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REAL-WORLD UNIT HISTORY
My name is Paul Emerson and I purchased a copy of the BattleTech box set and McKinnon's Raiders: The Foxes Teeth, in November 1984.  By February 1985, my friends and I were playing BattleTech on the board and truly enjoying it.  Of course, this was all before computer games came to the forefront of the American consciousness, so the novelty of it all was magnificent to us.  Indeed, on my fourteenth birthday, my best friend Jeff and I played a 24-hour straight game, company vs. company, and enjoyed every minute of it; this was approximately eight months after I picked up the game.  I was absolutely addicted, and Jeff wasn't far behind, so we played every chance we were allowed; I had another friend, Aaron, who played a couple times, but I could tell it wasn't his thing.

In 1992, when the Clans first emerged, I began to lose interest in the game because it was no longer balanced, and they didn't have a real story for why these Clans existed.  However, in time, I became used to them and allowed them into my BattleTech experience, though I never really played the game as eagerly as before.  Yet, my love for all things BattleTech remained and I continued to read the novels and study the manuals and readouts, and I found myself lost in a universe always on the brink of universal warfare, any science fiction lover's dream.  However, by the time I returned from Bosnia in 1996 and formed Armageddon Unlimited to play on-line in the MechWarrior III computer game (Zipper Interactive/Hasbro) in 1997, I began to lose interest in the universe altogether, though it was still every bit as strong in me as raising my own family.  Between November of 2001 and the middle of 2004, as I attempted to continue to run AU in various formats, trying new things to keep players interested, especially after I had lived far more than my fair share of life, even my on-line interests began to falter.

Genus Geekus Extraordinarus
Now for a little about me; many of you know me on-line as Kay "The Wolf" Wolf or Redwolf, and I first began this unit off-line in mid-late 1985, close to eight months from the time I purchased my first box set -known now as Second Edition Battle Droids or First Edition BattleTech- of The Game of Armored Combat in the 31st Century, as well as The Foxes Teeth: McKinnon's Raiders game supplement and scenario book.  I remember reading the rulebook -an eggshell white cover with a watermarked Shadow Hawk bracketed with red cross-hairs from inside the cockpit of another 'Mech- from cover to cover four times before I dragged my friends Jeff and Aaron into playing the game with me.  I thought they both enjoyed it, and Jeff and I played again on many subsequent occasions; not so much with Aaron, though.

On my fourteenth birthday, Jeff came over at four in the afternoon and we set up two of the original map sheets, pitting one company of 'Mechs against another, and played for twenty-four hours straight; we took breaks only for the essentials, and so my Mom could almost force-feed us while we played.  Finally, by three-twenty the next afternoon, we were down to two 'Mechs a piece, a battered Crusader and Griffin on my side, and a ripped up Archer and Shadow Hawk on his; out of ammo, out of armor, and out of options, we played out the last of the 'Mechs in physical combat and limited laser fire.  I did win, although I think Jeff allowed me to as a sort of strange birthday present.

About sixteen hours into that game, my imagination went wild as the MechWarrior in my Crusader seemed to be the only character I could roll decently for, the dice for which consistently scored good solid hits, and I named that pilot Lisa Kahl.  She eventually became the mother of Stephanie Kahl Wolf, and David Wolf's wife, and was the very first MechWarrior I would place in my new unit.

I read, in as much detail as possible, starting with my first BattleTech novel, The Sword and The Dagger, and also about all the units available in the original BattleTech. McKinnon's Raiders intrigued me and, to this day, continues to intrigue me, and I have never forgotten the images of 'Mechs and their pilots, a rag tag Merc unit living on the edge.  Once I felt I had a secure enough grasp of the BattleTech universe, a plan formed in my mind about how I wanted my unit to be and what I would do with it.  This was before MechForce: North America was a gleam in anyone's eye, and yet I was dreaming of just that sort of organization to participate in.  Pity that by the time it finally came out, and I did pay to join the first year it was being administered, my family had moved to a location BattleTech-bare, and so my membership was useless.  Regardless, I continued with the design of my mercenary unit, that being my only outlet of imagination at times.

Beginning with Red Death Squadron and Lisa Kahl, who later became Lisa Kahl Digby-Wolf, as the Captain, and Sergeant David Montgomery Wolf helming the unit, I developed the Command, Combat, and Recon Lances, all of the character's names and stories.  However, as the history continued to develop, I felt it necessary to reverse the roles of Captain Kahl and Sergeant Wolf, because I wanted to play that strong male character, and my fascination with Wolves, as the animal, played in my mind very strongly, then.  Captain David Wolf and Lieutenant Lisa Kahl now helmed the unit, with a Sergeant heading up the Recon Lance, but even that would change.

For a fourteen-year-old all of this was pretty elaborate, I'm sure you'll agree, since I had an entire company with names, back-stories, ranks, pay rates, and the logistics of the unit all sewn up, vital statistics written on the cardboard stand-ups that came with the first box set, prior to the miniatures now seen on boards across the world.  I began building the history of this unit, one geek-filled game at a time -I was never a very social person-, as I developed new 'Mechs from the rules in the back of the main book and pitted my company against them, and pitted my company against Jeff and other gamers, and continued to track their statistics, kills, ejections, etc.  Over time, however, those pilots were either killed or replaced, the 'Mechs destroyed and replaced, or even becoming customized from losses and available equipment, and the remaining pilots got better.  I advanced the unit at a natural rate in the real world before I even knew how to do it from the BattleTech statistics or even from my real-world Army experiences.

You could say, and I often comment to those who ask me about my skills with logistics, computers, etc., that BattleTech has been a primary learning influence in my life, has taught me how to deal with those things that require number crunching and logistical acumen.

My friend Jeff obliged me on several occasions to play because he liked giving me a decent trouncing from time-to-time, though I believe the ratio remains roughly 50/50 in our wins.  As we played, the unit continued to grow in story and legend, at least between Jeff and I.  Indeed, before The Rules of Warfare were released, we were already making contracts and working salvage based on the stories written by those who made BattleTech grow into what it was before FASA closed its doors.  Jeff read the same novels I did, the same information I came across, and helped me to understand the new rules as published, and played.  We made up our own DropShips and JumpShips, named them from our experiences and the flare the novels produced in us, and dreamed up a dozen worlds and more before the publishers of BattleTech really began to flesh out the worlds through the House Books.

Those were the days.

Evolution of a Board Game Unit
Since about the middle of 1987, with the loss of information and books due to moving from place-to-place, or because new information came to inhabit the BattleTech mythos, or even to meet my own goals, I've re-engineered the unit over a half-dozen times, until 1997 when I began to put on paper a more solid unit history.  All of my experiences, all the records I made, tracked, and lost through a dozen sourcebooks, including the original Mercenaries Handbook, went into the history.  I retraced battles, contracts, 'Mech by 'Mech, armor by armor, man by man per Platoon, destroyed, salvaged, scarred, you name it, I tracked it.  At one time I had several three-inch binders full of information on three different regiments, and each one packed to overflowing with record sheets, histories, battle logs, and other relevant paperwork.  Unfortunately, all of it was lost before I returned home from the Army in Germany in 1997, and I had to rebuild from scratch.

Of course, the unit I began as Red Death Squadron was begun in 1985 (Real)/3002 (BattleTech), which later grew into Wolf's Cavaliers ('87/'06) when I decided to rebuild in-line with the published sourcebooks and lore I had on BattleTech at the time, which was close to everything published.  For each new commander and/or conflict, the unit was renamed; in '90/'25 from Wolf's Cavaliers to Equal Opportunity Destroyers, in '94/'47 to Shadow Blade, aka Lynx Lancers and, finally, to Armageddon Unlimited in '98/'52, when the unit went live with MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries and MechWarrior 3 on-line.  It has remained Armageddon Unlimited since, it's final incarnation in the BattleTech universe, which I hope to recount in this Field Manual.  (NOTE: Because of my haste in joining MechWarrior Online as Kay Wolf, and my propensity to use the logo, initially, and form the Facebook page for Armageddon Unlimited, the time-line for each element is being regressed a full decade per iteration; Wolf's Cavaliers ('87/2996), Equal Opportunity Destroyers ('94/'37), Shadow Blade/Lynx Lancers ('98/'42), and Armageddon Unlimited (2012/3048).)

Red Death Squadron ceased to be a proper name for the unit in 1987 and was back-engineered to be Equal Opportunity Destroyers, even before it became Wolf's Cavaliers later that same year; EOD was too large to have grown logically during the time-period in which I framed it, so it had to have one stair-step in between to make the history more plausible.  RDS had been designed as a special ops COMPANY only, and so the unit was now too big to represent that and had to be back-engineered.  Mercenary units do not pop up over night, whether in the rules or in any sane person's reality, so I had to provide a way for the unit to have grown from nothing to a Battalion.  I developed the roots of the family that controlled RDS, which is when David Wolf and Lisa Kahl traded places in the rank scheme, and attempted to track and chart how the unit had grown from the time of David's father, Jeremiah Wolf.  With a limited amount of success, still not being old enough to understand all the requirements of logistics or the realism required to evolve the unit properly, Wolf's Cavaliers was eventually born.

Towards the end of my charting, however, the Mercenaries Handbook came into play and I found myself looking at a unit far too large to start, by the rules, so I had to go back even further, to create a real mythos of my own.  So I wrote like a mad dog and became so intrigued by the legend I was creating that before I knew it my 16th summer was shot and it was time to go back to school.  After a fight Jeff and I played, in which Lisa Kahl died, her Crusader leveled to smoking ruins, I found I would have to age David and Jeremiah Wolf quite a bit to set them in their right places to match the history, which placed Jeremiah in the final decades of the Third Succession War, and would allow David to have an heir to the proverbial throne, who turned out to be an heiress instead, just so the unit could have a true natural evolution.

Well, since I liked the writing I was doing with Jeremiah Wolf so much, I rewrote the whole unit history to start off with him and Wolf's Cavaliers, and I tracked contracts for the Cavaliers from the start of the unit's career.  I also had to re-write history a bit to make certain Lisa Kahl Digby-Wolf didn't die in any battle before an heir could be provided to keep the Wolf name intact.

Equal Opportunity Destroyers, with Red Death Squadron now in tow, its previous battles having been fought as part of the overall scheme of life in Wolf's Cavaliers and EOD, and being the progeny of Wolf's Cavaliers, was finally on its way.  I sent my initial TO&E (table of organization and equipment), the opening story and a short history, to Jill Lucas at FASA Corporation to show my interest in the game, to show I was making it happen for me through the BattleTech mythos.  Yeah, I was a real geek back then, perhaps a bit worse than now.  Not sure if that was ever received and, if so, appreciated; not sure she would even remember.  It would have been nice to see the Destroyers in a sourcebook, perhaps even a new edition of The Mercenaries Handbook, even if it were just an honorable mention like so many other units FASA has simply thrown the names out for over the years.

My grades in High School began showing because of my time with BattleTech, so I was made to put the game down for a while to concentrate on my studies; the weekends would be an exception if mom saw improvement in my grades, saw me doing homework, but even then I had to sneak away to read the latest information, the latest 'Mech Magazine articles, or even to re-read them.  I see parallels to myself, now, in my sons; their time on the computer is sacrosanct, and all else is a nuisance.  I remember feeling that way as I was and, now over twenty years later, still am hooked and I will probably always be hooked.

Armageddon Unlimited Online
I began playing the computer games while I was in school for my Associates Degree in Computer-Aided Drafting/Design, with the first MechWarrior computer game.  I've played Crescent Hawks Inception and Revenge, MechWarrior 2, Ghost Bear's Legacy, and Mercenaries in single player prior to going online, starting in 1997, and playing with the Eridani Light Horse, Northwind Highlanders, and Wolf's Dragoons in the various leagues available at that time.

AU went live with MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries and MechWarrior 3 on-line in late September-early October 1997.  I completed the single-player campaigns for MechCommander and MechCommander Gold.  E. Jerome "LightScout/Ranger" Stewart was my first recruit into the unit, though it was more like he recruited me, and we immediately began recruiting others; were it not for his recruiting prowess, we would never have had so many members.  Gary "Spike" Moorhead came during a game later in the day and, with his tactical prowess and knowledge of his machine, bringing an 11:2 kill ratio by the end of the game, we 'hired' him on to be the unit trainer.  The types of talent Jerry and I were able to bring on-board were all extraordinary: web designers, excellent MechWarriors, artists, writers, and good friends, all.  One of the most notable was Lyric "Maverick" Rosatti, a young kid with an excellent mind for organization and skilled as a natural leader.  Amanda "Khira" Hart, a tough-as-nails young woman with excellent fighting skills and natural training abilities that helped whip our MechWarriors into shape, was a second.  And then there was Joe "Panzer-Shrek" Spencer, an ex-Navy guy with a mind for intelligence, skilled as a leader, who obtained information for the unit through research and infiltration, about fighting abilities, equipment loadouts, unit structure, and anything else we needed at the time.  Man, those were the days.

We served many employers and larger mercenary units in many leagues, boasting over 40 warriors fighting for The Registry, on Kali, Heat, Mplayer, for Grand Council and Battle Zone, and being respected before tragedy fell into my life toward the end of 1999.  When the bad times subsided in 2002, Armageddon Unlimited rose again and became a force of over 20 warriors, fighting in The Registry, BattleTech Universe League, The Flaming Sword, Cobra League, and others in MechWarrior 4.  I finished all three campaigns in the MechWarrior IV series, including Black Knight and Mercenaries, and I likewise finished MechCommander 2.  The jump-sniping and dishonorable battlefield conduct, mostly to blame on the type of BS game MW4, even with the Mektek and NBT-HC adjustments, is along with some internal issues for Armageddon Unlimited, and personal issues for me crashed us again by June '02.

With the announcement of MechWarrior: Online, by Piranha Games, Incorporated, on October 23rd, 2011, preparations began in earnest to bring this unit back to life.  On November 4th, 2011, Armageddon Unlimited rose again to meet the challenges of a persistent in-game world and, despite bumps and bruises for both this unit and PGI, the intention is to keep moving forward.


JUMP TO:      Wolf's Cavaliers      Equal Opportunity Destroyers      Armageddon Unlimited      Real World History




DISCLAIMER: BattleTech, MechWarrior, BattleMech, 'Mech, and other associated terms are Publisher and Electronic Copyright © Smith & Tinker.  MechWarrior: Online © Piranha Games Inc. and Smith & Tinker.  MechWarrior Online Logo used with permission (@Garth Erlam).  MechWarrior 4: (et al) is © Cyberlore and Microsoft.  MechWarrior 3: (et al) is © WizKids, Zipper Interactive, Hasbro, and Microsoft.  MechWarrior 2: (et al) is © Activision, FASA Studio, and Microsoft.  No copyright infringement is intended by anything posted on this web site.

Armageddon Unlimited (we are the ONLY originals) started in 1985 as Red Death Squadron, re-designated in '87 as Wolf's Cavaliers, again in '92 as Equal Opportunity Destroyers, once more in '95 as Shadow Blade/Lynx Lancers and, finally, in 1997 as Armageddon Unlimited for MW2: Mercs, MW3, MW4, MW: O and MW: T.  Each new name has been advanced as a result of a new Commanding Officer and/or a new era of BattleTech, the final change being specifically for MechWarrior.  So, you imitators out there claiming Armageddon Unlimited as your name, make sure you hold to a high and honorable standard, or we're comin' for ya.  'Nuff said.

If you have any questions, comments, or complaints about this site, please feel free to contact the Webmonkey.  If you wish to join such an auspicious unit as Armageddon Unlimited, please click here!