Tuesday, September 23, 2014

EFSF Weapons Vol. 3 - Shields

Though not strictly weapons, the distinctive large shields are a signature piece of equipment used by EFSF Mobile Suits.

After their initial crushing defeat early in the war, the 10th Fleet (10TF) stationed at Luna II was reconstructed in November U.C. 0079 with Mobile Suit units. This image shows a unit deployed with the 6th patrol fleet (a subordinate unit to 10TF), which was deployed to interdict the supply lines between 
Side 3 and the Earth Attack Force.

GM Series Shields
A brief overview of GM series weapons.

Multiple Shield

 Multiple Shield

The RGM-S-Sh-WF Shield was designed to be deployed in standard gravity environments, and is a small, light shield.   Constructed of Luna Titanium alloy, the shield is designed to primarily protect the cockpit and other sensitive areas, and as such has a different form than the RGM-M-Sh-003 Anti-MS Combat Shield utilized by the RGM-79.

Additionally, as the shield was developed for ground combat forces, a noteworthy point is that the shield can not only be used for defensive purposes, but can also be used as a close combat striking weapon in Mobile Suit combat.  The spikes at the tip of the shield can also be lodged in the ground, allowing the shield to stand freely, allowing the Mobile Suit to use both hands to carry heavy weapons, and serve as an additional point of stabilization.  

Since this shield was deployed on the Ground Type RGM-79[G] prior to the arm-mounted option mount latch that would later become standardized, a special attachment is needed to use this shield on the RGM-79A and later models.

Multiple Shield

Improved Multiple Shield

A reinforced version of the RGM-S-Sh-WF with a small additional armor plate attached to the surface that provides additional protection against projectiles, and increases overall durability.

This is not a production model, but rather a model developed to meet demands for increased durability on the front lines, and as such the work was done almost exclusively by maintenance personnel in combat areas.

Another type using a larger armor plate was seen to have been deployed in the Australian theater, creating a ‘medium shield’.  Again, as this model was also developed in-theater, numerous small variations also exist.


Anti Mobile Suit Combat Shield

The RGM-M-Sh-003 series was first proposed as Anti Mobile Suit defensive equipment on the RX project, and the Sh-003 type is essentially identical to that used on RX-series units.
Composed of Luna Titanium Alloys, and almost completely proof against heavy weapon rounds, the Sh-003 proved to be resistant against 120mm Zaku Machine Gun fire, with even short range fire completely unable to penetrate the shield, deflecting most of the rounds that impacted the shield.  

Late in the One Year War, with the eventual appearance of beam weapon equipped Zeon forces, the recently developed beam coating was applied to later models. (Though this coating was also used on Mobile Suits of the period, with five layers of coating being applied to essential areas.)  The Beam Spray Gun used by the RGM-79 was tested at maximum power against this coating, and proved unable to penetrate the shield, with shots from medium ranges almost completely dissipating.  

On the inner surface of the shield various weapon latches and mounts were installed, allowing extra Beam Sabers and Beam Spray Guns to be carried, which allowed the shield to serve as a weapon container as well.   

These Shields, marked with the Federation insignia, though expensive, possessed sufficient durability to partnered with Jaburo Model RGM-79 series units for over 10 years.


Improved Anti Mobile Suit Combat Shield

The RGM-M-Sh-007 is an improved model of the RGM-M-Sh-003, the largest change has been the use of Titanium Ceramic alloys for the armor materials.    Additionally, the mount latch has been changed to a movable type, which, when carried by a Mobile Suit manipulator or mounted on the forearm, the sliding handle unit allows the shield to positioned up or down, increasing mobility.   Though many styles of this shield were used, the Luna II produced model acted as the standard model.


Anti Mobile Suit Combat Shield II

The RGM-M-Sh-AGD shield is a Tower Shield (a shield with an arched horizontal curvature) enlarged to Mobile Suit size.   Developed late in the One Year War, it uses the same Titanium Ceramic alloy materials as the Sh-007.   Though a curved shield can be expected to prove very resistant against physical rounds and beam weapons, the subtle curvature of the shield is difficult to produce, with high production costs which made the shield unattractive to produce at the beginning of the One Year War.    

Eventually, with production technology advances and comparative costs and supplies improved, the shield was widely deployed on the GM Command Series, leading to the shield often being called the ‘Command Shield’.

The surface of the shield also has increased beam coating than previous models, and can dissipate greater amounts of beam energy.  Additionally, the points at the tip of the shield can be used as spikes in melee combat, though the top opening of the shield is also designed to prevent interference with maneuvering verniers.   

The back of the shield has weapon latches that can accommodate various types of equipment, but also can accommodate two spare machine gun magazines.


Anti Mobile Suit Combat Shield

A next generation Shield developed during the Grypps conflict, the shield is based on a model tested during the One Year War, but precise details are unknown.

The shield is composed of two sections, which can slide over one another to form a compact shield one third the size of the fully extended shield.   Though originally designed for ease of movement within the cramped confines inside ships, a theory also exists that another aim of this design is that in certain situations surface area could be sacrificed to create a double layered shield to provide additional protection.   

The shield also has spikes on the lower edge, similar to the RGM-M-Sh-AGD, which can be used in close combat.

Though this shield was developed by the Federation and produced at the Grypps colony, following the theft of the Gundam Mk. II by the AEUG in the so-called ‘Green Oasis Incident’, the shield was passed to Anaheim Electronics.  Following the dissolution of the Titans, AE would mass produce the shield, which later equipped the Nouvel GM III during their production run.  However, as a cost saving measure, the sliding function was reported to have been omitted from these models.

Source: Mobile Suit Master Archive RGM-79 GM GA Graphic, 2010