Mark Simmons (scorpio@best.com)
Mon, 31 Jul 2000 14:29:42 -0700


Nicholas Paufler writes,

> Some comments on the GML over the last little while got me thinking. Given
> early MS technology, it was probably easier/cheaper/faster (at least for the
> short term) to retrain existing military personnel to pilot mobile suits
> than it was to ramp up a training program (which you didn't even have
> instructors for yet) to train people from scratch.

  Yep, and that's been the prevailing theory for the last 20 years. Back in
the MSV days, some models of GM were billed as being tailor-made for space
fighter pilots, and the latest Side Story games feature heroes who began the
war flying conventional vehicles. Certainly, anyone who's been able to
survive fighting mobile suits under these conditions should be able to kick
some ass if they have one of their own! :-)

> So given that, what branch of the military would have been able to adapt best?

  Good question. The conventional theory seems to have been fighter pilots -
both space fighters (a la Yu Kajima and the aces for whom the GM Light Armor
was designed) and regular fighter planes (e.g. Master P. Rayer). But your
analysis is interesting...

> You take someone from a tank platoon and throw them in a MS and they're
> going to be hindered because they're not thinking in 3D. They've been
> attatched to the ground for their military career, so they won't make full
> use of their jump jets (what's the gundam term for them, anyway?).

  Yep; in the new MSV Collection File (ground edition), they repeatedly
refer to the three-dimensional fighting capacity of mobile suits. Modern
tank combat seems to be mostly about keeping a low profile and blasting the
enemy from a distance; in fact, they typically have to stop moving to fire
accurately. That's simply not a luxury you can enjoy with mobile suits,
which are huge targets that have to keep moving constantly and get up real
close to hit their foes.

> Taking the other end of the spectrum, you've got fighter jocks, who should
> be fine in space MS combat, but put them on the ground and they'd be at a
> serious disadvantage, not having any experience at making use of cover and
> standing still.

  True, but how well can you cover a mobile suit anyway? The earlier months
of the war would have already nullified long-range radar-guided missiles as
viable weapons, so these guys should have a good handle on constant movement
& close-range dogfighting.

  Plus, atmospheric aircraft pilots are about the only Federation soldiers
who might have prior successes in battle against mobile suits. The MSV
Collection File reiterates that mobile suits, for all their jumping ability,
aren't much better equipped to fight aircraft than tanks are... in fact,
they're rather vulnerable to aerial attacks. (That's probably why the only
common Zeon aircraft is an air superiority fighter - they don't need bombers
or ground attack planes.)

> An infantryman seems a good choice, since MS's are humanoid, but they
> wouldn't have the benefit of military equipment extending their abilities,
> so they're still thinking like a human.

  I dunno, driving a mobile suit seems very different from running around on
your feet. And it seems like it would be hard to identify specific foot
soldiers as being superior fighters. :-)

> Oddly enough, my vote goes to helicopter pilots. They're already experienced
> in three dimensional movement, they make use of ground cover, and they'd be
> more comfortable than the others in both space and ground battles, since
> they're already accustomed to free movement.

  Hm. But aside from one (Zeon) attack helicopter in 08th MS Team, we never
see 'copters in Gundam. Could it be that mobile suits drove them into
extinction?

-- Mark

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