Technology & Combat Characteristics
The successor to the first fielded MS, the MS-05 Zaku I, the Zaku II improved on everything the previous model offered. It was faster, far more durable, had a better Minovsky Reactor, and could be fitted with far more weapons. The Zaku II was the mainstay of the Zeon military for most of the One Year War. Even after the MS-09B Dom and MS-09R Rick Dom began to replace it on the front lines, the Zaku still remained the most numerous mobile suit in Zeon's armed forces. As such, the Zaku II formed the backbone of the U.C. 0083 rebels of Operation Stardust and some were even seen as late as U.C. 0088 in both AEUG and Neo Zeon service during the Gryps Conflict and the First Neo Zeon War. The Zaku II was also a common aggressor unit used during training for Earth Federation Forces pilots.
- ZMP-50D 120mm Machine Gun
- The 120mm 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. The ZMP-50D used a 100-round drum magazine. "ZMP" stands for "Zaku Machine Pistol".
- M-120A1 120mm Machine Gun
- Also referred to as a "rifle" by Zeon soldiers, Zeonic was contracted to develop this weapon. Its internal development code is "ZMC38III". It can switch between semi-automatic and automatic fire. Although useless against Luna Titanium Alloy, it can still destroy weaker armor material with multiple shots.
- MMP-78 Machine Gun
- The MMP-78 is a new machine gun model with enhanced firepower to combat EFF mobile suits. Early type and late type models exist, with differences in the location and mounting of the grip on the latter. In addition to the regular machine gun bullets fed from the drum magazine, the MMP-78 is also capable of firing anti-aircraft rounds being fed from a smaller, box-type magazine. The MMP-78 is also integrated with a grenade launcher under its barrel for additional firepower. "MMP" is an abbreviation for "Mobile Suit Machine Pistol".
- MMP-80 90mm Machine Gun
- An alternative to the MMP-78, it is an upgrade of the above weapon. It used 90mm bullets instead of 120mm type, allowing for a greater speed of firing and a higher rate of penetration. The machine gun is magazine-fed with 32 rounds per mag. The MMP-80 was also integrated with a grenade launcher under its barrel for more firepower.
- H&L-SB25K/280mmA-P Zaku Bazooka
- The 280mm Zaku Bazooka is 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. However the bazooka could only be loaded with a single round at a time, thus it had to be used carefully. The bazooka was front loaded which is difficult to do while a mobile suit is changing vectors. The bazooka could be stored on the rear waist armor while spare ammunition could be stored on the side hip armor.
- ZIM/M.T-K175C 175mm Recoilless Rifle
- The main gun of the HT-01B Magella Attack main battle tank, it is remodeled as an MS artillery weapon. The Top Cannon was mainly used for long distance ground combat and can be loaded with high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) or armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding-sabot (APFSDS) rounds.
- MIP-B6 Cracker Grenade
- Identical to those used by infantry, cracker grenades are explosive weapons designed to be thrown or launched by the MS and detonate after a set amount of time. The "cracker" then breaks into several smaller munitions over a wide area. The Zaku II can optionally equip up to four cracker grenades, that are stored on the left and right waist armor racks, with two on each side.
- 3-tube Missile Pod
- Mounted on the legs of the Zaku II are two 3-tube missile pods. These missiles are quite effective against armored enemies. However, they were also slow and unsuited for combat against nimbler targets.
- Hand Grenade
- Hand Grenades are throwing weapons used as an alternative to Cracker Grenades. These waist-mounted grenades can be thrown like regular grenades and set to detonate upon impact with the target or timed to explode after a preset time. They come in multiple variants, allowing them to perform different roles in battle.
- An explosive weapon with a rocket propelled warhead, it was designed before the beginning of the One Year War as an anti-ship weapon. Useful both in space and under gravity, it was mainly deployed for anti-ship attacks during the early days of the war. The Sturm Faust likely made a good anti-mobile suit weapon during the latter days of the war, as Zeon mobile suits could be equipped with both a Sturm Faust and a more typical ranged weapon for greater versatility. As a non-guided weapon, it is difficult to hit targets with high mobility.
- Heat Hawk Type5
- An axe-shaped close combat weapon, it uses a super-heated blade to cut through the armor of enemy MS or vehicles. The thermal energy is generated by the power output of the Zaku II's thermonuclear reactor and relayed through the MS' hands.
- Shoulder Shield
- The shield is a simple defense used to block most incoming ballistic and explosive projectiles. Also used to great effect in close quarters battle with enemy mobile suits. The Zaku II mounts a shield on its right shoulder.
- Spiked Shoulder Shield
- A shoulder shield with a set of spikes on it to enhance its melee combat abilities.
- Ex-T2-2 Beam Bazooka
- A weapon originally developed for the MS-09R Rick Dom. The bazooka has its own internal reactor, rather than an E-cap, and is, essentially, a Musai deck gun scaled down for mobile suit use. Due to using a reactor rather than an E-cap, the bazooka is capable of a single sustained blast or several short bursts, requiring a lengthy recharge period of approximately 10 minutes before it can be used again.
- Gatling Shield
- A weapon from the MS-07B-3 Gouf Custom, the Gatling Shield is a shield with a powerful, drum-and-belt fed, 75mm Gatling Gun attached to it. The Gatling Gun can detach itself from the shield when it runs out of ammunition.
- Prototype Large Beam Rifle
- A experimental beam weapon developed at Axis after the One Year War, its effective firing range is 1.8 times that of a ordinary beam rifle. As it's powered by its own built-in generator, it can be wielded by Zaku type MS. The generator however only has enough power for five shots. The firearm appears in Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Deleted Affair: Portrait Of Young Comet.
- Knuckle Shield
- The knuckle shield is a modified 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.
- A handheld incendiary device which can project a long, controllable stream of fire to incinerate targets such as mobile suits, infrastructures, infantry units and combat vehicles.
The MS-06 Zaku II series was one of the most produced and versatile mobile suits of the One Year War. And even after its performance was surpassed by its successor mobile suits, like the MS-07B Gouf, the MS-09B Dom, and the MS-14A Gelgoog, it would still see wide-scale service both on the front lines and behind the scenes after the war's end.
Notes and Trivia
- The original concept of the Zaku was simply a disposable underling, with its name derived from the sound of a huge man (or many soldiers) walking and the Japanese term 雑魚 (zako), meaning "inferior fish" (the term also signifying expendable grunts).
- Although partially, the Zaku was a design model for the Russian Jaeger Cherno Alpha, in the 2013 movie Pacific Rim.
- Later series would often include grunt mobile suits inspired by or based on the Zaku. These mobile suits would generally be painted green, and their model numbers would be partially based on the Zaku's. Some of these include the JDG-009X Death Army, OZ-06MS Leo, RMS-006 Jenice, ZGMF-1017 GINN, ZGMF-1000 ZAKU Warrior, MSJ-06II-A Tieren Ground Type, Hi-Mock, Jahannam and the EB-06 Graze.
- In the Super Robot Wars series, the Zaku is one of the very few units that has proven an exception to the series rule that pilots cannot pilot units outside their own canons, with the Zaku II having been piloted by generic OZ troopers in SRW 64, as well as being used as a temporary playable grunt unit by original characters, though otherwise characters not connected to the Gundam canon proper cannot pilot one.
- ↑ アニメック(Animec) 16th issue special volume, 機動戦士ガンダム大事典 (Mobile suit Gundam Encyclopedia), 1 March 1981, Yoshiyuki Tomino Interview, そうですね、ザクなんかでも………大きい人が歩いてくると地面がザクッザクッと音をだしますね、それからとったんですよ。(笑), Yes, Zaku whatever... is when a huge man walking the ground will make Zaku, Zaku sound, and it took that (for its name) (laughter)
- ↑ ガンダム･エイジ (Gundam Age), 洋泉社, 敵のモビルスーツのザクは、もともとは、雑兵っていうか、雑魚(ザコ)なのね。でも、ザコじゃあんまりだ。やつら軍隊だから、軍団でザクザクやってくるでしょ。だからザクにしようって, Enemy's Mobile suit Zaku is originally (designed as) a common soldier, disposable underling (Zako). However, saying it is an underling is too extreme, they are a military force and flanks of army make the Zaku Zaku sound, thus it was named Zaku.
- ↑ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-zCQGA4fdY