Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Ace Pilots of the One Year War

(TL Note: EB39 is written from a in-universe perspective, from about UC0120 or so.)

Introduction: Ace pilot requirements

What is an ace?

The word 'ace', from old French, means 'one who excels', which was later applied during the early days of aerial combat to indicate 'one who has shot down 5 planes'.  This requirement of 5 planes or occasionally the pilot to score the first kill in an engagement were not particularly strictly defined at the time.

However, after some time, the usage of this word to denote a pilot who has shot down five planes would become common parlance.

MS Aces

This lead to the current practice with Mobile Suits, with the requirement for the title being the shooting down of five enemy Mobile Suits.   However, as Federation Forces Mobile Suits did not exist in the initial stages of the war, it could be said that no Zeon aces existed at the time.  Thus, in order to improve morale, the top brass of the Zeon military made the decision to award the 'Ship Ace' medal for sinking five or more enemy ships or cruiser class or larger.  Following this decision, those who sunk five or more enemy ships were called 'ship aces', and for five or more Mobile Suits, 'MS Aces'.  Thus began the new age of 'Aces' in both the Federation and Zeon militaries.

Confirming the number of kills

Now, comparing the total scores of each military's aces, it becomes apparent that the Zeon military has more pilots who qualify as both 'ship aces' and 'MS aces'.  This is due in part to the face that Zeon deployed Mobile Suits much earlier than the Federation forces, but also due to the number of high quality pilots, and the fact that they were deployed primarily in a defensive stance.

As long as there have been ace pilots, they have been accompanied by an paradigm: The country who produces the greater number of ace pilots is destined to lose a conflict.   This is largely because it indicates that the enemy possesses far superior numbers and also does not need to spend time searching for the enemy during a sortie.  (TL note: Because you're already overrun or about to be if this is happening, is the implication.)

However, though the Federation forces did put up a good fight, these numbers may not necessarily be completely accurate.   Federation reporting of destroyed units consisted only of a combination of self-reporting and gun camera confirmation.

In contrast, the Zeon military's process was much stricter, with testimony from other pilots and detailed gun camera scrutiny required.  Thus the distinct style of each side can be seen even in kill confirmation procedures.

Additionally, the scores recorded here are the highest possible totals.   With most pilots having been reassigned frequently, their unit information has been omitted in this chart.

Federal Forces: MS Ace Pilots
Name (Rank)
Units Used
Mobile Suit Kills
Ship Kills
Teneth A. Jung (MAJ)
Amuro Ray (2LT)
Lido Wolf (MAJ)
RS-77D, RGC-80, RGM-79SP
Charles Kissingham (1LT)
Lon Kou (2LT)
Franklin Novotny (LTC)
Heinz Baer (1LT)
Denis Hanover (2LT)

Principality of Zeon Corps: MS Ace Pilots
Name (Rank)
Units Used
Mobile Suit Kills
Ship Kills
Brenev Auggs (LTC)
MS-06F, 06F2, 06R, 14C
Nordit Bauer (LTC)
MS-06S, 06K, 06R, 09RII
Johnny Ridden (MAJ)
MS-06F, 06RII, 14C, 14B
Erick Mansfield (COL)
MS-05B, 06S, 06R, 14S
Shin Matsunaga (CPT)
MS-06F, 14JG
Gabby Hazard (LTC)
MS-05S, 06FS, 06RII
Grennis Escort (1LT)
MS-06S, MA-05
Robert Gilliam (CPT)
MS-06S, MSM-07E, 06RII, 14S

Ace Pilot Profiles

Federal Forces

Captain Amuro Ray: The Federation's White Shooting Star
Amuro Ray, while at the time still a civilian, was also the Federal Forces' first Mobile Suit pilot, and subsequently their first MS Ace.  His activities, along with that of the high performance RX-78 would unfortunately approach legendary status during the war.  After the end of the war, Newtypes would be considered dangerous individuals, and he would be sequestered by the military until the 'Char Disruption' in recent years, which saw him return to active duty, and close out his career.

The more one examines Amuro Ray's combat record, the more interesting his story becomes - a prime example being that even with no training at all, he was able to destroy two MS-06 on his first sortie.    He went on to become a MS ace within just a few days, a feat nothing short of incredible.  Though this is strong evidence of his awakening as a 'Newtype', these facts were not released by the Federal Forces for a long time, as the reality of the situation was awkward for the Federal Forces for a number of reasons.

Returning to the main topic, being stationed aboard the White Base, repelled numerous large scale assaults by Zeon forces sent to pursue and suppress the White Base, rapidly racking up over 100 kills.   By the time of the Solomon capture operation, he had also become the EFSF's top ship ace as well.

His tally of destroyed ships was the highest in the Federation, destroying two Musai-class cruisers in a manner of minutes in one engagement.

Additionally, as his combat results were attested to by the other White Base Mobile Suit pilots, his total score is viewed as highly accurate.  Furthermore, though omitted from this tally for space reasons, 2LT Ray is believed to have destroyed the MA-08 piloted by Dozle Zabi, and 5 additional Mobile Armors, which would also make him the top Mobile Armor Ace in the One Year War.

Major Lido Wolf: Dancing Black God of Death

Major Wolf, unlike many Mobile Suit pilots who were instructors turned combat pilots, started his service as a fighter pilot.  However, due to a shortage of personnel, he would be sent into combat after an accelerated Mobile Suit pilot training program. However, once deployed on the battlefield, his performance was outstanding - racking up 21 recorded kills during the Africa campaign, becoming an ace in a single week.    Following this campaign he would be deployed to space, where most of his actions would be fought.   Painting his personal machines black, a carryover from his days as a fighter pilot, the Zeon corps pilots would come to nickname his dancing machine 'The Dancing Black God of Death'.  He was killed in action during the battle of A Bao A Qu.

Principality of Zeon Corps

 Colonel Char Aznable: The Red Comet...And the Successor of Zeon

The man known as the legendary 'Red Comet', was also the eldest son of Zeon Deikun, and the man behind the large scale military actions which occurred in the previous year.

During the One Year War, he showed excellent combat senses, destroying five battleships during the Battle of Loum, becoming a Ship Ace in one fell swoop.  His habit of painting his personal machines red was widely known, and reportedly caused enemy units who saw a red-painted Mobile Suit to lose their will to fight.    He would continue to use this coloring even after becoming the leader of Neo Zeon.  During his actions following the One Year War, he is thought to have added to his achievements by shooting down more than 300 Mobile Suits, but precise details are unknown.

Lt. Colonel Brenev Auggs: One Shot Killer Brenev

The top ace for either side during the One Year War, continously fighting on the front lines in space from the outbreak to the end of the war, a military hero.

He was known to hate wasting even a single shot, placing an extreme emphasis on his firing accuracy, leading to his eventual nickname of the 'One Shot Killer'.  In spite of his combat record, he possessed an extremely mild-mannered personality, and was known to frequently allow newer pilots to take credit for his kills.

Late in the war, he would be reassigned to the Mobile Suit Instructor Corps, where he would devote himself to training soldiers in Guard units.   However, due to personnel shortages, he would be forced to send inadequately trained recruits to the front, which he was vehemently opposed to.

Captain Lalah Sune: The Invisible Ghost of Solomon

Until very recently, the existence of this legendary individual was only known in stories.  Displaying excellent newtype abilities, she was able to use the MAN-08's long range 'Bits' to destroy several warships anchored at Solomon, with these attacks being feared by the Federal Forces as 'the Invisible Ghost of Solomon'.   However, her combat record is not retained in official military records, and only a very few people even know of her existence.    The fact that her identity has been recovered through analysis of contemporary communication logs may be the most information that has ever been gathered about her.  Additionally, a blurry photo has also been recovered, and has been published here, which may be the first photo of her ever published, 40 years after the end of the war.

Ranba Ral Team: The Blue Giant's Guerrilla Warfare Group

The ace pilot known as the 'Blue Giant', Captain Ranba Ral, led this unit of guerrilla fighters. As an ace unit, this unit was highly honored, with the leader, Ranba Ral, destroying six cruisers at the Battle of Loum and One Week War.   In addition to these destroyed ships, while other pilots such as Acous and Cozun are unfortunately not recorded as aces, they are believed to be of similar merit.

In particular, while under the direct command of Major General Dozle Zabi, this unit performed a number of special operations, appearing on a number of battlefields, as well as clandestine operations to support friendly forces.  Though they would eventually receive orders to pursue the White Base, they were instead wiped out during their mission.

Cyclops Team: Special Operations Professionals

The Cyclops Team.  A special operations team stationed at the lunar base Granada, able to participate in a wide range of both direct Mobile Suit combat and undertaking espionage and sabotage operations outside of their Mobile Suits.   It could be said that this unit is a highly versatile 'trump card' unit of warfare professionals.  Though the unit was originally composed of a small number of elite experts, by the later stages of the war, it was far understrength, at one point consisting of only four members.

While this is sometimes said to be because of a run of bad luck afflicting the unit commander, Captain Schneider, the fact that the unit was stuck with increasingly absurd missions and often ignored by their command, was a feeling that could not be ignored by the team members.  

Eventually, the unit would be used in a diversionary operation, and all remaining members were killed.

Black Tri-Stars: The Legendary Three Men who Captured General Revil

The Black Tri-Stars, an independent team composed of Gaia, Ortega, and Mash.  Their abilities allowed them to receive preferential treatment from the outset of the war, where they were allowed to conduct completely independent actions as a single team.  This was made possible by the fact that they were under Major General Kishiria Zabi's direct command.  They were ultimately made famous by utilizing their independent status to successfully capture General Revil at the Battle of Loum.   Their particular fighting style of using all three members working in concert meant that when attempting to divide up their score among all three members, their individual scores were not particularly outstanding.  

However, utilizing their combination attacks, they destroyed a total of 14 battleships and cruisers at the Battle of Loum, thus proving their worth in battle.  However, when dividing this score up between the three members, a total of 4.6 ships per member falls just short of the qualification for ace.   However, due to their combat record as a unit, no particular complaints or dissatisfaction can really be voiced.

Sharing their strong bond, the team would be deployed as reinforcements in the Odessa operation, where they would encounter the White Base, whose ace pilot Amuro Ray in his RX-78 Gundam would prove them to be brittle enough to be defeated.

Source: Entertainment Bible #39: Battle strategies digest and complete One Year War Chronicles.  Bandai, 1991


  1. I find it interesting that there are very few details regarding Lalah Sune. However if the Flanagan Institute is considered a Zeon "Black Project", then it would make sense that any information regarding her would be off the record which would include her kill count.

    1. I tried to think if anyone other than Char or Amuro referenced Lalah or the Elmeth after the OYW, and I really can't remember anyone other than those two bringing it up.

    2. I believe that Mirai mentioned Lalah to Beltorchika Irma in Zeta, and Gyunei Guss mentioned Lalah to Quess in CCA. Now, considering that Mirai was part of the same unit as Amuro during the OYW, and Gyunei was part of Char's Cyber-Newtype lab (which would most likely consist of former Flanagan Institute researchers), I'm sure that's where they heard about Lalah Sune.

  2. Gotta wonder why Zeon Pilots are spray painting the Federations emblem on a Zaku 2 Kai.

    1. It's a kill marker - you can see another one just peeking out next to the painter's head, suggesting that he's shot down two Feddies thus far.

  3. Regarding Ramba Ral's section, the Gundam The Origin OVA shows that he was not able to participate in the Battle of Loum.

    Cozun meets Char at the Battle of Loum, where Char says to Cozun: "Work hard enough to do the part of the Lieutenant, who was unable to join us."

    This interaction occurs in Episode 6 of Gundam The Origin at approximately the 23:50 mark (if you cared to see it yourself).