compiled overview of the 35ton Panther 'Mech, from various BattleTech novels and game sourcebooks:

Originally designed in 2739 as a fire support vehicle for reconnaissance units, the prototype Panther was first built for the Star League during the closing years of the Cameron dynasty. The Panther has been the Draconis Combine's pre-eminent light 'Mech throughout the Succession Wars. The Combine is the only Successor State that today uses the Panther in any significant numbers. This is because they control the only working Panther factory, located on the temperate world of Alshain.

The Panther was produced on the planets of Jarett and New Oslo, located inside the Free Rasalhague Republic. The Panther had an important part in the development of the FRR's KungsArmé, especially the Husar regiments. But, sadly, both planets have fallen to the Clans. The New Oslo plant was disassembled and the Jarett plant gutted before the Clans took either planet; the production of Panthers has dropped dramatically.

Though there have been many attempts to knock out the factory at Alshain, the fact that it is housed in the bowels of a mountain makes it a tough target. The factory is churning out Panthers for Kurita as quickly as possible, slowed down only by the delay in getting target computers delivered from clear across the Combine.

The Mech's poor performance at the Battle of St. John in 2759 pointed out both a flaw and a strength in the design. The flaw was that the large laser, mounted on the 'Mech's right arm, lacked effective range and power. The strength was the 'Mech's basic hardiness. To improve this battle worthy machine's firepower, Star League engineers replaced the large laser with a PPC.

Its PPC is unusual for a 'Mech of its size. An extraordinary weapon, the Lord's Light PPC combines the fire-power of a standard PPC with the lightness and flexibility of an arm-carried weapon. For close-in work, the Panther carries four SRM tubes with enough ammunition for twenty-five shots. The reliable Telos system is placed in the 'Mech's chest area, which ensures it good protection.

Prior to the Clan invasion, Alshain Weapons had plans in the works to build another factory on Krenice. The Clans' arrival forced Alshain Weapons to step up those plans. Panthers incorporating recovered technology are expected to begin marching off the line at Krenice sometime within the next year.

The availability of Star League technology has given Gorton, Kingsley and Thorpe Enterprises the chance to make a good thing better at its rebuilt factory on Satalice. Though the Panther was already well armed and armored, GK&T Ent. is planning to improve both of the 'Mech's weapon systems and to beef up its defenses. The use of endo steel in the new Panther's internal structure saves enough weight to allow for other changes.

The excellent Lord's Light PPC is replaced in the new Panther by the second-generation, extended-range Lord's Light 2. Field trials have shown no problems with the new system. The reliable Cat's Eyes 5 targeting system has been merged with the Artemis IV fire-control system, greatly improving the accuracy of the Telos-4 SRM launcher. Though the Panther is well armored for a light 'Mech, an occasional lucky shot has detonated missile reloads in the past, making the revamped Panther a perfect candidate for Cellular Ammunition Storage Equipment. Panthers with such equipment are just beginning to reach the most prestigious units.

Pilots discovered early in the Panther's career that it was well-suited to the dirty tactics of city fighting. The nimble 'Mech easily moves through the restricted spaces of a city, while its PPC gives it the chance of disabling all but the heaviest 'Mechs with a few aimed shots. From rooftop ambushes to muggings on dark streets, the Panther has gained quite a reputation. For its urban brawling prowess. Lyran Commonwealth MechWarriors have nicknamed it "the Alley Cat". Even in a city, however, the Panther cannot stand up to a heavy 'Mech such as the Warhammer or Zeus in a head-on engagement. Finding himself in that situation, the Panther pilot must rely on good shooting and the 'Mech's superior mobility to leave the field in one piece.

Kurita first used Panthers in a large-scale offensive action on the planet Quentin during the First Succession War, and the action remains a model for how the Combine employs the 'Mech. Once the Second Legion of Vega was reorganized with Panthers as the mainstay of its light units, it was ordered to assault the agricultural planet Quentin, owned by Duke Davion. Catching Davion's 42nd Avalon Hussars off guard, the Second Legion of Vega mauled them severely. Though the Hussars' 'Mechs were generally heavier and had more firepower, they could not react fast enough to the fleet-footed Panthers firing heavy hits with their PPCS. The Hussars retreated, giving up the only major city and spaceport on Quentin.

The victory on Quentin paled in significance, however, when Minoru Kurita was assassinated on Kentares IV at about the same time. To support his rage against the people of Kentares, Jinjiro Kurita took troops and supplies away from the Second Legion of Vega and sent the unit as reinforcements to the Kentares front. In the meantime, the 42nd Avalon Hussars had been reinforced by units of the Fourth Deneb Light Cavalry.

Suddenly on the defensive, the Panthers of Kurita's Second Legion bore the brunt of the Hussars' counterattack. From prepared positions in and around the city, the Panthers held off an onslaught by Davion Warhammers and Marauders. This delaying action, led by Captain Ted "Red Beard" Henry, created enormous confusion in the Davion advance. His troops' action allowed the safe withdrawal of the Second Legion when it became apparent that there was no hope of reinforcements.

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