Mark Simmons (scorpio@best.com)
Sat, 23 Sep 2000 01:29:07 -0700


Lim Jyue writes,

> While Mark has made some very good points about catapult capacities
>and so on, I'll just like to point out that the use of a catapult for MS (in
>space or in an atmosphere) is mainly to give offensive MS a large increase
>in delta-V in a short time, to reduce the use of propellant in these MS.
>
> However, defensive screens of MS merely need to walk out of a
>convenient airlock, as their role does not necessarily mean they need a high
>delta V.

  Sure - and most Zeon ships, like the Musai and Gwazin, don't have any
catapults at all. But the point is that that the Doros has only seven
exits - there's no other way for mobile suits to exit the carrier,
including plain old airlocks. Judging from the amount of time it takes to
launch a mobile suit in the animation - probably at least 30 seconds, if
not a minute - it would take about a quarter of an hour for the Doros to
empty its hangars, which simply isn't practical for a pitched battle.

Ricky Lai writes,

>I never tried to dispute what was being depicted in the animation
>regarding the size of fleets. The point I have trying to put across
>is that the writers of both Z and ZZ series should have thought more
>deeply about the scale of those conflicts.

  Hm. I think the small size of the combatant fleets in Z Gundam is
probably intentional - we're meant to feel that the Federation proper is
sitting on the sidelines letting the Titans and AEUG duke it out. Like
CCA, it's a small-scale war involving a handful of ships, in which the
rest of the Federation fleet gets involved only reluctantly.

  Not to mention that the Z writers were assuming that the Federation
hadn't really rebuilt its armed forces after the end of the war. The
massive arms buildup of 0083 was a big fat retcon, which required an
equally massive catastrophe to erase and restore the shrunken military we
see in Z Gundam.

  I won't try defending the tactics of Zz, though :-)

>Of course, if the Gryps War began with great intensity like in Stardust
>Memories, the series would not have lasted more than 10 episodes; but the
>series would have benefited from a sharper escalation of scale.

  The Delaz Fleet's not that much bigger than the AEUG or Titans fleets -
it's tallied at about 14 capital ships, plus another 7 or so for Cima's
fleet. The surviving Federation forces that pursue Delaz from the naval
review are supposed to outnumber his fleet 5 to 1, so we can guesstimate
that the pursuit fleet is 100 strong (and, since 60% of the ships at the
naval review were disabled by Gato's attack, the original headcount would
have been at least 250). Thus, the pursuit of the runaway colony involves
120 warships, though they barely come into contact thanks to Delaz's
cunning manuevering & Gato's monster mobile armor.

  By comparison, the makeshift AEUG fleet that carries out the Jaburo
drop operation totals 9 ships. The Ahgama bridge displays during the last
episode of Z Gundam show at least 18 Titans ships, 15 AEUG, and 6 Axis
off on the sidelines - about 40 ships in all, and that's after one full
episode of sustained fighting. Pretty substantial fleet action if you ask
me. :-)

>Can't help that Kishira, or whoever is the dumbass who commanded the
>fleet, comes up with such a suicidal plan.

  I wouldn't be too hard on Kishiria - the main thing on her mind was
getting to A Bao A Qu, even though this meant racing through a Federation
fleet on route. The point is that Zeon ships fare very badly when they're
in the middle of the fray, getting hit from all sides - the Musai, in
particular, is designed to sit safey back from the action and provide
artillery fire.

>While the Fed guns worked on her ill-fated ship this time, we see in
>0083, when Lily Marleen attempts to break off the U.N.T. fleet, the beam
>from Fed ships, mostly Salamis class, seem to bounce off the Zanzibar class
>armor rather than scoring solid hits.

  I wouldn't put too much stock in 0083 in this repect - their chief
concern seems to be making the Zeons look good. In the original series,
both Char's and Kishiria's Zanzibars get blown to hell by Salamis cannon fire.

>Although judging from the relative size of the MS hatch is by no means an
>effective way, the Reyullura does have a relatively large hatch.

  Yeah, but it's carrying big mobile suits. The Sazabi requires a lot
more head clearance than a Zaku. ;-)

>Yet it manages to pack in more firepower than any other ship of the same
>size (with the exception of Sadaran if they belong to the same scale).
>How'd they do that!?

  Good question. Frankly, the Dogos Gear makes the kilometer-long Gwadan
look puny...

>This point addresses a fundamental question that is bound to spark much
>controversy. Why do ships need catapults for their MSs? Catapults don't
>really save MSs much propellant anyway, since they are not quite long
>enough to bestow adequate momentum on an MS and MSs use their own propulsion
>during "take off" anyway.

  Very true - when you work the math, the boost from such a short track
is negligible. I think they just use them because they look cool. :-)

>What does the sheer size of the Axis force that comes to Aghama's aid say
>about the capacity of Gwadan? The number of Gaza-C's is so overwhelming that
>simple a firing formation serves to scare off a veteran like Yatsan. But
>then looking at Gwadan's design, there are only 4 notable decks, implying
>that MS capacity is not necessarily connected to abundance of decks.

  Remember, the Gwadan's main MS delivery mechanism is that stupid
swiveling launcher on its underside. No idea how it works, but it's
supposed to be some kind of super-efficient MS dispenser - the regular
catapult decks are just a bonus.

-- Mark

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