Zeon was developing an anti-aircraft variant of the MS-06J Zaku II ground Combat Type, the MS-06J-12 Zaku II, in its California Base during the One Year War. When it received intelligence of the prototypes deployed by the Earth Federation, Zeon wanted to develop something similar.
The J-12 project switched to developing a mobile suit inspired by the Federation’s close combat unit, the RX-78-2 Gundam, and fire support unit, the RX-77-2 Guncannon. The fruit of the project was the MS-06K Zaku Cannon.
However, the Zaku Cannon had poor balance due to the recoil of its artillery weapon and its development was terminated shortly after its commencement.
Nine units were produced in California Base and these were commandeered by Ian Greydon to defend the base during the war. Greydon’s unit had two antennas on its head instead of one to improve its communications range. As a result, it was nicknamed the “rabbit type”.
A few units were found in other battlefronts on Earth, including Southeast Asia and Australia. Several Zaku Cannon units were used by the Federation after the war. The Federation acquired these units in UC 0087 after the costly battle with the Delaz Fleet. The Federation suffered heavy losses and was forced to fill its ranks with old Zeon units, including the Zaku Cannon.
In UC 0096, the Zeon remnants used the Zaku Cannon in their attack on Torrington Base in Australia.
The MS-06K Zaku Cannon was designed based on the MS-06J Zaku II Ground Combat Type. The unit, codenamed MS-06J-12, was initially meant to be an anti-aircraft unit. However, the emergence of the Federation’s prototypes the RX-78-2 Gundam and the RX-77-2 Guncannon inspired the Zeon scientists to develop an anti-mobile suit support unit, the MS-06K Zaku Cannon.
Since it used the J-type Zaku II as its design basis, the Zaku Cannon could switch its backpack to a standard J-type backpack.
The Zaku Cannon had a 360 degree mono-eye for an increased scope of vision and better target acquisition. It also had additional thrusters in the legs to compensate for the increased weight due to the cannon. Despite the extra thrusters, the Zaku Cannon was still less mobile compared to the J-type Zaku II.
However, the Zaku Cannon was deemed a failure and its production was stopped shortly after it started. The mobile suit was unable to cope with the recoil of its main cannon and lost its balance after each shot.
The standard weapons used by the Zaku Cannon were fixed armaments: a cannon or a Gatling gun, and a two-tube smoke discharger. Depending on the missions requirements and pilot preference, two-tube rocket launchers and three-tube missile pods could be mounted on the suit.
180 mm cannon
The 180 mm cannon was mounted on its backpack and extended over the right shoulder of the Zaku Cannon. This was its main cannon and it had firing power equivalent to that of the RX-75-4 Guntank and was able to destroy a mobile weapon with a single shot.
However, the recoil of the cannon was so powerful that it threw the Zaku Cannon off balance. This flaw led to the termination of the unit’s production.
Two-tube smoke discharger
The Zaku Cannon had poor mobility, hence it was equipped with a two-tube smoke discharger to provide it with the ability to create a smokescreen to hid itself.
Two-tube rocket launcher
A two-tube rocket launcher could be mounted on each side of the torso of the Zaku Cannon. These usually fired rocket-propelled explosives.
The main cannon of the Zaku Cannon could be replaced with a Gatling gun. The gun was mounted over its right shoulder. Although it was less powerful than the cannon, the Gatling gun had a lower recoil and allowed the Zaku Cannon to maintain its balance in battle.
Three-tube missile pod
A three-tube missile pod was mounted on each leg of the Zaku Cannon. The missiles proved to be very effective against armoured enemies.
The pods held a total of only six missiles so the pilot had to use them wisely during combat.
Behind the scenes
Kunio Okawara was the original mechanical designer.
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