MS-05B Zaku I
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Technology & Combat Characteristics
By the outbreak of the One Year War the MS-05 Zaku was five years old and largely considered obsolete. The Mobile suit was developed as the first combat-use mass-production mobile suit, but it was soon superseded by the MS-06C Zaku II. After that it was phased out and mainly consigned to auxiliary duties such as training, construction and supply duties. The Zaku I, however, has an infamous history as it was used by the Zeon Marines in gassing of colony populations and in preparing these colonies for their drops on earth.
It wasn't until the closing months of the One Year War that the Zaku I's finally saw front-line action and had a chance for some real glory. After the crushing defeat of Operation Odessa, Zaku I's reinforced their faltering main forces and saw some of the bitterest action of the entire war. Fighting desperate rear guard and holding actions often against the now superior Federation Mobile forces. This old war-horse also fought in the very last major actions of the war, fighting alongside advanced mobile suits such as MS-14 Gelgoog units used during Zeon's last stand at the Space Fortress A Baoa Qu.
- 105mm Machine Gun
- The 105mm machine gun is a standard weapon for Zaku type mobile suits. It is a shell firing gun that does not require energy to be used, however, its effectiveness against heavy armor is very limited. This model used a 100-round drum magazine.
- ZMP-47D/120mm Machine Gun
- The 120mm machine gun is another standard weapon for Zaku type mobile suits. It is a shell firing gun that does not require energy to be used, however its effectiveness against heavy armor is very limited. This model used a 100-round drum magazine.
- H&L-SB21K/280mmA-N Zaku Bazooka
- The 280mm Zaku Bazooka was another standard weapon that could be equipped to a Zaku type mobile suit. The bazooka fired explosive rounds that were quite effective against the armor of Earth Federation mobile suits and battleships.
- Initial Type Bazooka
- This early design of the bazooka, featured a block ammo cartridge and a single exhaust port.
- 90mm Assault Rifle
- A new assault rifle likely developed under the United Maintenance Plan as a weapon that can be used by various Zeon mobile suits in various environments.
- A pump-action shotgun that is similar to the model used by the MS-18E Kämpfer.
- Heat Hawk Type3
- An axe-like melee weapon, whose name is short for "tomahawk". Thermal energy is used to superheat the heat hawk's blade, allowing it to slice through the armor of enemy warships or mobile suits.
- G-3 Nerve Gas Grenade Launcher
- During the early days of the One Year War, the Principality of Zeon planned to drop colonies on Earth as weapons of mass destruction. Instead of using colonies from Side 3, they intended to capture Earth Federation allied colonies. To prepare these colonies, several Zaku Is were equipped with a G-3 nerve gas grenade launcher. These weapons launched rockets filled with G-3 nerve gas, a chemical weapon that could quickly kill every living person in a colony.
- S-Mines are anti-personnel shrapnel explosives based on German mines by the same name, which were used in the second World War.
- Knuckle Shield
- The knuckle shield is a modified Zaku II shoulder shield that mounts on the left arm. When mounted on the forearm the curve of the armor fits over the mobile suits hand. One of the modifications is the additions of three spikes placed on the plate that rests in front of the hand. These spikes make the knuckle shield an effective bashing weapon.
- Heat Sword
- A melee weapon originally developed for the Gouf line of mobile suits. Like the Zaku's heat tomahawk the heat sword is a blade that is heated to high temperatures in order to increase it's cutting capacity. The Heat Sword was designed after a broadsword so its blade is longer than the tomahawk allowing for a greater range of attack.
- MIP-B6 Cracker Grenade
- Identical to those used by infantry, the cracker grenade is an explosive weapons designed to be thrown or launched by the MS and detonate after a set amount of time. The "cracker" breaks into several smaller munitions over a wide area.
Introduced in U.C. 0075, the MS-05B Zaku I was the Principality of Zeon's first true mass-production model mobile suit. Although designed as a front line combat unit, Zeon's upper brass concluded that it was not adequate to serve as their mainstay unit in the coming war against the numerically superior Earth Federation. The Zaku I was soon replaced by the improved MS-06A Zaku II First Mass Production Type, which was in turn replaced by the MS-06C Zaku II Early Production Type, which was finally replaced by the MS-06F Zaku II as the mainstay of Zeon's mobile suit forces.
Early during the One Year War of U.C. 0079, most Zaku Is were relegated to menial construction and supply duties, although a few did continue to serve in combat roles. During the war's opening days, Zaku Is were also used in other combat-related work roles, including gassing of colony populations, attaching booster engines to space colonies to hurtle them towards Earth, and so on. It wasn't until the last months of the war that Zeon, desperate after facing losses in Operation Odessa and Operation Star One, would move the old Zaku Is back to the front lines to reinforce their faltering main forces. Several units would even see combat on Earth when the Midnight Fenrir Corps fought in defense of the California Base.
Another known variant was piloted by Erik Blanke, who colored his unit purple and gave its shoulder armor spikes as well as a commander's antenna.