and 3 gunnery isn’t a bad combo.

    Love the series as always!

  9. Neurohelmet

    All things with IS XL Engines suffer heavily on tabletop compared to LFEs or Clan XLs, so the reputation at least is deserved.

    1. Plasma3034

      Any IS XL engine designs have the same problem. They’re a death trap by and large unless fully armored before thinking about weapons. You can’t just slap an XL engine in and call it a day.

  10. Eric Karau

    Personally, the design looks good on paper: the whole mess could have been avoided by the Combine if they had GIVEN IT ANOTHER NAME right from the start! So what happens? The Dragon ends up not using a Mech that in many ways could have been a major asset against the Clans! Serendipity!

  11. Z3r0_

    I don’t consider this a bad mech per se, though you could argue it’s not particularly well suited to its stated purpose of countering the Wolfhound. As a trooper mech, it’s serviceable, and frankly knocking it because it can’t stand up to Clan ER PPC fire isn’t really fair, because the Clans were a completely out-of-context problem in 3050. Now, if this was…say…a 3058 mech, designed well after the Clans first showed up, then yeah, I would hold that against this thing, but it’s not.

    Also, DCMS mechwarriors are snooty little shits, aren’t they?

    1. Dwagonzahn

      Frankly, every great house military has their head stuffed somewhere unmentionable until the rare exception emerges to prove otherwise. Part and parcel of being some neo-feudal lord’s attack dogs, and why they were all stuck in that great five-way stalemate for so long. (also, because ComStar, COUGH)

      But seriously; look around the lore long enough and you’ll find even the “good guy” Great Houses among the Lyrans, FWL and Davions have plenty of tyrants and ambitious mad bastards in their ranks. Kurita’s just the easiest one to pick on who doesn’t get rendered toothless for half the original FASA setting (unlike, say, House Liao).

  12. Eric Karau

    The whole Samurai code of Bushido has it’s merits in many ways, but at the same time, it’s rather impractical when it comes to modern warfare: what good is honor to the dead?

    1. Owl

      Better recruitment policy. “Your dad, grandfather, great grandfather, aunt, 2nd cousin twice removed, 3rd aunt from your mother’s side and pet goldfish all died horri…cough…honorably in the service of the Dragon! Don’t let them down! Sign up now!”


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