-Z- (z@gundam.com)
Sat, 9 Dec 2000 09:41:17 -0800


The consensus seems to be that MS don't actually run that often or that long,
but "lope along" for the most part. That reminded me of the years that I spent
"loping" along in formation and suggests a baseline land speed for MS.

Since the days of the Roman legions, marching has been standardized in terms of
cadence, step and pace. The standard marching cadence is 60 steps per minute,
the standard step is 75 cm (30 inches) and the resulting pace is 2.7 kph (1.67
mph). A "march" is thus the amount of ground covered in a day at this pace,
ranging from 25 to 35 km or 15 to 20 miles.

If a mobile suit is a man writ large by a factor of ten, then an MS should
"lope" at about 30 kph (18.6 mph) -- call it the minimum land speed -- and a
range of 250 to 350 km (150 to 200 miles) per day at that pace. Of course, MS
have infrared vision, so they're not limited to the hours of daylight as are
human infantry, but they may have more "down time" for maintenance, so it all
evens out.

But wait! There's more! In addition to the standard march, there's also Quick
Time and Double Time. (There's also half step, side step and back step, but
none of these has any bearing on marching; they're strictly for drill and
ceremony.)

Quick Time has the same step as marching, but a cadence of 120 steps per minute.
The pace is thus doubled to 5.4 kph (3.35 mph), which scales up to 54 kph (33.5
mph) -- call it full speed. Humans can do this in bursts of up to an hour,
three or four times a day, but MS should be able to go all day, which would
double their effective range to 500 to 700 km (300 to 400 miles) per day.

Double Time is a killer for humans, usable only in short burts once or twice a
day at most, and may be damaging to MS as well. Here, the cadence is increased
to 180 steps per minute AND the step is increased to 90 cm (36 inches) with a
resulting pace of 9.72 kph (6 mph), which scales up to 97.2 kph (60 mph) -- call
it top speed -- and, if the machine can take it that long, a range of 1,250 to
1,750 km (750 to 1,000 miles) per day.

Any MS should be capable of achieving these values, provided they have a gait
like a human as well as a humanoid form. That suggests that Gundam/GM
performance will be better than Zaku/Gouf and much superior to any of the
amphibious MS. The Gelgoog looks like it should be comparable to the GM and the
Dom is, of course, in a class by itself.

This still doesn't give us the maximum land speed, because the MS can kick in
jump jets at the crest of its full speed strides. That would be where the
Gundam gets its boost to 165 kph (102.5 mph) versus the GM's 102 kph (63.3 mph).
After the propellant was gone, the MS would drop back down to its top or full
speed, depending on how badly this pace stresses the frame.

So, even without giving the MS Olympian running capabilities, the given land
speed values are attainable but not sustainable for any great length of time.

-Z-

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