The ARC-2R Archer is one of the best-known designs still in use today. First produced in 2474, the Archer quickly earned respect and popularity among BattleMech regiments that was unequalled by any other type. Star League records show that nearly 100,000 Archers were constructed before the beginning of the Succession Wars. Most of these have now been destroyed or lost to spare parts depots. However, some production of the many Archer variants continues to this day in most of the Successor States. The Archer was designed initially as a heavy-hitting assault ‚Mech, able to pound defending units at long range as it approached. Over the centuries, it has also been used in a variety of other roles, ranging from city-busting to indirect fire support.
The ARC-2R Archer is an early model assault ‚Mech. Its two Doombud LRM 20-racks can support and attack or defensive situation in the initial stages of combat. The two self-loading missile storage bins located on each side of the upper torso beneath the launchers are ample enough for continued bombardment as long as necessary. The four Diverse Optics Type 18 medium lasers are designed for medium- to short-ranged combat, with two of them positioned in a central turret above the cockpit for rearward fire. The Archer is one of the few BattleMechs whose cockpit is located beneath the central torso. This obviously gives the pilot a battlefield perspective quite different from most normal cockpit positions. Armor protection is still about the same as in other heavy ‚Mechs, however, as the torso armor belt is located above the cockpit area, protecting the gyro mechanism and the VOX 280 engine unit. Like so many other ‚Mechs, the Archer is plagued with heat buildup problems, which makes it dangerous to shoot both the long-range missiles and the medium lasers at the same time. Nor is the ‚Mech particularly effective in toe-to-toe combat, despite its two heavy battle fists. Another problem is the Archer’s familiarity. It has been around for so long that all combatants know its design capabilities and its weaknesses too well. Though still an effective battle machine, there are rarely any new tricks an Archer can spring on an opponent.
During the defense of Rallonsdown Starport on the planet Chian in 2931, an Archer piloted by Suizo Ozawa of House Kurita Repair and Replacement Station 241 was set upon by a full lance of Bandit King Helmar Valasak. After several hours of hit-and-run tactics, Ozawa had destroyed two of the four attackers. Heavily damaged, his Archer charged the remaining two pirate ‚Mechs, crippling one with the last shot from his medium lasers. The remaining enemy Shadow Hawk delivered a devastating attack with his autocannon, followed by a series of punches that toppled Ozawa’s Archer into the surrounding rubble of buildings. Knowing the Shadow Hawk was coming in for the kill, Suizo Ozawa set his Diverse Optics Type 18 medium lasers into overload in hopes of setting off its remaining ammunition and attempted to eject. The explosion engulfed both ‚Mechs, and caught Ozawa before he could clear the escape tube. In 2932, Repair and Replacement Station 241 was renamed Ozawa Station in his memory.
The many modifications to the Archer design over the centuries could themselves fill a book. There are currently no less than six different versions of the Archer in wide use by each Successor House and the mercenary Wolf’s Dragoons (the only mercenary unit still able to construct its own Archers). These variations include the amount of armor, number of heat sinks, and weapons systems carried. For instance, House Kurita’s Archer has replaced the four medium lasers with two large lasers, and dropped the long-range missiles down to two 15-racks. Two additional heat sinks were installed, but armor was sacrificed due to the weight of the large lasers. House Steiner and Wolf’s Dragoons have added two SRM quad racks to their Archers, sacrificing two medium lasers (Wolf’s Dragoons) and dropping the LRM-20s to LRM-15s (House Steiner). Almost all weapon variations have been tried on the Archer, and many of these are still around.
Mechs and Warriors:
MechWarrior Ted „Slim“ Atkins A legend among many ‚Mech regiments, „Slim“ Atkins is one of the oldest MechWarriors still on active duty. Throughout his career, he has refused any promotion, preferring to remain in Charles Henry’s Lance of the Waco Rangers. The Rangers are a battalion-sized mercenary unit thought to be full of misfits and drifters, many of whom have proven themselves as among the best MechWarriors of the day. Atkins is famous for his gunnery skill aboard his beloved Archer, the Six-Gun Slim. Seeing the insignia of crossed energy pistols on the front of Atkin’s Archer coming toward them, many opponents quickly decide to engage other targets. Captain Ansel Graham Currently assigned to Davion’s Sixth Crucis March Militia, Captain Graham has fought in over 50 engagements against House Kurita, and is well-known for his battle tactics. Having always operated Archers in combat, he is considered an authority in their use. His last Archer, the Archeron VIII, had to be cannibalized when its major components eventually wore out. Now in the newly rebuilt and refurbished Archeron IX, Captain Graham helps train new warriors in the Crucis March.