The UrbanMech is a
oversized trashcan with guns strapped to it light, 30-ton 'mech produced to fight in urban areas, a deathtrap to most other 'mechs: debris limiting the maneuverability, maze-like structure of urban terrain allowing for multiple killzones in a small area, and the fact that it's still pretty easy to see a giant 'mech that often overshadows a building next to it, while infantry and vehicles are able to use the same buildings as cover. The UrbanMech was a solution to the problem of urban warfare, and despite the seemingly lacking characteristics, it is certainly capable in its role.
The UrbanMech was originally produced by Orguss Industries for the Star League Defence Force. Later, UrbanMech production was overtaken by Hellespont Industrials, mainly produced for Capellan Confederation. The primary role of the UrbanMech, as mentioned above (as well as within its name), is to fight within urban confines, where larger 'mechs and combat vehicles are inferior to infantry fireteams and light AFVs (Armored Fighting Vehicles). Its small size (around 10-11 meters), small silhouette, and ability to travel small distances using jump jets makes it a dangerous and difficult-to-engage enemy in its designated environment.
On the other hand, the UrbanMech is considered (rightfully) the slowest BattleMech in existence: its top speed is 32.4 km/h, meaning that it's slower than the 100-ton behemoths (the lower speed range of Assault Class BattleMech is 55 km/h). This means that humpty-dumpty had better have a wall to fall off (or rather, to hide behind), to stand a chance, even against 'mechs of its own weight class.
Also, the UrbanMech is one of the few 'mechs reintroduced by Wolf's Dragoon to the Inner Sphere during their "infiltration" mission (alongside the Flea, the Hoplite, and a few other designs that were considered rare or extinct in the Inner Sphere). The showcasing of the proper use of UrbanMechs gave a new lease on life to the previously forgotten and damned design.
For its role, the UrbanMech was armed with an AutoCannon/10 and a Small Laser. While the latter is nothing to write home about, the former is a weapon capable of making a considerable dent in a well-armored enemy of any kind. This does limit the UrbanMech's usefulness by tying it directly to its limited ammo count, as its Small Laser is incapable of doing much damage to anything beside infantry lying still in the open - something that isn't going to happen in urban combat.
The Trashcan Collection
Despite the relatively straightforward concept behind the 'mech, there were numerous attempts in making the 'mech more capable in more varied environments:
- UM-R60L - The Capellans somehow found 2 tons of armor to remove from the 'mech, and stuck an Autocannon/20 on it, leaving it with even less ammo. For historical comparison, imagine a KV-2 turret on a T-70 chassis. Same results, just add legs.
- UM-R63 - This version of the UrbanMech uses a Clannerscum LB-X (shotgun) /10 Autocannon, as well as a Small Pulse Laser to support its primary laser. This is a clean upgrade to the Urbie's firepower, making it an even deadlier opponent. This is considered a standard Capellan version of UrbanMech after the general upgrade from the base version.
- UM-68 - Draconis Combine replaced the Autocannon with Dumb Fire Missiles. 30 of them. This possibly triples the damage output of a single shot, giving this UrbanMech a ridiculous Alpha Strike damage capability. On the other hand, such a small 'mech suffers greatly from the lack of ammunition, meaning that it is at most capable of launching two salvos before being forced to fall back.
- UM-69 - A Free Worlds League UrbanMech variant, using the latest of Clannerscum technology - Ultra AutoCannon/10, Extended Range Small Laser, and Ferro-Fibrous armor. And all that was lost is an additional Heat Sink (not the most important component for a 'mech that relies on a ballistic weapon).
- UM-R70 - The Federated Suns' version is quite a bit like the Free Worlds League one in the fact that it uses Clannerscum technologies. Ferro-Fibrous armor, Rotary Autocannon/5, and Medium and Small Extended Range lasers give it a great deal of staying power on the field, making it ideal for long-term engagements, such as defense of urban areas.
- UM-R80 - A very strange version of the UrbanMech. It replaces the Autocannon with a Snub-Nose PPC (a smaller, shorter-ranged PPC), Small Pulse Laser, TAG Missile Support System, Beagle Active Probe, and Guardian ECM Suite. It also has Improved Jump Jets, making it even more nimble and capable in traversing urban terrain. This makes it a great competitor to the Raven, especially due to being a capable combat 'mech in close combat.
- UM-AIV - This version of UrbanMech exchanges its Small Laser for Extended Range Medium Laser and an Arrow IV missile launcher. This means that not only is capable of doing damage to most targets, but that it can also be called as artillery from a few miles away to join in the fun. Said missile launcher can also launch pocket nukes; making for... interesting scenarios on tabletop if one's willing to experiment. Did we mention that the variant was a fan-made version deemed canon on the spot at a gaming event by the game designers?
- UrbanMech IIC - Clan version of the UrbanMech. Uses Clanner weaponry: an Extended Range Small Laser, and an Ultra Autocannon/10. In addition, Clan technicians have been able to speed it up to 54 km/h - still slightly slower than most Assault 'mechs. Besides those two upgrades, this version is inferior to later Inner Sphere versions, amusingly enough. There is also a Blake Jihadist version of IIC, which replaces the Autocannon with Hyper Assault Gauss Rifle (which has the typical heavy kick of a Gauss Rifle with the rapid fire of an auto-cannon ) and the Small Laser with a Flamer.
- There are also rumors of some UrbanMechs being armed with Machine Guns instead of small Lasers. We have dismissed those claims.
All hail our lord and savior UrbanMech.