Although one of the larger and more successful mercenary units from the late Succession Wars era, with a track record showing them to be very competent overall, they were known primarily for their hatred against the legendary Wolf's Dragoons. Pursuing their one-sided vendetta would cause them several embarrassing (and costly) defeats and diminished the unit's reputation.
A shell of its former self, the depleted unit under the geriatric Wayne Waco sparked an uprising of Temptown mercenaries on Outreach in October 3067 (the Scouring of Outreach) and thereby got a measure of revenge against the Dragoons including the death of Jaime Wolf, but also perished in the act.
- 1 History
- 2 Unit Notes
- 3 Officers
- 4 Tactics
- 5 Composition History
- 6 Color Scheme
- 7 Uniform and Rank Insignia Gallery
- 8 Rules
- 9 References
- 10 Bibliography
Accepting their first major contract with, ironically, the Capellan Confederation, they saw heavy combat against Wolf's Dragoons (then in the employ of the Federated Suns) on New Aragon in 3008. The Dragoons' Zeta Battalion smashed through the Rangers' light 'Mechs, resulting in the death of John Waco, Wayne Waco's son. Apparently, a Dragoon Stalker inadvertently crushed underfoot the younger Waco after his Wasp was destroyed.
Wayne Waco and his officers promptly declared vengeance against the Dragoons, He instituted what he called "Death Oath" against the Dragoons, requiring all unit members to swear to kill any Dragoon his forces captured, despite a ComStar investigation clearing the Dragoons of intentional wrongdoing in John Waco's death. Afterward, the Waco Rangers refused employment with any Successor State that also employed the Dragoons. Despite this one-sided feud, the Dragoons and their commander, Jaime Wolf, seemed barely aware of the Rangers' grievance and never quite took it seriously. Indeed, some of the Dragoons would eventually nickname them the "Wacko Rangers".
In 3011, the Waco Rangers conducted a successful hit-and-run campaign against the 42nd Avalon Hussars on Thomas. With salvage from this operation, the unit could expand to two battalions. Later that same year, Waco learned that House Liao had hired Wolf's Dragoons without informing his unit ahead of time as specified in the Rangers' contract (apparently a renegotiated or amended contract as the original contract predated John Waco's death and the Death Oath). The Rangers not only left the Confederation, they raided supply warehouses on Korion, expanding further.
In 3014, the unit signed with the Draconis Combine, and was sent to the Davion border to conduct a series of raids. This included a successful attack on Mara, where they were able to damage the Third Ceti Hussars, seizing significant salvage. They would continue raiding worlds as a cohesive unit through 3018 with great success, each time retreating before reinforcements could be brought to bear.
In 3021, while on New Wessex, the Rangers learned that the Black Widow Company of Wolf's Dragoons was on planet, on a raid in service to the Lyran Commonwealth. The Black Widows were harassing the 20th Draconis Regiment, who was unwisely trying to hunt the Dragoons down in single lances. Waco interceded against the Draconis commanding officer's objections, correctly deducing the location of the Widows' DropShip. They were too late, however, and the two forces exchanged only brief fire before the Dragoons escaped.
In 3023, the Draconis Combine honored its contract with the Rangers by reporting it was hiring the Dragoons. The Rangers then signed on with the Lyran Commonwealth, and in 3024 they tangled with the Dragoons again, this time on Hyperion. Expecting to find only a battalion of the Dragoons, they instead faced two whole regiments and were forced to retreat. They were successful in destroying a number of Dragoon 'Mechs, however. Following this encounter, the Rangers continued to conduct their raids on the Combine with great success. One of these raids was on Altais, also in 3024, where the Rangers regiment faced elements of the 5th Sword of Light, namely Sorenson's Sabres, and the Altais Militia. The Rangers took heavy damage during this raid but were left with little booty when the retreating defenders destroyed a site designated Depot 23 with demolition charges rather than have it fall into the Rangers' hands.
By 3025, the Rangers were in service to the Federated Suns, based on the world of Mentasta. At the time they were a medium regiment rated at "regular" skill level, and had their own infantry, armor, aerospace fighter and DropShip support; their contract was slated to expire in 3026.
(A full write-up of the unit, also as of ca. 3025, is found in the Mercenary's Handbook, but the impression is given that they are still in House Steiner employ at that point. This suggests they went to serve House Davion later in that year, or were possibly loaned to House Davion on the background of the fledgling FedCom alliance.)
Lyran Commonwealth: Second Time
In August 3028 the Lyran Commonwealth launched Operation GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG, the major Commonwealth offensive of the Fourth Succession War; the Rangers were deployed from their garrison on Bessarabia to assault the Combine world of Hyperion. The defenders on Hyperion - the Ninth Rasalhague Regulars - were of questionable loyalty, and didn't put up much of a fight. The Ninth Rasalhague Regulars withdrew to Satalice, where they would face the Rangers again in 3029; following several months of consolidation in the aftermath of GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG the Commonwealth went on the offensive again in the Trellshire and Tamar theaters of operation. While a large part of the Lyran Commonwealth Armed Forces' attention went into trying to win ongoing conflicts on a handful of worlds, seven new planetary assaults were launched. Satalice was one of the worlds attacked, because of the presence of the Ninth Rasalhague Regulars, and the LCAF dropped Hansen's Roughriders and the Waco Rangers on Satalice. The two mercenary commands spent several months maneuvering against the Ninth in a campaign marked by good coordination between the mercenary units and their supporting conventional forces. The culmination of the maneuver campaign came when the two mercenary units caught the Ninth in the rich Mizona Valley; keenly aware of the danger of being surrounded and wiped out, the Ninth abandoned Satalice after a race to their DropShips.
Fighting Snord's Irregulars
In 3032, upon hearing that the Snord's Irregulars mercenary battalion was closely associated with the Dragoons, Waco challenged Cranston Snord and his unit to a battle for a priceless collection of twenty-third century Demmings crystal on the planet Nockatunga in the Free Worlds League. Despite stating that he would only bring his command battalion to the fight, Waco in fact had his entire regiment lying in ambush, outnumbering the Irregulars three to one. The Rangers were outmaneuvered by the Irregulars' tactics, and Waco himself was defeated in battle. Snord spared him more for spite than mercy. The Irregulars left with the crystals.
Free Worlds League
At some unspecified point, Colonel Wayne Waco seems to have retired from regular active service, turning command of the regiment over to Colonel Wayne Rogers. Waco apparently still maintained ownership of the unit, however. As of 3049, the unit was in service to the Free Worlds League, stationed on the planet of Epsilon. Reportedly, they were still a well-respected unit at this time, despite their eccentricity regarding the Dragoons.
At the start of the Clan Invasion, with the revelation that Wolf's Dragoons were originally from Clan Wolf, Wayne Waco tried to form a mercenary coalition to destroy them. His failure to do so only sharpened his anger. Later in 3053, he achieved some measure of satisfaction when he sat as one of the judges on the Mercenary Review Board. The Dragoons were brought up on charges that one of their battalions violated the terms of its contract while in service to the Free Worlds League, and the Board ruled against the Dragoons, suspending Jaime Wolf from active service for one year.
Battle of Coventry
In 3058, the Rangers were employed by the Lyran Alliance, initially to guard Tharkad by Tormano Liao, but Katherine Steiner-Davion sent them as part of the mercenary army against Clan Jade Falcon on Coventry. During the battle, they were forced to fight alongside Wolf's Dragoons' Delta Regiment, despite repeated protests from Wayne Rogers. Deeply suspicious of the situation and the Dragoons, the Rangers ignored both the battle plan and recon information provided by Caradoc Trevena of the Tenth Skye Rangers. As a result, they were routed by the Falcons and had to suffer the indignity of being rescued by the Dragoons. The Crazy Eights, another mercenary team who was associated with the Rangers, also was mostly destroyed in this action. Barely two companies, and some of the Crazy Eights, managed to escape the fight, and ironically, their retreat was only possible thanks to assistance from Trevena unit's and Wolf's Dragoons. Colonel Rogers was captured in the fighting.
After the battle, less than a company was still combat effective. It took several weeks to repair and reorganize a demi-battalion of Rangers, which played only a minimal part in the rest of the battle.
Afterward, Wayne Waco resumed command despite his advanced age, and brought charges against the Dragoons and all others involved, blaming them for the entire matter. The MRBC dismissed these charges as groundless. As a result of major defections following these events, the unit was reduced to a single BattleMech company, with only a lance of aerospace fighter support.
By 3067, the unit's fortunes had apparently still not turned for the better. At this point the Waco Rangers were just one more down-on-their-luck mercenary unit squatting in the desolate TempTown of Harlech, capital of the Dragoons' homeworld of Outreach and the new Mercenary's Star. The Word of Blake secretly provided the hateful geriatric Wayne Waco with funds and equipment in preparation for a strike against Wolf's Dragoons on Outreach, seeing how the Allied Mercenary Command formed by the Dragoons was building opposition to the Word of Blake in the Chaos March and elsewhere not as mercenaries but as a political power of their own.
Wayne Waco was something of a loose cannon, however. Shortly before the fateful Fourth Whitting Conference that would trigger the Jihad, Waco, encouraged by the Word of Blake and seeking to inflict severe damage upon the Dragoons and potentially bring about their destruction, initiated the coordinated mercenary sneak attack on the Dragoons at their capital of Harlech known as the Scouring of Outreach, causing tremendous damage and destroying the famed Hiring Hall. The Dragoons later called this battle the First Battle of Harlech. During the fighting, Waco and his BattleMaster managed to engage Jaime Wolf and his Archer in a duel, both officers' lancemates having first fallen. Waco was (unknown to him) successful in killing Wolf, though he himself was also killed and his 'Mech was destroyed in the process. The Dragoons initiated "Condition Feral", which meant all non-Dragoon forces on Outreach were hunted down and terminated with extreme prejudice. Thus, the Waco Rangers were considered destroyed at the dawn of the Jihad.
- As of 3060, the unit still possessed two Overlord DropShips and one JumpShip.
- Despite their less than sterling reputation for much of their history, due primarily to their obsession with Wolf's Dragoons, the Rangers were a highly capable unit well suited to launching deep objective raids against an enemy. They also possessed a legendary technical support group, and were able to expand the size of their unit quickly with their ability to salvage and rebuild enemy 'Mechs.
- Caradoc Trevena mentioned in his journal about the Rangers "I'll grant that Waco's Rangers were a good enough merc outfit, but their current line-up seems to be a motley collection of misfits, clowns and losers unfit for any duty except guarding the latrine, and I'm not sure they could pull that off without shooting themselves in the foot".
- The bad reputation of the Rangers won them several derisive nicknames like "Wako Junkers": "Wacko Rangers", and "Waco Grangers".
|Commanding Officers of Waco Rangers|
|Colonel||Wayne Waco||3007 - 3067|
- Waco's Command Company
- Colonel Wayne Waco
- 1st Battalion (Noble's Assault Battalion)
- Major Paulus Noble
- Noble's HQ Company
- Romy's Assault Company
- 2nd Battalion (Kelly's Support Battalion)
- Major Albright Kelly
- Kelly's HQ Company
- Warren's Medium Company
- 3rd Battalion (Keller's Reserve Battalion)
- Major C.H.G. "Charger" Keller
- Keller's HQ Company
- Yuri's SpecOps Company
The Waco Rangers are mentioned to be in in employ of the AFFS in the House Davion (The Federated Suns) sourcebook. However, the Mercenary Handbook as well as the House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth) sourcebook and the NAIS Atlas Vol. 2 report the Rangers to be in the employ of House Steiner on several occasions. Thus, the Rangers can be considered in LCAF employ during this era.
Waco Rangers (Regiment/Veteran/Reliable)
- CO: Colonel Wayne Waco
Air Rangers (1 Lance/Regular/Questionable)
- Wing Commander: Lieutenant Albert Poulsby
The Waco Rangers employ a scheme of dun yellow with rust red highlights on their machines.
Uniform and Rank Insignia Gallery
During the Coventry fighting, the Waco Rangers may avoid Forced Withdrawal conditions if they roll 7+ on a 2D6. This check is made during the End Phase of every turn after Forced Withdrawal conditions exist. If the roll is below 7 the Forced Withdrawal rules come into effect for the entire track.
- Wolf's Dragoons, p. 127
- Mercenary’s Handbook, p. 84
- Wolf's Dragoons, pp. 13, 127
- Making a Name
- The Battle of Coventry, p. 9
- Mercenary’s Handbook, pp. 84–85
- Mercenary’s Handbook, p. 85
- Sorenson’s Sabres, pp. 62–63
- Succession Wars rulebook, p. 13: "House Davion Order of Battle"
- House Davion (The Federated Suns), p. 134
- House Davion (The Federated Suns), p. 147
- NAIS The Fourth Succession War Military Atlas Volume 1, pp. 44–45: "Operation GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG"
- NAIS The Fourth Succession War Military Atlas Volume 1, p. 51: "Other Early Action"
- NAIS The Fourth Succession War Military Atlas Volume 2, p. 71: "New Invasions"
- Rhonda's Irregulars, p. 8
- 20 Year Update, p. 57: "Free Worlds League Deployment Table"
- Field Manual: Mercenaries, p. 92
- Wolf Pack, ch. 4
- The Battle of Coventry, p. 41
- Operational Turning Points: Falcon Incursion, p. 27
- Tales from the Cracked Canopy: Blind Arrogance, p. 135
- Total Chaos, p. 39
- An Ice-Cold Dish
- Total Chaos, p. 40
- Mercenary's Handbook, p. ??
- Mercenary's Handbook, p. 88: "Unit Roster"
- Mercenary's Handbook, p. 87: Leonard "Mace" McCarthy brief
- House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 116
- House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 80
- House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 81
- Mercenary Handbook, p. 85
- NAIS The Fourth Succession War Military Atlas Vol. 2, p. 65
- Field Manual: Mercenaries, p. 114
- Operational Turning Points: Falcon Incursion, p. 11
- 20 Year Update
- The Battle of Coventry (scenario pack)
- Field Manual: Mercenaries
- House Davion (The Federated Suns)
- An Ice-Cold Dish (in: Shrapnel, Issue 5)
- Malicious Intent (novel)
- Making a Name
- Mercenary's Handbook
- NAIS The Fourth Succession War Military Atlas Volume 1
- NAIS The Fourth Succession War Military Atlas Volume 2
- Operational Turning Points: Falcon Incursion
- Rhonda's Irregulars (scenario pack)
- Sorenson's Sabres (scenario pack)
- The Succession Wars
- Total Chaos
- Wolf Pack (novel)
- Wolf's Dragoons (sourcebook)