Compiled overview of the 40 ton Assassin 'Mech, from various BattleTech novels and game sourcebooks:

The purchasing agents for the Star League's military branch seem to have overstepped their authority in the case of the Assassin ASN-21 BattleMech.

A new medium 'Mech was not truely required in 2825, but lobbyists for Maltex Corporation managed somehow to gain several key contracts for it's production. Despite all the politics involved, the Assassin turned out to be an almost usable 'Mech. The Assassin ASN-21 was originally marketed to compete against the Wasp and Stinger 'Mechs. Though heavier than these light 'Mechs, it is still a fast vehicle with full jump capabilities and a ever-so-slightly improved weapon payload. A technical success, the Assassin nonetheless failed to replace the Wasps and Stingers. The military felt loyal to the Wasps and Stingers, and both were much less expensive.

The Assassin's weapon mix consists of three systems that are each fine examples of weaponsmithing on their own, but have little strategical value when grouped together on this 'Mech. The Assassin's weapons are, one Holly LRM-5 Missile Rack, one Holly SRM-2 Missile Rack, and an arm-mounted Martell medium laser. The good point of this mix being that the LRM missile system has a plentiful amount of ammo. Great for hunting down light 'Mechs and bombarding them from long range.

Now, the problems...

The Assassin also has one of the most cramped cockpits in use in the Inner Sphere. In the past two hundred years, the cockpit's cooling system has been overhauled several times, but none of these efforts have been totally successful. The net result is an uncomfortable, sometimes deadly place to sit for any amount of time.

The Holly short-range missile rack has also been problematic. The loading mechanism has a tendency to jam, and this problem has worsened with age. To correct the problem the whole mechanism must be disassembled, a nearly impossible feat in a battlefield situation.

Rather than write off the Assassin entirely the newly re-designed Assassin ASN-23 model uses rediscovered Star League-era technology to give the 'Mech a slightly different role. The pesky SRM rack is removed, creating room for an upgrade to the medium laser to the readily available Magna 400P pulse laser. In addition, these 'Mechs mount the Artemis IV fire-control system to enhance the accuracy and efficiency of the Holly long-range missiles. So configured, the Assassin is once again an asset on some missions.

The Assassin 'Mech made its first battlefield appearance while Houses Marik and Steiner were battling for Rochelle in 2980. The fighting on Rochelle was slow, muddy, and bloody. Tacticians on both sides agreed that the Assassin fared well where other 'Mechs failed due to its seven 100AFVTA model jump jets keeping it flying above obstacles.

After the Assassin's impressive display on Rochelle, House Marik reassigned many of these 'Mechs to garrison duty along their borders. Several Marik lances of crack recon troops consist of nothing but Assassins, though these units are only used in rear area raiding parties.

The mercenary unit called the Amphigean Light Assault Group encountered some difficulties with their Assassins at the battle for Sevren while fighting for House Kurita. In 2990, Assassins from the mercenary unit ducked behind Steiner lines and raided enemy supply bases and rear-area cities for several weeks. Eventually, however, they ran low on ammunition. This left them with only their medium lasers to face the fury of Steiner's Fifteenth Lyran Guard. The Assassins tried to sneak back to Kurita lines, but only two of them made it.

In battles on Saffell, Cylene and Wheel, there are records of Assassins running low on ammunition and falling prey to rear-guard units. In 3021, realizing that the 'Mech needed more laser-based defenses, House Davion began production of the ASN-101 variant. The Assassin ASN-101 is based on the original ASN-21 chassis but it trades off half a ton of armor and two of its seven jump jets in exchange for three Small Lasers.

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