Rags to Riches or To the Stars or Bust
The Wolverine was developed as a fast strike BattleMech, one which could take part in missions requiring speed and firepower but too hazardous for lighter recon ’Mechs. Although meeting all the requirments for just such a machine, the Wolverine has since become known for its versatility and is considered a jack of all trades throughout the Inner Sphere. With the same electronics package as the Phoenix Hawk and mobility that allows it to keep up with most medium ’Mechs, the Wolverine is often used for command purposes when working with medium units, in spite of the terrible visibility and cramped cockpit due to the placement of the head-mounted weaponry.
The ‘Mech was introduced in 2575 by Kallon Industries for the newly-formed Star League Defense Force in the lead-up to the Reunification War, where it served with distinction. Afterwards it was approved for use by the Great Houses and became quite common on the battlefields of the Succession Wars after the fall of the Star League. Besides being produced by Kallon’s factories on Nanking and Thermopolis, Free Worlds Defense Industries and Victory Industries later acquired the right to build Wolverines from their plants on Gibson and Marduk respectively. The Free Worlds League was thus the largest user of Wolverines followed thereafter by the Federated Suns-turned-Federated Commonwealth.2 The Fourth Succession War brought about minor changes when the House Davion captured Nanking from the Capellan Confederation but lost Marduk to the Draconis Combine. In the end the exchange was a net gain for Federated Suns thanks to the larger Nanking factory with the Confederation the clear loser. Houses Davion, Marik and Kurita all introduced new variants of the Wolverine which exploited the recent recovery of lostech just prior to the Clan Invasion.
During the Combine-Ghost Bear War House Kurita found itself running short of equipment when they lost Marduk and Al Na’ir to Duke James Sandoval’s surprise attack, although DCMS forces managed to recapture Marduk in mid-3064. Inspired by Vicore Industries’ “Project Phoenix” initiative Victory Industries went about scouring the entire Combine for any old Wolverine chassis in order to perform a complete strip, disassembling those in the worst shape for their parts and apply a modernizing factory refit to the rest. By 3067 this effort had virtually picked the Draconis Combine clean of older Wolverine machines but the new WVR-8K was so well-received it inspired the production of brand-new models. The Federated Suns was similarly inspired by the success of the WVR-8K to perform their own updates on the aging design although the League, themselves still prolific Wolverine users, had yet to institute what turned out in the end to be a long and costly program.
Weapons and Equipment
The Wolverine carries a weapons payload that is both versatile and, at the same time, limited by its ammunition dependencies. The primary weapon on board is a GM Whirlwind Autocannon/5. This weapon, mounted in the right arm along with one ton of ammunition, allows the Wolverine to cause damage to the enemy at respectable ranges. This is backed up for short range work by a Harpoon-6 SRM-6 launcher with one ton of reloads in the left torso and a single Magna Mk II Medium Laser mounted in the head. The laser is the most unique aspect of the Wolverine as it is mounted in a ball turret originally providing a 360° field of fire on early models of the Wolverine. Following the addition of the Harpoon launcher and Tek BattleCom electronics blister, a fire-interrupt circuit had to be added to prevent pilots from shooting their own ’Mech.
Five Northrup 120000 jump jets, with two in either leg and the fifth in the rear torso, improves upon the Wolverine’s relatively fast cruising speed of 54 km/h by allowing it to jump up to 150 meters at a time. Unfortunately the jets are slightly underpowered for this role and must be operated near maximum thrust to achieve their potential, resulting in increased wear and tear on the components. For this reason a number of variants were introduced which simply removed the jump jets.
Nine and a half tons of armor make the Wolverine well-protected and emphasis its survivability when undertaking dangerous reconnaissance missions. Twelve heat sinks also provide adequate heat dissipation even in the event of damage to the fusion engine, further emphasizing the durability of the machine. In its role as a command ’Mech the Wolverine is well equipped with the same Tek BattleCom system with multichannel transceiver/receiver as found on the Phoenix Hawk. Well-shielded in the head blister this set-up allows the Wolverine to provide superior electronic support when leading other ’Mechs or conducting reconnaissance on its own.