Friday, March 6, 2015

MS-18E Kämpfer

MS-18E Kämpfer Assault Experimental Heavy Mobile Suit
Overall Height/17.7m
Empty Weight/ 43.5t
Loaded Weight/ 78.5t

Thruster Output/ 29,500kg x2, 27,000kg x2, 12,000kg x4 
Apogee Motors/ 16
Armament/ 60mm Machine Cannons, Custom Shotgun, etc.

In the late One Year War, the Zeon Military was developing a number of new mobile suits for various roles.  With the Federation Forces' offensive being driven by mass production of Mobile Suits, Zeon’s inferior industrial base meant that Zeon Mobile Suits needed to be of superior quality (in terms of abilities) to counter this strategy.

 However, in a desperate bid was made to offset this inferiority with the incomplete prototypes and MS under development.   For this reason, many of these prototypes and test machines were sent directly into front-line combat with little to no modification, and these types of units became a common sight in the late war period.
The MS-18, known as the ‘Kämpfer’ (fighter) was included in this category.  The MS-18, was developed as an Assault Mobile Suit, with high output thrusters and apogee motors all over its frame, with led to an extremely high degree of mobility and allowed it to excel at hit-and-run strikes.  To support these types of tactics, the unit was heavily armed, with various types of weapons mounted on its body using latches, leading to the unit bristling with firepower, a veritable hedgehog of weaponry.  

Additionally, as beam weapons had a tendency to tax generator output, and thus cause a loss in thrust, they were not equipped on this unit (with the exception of close-combat beam sabers).  The majority of the weapons were chosen with regards to avoiding any issues with generator output or mobility.   Considering the construction, and melee combat abilities, which were enhanced by the high maneuverability of the unit, a machine not inferior to the Federation’s RX series was the result.  As the only deployment of the machine was late war, in a Special Operation which was the only combat deployment of the unit, it is not clear just how much potential the MS-18 actually had.

Deployment Status

Surviving records indicate that the MS-18 was deployed with the Special Forces ‘Cyclops Team’, who received a single E type.    The E-type had finally achieved the difficult balance of various performance aspects, and only lacked operational testing, and so was supplied to “Cyclops” as a means of combat testing.
The Zeon Military had initially developed the YMS-18 for use in the decisive battle that was predicted to soon occur in Zeon’s home territory, with the E type and Beam-weapon centric F type rumored to have been developed.   However, in the period of confusion that followed the end of the war, the credibility of these rumors left many unanswered questions    At any rate, the high degree of unreliability in late-war records makes the credibility of these rumors very low.

Terminology Encyclopedia

Mobile Suit Shotguns
One of the MS-18’s weapons was a pioneer in hand-carried Mobile Suit weapons.  As to why this weapon came about, since the size of a single machine gun round was almost unavoidably small, single impacts of these rounds were almost meaningless against Mobile Suit armor.   However, to boost the Assault-use MS-18’s close range ability, rather than using an inaccurate spraying machine gun, a weapon that could deliver a solid punch to an opponent in a single round was needed.    Thus, a shotgun equipped with 00 Buck shells created using Luna Titanium was prepared for the Kampfer.    At point-blank range, the weapon possessed more than enough power to destroy joints.   However, due to the extremely high cost, the weapon would not be employed again.

Source: Bandai 1/144 Kampfer Model Kit Manual, Bandai 1989

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