Grasshopper (70t)
Model by Primus
When it first appeared on the battlefield in 2786, the Grasshopper was a revolutionary design. Though it had a mass of 70 tons, it was jump-capable. A heavy 'Mech, with all the firepower and armor of its weight classification, the GHR-5H was designed as a highly mobile close-range fighter. The Grasshopper gained renown as a storming 'Mech during the First Succession War. The Grasshopper went into production in 2780, and by 2785, most Regular Army regiments had received a number of the machines. During the chaos of Kerensky's Exodus and the defection of Regular Army units to the Successor Lords, these 'Mechs fell into the hands of one House or another.
The GHR-5H was expected to engage and destroy light to medium 'Mechs at close range, clearing the way for less mobile, better-armed units. In a duel with another heavy 'Mech, the Grasshopper is usually out-gunned, but its heavy armor and high mobility allows it to inflict substantial damage before it is forced to retreat.
The Grasshopper is not heavily armed, but it can keep up a much higher rate of fire than many other heavy 'Mechs, giving this 'Mech a reputation as a high intensity fighter. With twenty-four reloads for its Conan/S LRM-5 and requiring no ammunition for its lasers, the Grasshopper is able to continue its assaults for extended periods away from supply depots.
Its ability to operate independently makes the 'Mech useful as a raider and guerrilla fighter. Instead of relying on long-range bombardment to weaken the enemy's defenses, the Grasshopper relies on surprise and superior mobility to overwhelm its victims.
The Grasshopper is also famous for its ability to outflank an enemy and attack from the rear. Though light and medium 'Mechs have always had this ability, the appearance of a heavy 'Mech with jump capacity required a complete revision of lance tactics.
A lance is traditionally grouped closely together in order to concentrate firepower. However, the Grasshopper could jump into the middle of even a tight formation well under the minimum range of any of the lance's big guns. This provided it with a choice of several targets at close range. The tactic was particularly effective in lances where the heavy 'Mechs lacked substantial short-range armament.
The Grasshopper usually leads a lance of jump capable 'Mechs. During major offensives, it falls to this lance to outflank key enemy positions, forcing the enemy troops to fight on two fronts.