Technology & Combat Characteristics
By the outbreak of the One Year War the MS-05 Zaku was five years old and largely considered obsolete. The Mobile suit was developed as the first combat-use mass-production mobile suit, but it was soon superseded by the MS-06C Zaku II Early Production Type. After that it was phased out and mainly consigned to auxiliary duties such as training, construction and supply duties. The Zaku I, however, has an infamous history as it was used by the Zeon Marines in gassing of colony populations and preparing these colonies for their drops on Earth.
It wasn't until the closing months of the One Year War that the Zaku I's finally saw front-line action and had a chance for some real glory. After Zeon's crushing defeat during Operation Odessa, Zaku I's reinforced their faltering main forces and saw some of the bitterest action of the entire war; fighting desperate rear guard and holding actions, often against the now superior Federation Mobile forces. The old war-horse also fought in the very last major actions of the war alongside advanced mobile suits such as MS-14 Gelgoog units during Zeon's last stand at the Space Fortress A Baoa Qu.
- 105mm Machine Gun
- A standard weapon for Zaku type mobile suits, this model is the initial type of the machine gun used by the Zaku series. A 100-round drum magazine is mounted on the right side vertically.
- 120mm Machine Gun
- Another standard weapon for Zaku type mobile suits. It is a shell firing gun that does not require energy to be used, however its effectiveness against heavy armor is very limited. This model used a 100-round drum magazine.
- H&L-SB21K/280mmA-N Zaku Bazooka
- The 280mm Zaku Bazooka was another weapon that could be equipped to a Zaku type mobile suit and it fires explosive rounds. It is primarily for anti-ship combat and displays its power in hit and run attacks. It can also be used against enemy mobile suits, but it is harder to hit a constantly moving target.
- Initial Type Bazooka
- This early design of the bazooka featured a block ammo cartridge and a single exhaust port.
- 90mm Assault Rifle
- A new model assault rifle that appears to be an upgrade of the MMP-80 90mm machine gun.
- A pump-action shotgun, it is of the same type as the one used by the MS-18E Kämpfer.
- 880mmRB-T27 Raketen Bazooka
- A new heavy bazooka which features powerful rocket-propelled rounds, and improved targeting sensor with protective cover for aiming. It is fed by a 5 rounds magazine.
- Heat Hawk
- An axe-like melee weapon, whose name is short for "tomahawk". Thermal energy is used to superheat the heat hawk's blade, allowing it to slice through the armor of enemy warships or mobile suits.
- G-3 Nerve Gas Grenade Launcher
- During the early days of the One Year War, the Principality of Zeon planned to drop colonies on Earth as weapons of mass destruction. Instead of using colonies from Side 3, they intended to capture Earth Federation allied colonies. To prepare these colonies, several Zaku Is were equipped with a G-3 nerve gas grenade launcher. These weapons launched rockets filled with G-3 nerve gas, a chemical weapon that could quickly kill every living person in a colony.
- Anti-personnel explosives fired from various locations on the Zaku's body. They then explode in the air, raining down small metal shrapnels, killing approaching enemy soldiers.
- Knuckle Shield
- The knuckle shield is a modified Zaku II shoulder shield carried on the arm, with the curve of the armor fitting over the mobile suit's hand. One of the modifications is the additions of three spikes placed on the plate that rests in front of the hand. These spikes make the knuckle shield an effective bashing weapon. Darmac Barlow's Zaku I in U.C. 0096 features a knuckle shield (minus the three spikes) with hard points to carry two 280mm Zaku Bazookas.
- Shoulder Shield
- Originally a regular equipment for MS-06 Zaku II series, Darmac Barlow's Zaku I in U.C. 0096 features a shoulder shield on each shoulder with hard points to carry two sturm fausts and three of the Gelgoog's beam rifle.
- Heat Sword
- A melee weapon originally developed for the Gouf line of mobile suits. Like the Zaku's heat tomahawk, the heat sword's blade is heated to high temperatures to increase its cutting capacity.
- MIP-B6 Cracker Grenade
- Identical to those used by infantry, the cracker grenade is an explosive weapons designed to be thrown or launched by the MS and detonate after a set amount of time. The "cracker" breaks into several smaller munitions over a wide area.
- A simplified, disposable rocket launcher. As the warhead is not equipped with a guidance device, it is extremely hard to use the Sturm Faust to hit a moving target accurately. However, it is still a highly destructive portable weapon.
- The shield is a thick sheet of armor designed to take severe punishment that would normally destroy a mobile suit. Shields are also treated with an anti-beam coating to withstand several beam shots before the coating wears off. Typically, physical shields can only take so much damage before they succumb to the pressure and break.
Introduced in U.C. 0075, the MS-05B Zaku I was the Principality of Zeon's first true mass-production model mobile suit. Although designed as a front line combat unit, Zeon's upper brass concluded that it was not adequate to serve as their mainstay unit in the coming war against the numerically superior Earth Federation. The Zaku I was soon replaced by the improved MS-06A Zaku II First Mass Production Type, which was in turn replaced by the MS-06C Zaku II Early Production Type, which was finally replaced by the MS-06F Zaku II as the mainstay of Zeon's mobile suit forces.
One Year War
Early during the One Year War of U.C. 0079, most Zaku Is were relegated to menial construction and supply duties, although a few did continue to serve in combat roles. During the war's opening days, Zaku Is were also used in other combat-related work roles, including gassing of colony populations, attaching booster engines to space colonies to hurtle them towards Earth, and so on. It wasn't until the last months of the war that Zeon, desperate after facing losses in Operation Odessa and Operation Star One, would move the old Zaku Is back to the front lines to reinforce their faltering main forces. Several units would even see combat on Earth when the Midnight Fenrir Corps fought in defense of the California Base.
Another known variant was piloted by Erik Blanke, who colored his unit purple and gave its shoulder armor spikes as well as a commander's antenna. For melee combat, Blanke's unit is armed with MS-07B Gouf's heat sword.
Third Neo-Zeon War
After One Year War, the B-type Zaku Is would be kept and used by Zeon Remnants right up to U.C. 0096. During the events in Last Sun, the customized Zaku I piloted by Darmac Barlow features modified Knuckle Shield and Shoulder Shields with hard points to increase its weapon load out.
Notes and Trivia
- The Zaku I was originally simply named "Old Zaku" (旧ザク) in the settings. The name "Zaku I" first appeared in the 1981 sourcebook Gundam Century. The term "Old Zaku" was used in several works as an in-universe nickname for the Zaku I.
- The S-Mines is likely a reference to a similar anti-personnel mine used by the German in the second World War.
- In Mobile Suit Gundam: Bonds of the Battlefield and its portable version, The Zaku I has mediocre general stats but is the only unit in the game that can do a 6-hit melee combo (assuming that the other melee options have been unlocked). The string can only be done fully if in the correct order: Grapple x 3 (Triangle), Heat Hawk x 2 (Circle + X) and Finisher Heat Hawk Program (Circle). Timing is crucial for every transition. Missed inputs will result in a knockdown blow. This setting will also make the Zaku I totally incapable of ranged combat (since all slots will be populated by close-quarters options) so other allied units will have to assist until the range gap is closed.
|MS IGLOO 2 Mechanics|
RGM-79［G］ GM Ground Type | RTX-440 Ground Assault Type Guntank
6×6 Cargo Truck | M353A4 Bloodhound | M72 Lakota | Type 61 Tank
Big Tray-class | Heavy Fork-class
|Aircraft / Spacecraft|
Dragonfly | FF-X7 Core Fighter
|Principality of Zeon|
MS-05B Zaku I | MS-06J Zaku II Ground Type | MS-07B-3 Gouf Custom | MS-09B Dom
B.M.C. Z78/2 | HT-01B Magella Attack | Magella Eins | PVN.3/2 Sauropelta | PVN.44/1 Weasel | Russel 1/12 Zebu
DFA-03 Dopp | PVN.4/3 Wappa
|Transporter / Supply Ship|
H.L.V. | Komusai | Papua-class
|Cruiser / Mother Ship|
ACA-01 Gaw | Musai-class