Hansen's Roughriders

Hansen's Roughriders
Formed ca. 3014
Previous Designation(s) 12th Atrean Dragoons
Affiliation Mercenary
Parent Command Independent
Sub-Command(s) The Old Guard

Hansen's Roughriders (occasionally misspelled as Hanson's Roughriders) were a line regiment once, then became a famous mercenary regiment of heavy troops. They have a good reputation for reliability despite their somewhat rowdy image, and are renowned for being always in the thick of the battle with their heavy fighting machines.



Federated Suns line regiment[edit]

The Roughriders' regimental identity was born as early as 2961, when they were a Federated Suns line BattleMech regiment under Colonel Ludwig Hansen. Fearing that they might (unjustly) be caught up in purges of units with questionable loyalty, they fled the Federated Suns for Lyran space in that year.[1][2]

Free Worlds League line regiment[edit]

They did not enter Lyran service, however, but moved into the Free Worlds League instead and joined the 12th Atrean Dragoons, a unit led by Ludwig Hansen's distant relative Major-General Gerhardt Hansen.[3]

In 3014 the 12th Atrean Dragoons, then rated a veteran regiment under Colonel Francis Ferdinand with several companies of heavy 'Mechs, sided with Duke Anton Marik in his uprising against his brother, Captain-General Janos Marik; a small cadre including several senior officers chose not to support the Duke, leaving the unit slightly understrength.[4]

After fighting on McKenna, Semenyih and Matheran, the 12th Atrean Dragoons were included in the attack against Calloway VI in the ill-fated Operation Condor where they were enveloped and worn down by the Fusiliers of Oriente to barely two operational 'Mech companies, and surrendered to loyalist forces in November 3014.[5]

Colonel Ferdinand was last mentioned leading the unit in the hard-fought assault on Matheran against the 11th Atrean Dragoons and later, Smithson's Chinese Bandits; Gerhardt Hansen, grandson of Ludwig Hansen[2] and an influential Marik officer at the time,[6] is otherwise named as the man who led the 12th Atrean Dragoons during the rebellion.[7] This seems to suggest that Hansen succeeded Ferdinand as the unit's commander during that time, no later than November 3014.

Together with elements from the 1st Atrean Dragoons heavy regiment, a similarly frustrated loyalist unit that had been decimated on Sophie's World, and possibly other disenchanted Marik forces, the remnant of the 12th Atrean Dragoons turned their backs on the Free Worlds League after their surrender on Calloway VI.[6] Following a final battle on Ilion V, an abandoned Free Worlds League planet in what was now Lyran Commonwealth space, they went into exile under the command of Gerhardt Hansen and re-formed as the mercenary regiment Hansen's Roughriders.[8] (It remains unclear if they fought Marik or Steiner forces on Ilion V, or possibly among themselves.)

The unit's exact actions and whereabouts until they reappeared as mercenaries in Lyran Commonwealth employ in ca. 3018 are uncertain. Circumstantial evidence suggests their attack on New Olympia (see below) may have occurred during this time: They would have had first-hand up-to-date knowledge about the world and its defenders, and may have raided it for equipment and maybe even additional recruits.


Although it is generally assumed that Hansen's Roughriders immediately went to serve the Lyran Commonwealth as their first mercenary contract, House Steiner officially hired the unit only in ca. 3018 (two years after hiring Miller's Marauders in 3016[9] and seven years prior to 3025[7]). Together with fellow mercenary unit Miller's Marauders, they quickly became media darlings in the Commonwealth as they embodied the archetype of the rowdy but successful mercenary.[9]

The Roughriders became famous for their attack on the heavily fortified League world of New Olympia at some point prior to 3025, where they annihilated two enemy regiments over the course of three weeks of intense fighting before they were forced to retreat.[8] The attack was especially humiliating for the Free Worlds League because New Olympia was the site of one of their major military academies. (It is possible that this operation took place before they went to work for House Steiner, i.e. prior to 3018.)

In 3019, Lyran intelligence learned that the Free Worlds League had sent the elite mercenary unit Wolf's Dragoons against the invaluable BattleMech factories of Hesperus II. The Lyrans rushed reinforcements to Hesperus, including the Roughriders who were held on reserve at the factory perimeter as a last-ditch defense in the ensuing Thirteenth Battle of Hesperus II. The Dragoons made several unsuccessful attacks against a Steiner stronghold along the so-called 'River of Steel' until they finally found a weak point in the Steiner defenses and advanced towards the factories along a river valley. It was the Roughriders who finally stopped the Dragoons' advance within sight of the factories. This marks the Roughriders as one of very few units to ever beat the famous Wolf's Dragoons — more precisely, their respected and feared Black Widow Company subunit — on the battlefield. They had also previously killed the commanding officer of the Seventh Kommando in an ambush during the battle.[10]

In 3024 the Roughriders participated in the recapture of the industry world Sevren from the Draconis Combine.[11][7]

While under contract to House Steiner the Roughriders raided Shiloh at some point prior to 3025.[12]

At an unspecified time between ca. 3020 and 3027,[13] elements from the Free Worlds League including the 33rd Marik Militia and the mercenary unit Seguin's Strikers staged a raid against Solaris VII but were repulsed by stiff Lyran resistance which counted Hansen's Roughriders among the defenders.[14] This battle marked the first combat action of the prototype Patton tank.[15]

Suk II[edit]

By 3025 (and possibly since 3018), the Roughriders were based on Suk II[16] to defend the valuable mining world against frequent raids from the Draconis Combine.

A small Roughrider detachment was sent to the periphery world of Rosetta to retrieve a Star League era weapons cache, namely a stash of valuable lostech Starfire Head-hunter missiles, in late 3028 concurrently with the outbreak of the Fourth Succession War (of which they only learned on the return trip). They gained access to the cache and even found the missiles, but unfortunately could not secure their find before a local environmental phenomenon flooded the entire site with liquid sulfur, denying them the cache's invaluable contents. The Roughriders lost an Atlas on this mission.[17]

Apocryphal Content Starts

The information after this notice comes from apocryphal sources; the canonicity of such information is uncertain.
Please view the reference page for information regarding their canonicity.

An apocryphal scenario (Bitter End: The Defense of Connor's Pass) puts Hansen's Roughriders in a fighting retreat scenario where they sacrificed a short ad hoc company of damaged 'Mechs to the pursuing Black Widow Company in a desperate attempt to buy themselves time to evacuate, after the Roughriders and other unspecified units from Houses Steiner and Davion had suffered a defeat in battle against House Kurita and Wolf's Dragoons. The Roughriders had already suffered casualties in a battle two days prior.

Circumstantial evidence suggests this battle would presumably have taken place on a Davion planet near the Kurita border, where the Roughriders (on loan from House Steiner) were somehow involved in deployment maneuvers in the early stages of Operation GALAHAD 3026.

Apocryphal Content Ends

Fourth Succession War[edit]

In the first attack wave of the Fourth Succession War, the Roughriders were assigned to invade Wheel together with Narhal's Raiders. The defending Tooth of Ymir mercenary command requested a ritualized battle to avoid collateral damage to the civilian infrastructure and the attackers agreed. They defeated the Tooth of Ymir in a battle that was noted to have been fought with skill, compassion and honor.[18]

In the second wave, the Roughriders conquered Hainfeld[19] and in May 3029 they attacked Satalice together with the Waco Rangers in what was noted as one of the most effective invasions of the renewed offensive.[20]

The 3030s[edit]

Apocryphal Content Starts

The information after this notice comes from apocryphal sources; the canonicity of such information is uncertain.
Please view the reference page for information regarding their canonicity.

According to the German FanPro house magazine Wunderwelten, another, smaller mercenary unit (implied to have been Cameron's Legion) garrisoned the Alshaya continent on Suk II while the Roughriders garrisoned the rest of the planet.

The "Drachentrick" role-playing campaign scenario describes how, at some point between the conclusion of the Fourth Succession War in 3030 and the formation of the Free Rasalhague Republic in 3034, Draconis Combine Warlord Ivan Sorenson ordered the Tooth of Ymir mercenaries to stage a raid against Suk II that secretly left the attackers hidden on Alshaya while their DropShips staged a mock retreat. Sorenson then spirited further troops onto the planet until a full scale surprise invasion could be launched with parts of the invasion force already on the planet and poised to strike at the unsuspecting defenders. (The players, taking the role of the newly arrived Cameron's Legion mercenary company, are supposed to uncover and thwart the plan.)[21]

The Roughriders subsequently had a cordial relationship with Cameron's Legion and even undertook joint training maneuvers such as the "Schwarzer Tag" exercise.[22]

Apocryphal Content Ends

In 3035 the Roughriders crossed through the Free Rasalhague Republic to attack the Combine world of Sternwerde where they attacked enemy reinforcements as they arrived, causing massive damage.[23]

Because of their regimental history, they still had a tense relationship with House Davion, though Hanse Davion made peace with the unit following the Fourth Succession War.[1] Under a deal sponsored by Katrina Steiner the Roughriders were eventually posted to garrison duty on Bromhead in the Capellan March of the nascent Federated Commonwealth (the Steiner/Davion alliance), a plum contract with an easy posting and good pay.[1] (Since they "crossed" the Free Rasalhague Republic for their attack on Sternwerde in 3035, suggesting they operated out of Steiner space, their posting to Bromhead apparently occurred after 3035.)

In 3038, while on loan to the Federated Suns and possibly en route to their new posting on Bromhead, the Roughriders were sent to raid Delacruz. The raid was successful, but notable Roughrider member Melinda Carlyle was killed when she pursued a duel with an enemy Panther of Sorenson's Sabres.[24] Her own Panther ("Toothpuller") fell into enemy hands.[25]

War of 3039[edit]

At the onset of the War of 3039 the Roughriders were stationed on Algol, and during the war they became part of the invasion force for Pike IV, jumping off from Lambrecht.[26] The Draconis Combine's counterattack prolonged the campaign on Pike IV and the Roughriders suffered considerable losses at the hands of the 5th Sword of Light regiment. On November 6, 3039, their contract lapsed and they withdrew from the battlefield (with recall orders having been issued to the LCAF forces in October already).[27] As they left, they helped Combine citizen Johnny Tessel salvage a Lyran Thunderbolt and gave him a billet in one of their heavy companies.[28]

Colonel Gerhardt Hansen, who had successfully led the unit since they became mercenaries, was supposed to retire after the war and hand over command of the unit to his son, then-Major Wolfgang Hansen, but because of Wolfgang's perceived poor performance while defending the city of Mercator on Pike IV this was pushed back for five years[2] while Wolfgang underwent a rigorous extra training.[29]

Postwar, in 3040, the Roughriders were stationed on Algol again, apparently rehired by the Federated Commonwealth.[26] They faced nearly two decades of virtual inaction after the war, but Wolfgang Hansen's abilities and attention to detail kept the unit in top form nevertheless.[30]


At some point between the War of 3039 and the Clan Invasion of 3050 the Roughriders (with their recruit Johnny Tessel) embarked on a pirate hunting mission to Venaria.[28]

Apocryphal Content Starts

The information after this notice comes from apocryphal sources; the canonicity of such information is uncertain.
Please view the reference page for information regarding their canonicity.

According to an apocryphal source[31] the Roughriders were contracted for a pirate hunting mission on Venaria from June 1 to July 15, 3044. Although Venaria is deep within Lyran space, this contract was supposedly with the Draconis Combine, though this may be a misreporting. The Roughriders hired external MechWarriors for training for this mission.

Apocryphal Content Ends

Clan Invasion[edit]

By 3050 and through 3054[32] the Roughriders were stationed on Bromhead,[33] far away from the Clan invasion front. It was not until Katherine Steiner-Davion offered them an assignment on the Clan Jade Falcon border during Operation Bulldog in 3059 that they got a chance to fight the Clans, where they performed superbly during several fierce raids.[3][30]

Civil War era[edit]

At the onset of the FedCom Civil War, Wolfgang Hansen met with the commanders of the two AFFC units on Bromhead and declared for Katherine Steiner-Davion, resulting in the withdrawal of the 2nd Davion Guards from the world on 6 November 3062.[34] The assignment on the Jade Falcon border had endeared Katherine Steiner-Davion to the Roughriders, and they fought for her in the war.[3] In early 3064, they were redeployed to Taygeta[35] and in mid-3064 they took and held most of Panpour.[36] They were eventually driven off by the Lexington Combat Group and withdrew to Nunivak on 23 February 3065, but not before inflicting heavy losses on enemy troops, particularly on the Fighting Urukhai and the Albion Military Academy Training Cadre.[3][37] They remained on Nunivak at least until January 3066.[35]

The Bromhead Massacre[edit]

The losses that the Roughriders inflicted on the Fighting Urukhai on Panpour caused a contract dispute between the Fighting Urukhai and the Federated Suns that saw the Fighting Urukhai move out to the Taurian Concordat. Their unannounced and unexpected arrival there was misinterpreted as the vanguard of an invasion and triggered a Taurian attack against the Federated Suns in January 3067 just as the Civil War wound down. In response to this new threat, Duke George Hasek contacted the Roughriders (who faced unemployment with the defeat of Katherine Steiner-Davion) to negotiate a contract.

The 2nd Taurian Lancers attacked Bromhead in August 3067[38] even before the new contract was signed, while the Roughriders' combat assets were in transit; they would not learn of the attack until later.[3] The remaining Roughrider infantry on Bromhead inflicted several embarrassing defeats on the attackers before the incensed Taurians eventually overran the Roughrider base.[3] The Roughriders' dependents, including Colonel Wolfgang Hansen's wife and three youngest children, were killed in what became known as the Bromhead Massacre. (It has been suggested that they may have been mistaken for combatants.)[3][30]

At the time of the Bromhead Massacre, the Roughriders were on Panpour again,[30] apparently a stopover on their move towards their intended posting on Lindsay at the time, as they were already negotiating their upcoming contract with Duke Hasek (even though they had not signed it yet).[39] They learned of the massacre while they were still en route to Lindsay after the contract was signed, and ignoring their contract they charged out against the Pleiades Lancers single-handedly, shattering the unit.[3] (The exact time and place of this engagement is unknown.)

The Bromhead Massacre turned Hansen's Roughriders into a quiet, brooding and bitter entity bent primarily on revenge.[40] Hansen vowed to turn every battlefield into a Taurian mass grave and take no prisoners, and the entire unit followed him.[3] Only the fact that they possessed no JumpShips of their own kept the Roughriders from going on a rampage in the Concordat immediately.[3]

As of 1 October 3067, they were stationed to garrison Midale.[41] In February 3070,[40] Dedrickson's Devils attacked Midale under false colors, pretending to be Taurian Guards; they were soundly defeated when the Roughriders flew into a rage at the sight of the Taurian insignia.[42] Another report[43] claims the Roughriders annihilated the (genuine) Second Taurian Lancers on Midale in February 3070.

War with the Concordat[edit]

Finally, following their near-constant harassment of the AFFS' Capellan March command,[40] the newly appointed commander allowed them to launch their own offensive. The Roughriders landed on Electra in March 3071. However, the campaign was bogged down to low-intensity warfare against Taurian insurgents in the Tamoon Canyon, frustrating the Roughriders while at the same time Taurian pirate media portrayed them as a merciless Death Squad.[40] At one point during the fighting, the Roughriders saturated the site of an ambush with fuel air explosive bombardment from their artillery for several days, then overran the heavily mined Taurian position by sending armored infantry ahead to disable hidden explosives and base caves. The Roughriders captured a large stockpile of ammunition in this way including several Alamo-class nuclear weapons that the Taurians had allegedly prepared to use against them. When the Taurian guerrillas attempted a fighting withdrawal, the Roughriders used several of the nuclear warheads against them. This resulted in a public outcry, but the origin of the nuclear weapons is widely considered a mitigating factor; the Mercenary Review Board reviewed the event but no sanctions against the Roughriders were mentioned.[40]

DMI operatives with the Roughriders claimed the handful of guerrillas who had been taken prisoner at Tamoon Canyon, fearing the enraged Roughriders would summarily kill them. One of the prisoners turned out to be a Word of Blake liaison from whom information was obtained that some prisoners may have been taken at Bromhead and taken to a reeducation camp far away, giving the Roughriders hope that some of their dependents might still live (and casting aside warnings that this may be engineered intelligence to have them follow false leads).[40]

In the second half of 3074 the Roughriders pillaged the Pinard Protectorates Limited factory on MacLeod's Land for two days.[44]

Elements of Hansen's Roughriders were on Brusett when the newly formed 4th Taurian Lancers attempted to conquer the world in January 3075. Despite deploying nuclear weapons against the Brusett spaceport and capital city, the 4th Taurian Lancers were unable to destroy the Roughriders; the Roughriders went on to ambush and destroy the Lancers,[43] leaving Brusett in Federated Suns control.

The Roughriders saw action against the Concordat again a month later, when they were part of a counteroffensive to recapture Hyalite; the Roughriders used fuel-air bombs against the defending Gordon's Armored Cavalry, shattering the Taurian mercenary command, and recaptured the world.[45][46] On the 15th of April 3075 they attacked Amber Grove using both nuclear and conventional weapons seized during the battle for Hyalite, obliterating the local militia as well as Amber Grove's central military headquarters and spaceport facilities. The Roughriders then spent several weeks on Amber Grove destroying any target of significant military or industrial value.[47][48]

The war between Hansen's Roughriders and the Taurian Concordat escalated to a point where nuclear weapons were used not as a last resort, but right from the start.[49] Eventually, the Taurians even sent a WarShip after the Roughriders: On 4 May 3075 the Quixote-class TCS Vendetta bombarded Hyalite from orbit, targeting the planetary military facilities and the HPG compound that had been subverted by the Roughriders. This was the first of several orbital attacks the Vendetta would perform on several worlds as it attempted to destroy the Roughriders.[48][50]

Despite the bombing of Hyalite, the Roughriders were back in action against the Concordat in late July, when the Roughriders subverted the garrison unit of the Taurian world of Perdition, the Longwood's Bluecoats mercenary battalion, before razing the Perdition factory complexes.[48][51] The Bluecoats accepted Colonel Hansen's offer to surrender themselves and merge into the Roughriders.[44]

The Roughriders struck at the Concordat again on the 7th of September, hitting the relatively unimportant[44] system of Grossbach.[48][52]

After hitting Grossbach the Roughriders struck deeper into Concordat space, hitting the world of Sterope. In contrast with previous attacks, they left the factories on Sterope intact, although they did plunder the Sterope Defense Industries facilities.[53][54]

The Roughriders returned to Federated Suns space after the Sterope raid, landing on Warren on 5 April 3076 to resupply.[54][55] The Taurians pursued the Roughriders, with a task force led by the TCS Vendetta arriving in the Warren system on 13 June; the Roughriders retreated to Keuterville, but their retreat didn't stop the Vendetta from bombarding the planetary capital and spaceports on Warren. The Taurians then bombarded Keuterville on 7 July, with the Roughriders retreating again, this time to Firgrove. In the Firgrove system a Federated Suns task force led by the Fox-class New Syrtis managed to intercept the Vendetta before the planet could be attacked, forcing the Taurian vessel to retreat.[56][57]

The Taurian Concordat was unable to catch the Roughriders while the war lasted.[58]

Hansen's Roughriders were ultimately assigned to the invasion of Terra at the end of the Jihad where they were decimated in the nuclear attack on Texas in late 3078. Wolfgang Hansen survived, as did a handful of others. Reduced to a reinforced company, they garrisoned Carmacks afterwards.[59][60]

Republic Era[edit]

As of October 3085 the Roughriders were stationed in the Federated Suns' Glenmora system, at 35% of their nominal strength.[61]

Dark Age[edit]

Conflict on Alkalurops[edit]

In April 3134 a small force of Roughriders were under contract to raid the world of Alkalurops to snatch any BattleMech or IndustrialMech that they encountered. After the mission was completed and the force was recuperating on Galatea, the person that owned the contract used some vague language to change what the contract entailed. Since the wording was there when the contract was originally accepted, they could do nothing but accept it for what it was. The new contract specified that they would now seize and hold the planet of Alkalurops until the end of the extension.[62]

A battalion was sent to claim the world under the command of Major Loren J. Hansen. They were able to quickly take over the planet since they had eliminated whatever defenses the planet had when they conducted their raid. They released control of the planet over to the contract holder, Alfred Santorini, who unleashed his Special Police force on the citizens. When the people of Alkalurops erupted in rebellion against Santorini's harsh rule, the Roughriders along with the Special Police advanced towards the city where the resistance was based. Santorini's forces were utterly destroyed while the Roughriders advanced without casualties. The leader of the resistance, Grace O'Malley, brought forward information about a plot concocted by Santorini which involved him killing the commanding officers of the Roughriders and take control of the rest of the battalion. With this information revealed, the Roughriders teamed up with the citizens to kill Santorini and eliminate the rest of his Special Police.[63]


In the early 3140s the bulk of Hansen's Roughriders were on Galatea; when Galatea was raided in late 3141, the Roughriders' infantry forces were forced into heavy combat to protect the mercenaries' command and control post located in Galatea City. As the raiders tried to reach their target, the Cardinal Transports that the Roughriders had bought in considerable numbers from Clan Sea Fox in previous years came into play; by ferrying the Roughriders' limited infantry forces from conflict to conflict, they increased the effectiveness of the infantry dramatically. One particularly notable Roughriders pilot, Lieutenant Bianca Robertson, and her Cardinal — aptly named the Vomit Comet — performed more than 140 troop deployments as well as engaging and destroying three enemy 'Mechs, including a Hollander II.[64]

To defend Gilroy Crossing, an approach to Galatea City, the Roughriders deployed a company of heavy armor known as the "Old Guard." This company consisted of several Bulwark assault vehicles. They held off two Trinaries of Jade Falcons for several hours before being pushed out of the city. The armored company destroyed nine Falcon 'Mechs, weakening them enough that a Roughrider BattleMech unit was able to drive them out of Gilroy Crossing.[65]

After the Jade Falcons raided Galatea in December 3144, the Roughriders were one of the founding members of the Galatean Force. That organization defends several systems, including Galatea, Syrma, Mizar, and Alcor.[66] The Roughriders formed the core training cadre for the Galatean Defense Force regiments.[67]

Battle of Terra[edit]

The Roughriders played a major part on the Battle of Terra. They had been contracted by the Rpublic of the Sphere to train their militia and green soldiers. They had did a great job, and they had been barely a month in Australia when Clan Wolf landed there, surprising them before they had time to train the locals in anti-clan tactics.[68]

The Roughriders, stationed in Redoubt Sydney, they attacked Alpha Galaxy (Clan Wolf) after making sorties from hidden paths. Wolf saKhan Garner Kerensky wasn't able to penetrate sydney's defenses until day T+3. When the Wolves entered Sydney, the mercenaries withdraw west, towards Blue Mountains, but Epsilon Galaxy (Clan Wolf) forced them to Melbourne. Without them, Redoubt Sydney soon fell. Melbourne followed the same way, and the Roughriders were forced to retreat from Australia. However, The Old Guard had to sacrifice themselves to do so, and they ceased to exist.[69][70]

The mercenaries retreated to Alaska, where they faced Alaric Ward's disembark nearby Anchorage. The Roughriders were thirsty for vengeance for their losses in Australia, and fought viciously, but eventually were forced to retreat. Beta Galaxy (Clan Wolf) trapped them against a cliffs line, and only the intervention of the Gray Gunny Lancers, but Alaric Ward's killing the Lancers' commander forced both groups to board their DropShips and depart.[71]

ilClan Era[edit]

The Roughriders survived to Terra's campaign mauled and weakened, but still active. After they somehow managed to depart Terra, they were among the mercenary units which accepted Julian Davion's offer of land and titles to mercenary units in exchange for military service. The world of Tybalt had been given to the unit as its new home, with Colonel Loren Hansen now recognized as the planet's duke. Seeking to build stronger ties with his neighbors, Duke Hansen approached the First Kearny Highlanders. He negotiated a short-term contract with the storied unit to bolster local defenses while the Roughriders rebuilt from their losses against the Clans.[72]

However, by 3152, the main body of the Roughriders ended up on Robinson, accepting a contract to protect the planet for the Draconis March's temporary Duke, Baroness Colleen Sandoval. The Roughriders were allowed to recruit members from other mercenary units, training and unifying them into a joint force.[73]


Hansen's Roughriders crest ca. 3059

The unit apparently changed their crest from a blue to a dun shield with a different fanged and horned skull device in or just before 3059 for some time, although even in 3059 the old crest was still used on at least some 'Mechs.[74] A variation of the new crest with the old colors — blue instead of dun shield — is depicted on p. 48 of the BattleTech: 25 Years of Art & Fiction tome, going with a story set in 3028. This suggests it may have been the crest of a sub-unit initially. The crest later reverted back to the original blue shield and skull device. (See also Notes below.)

Blue and dun seem to be the Roughriders' colors throughout, both on their crest and on their vehicles. They were said to prefer "dusty brown and dun colors"[1] as color schemes (as of ca. 3059), while in the Dark Age era many of their units sport a blue and white color scheme.

Organization and equipment[edit]

The Roughriders field heavy BattleMech forces usually augmented by heavy aerospace fighters and heavy tanks.[75] Their armor was described to have always been "extremely heavy" (relying on Heavy LRM Carriers, Schiltrons and Alacorns[3] as of 3067, with Patton and Rommel tanks as "lighter" support); when the new Rommel and Patton tank designs were unveiled in 3020 by Defiance Industries, the LCAF put them through serious testing with the Roughriders' tank brigade.[76] Many companies within the Roughriders are composed exclusively of heavy 'Mechs,[8][7] and the unit is generally known for their prowess in and penchant for close range combat.[7][3]

They are explicitly noted for being skilled at coordinating actions with conventional (non-'Mech) units.[20]

As of 3039, Gerhardt Hansen and his son and upcoming unit commander Wolfgang were noted to pilot a pair of Cyclops BattleMechs with functional Tacticon B-2000 Battle Computers.[29]


Rank Name Command
Commanding Officers of the Hansen's Roughriders
Colonel Ludwig Hansen 2961
Colonel Gerhardt Hansen 3014 - 3044[77][32]
Colonel Wolfgang Hansen 3044 - 3085[78]
Colonel Ludwig Hansen V 3134 - 3145[79]
Colonel Loren Hansen By 3151[80]

Other Officers[edit]



Dragoon Ratings[edit]


Dragoon Rating: A


Dragoon Rating: A


Rating: A[79]

Composition History[edit]


Hansen's Roughriders (Regiment/Veteran/Reliable)[77]

  • CO: Colonel Gerhardt Hansen
Note: At this point in time the unit was stationed on Suk II.


Hansen's Roughriders (Regiment/Veteran/Reliable)[85]

Note: At this point in time the command was stationed on Algol.[85]


Hansen's Roughriders (Regiment/Veteran/Questionable)[86]

  • CO: Colonel Wolfgang Hansen[86]
Note: At this point in time the command was stationed on Bromhead.[86]


Hansen’s Roughriders (Regiment/Veteran/Questionable)[87]

  • CO: Colonel Wolfgang Hansen[87]
Note: At this point in time the command was stationed on Bromhead.[87]


Hansen's Roughriders (Regiment/Veteran/Questionable)[78]

  • CO: Colonel Wolfgang Hansen[78]
Note: At this point in time the unit was stationed on Bromhead.[78]


Hansen's Roughriders (1 Regiment/Elite/Questionable)

  • CO: Colonel Wolfgang Hansen
  • 2nd Battalion: Major Andrea Schmidt
  • 3rd Battalion: Major Catalina Fiore

Roughrider Armor Support

  • Armor Commander: Major Eugene Thomas

Roughrider Infantry Support

  • Infantry Commander: Captain Bruce Millis


Hansen's Roughriders (Elite/Reliable)[79]

- As of December 3145 the Roughriders were operating at sixty-five percent of full strength and were based on Galatea.[79]

Associated Spacecraft[edit]

The following named DropShips were associated with the unit:

It stands to reason that the unit must have had access to at least one JumpShip in order to leave the Free Worlds League, but as a mercenary unit Hansen's Roughriders apparently never had their own JumpShip available.


  • Hansen's Roughriders were among the five mercenary units presented in the original BattleTech boardgame (the others being the Eridani Light Horse, Wolf's Dragoons, 21st Centauri Lancers and Lindon's Company), and as such have been part of the BattleTech universe right from the very beginning. As a House Steiner-affiliated unit, their crest (included as a paper marker for playing pieces) matched the House Steiner crest's colors — a white device on a blue background. This was in line with how the other mercenary units were treated: The Eridani Light Horse has a crest matching the Federated Suns' colors, Wolf's Dragoons crest matches the Draconis Combine's colors, and the 21st Centauri Lancers' crest has a purple background like the Free Worlds League crest. No Capellan Confederation-affiliated unit was presented in the rulebook, and Lindon's Company (also affiliated with the Federated Suns) has their colors reversed, a yellow device on a black background.
  • From the onset, Hansen's Roughriders were said to have formed after a failed revolt against Janos Marik[8][7] (who reigned since 2991). By contrast, the 1997 Field Manual: Mercenaries entry for the Roughriders has them form from a disgruntled House Davion regiment in 2961.[1] The 2004 sourcebook Mercenaries Supplemental reconciles these conflicting backgrounds by establishing that the Roughriders were initially a Davion line regiment, then a Marik line regiment (the 12th Atrean Dragoons), and became mercenaries following the Marik Civil War in 3014.[3] (Curiously, in the write-up for this war in the 2006 sourcebook Historical: Brush Wars, the 12th Atrean Dragoons are described to have surrendered on Calloway VI and no mention is made of them turning into a mercenary regiment.)
  • Similarly, the notion that the Roughriders were on Panpour when the Bromhead Massacre occurred caused confusion because they fought on Panpour in 3064/3065 and left in 3065, while the Bromhead Massacre happened in 3067. It has since been confirmed that, at the time of the Bromhead Massacre, the Roughriders happened to be on Panpour again, but presumably only on a stopover while in transit towards their new posting on Lindsay, already negotiating their new contract with Duke Hasek.[39]
  • The undated short story The Race Is Not to the Swift from the 1988 anthology Shrapnel briefly features the Roughriders in a battle with House Marik forces on Solaris VII in what circumstantial evidence strongly suggests was meant to be Willis Crawford's ill-fated attack in 3002 — an anachronism given that the Roughriders only formed as a mercenary unit some 16 years later, and incompatible with the write-up in Mercenaries Supplemental. To clarify the timeline Technical Readout: 3039 referred to the Roughriders fielding a prototype Patton tank in this battle, establishing this battle to have been another Marik attack that took place between the Patton's inception in 3020 and serial production in 3027.[13]
  • In the computer game MechWarrior II - Mercenaries, the player has the option to start his first missions attached to Hansen's Roughriders, under the tutelage of one Roughrider Sergeant Unther (who pilots a Catapult and gives the player radio call signs such as "Rookie" and "Hey you!"). These training missions are set on Venaria and described as a contract for the Draconis Combine, a highly unlikely if not outright impossible setup. It has been speculated that these missions would have been simulated or otherwise training missions. In what appears to be a nod to the computer game, ilClan Recognition Guide #15 canonically confirmed that the Roughriders in fact were on a pirate-hunting mission to Venaria at some point in the 3040s, without specifying their employer.
  • The dun shield crest given for the Roughriders in their writeup in Field Manual: Mercenaries was apparently an error, with the artist unawares of the existing blue crest and going with the description of a fanged and horned skull against a shield. However, it was never corrected and thus remains canonical.

Unit Scheme[edit]

Originally, Hansen's Roughriders preferred a dusty brown and dun color scheme, but adopted appropriate camouflage when necessary.[88] However, they adopted a new color scheme of midnight blue with smoke highlights during the Jihad Era, a color scheme that would continue over their later years.[89]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Field Manual: Mercenaries, p. 59
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Combat Manual: Mercenaries, p. 44
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 Mercenaries Supplemental, p. 37
  4. Historical: Brush Wars, pp. 18, 23
  5. Historical: Brush Wars, pp. 29, 37
  6. 6.0 6.1 Jihad Secrets: The Blake Documents, p. 79
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 MechWarrior: The BattleTech Role Playing Game, p. 117
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 BattleTech 2nd Ed. rulebook, Hansen's Roughrider infobox
  9. 9.0 9.1 House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 80
  10. Wolf's Dragoons, pp. 24–25
  11. House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), pp. 80–81
  12. Technical Readout: 3025, p. 66; Technical Readout: 3039, p. 289
  13. 13.0 13.1 According to the Patton entry in Technical Readout: 3039, p. 80, this particular battle was the first combat action for the Patton prototype during its trials with the Roughriders. The Patton was unveiled in 3020 and entered full production in 3027, suggesting this timeframe for the battle. See also Notes section
  14. The Race Is Not To The Swift
  15. Technical Readout: 3039, p. 80
  16. House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), pp. 116, 172
  17. BattleTech: 25 Years of Art & Fiction, Starfire short story
  18. The Fourth Succession War Military Atlas Volume 1, p. 48
  19. The Fourth Succession War Military Atlas Volume 1, pp. 45, 59
  20. 20.0 20.1 The Fourth Succession War Military Atlas Volume 2, p. 71
  21. Wunderwelten issue #14
  22. Wunderwelten, issue #20
  23. Technical Readout: 3039, p. 68
  24. Technical Readout: 3039, p. 274
  25. Starterbook: Sword and Dragon, p. 45
  26. 26.0 26.1 Historical: War of 3039, p. 141
  27. Historical: War of 3039, p. 86
  28. 28.0 28.1 ilClan Recognition Guide #15, Thunderbolt entry (notable pilot Johnny Tessel)
  29. 29.0 29.1 Technical Readout: 3039, p. 164
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 30.3 Jihad Secrets: The Blake Documents, p. 81
  31. The MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries computer game (training mission)
  32. 32.0 32.1 Objective Raids, p. 15: "Federated Commonwealth Deployment Table"
  33. 20 Year Update, p. 21
  34. FedCom Civil War, p. 30
  35. 35.0 35.1 FedCom Civil War, p. 184
  36. FedCom Civil War, p. 99
  37. FedCom Civil War, pp. 128, 184
  38. Sound and Fury
  39. 39.0 39.1 Judging from this official answer on the BattleTech forum regarding the timeline
  40. 40.0 40.1 40.2 40.3 40.4 40.5 Mercenaries Supplemental Update, p. 65
  41. Field Manual: Updates, p. 183
  42. Mercenaries Supplemental 2, p. 28
  43. 43.0 43.1 Field Manual: Periphery, p. 12
  44. 44.0 44.1 44.2 Masters and Minions: The StarCorps Dossiers, p. 189
  45. Jihad Hot Spots: Terra, p. 14: "Timeline of the Jihad"
  46. Jihad: Final Reckoning, p. 53: "The Jihad in Review"
  47. Jihad Hot Spots: Terra, p. 15: "Timeline of the Jihad"
  48. 48.0 48.1 48.2 48.3 Jihad: Final Reckoning, p. 54: "The Jihad in Review"
  49. Jihad Hot Spots: Terra, p. 13
  50. Jihad Hot Spots: Terra, p. 16: "Timeline of the Jihad"
  51. Jihad Hot Spots: Terra, p. 17: "Timeline of the Jihad"
  52. Jihad Hot Spots: Terra, p. 18: "Timeline of the Jihad"
  53. Jihad Hot Spots: Terra, p. 19: "Timeline of the Jihad"
  54. 54.0 54.1 Jihad: Final Reckoning, p. 55: "The Jihad in Review"
  55. Jihad Hot Spots: Terra, p. 21: "Timeline of the Jihad"
  56. Jihad Hot Spots: Terra, p. 22: "Timeline of the Jihad"
  57. Jihad: Final Reckoning, p. 56: "The Jihad in Review"
  58. Field Manual: 3085, p. 159
  59. Total Chaos, pp. 195, 197
  60. Field Manual: 3085, p. 158
  61. Field Manual: 3085, p. 125: AFFS deployment map; p. 160: deployment table
  62. Patriot's Stand, p. 116
  63. Patriot's Stand, p. 294
  64. Technical Readout: 3145 Mercenaries, p. 18: "Cardinal Transport"
  65. Technical Readout: 3145 Free Worlds League, p. 20
  66. Field Manual: 3145, p. 177
  67. Field Manual: 3145, p. 181
  68. IlClan (sourcebook) p. 22
  69. IlClan (sourcebook) p. 23
  70. Unit Digest: Old Guard (Hansen's Roughriders) p. 84-87
  71. IlClan (sourcebook) p. 47
  72. Shrapnel, Issue 11, - Unit Digest: First Kearny Highlanders
  73. Dominions Divided, pp. 58–59
  74. Field Manual: Mercenaries, dated 3059 in-universe, first displays the new crest in the write-up on p. 59 and describes the shield as dun colored, while a Hansen's Roughrider Pillager in the color plates between pp. 80–81 clearly displays the other, blue crest
  75. House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 80
  76. House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 135
  77. 77.0 77.1 House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 118
  78. 78.0 78.1 78.2 78.3 Field Manual: Mercenaries, p. 107
  79. 79.0 79.1 79.2 79.3 79.4 Field Manual: 3145, p. 182
  80. Shrapnel, Issue 11, - Unit Digest: First Kearney Highlanders
  81. Technical Readout: 3025, p. 66
  82. Technical Readout: 3039, p. 289
  83. Technical Readout: Succession Wars, p. 104
  84. Combat Manual: Mercenaries, p. 106
  85. 85.0 85.1 Historical: War of 3039, p. 141
  86. 86.0 86.1 86.2 20 Year Update, p. 21
  87. 87.0 87.1 87.2 Objective Raids, p. 15
  88. Field Manual: Mercenaries, pg 59.
  89. Mercenaries Supplemental, pg.37