Technology & Combat Characteristics
The successor to the first fielded MS, the MS-05 Zaku I, the Zaku II improved on everything the previous model offered. It was faster, more durable, had a superior reactor, and could be fitted with more weapons. The Zaku II was the mainstay of the Zeon military for most of the One Year War. Even after the MS-09B Dom and MS-09R Rick Dom began to replace it on the front lines, the Zaku II still remained the most numerous mobile suit in Zeon's armed forces. As such, the Zaku II formed the backbone of the zeon remnants behind Operation Stardust and some were even seen as late as U.C. 0088 in both AEUG and Neo Zeon service during the Gryps Conflict and the First Neo Zeon War. The Zaku II was also a common aggressor unit used during training for Earth Federation Forces pilots.
- ZMP-50D 120mm Machine Gun
- A standard weapon for Zaku type MS. It is a shell firing gun that does not require energy to be used; however, its effectiveness against heavy armor is very limited. The ZMP-50D used a 100-round drum magazine, which is offset to the right. "ZMP" stands for "Zaku Machine Pistol".
- M-120A1 120mm Machine Gun
- Also referred to as a "rifle" by Zeon soldiers, Zeonic was contracted to develop this weapon. Its internal development code is "ZMC38III". It can switch between semi-automatic and automatic fire. Although useless against Luna Titanium Alloy, it can still destroy weaker armor material with multiple shots. This is the main weapon carried by the MS-06F, J, and S during the One Year War.
- MMP-78 Machine Gun
- A new model machine gun with enhanced firepower to combat Federation Forces MS. Early type and late type models exist, with differences in the location and mounting of the grip on the latter. In addition to the regular machine gun bullets fed from the drum magazine, the MMP-78 is also capable of firing anti-aircraft rounds being fed from a smaller, box-type magazine. The MMP-78 is also integrated with a grenade launcher under its barrel for additional firepower. "MMP" is an abbreviation for "Mobile Suit Machine Pistol".
- MMP-80 90mm Machine Gun
- A small caliber machine gun for mobile suits developed under the United Maintenance Plan. The overall shape and mechanism of the Zaku Machine Gun, which was previously deployed, has been changed. The magazine has been changed from a drum magazine to a box magazine, and a 197mm grenade launcher is available as an option. The caliber has been reduced to 90mm, but as a result, the hit rate has improved, and the 90mm shell used is also excellent in initial velocity and anti-MS firepower. The number of bullets loaded is 32 in the standard single magazine and 100 in the triple magazine. The late production model features a different barrel and hand guard, resulting in a more compact shape.
- MMP-78/WG Machine Gun
- A model of the zaku machine gun where the hand grip has been tailored to fit the size of the manipulators belonging to the Dom series. The grenade launcher is also detachable.
- H&L-SB25K/280mmA-P Zaku Bazooka
- A portable, physical projectile-type firearm. 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. The bazooka could be stored on the rear waist armor, while spare ammunition clip containing 4 rounds could be stored on the side waist armor.
- ZIM/M.T-K175C 175mm Recoilless Rifle
- The main gun of the HT-01B Magella Attack main battle tank, it is remodeled as an MS artillery weapon. It was mainly used for long distance ground combat and can be loaded with high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) or armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding-sabot (APFSDS) rounds.
- MIP-B6 Cracker Grenade
- Identical to those used by infantry, cracker grenades are explosive weapons designed to be thrown or launched by the MS and detonate after a set amount of time. The "cracker" then breaks into several smaller munitions over a wide area. A flash-type variant also exist, which it used to temporarily paralyze the sensors of enemy MS. The Zaku II can optionally equip up to four cracker grenades, that are stored on the left and right waist armor racks, with two on each side.
- Triple Missile Pod
- A pair of optional missile pods each containing three missiles, can be mounted on a weapon latch on the legs, they're used to perform mid to long-range attacks, and can be used with other weapons.
- 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.
- Hand Grenade
- Hand Grenades are throwing weapons used as an alternative to Cracker Grenades. These waist-mounted grenades can be thrown like regular grenades and set to detonate upon impact with the target or timed to explode after a preset time. They come in multiple variants, allowing them to perform different roles in battle.
- 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.
- Heat Hawk Type 5
- An axe-shaped close combat weapon, it uses a super-heated blade to cut through the armor of enemy MS or vehicles. The thermal energy is generated by the power output of the Zaku II's thermonuclear reactor and relayed through the MS' hands.
- Shoulder Shield
- Mounted on the right shoulder, it is a simple defense used to block most physical projectiles.
- Spiked Shoulder Shield
- A shoulder shield with a set of spikes on it to enhance its melee combat abilities.
- Ex-T2-2 Beam Bazooka
- A prototype beam weapon originally developed for the MS-09R Rick Dom, it uses a different method of mega particle compression than the Federation's energy CAP technology. Though it takes time to charge, it is said to be more powerful than even the MS-14A Gelgoog's beam rifle.
- Gatling Shield
- A weapon from the MS-07B-3 Gouf Custom, it is a shield with a powerful, drum-and-belt fed, 75mm Gatling Gun attached to it. The Gatling Gun can be detached from the shield when it runs out of ammunition.
- 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.
- 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.
- A handheld incendiary device which can project a long, controllable stream of fire to incinerate targets such as mobile suits, infrastructures, infantry units and combat vehicles.
The MS-06 Zaku II series was one of the most produced and versatile mobile suits of the One Year War. Even after its performance was surpassed by its successor mobile suits, like the MS-07B Gouf, the MS-09B Dom, and the MS-14A Gelgoog, it was still widely deployed both on the front lines and behind the scenes after the war's end. During the First Neo Zeon War, the Zaku II was still used by Haman Karn's Neo Zeon forces, but it in less of a combat role and more of a support and defense role.
Notes and Trivia
- The original concept of the Zaku was simply a disposable underling, with its name derived from the sound of a huge man (or many soldiers) walking and the Japanese term 雑魚 (zako), meaning "inferior fish" (the term also signifying expendable grunts).
- Although partially, the Zaku was a design model for the Russian Jaeger Cherno Alpha, in the 2013 movie Pacific Rim.
- Later series would often include grunt mobile suits inspired by or based on the Zaku. These mobile suits would generally be painted green, and their model numbers would be partially based on the Zaku's. Some of these include the JDG-009X Death Army, OZ-06MS Leo, RMS-006 Jenice, ZGMF-1017 GINN, ZGMF-1000 ZAKU Warrior, MSJ-06II-A Tieren Ground Type, Hi-Mock, Jahannam and the EB-06 Graze.
- In the Super Robot Wars series, the Zaku is one of the very few units that has proven an exception to the series rule that pilots cannot pilot units outside their own canons, with the Zaku II having been piloted by generic OZ troopers in SRW 64, as well as being used as a temporary playable grunt unit by original characters, though otherwise characters not connected to the Gundam canon proper cannot pilot one.
- アニメック(Animec) 16th issue special volume, 機動戦士ガンダム大事典 (Mobile suit Gundam Encyclopedia), 1 March 1981, Yoshiyuki Tomino Interview, そうですね、ザクなんかでも………大きい人が歩いてくると地面がザクッザクッと音をだしますね、それからとったんですよ。(笑), Yes, Zaku whatever... is when a huge man walking the ground will make Zaku, Zaku sound, and it took that (for its name) (laughter)
- ガンダム･エイジ (Gundam Age), 洋泉社, 敵のモビルスーツのザクは、もともとは、雑兵っていうか、雑魚(ザコ)なのね。でも、ザコじゃあんまりだ。やつら軍隊だから、軍団でザクザクやってくるでしょ。だからザクにしようって, Enemy's Mobile suit Zaku is originally (designed as) a common soldier, disposable underling (Zako). However, saying it is an underling is too extreme, they are a military force and flanks of army make the Zaku Zaku sound, thus it was named Zaku.