Mark Simmons (
Mon, 24 Jul 2000 18:00:56 -0700

Jim asks,

> First, and the trickiest one my players asked, what are the official
> languages of the Federation and of Zeon? How many Ls have official status,
> and what is the working L of the Federation.

  No idea. As has been pointed out, they all speak Japanese on-screen.
Stencils, labels, and other decorative text is usually in English for the
sake of coolness. Certainly everyone seems to speak the same language,
although it's been established that native Zeons have a strong accent (see
original Gundam) that can be mistaken for Australian (see Gundam 0080).

> The next ones were about the EFSF vs. UNT Spacy question and the
> orginisation of Fed. MS units, but thanks to a couple of well timed
> threads, I think they've been covered.

  One addendum: There have been conflicting claims about exactly how many
mobile suits there are in each Federation "team" (or "platoon").

  The old MSV kit manuals claimed that Federation MS teams retained the
five-unit formation used by fighters. This is echoed in the MG GM kit
manual, and you can see space fighters flying in five-unit formations in the
Giren's Greed cut scenes.

  Other sources claim that the Federation borrowed the three-unit formation
used by the Zeons. This is apparently the case with the earliest MS teams,
like 08th MS Team's Kojima Battalion - assuming the hovertruck doesn't
count. ;-)

  Judging from the animation, though, four-unit teams seem to be in vogue.
In 0083, most Federation MS teams seem to consist of 4 mobile suits - like
the Kalent team and Burning's old team. In Z Gundam, the standard Salamis
Kai houses 4 mobile suits, and Lyra Mira Lyra's Galbaldy team also has four
members (one of whom is blown up right away).

  A solution seems at hand, though. I just noticed a page in Hobby Japan's
Gundam RPG discussing Federation team structure. It claims that they started
out borrowing the Zeon three-member structure, but soon switched to a
four-unit team. (This allowed their mobile suits to stick together in pairs,
so that they wouldn't be outnumbered by more experienced enemies, and one
could watch the other in a buddy-system fashion.)

  I like this last explanation; it certainly matches what we see on-screen
in 0083 and Z Gundam.

> On a similar note, how are Zeon MS units organised? Do the SAF, MAF & EAF
> do things differently? My observation is that MS units seem to consist of
> three MS, but this could have more to do with the hangar size on Musais and
> Gaus than anything else.

  Nah, three mobile suits is the standard formation. Zeon mobile suit
companies are supposed to consist of three teams - 9 mobile suits - but in
practice they vary between 6 and 12 mobile suits. I also note that most
mass-produced mobile suits, like the Desert Zaku and High Mobility Type Zaku
II, are produced in multiples of 14... which suggests that they're
outfitting companies of 12 mobile suits and throwing in two spares.

  Oh, and the end-of-the-war Ace Corps is divided into two companies of 12
mobile suits as well.

-- Mark

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