compiled overview of the 35ton Hollander 'Mech
, from various BattleTech
novels and game sourcebooks:
Faced with the superior range and firepower
of the Clan
invaders, the Steiner
military wanted a light, fast 'Mech
with superior long-range firepower. Many design firms offered plans featuring LRM racks and PPC
's, but the contract went to Coventry Metal Works
Their design, tagged the BZK-F3 Hollander, eliminated the heat buildup inherent in LRMs by mounting the massive Poland Main Model A Gauss cannon in the 'Mech's right torso. This unorthodox design would provide unprecedented firepower in a light 'Mech, enough to take down other light 'Mechs in one shot.
Intended to engage light and medium 'Mechs at extreme range and eliminate them quickly, the Hollander mounts a single Gauss rifle around which the entire 'Mech is built. The Gauss rifle provides devastating firepower and range, but also poses some inherent design limitations.
The Gauss rifle is so heavy that the designers had to reduce the size of the original power plant to compensate. The final design runs at a maximum speed of 86 kph, which severly limits the 'Mech's ability to pursue other light 'Mechs and makes it difficult to mount an effective retreat if outnumbered or in need of ammunition. Space requirements limited ammo to sixteen shots for the cannon, and weight limitations forced designers to remove a medium laser from the design, so the 'Mech has no backup weapon.
Initial specifications also called for six tons of ferro-fibrous armor, giving the 'Mech very good coverage for its weight. After mounting the Gauss rifle, the designers found that the 'Mech could barely move and the weapon had difficulty tracking. The engineers were forced back to the drawing board again, and had to sacrifice armor coverage on the torso and arms in order to afford full articulation for the Gauss rifle. As a result, the 'Mech has a distinctive profile, as the Gauss rifle appears bigger than the Hollander's chassis.
Even with all these drawbacks, the Hollander remains a marvel of design. Its chassis combines an endo steel internal structure and ferro-fibrous armor, giving maximum protection for minimum weight. The 'Mech's legs are heavily reinforced to provide a stable fire platform for the Gauss rifle, which is fitted with recoil compensators and support hydraulics. The end result is essentially a running cannon, capable of accurate long-range barrages even while moving at top speed.
All of the Hollanders currently produced by Coventry Metal Works are being sent to the Pasig Operations Area along the Jade Falcon front. Units receiving Hollanders include the Seventeenth Skye Rangers stationed on Barcelona and the First Kearney Highlanders on Mogyorod. Commonwealth commanders have high hopes the design will compete favorably with the Jade Falcons' Uller OmniMech.
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