Don’t let the name fool you – from its long barrel, heavy weight, to its earth-shaking power, what Armored Core calls a “Grenade Launcher” is anything but a grenade launcher.
Comparing the GL to those little toys the police use to teargas criminals or taze rioters is downright insulting. It’s like comparing Dirty Harry’s Magnum to a Nerf Gun.
It’s more appropriate to call the GL an artillery gun – a weapon built for delivering hundreds of pounds of pulverizing, high-explosive death on unsuspecting enemies tens of miles away.
In fact, given the GL’s reputation as AC’s most badass back mount, it’s more closely related to the super-heavy artillery pieces of World War I and II – the sort that were mounted on ships such as the Yamato, the Iowa, and the Bismarck, if not towed on armored trains. These guns were used to demolish the bejeezus out of forts, battleships, bunkers and pretty much anything that couldn’t be budged with bullets smaller than children.
But even among these titans, they don’t come any bigger than Germany’s Schwerer Gustav. Weighing in at a staggering 1,350 tons (the barrel and breech weighed 100 tons apiece) and with a barrel length of over 30 meters, the Gustav was capable of firing 800-mm shells out to a range of roughly 45 kilometers.
The Gustav was designed by the Krupp company in 1937, and was originally intended to batter France’s Maginot Line. The gun could not be completed in time, however, and was instead deployed during the Siege of Sevastopol from 1941 to 1942.
It was here the Gustav proved that even the GL was a mere prick compared to the dickery it could render upon the opposition; It took just nine shots of the gun’s armor-piercing shells to destroy an underwater ammo dump which was protected by 30 meters of seawater, and 10 meters of concrete.
Each shell weighed seven tons, around the same as Germany’s Panzerkampfwagen II (Panzer II), so to put it another way, the Nazis were bombarding the ever-loving snot out of the Russians with flying tanks.
And here you are, scared of a losing a little AP when the GL’s orange orb of doom scores a hit. Meh, pansy.
So if is was such an awesome weapon of godlike power, why didn’t the Germans make any more of these super guns? To put it simply, the Gustav’s size was its own downfall.
The gun was so heavy that it could only be moved on a twin set of train rails, and even then it had to be dismantled before being transported. It would over 2000 men another several weeks to assemble the cannon and to prepare the firing site, and two flak battalions to protect it from possible air strikes.
The only more massive than the Gustav was its logistical demands on the Wehrmacht, who were beginning to realize that building a bigger gun wasn’t always the best solution to their problems. Following the siege, the gun was never used again, and was eventually destroyed to prevent its capture by the allies. Clearly, Germans didn’t like the idea of being killed by flying tanks either.
In the mean time, be happy in knowing that while the GL doesn’t have the tank-throwing prowess of Nazi Germany’s 80-CM wonder, it’s still a weapon that’s at least portable enough to mount on most of your frames without worry.
That is, until somebody figures out how to make a mobile version of the Gustav, then we’re all screwed. Good thing that hasn’t happened yet…