The Zhukov AU – A Battletech Alternate Universe Fan Project

A welcome and some history!

The Zhukov AU (Alternate Universe) grew from something that was never meant to be its own AU. It sort of evolved from that classic question of ‘What if?’
In Battletech one of the biggest events in its history was the introduction of the Clans, the descendants of the SLDF who had survived their self imposed exile beyond the Inner Sphere and who had evolved into a very unique culture.

We were introduced to Clan Jade Falcon, Clan Wolf, Clan Ghost Bear and Clan Smoke Jaguar, but this roster rapidly grew to include Clan Hells Horses, Steel Viper, Diamond Shark and more.

Each Clan is fundamentally different, they’re not a monolithic society and have their own idiosyncrasies and culture, even if the Clans as a whole have the same shared Warrior lead Caste society.

But whilst we were told that each Clan was different, there was rarely anything that actually stood out to make them different in terms of equipment. We were told that, for example Clan Hells Horses were the ‘tank and infantry Clan’ yet saw nothing that was unique to them for this role save a single hovercraft. So I thought ‘what if?’
And thats where things started from!


Where it all began, Delranes is a purely fluff based book done in collaboration with Matt Plog, and Shimmering Sword, this was done out of a desire to see the WarShips of the Battletech universe brought up to more modern art standards. The ‘Clan Refits’ explanation that was used to say why the ships in TRO-3057 looked so different to TRO-2750 also never sat well with me.

The Clans largely view WarShips as little more than a way to get ‘Mechs from point A to B and spend the minimum amount of resources on them. A total structural rebuild that not only changes the exterior but interior as well would be nearly as expensive in terms of resources and time as building a new ship. So I’ve head canoned that the Clan refits didn’t happen. The ships that you see in Delranes are their original SLDF forms, the Clans instead just made minor modifications (the installation of Harjel, newer computers etc) that would mostly be internal.

My first big foray into the world of ‘what if’, Zhukov starts with an alternate ending to the Battle of Tokasha – which leads to Clan Ghost Bear launching an attack on the Horses capital of Niles. The resultant battle cripples the ‘Mech manufacturing capabilities of the Hells Horses, forcing them to find alternatives. This takes the shape of a large vehicle building program as tanks are cheaper and quicker to make than ‘Mechs, and the Horses have a long history of combined arms warfare.

This is where the Zhukov AU really starts, as history diverges from canon. It focuses on the Hell’s Horses, giving them a range of new tanks as well as some new ‘Mechs which appear in use across the Clans in the Zhukov setting.

You can get the record sheets for this TRO here;

Main section


The Emergency War Refits

Another Clan where we’re told that they are the masters of something but don’t actually see it, Clan Snow Raven came in for the Zhukov treatment with expanded head canon lore as well as their own developments of OmniFighters and Small Craft. There is also a series of Mechs, again for general use by all the Clans in the setting as well as a series of refits and upgrades for the WarShips that are the fighting core of Clan Snow Ravens military. This book also expands the rather sparse Snow Raven fluff, and details their clashes with other Clans and their participation in Operation REVIVAL.

You can find the Record Sheets for this PDF

Fighters, ‘Mechs, DropShips and Small Craft


The Wars of Grievance

And finally, after over a year of work, I am proud to present to you The Wars of Grievance, the third entry in the Zhukov setting and my most recent Project. This is more a Era report, covering the situation in the Clan Occupation Zones and Homeworlds from 3052 until 3070. This includes the Refusal War, the clash between the Jade Falcons and Steel Vipers as well as a campaign by Clan Ice Hellion and other conflicts in the Homeworlds.

Unlike the previous Zhukov books, this does not focus on any one specific Clan for its equipment or history, but rather this book has a wider range of equipment, with some Clan specific units for the Ice Hellons and Burrocks, as well as a number of IIC and second line designs, as well as ‘Mechs made by Clan Smoke Jaguar that would spread across the Clans following the Great Refusal.
This was my most challenging project, because with Nelson and Zhukov both of those are relatively self contained and don’t interact with canon too much.

In any AU the main point where an AU forms is the POD or Point of Departure, this is where the story branches off and goes its own way. Another term for it is a ‘butterfly flap’ where one decision or event can alter everything. The Wars of Grievance has quite a few PODs and keeping these together and making them all work was a challenge, one I am so thankful for the support of my friends and the Battletech Community.

You can get the Record Sheets for this PDF here –

XTRO – Ghosts and Shadows

You can download it here –

And the record sheets are –

And the MegaMek files are here –

A dagger is sometimes far more effective than a sword. House Cameron has been romanticized because of its past, its power, and prestige. Sitting at the heart of the Inner Sphere for centuries, and at the heart of the power structure of the Great Houses, the first among equals, And like any Great House, they would do what it took to retain that position and that power. Although force of arms was less called upon, and diplomacy was often the preferred tool, there were other weapons in the Hegemony’s arsenal. Elite MechWarriors equipped with the best ‘Mechs available and the most advanced technology at the Hegemony’s disposal. Fanatically loyal to the Hegemony, they would also serve as secret agents and would ‘deal’ with probelms that couldn’t be resolved too publically. After all, accidents do happen.

This book features the Stealth ‘Mechs of the SOE and their history, as well as history on a formation within the SLDF who use ‘Mechs that didn’t quite become household names like the Warhammer or Archer. Indeed the ‘Mechs they had access to were produced in limited numbers and largely forgotten in the maelstrom of the Succession Wars. Also included are all the record sheets for the ‘Mechs and DropShip within.

Each of these projects took about a year from inception to production and they’ve always been collaborative efforts. I’ve so many people to thank for their support, advice, assistance and putting up with me badgering them!

Special thanks goes to Daniel Treybig, Devin Ramsey, Willis Teal, Noclas Hausler, Steve McKenna and John Sisk.

And of course a HUGE shoutout to the artists who made this all possible.

Matt Plog –

Sheda Lane –

Matt Maeda

Laura Pauselli –

Shimmering Sword –

Stefano Marienetti –

Lucas Pandolfelli –

Thank you for visting my website, I hope you enjoy these Battletech products as much as i’ve enjoyed writing them. If any more projects begin (and we are in the planning/discussion stage for the next one) there will be details, teasers and sneak peeks here!

Thank you once again!

Steven Cross

This is a fan-made website and has no association or approval, implied or otherwise, from Topps, Catalyst Games Labs, InMediaRes, Piranha Games Inc.or Harebrained Schemes LLC.No part of this work may be altered or sold for profit, nor otherwise circulated in any form other than that in which it is published.