Wahnsinn und Methode

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Although it is an official BattleTech product, the subject of this article does not meet the current criteria for Canon for the BattleTech universe.
See the article's section on Canonicity for details.

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Wahnsinn und Methode
Product information
Type Novel
Author Michael Diel
Pages 315
Cover artwork Les Dorscheid
Publication information
Publisher Fantasy Productions GmbH
Product code 31001
First published 2004
ISBN-13 978-3890645926
MSRP 9,00 €
Era Star League era
Timeline 2598
3067 (prologue)
Series Classic BattleTech Novels

Wahnsinn und Methode ("Madness and Method"), by Michael Diel, is a German-language BattleTech novel published by FanPro in 2004. It is the first in their line of Classic BattleTech Novels.


The arrival of SLDF troops on a world in the recently conquered RWR in 2598 for training maneuvers threatens to reveal that the local Duke has been building up a secret BattleMech army in preparation for declaring his world independent. Playing on his people's lingering hatred for the Star League he enacts a scheme to incriminate the SLDF troops in war crimes and escalates the situation into a military confrontation, hoping to vanquish them and discredit any discoveries they may have made.


Written in German and exclusively published in that language so far, Wahnsinn und Methode does not technically meet the current criteria for Canon in the BattleTech universe. As an official product published under a valid license, it should be regarded as apocryphal instead.

From the back cover (translated from German)[edit]

The year is 2598. After a series of long and bloody wars, humanity is united under a single banner for the first time in its history as the Star League.
I. Company, 3rd Battalion of the Royal Black Watch BattleMech regiment, a SLDF elite unit and the First Lord's bodyguard under the command of Captain Jonathan MacNamara and his deputy, Lieutenant Matthew Carmichael, is redeployed to Icar in the Rim Worlds Republic. There, they are to carry out combined arms training with the aim of forging the different military branches into one efficient and well-rehearsed entity. But while MacNamara and Carmichael find that they have to cope with substantial internal problems on this assignment, a storm is gathering on the Rim Worlds planet. Is the Star League's fragile military and political equilibrium in jeopardy?

Plot Summary[edit]

Each chapter begins with a newscast item. Initially these come from worlds all over the Inner Sphere and cover a wide range of topics to convey general background information to the reader. As the story proceeds, the news are focused on Icar and show an increasing bias against the Royal Black Watch in the official media amounting to hostile propaganda, while an independent news agency providing a more balanced report is taken out by an "accidental" explosion and later re-appears as an underground pirate media.


On 21 January 3067, Misha Auburn lectures history students at the Nagelring academy on Tharkad about the creation of the Star League by Ian Cameron which was finalized when House Kurita, the last party to sign, finally signed the Treaty of Vega on 15 August 2569 after all other ruling Houses of the Successor States had already done so.

Main plot[edit]

On 14 January 2598, Lt. Carmichael's lance of the elite Royal Black Watch fights a mock battle on Engadin, testing a prototype of the new Longbow design. On the next day, Carmichael learns that one of his lancemates will be swapped out for Annika Kelswa, a Lyran Commonwealth noble, and that their company is to be transferred to Icar for combined-arms maneuvers. It turns out the fighter squadron under Lieutenant Ivanov to accompany them and train with them is the same one with which they had a barfight the previous night.

Meanwhile on Pesht in the Draconis Combine, Warlord Akira Higuchi is one of the four district warlords who are effectively running the Combine while Coordinator Leonard Kurita neglects his duties. With ISF help Higuchi is hatching a plan that he secretly hopes will make him Coordinator. To this end he wants to instigate hostilities along the border and is moving troops into position.

The Royal Black Watch moves to the Icar system on the Lion-class DropShip William Wallace, accompanied by two Leopards (one reported as a Leopard CV at one point). Kelswa realizes that Carmichael seems to dislike her, but despite her best efforts cannot find out why, or how to get on friendlier terms.

On 29 January, a reception is held at the residence of Marcus Benedict, Duke of Icar. The MechWarriors meet the local militia commander, Colonel Christopher Bishop, and his second-in-command, Lieutenant Colonel Mario Lara. A chat about military tactics quickly degrades into an argument about the recent war between the Star League and the Rim Worlds Republic, where neither side heeded the Ares Conventions and atrocities were committed. Lara is hot-tempered and barely controlled; when he is about to lose his temper, the Duke finally steps in and orders him to stand down.

Disagreements and poor performance during training lead to a fist fight between Carmichael and Ivanov on 4 February. Later on the same day, Kelswa invites her lancemates to a dinner in the city center of Athena Magna, the nearby Capital of Icar. In the bar they are beset by armed thugs with a grudge against the Star League and have to shoot their way out, killing two attackers and critically wounding a third. The incident causes frictions between the planetary government and the SLDF troops when Duke Benedict seizes the chance to begin a propaganda war against the SLDF.

During training maneuvers on 9 February, a comm tech in a Mobile HQ taps into a live report from a large demonstration against the SLDF presence and sees how a Black Knight and a Rifleman in Royal Black Watch colors attack the demonstrators, causing a massacre. MacNamara tries to contact the Duke, but can only get Lara on the line who wants to arrest him. Armed only with training munitions, the Royal Black Watch prepares to meet with Colonel Bishop while the planetary militia is already attacking their DropShips. The meeting turns out to be a trap, and Captain MacNamara is killed. The William Wallace escapes a militia attack and meets with the Royal Black Watch in the jungle, rearming the troops with live munitions from its stockpiles.

During the following battles, an infantry squad breaks the SLDF aerospace pilots out of prison. The SLDF troops set up in an abandoned mining facility. Carmichael and Kelswa begin an affair. A secret service agent contacts Carmichael, who is now the commanding officer after the death of MacNamara, and hands him a data disk with unpublished footage from the 'Mech attack on the demonstrators. However, it takes Carmichael some time to figure out why the footage would be important: it shows that the insignia on the marauding 'Mechs were only painted, whereas the real Royal Black Watch have physically etched their insignia into the 'Mech armor.

SLDF scouts also detect vehicle convoys moving into a mountainous area that should not contain anything of interest. Following the vehicles, the scouts find a number of hidden Vulture-class DropShips from the Draconis Combine and a large force of BattleMechs that they brought. Duke Benedict launches ever growing numbers of his Kurita-supplied BattleMechs against the entrenched SLDF troops to vanquish them while the public outrage is still strong. Eventually, the SLDF troops seal off a canyon to hold back the militia. Kelswa is captured in the battle.

During the battle at the mining complex on 16 February, Carmichael contacts Lara and manages to convince him of Bishop's duplicity with the previously unpublished camera footage, combined with battle-ROMs of the trap that killed Captain MacNamara and finally the information about the Kurita 'Mechs in the mountains. This starts an uprising in the Icar militia and many units turn against Duke Benedict and Colonel Bishop. In the end, Carmichael and his troops storm the ducal residence where Duke Benedict informs him that he has mined the prison cells. When confronted, Benedict loses his nerve and detonates the charges, killing all prisoners including Kelswa. Carmichael shoots the Duke in response.

Back on Tamar, Carmichael (promoted to Captain since) meets Annika Kelswa's father, Duke Frederick Kelswa. The old man is devastated over the loss of his daughter and blames it on Carmichael, berating and rudely dismissing him. Later, Carmichael meets Annika's brother Peter who apologizes for his father's behavior, explaining that Annika and her father had a falling-out and that the Duke was going to make peace with his daughter when she returned from the assignment, making her death all the more tragic.

On 30 February, warlord Higuchi is informed by his ISF contact (Tetsuo Yatomo) that the plan has failed with unacceptable losses. All of the blame is laid at his feet, and Higuchi is given 24 hours to arrange his seppuku.


  • Matthew "Matt" Carmichael: A Highlander pilot with the Royal Black Watch. Initially a Lieutenant in command of a lance, he commands the unit after Captain MacNamara's death and is promoted to Captain afterwards. His father would have been rich from a find of mineral resources, but a local noble took the riches for himself, making Carmichael distrustful of nobles.
  • Carlos Estevez: A Rifleman pilot in Carmichael's lance
  • Gregor Hoffmann: Piloting a prototype Longbow (-7Q configuration) and noted for excellent marksman skills, Hoffmann is heavily wounded in combat, losing his left arm. It is implied that he died of his injuries.
  • Alexej Ivanov: Hothead fighter pilot and commander of a squadron consisting of two Stuka, Lucifer and Sparrowhawk each. Dislikes MechWarriors to the point of disobeying orders during training and gets into fist fights with Carmichael at least twice.
  • Annika Kelswa: A Lyran noblewoman, daughter of Duke Frederick Kelswa of Tamar, and also a Terran Hegemony citizen owing to her birth in transit in the New Earth system. Pilots a brand-new Zeus with a PPC instead of an Autocannon/5 in the right arm. Kept as a hostage by Duke Benedict after being captured in battle, she is killed when Benedict detonates the charges in the prison cells.
  • Jonathan MacNamara: Company commander, pilots a Black Knight. He tries to reason with Colonel Bishop and is killed when Bishop's militia forces ambush him.

Featured places[edit]

Featured units[edit]

Featured BattleTech[edit]



Aerospace Fighters[edit]




  • The cover art was re-used from the Living Legends RPG adventure published in 1995. The same artwork was also used by FanPro in 1997 for the cover of their German-only publication Geschichte der Inneren Sphäre ("History of the Inner Sphere").
  • As a SLDF Royal unit, the protagonists' unit would have had access to "Royal" BattleMech variants, although the novel's author could not have known that as the Technical Readout: 3075, which introduced the Royals concept, was published four years after the novel. Within the text, no specific variants are mentioned so Royal 'Mech variants are not technically ruled out from the designs featuring in the book.
  • A newscast from Galax dated 4 January 2598 announces that Hollis Incorporated first presented its newly developed Artemis IV system on that day as a prototype.
  • A newscast from Robinson dated 4 February 2598 announces that Kong Interstellar first presented the plans for its newly developed Ostscout on that day.
  • The novel features minor appearances by two characters on the sidelines who would become recurring characters in Diel's later novels: David Gibbs, the secret service captain who provides vital information to the Black Watch regiment, is the main character of the novel Über dem Gesetz and Tetsu Yatomo, Warlord Higuchi's ISF contact, is a main character in En Passant. Similarly, Captain Carmichael, a main character in Wahnsinn und Methode, makes a cameo appearance in En Passant.
  • Annika Kelswa pilots a Zeus BattleMech. This is a continuity error as the Zeus only debuted in 2787 according to the official Master Unit List.