Armored Core Analogs: Bazooka Arms

Whether From Software really thought that two bazookas per AC was an unsatisfactory ratio of awesome, or whether somebody in their team had serious penis envy issues, we don’t know. What we do know is that the outcome of this brainstorming resulted in something equal parts WTF, and equal parts pure evil – the bazooka arms.

Dwarfing even their handheld kin in terms of sheer destructive power, the bazooka arms are an oddity whose ability to pulverize the opposition is kept in check by a variety of issues. For example, bazooka arms are notorious for having the armor protection of paper mache, while their narrow and deep lockbox made them an absolute pain to use against fast mechs.

But even more than standard bazookas, these arms are all about power. With their ability to fire four devastating shells at once, just a few carefully aimed shots from this monster is enough to make even the sturdiest ACs fall to their knees…if not crush them outright.

Obviously about boxing, but it describes bz arms quite well, actually

Indeed, despite its flaws, the bazooka arms are truly one badass set of armaments with few equals. If we’re going to outdo this weapon, we’ll need to look in the direction of something higher on the food chain of badassery. In this case, that means Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children – the manliest bunch of men more commonly known as the USMC.

The Marine Corps take pride in being the first to be in harm’s way. In fact, it’s their penchant for visiting earth’s nastiest hellholes that has imbued them with a knack for knowing which tools get the job done in the most badass way possible, which led to the creation of this remarkable little beast:

No, it’s not photoshopped – there are six bazookas on the tank

Dubbed the M50 Ontos (Greek for The Thing), the vehicle was meant to be a lightweight, air transportable tank killer. The Ontos mounted six 106-mm Recoilless rifles – the Marine’s standard anti-tank weapon at the time – and was designed to overwhelm enemy tanks by hitting them with all six guns simultaneously.

The Ontos’ finest hour came, quite ironically, in Vietnam, where there were barely any tanks among the NVA and VC forces for this devious little nutcracker to bust open. Its small size and weight enabled the Ontos to travel through the country’s thick jungles and bogs with little difficulty, while a switch from HEAT to beehive rounds quickly earned the Ontos a fierce reputation among the NVA.

Knowing the USMC, they were likely planning to upgrade that canister shell with this.

To give you an idea of why “The Thing” is so feared, let’s do the math: Take one 106-mm beehive shell containing 9,500 flechette, multiply that by six, and you’ve got a weapon system capable of spitting out 57,000 steel darts in the enemy’s general direction. One full salvo from the Ontos will effective clear everything – be it man or vegetation – within a 400 meters of the muzzle blast. In fact, the NVA feared it so much that there are accounts of them avoiding an area if they even saw one on the prowl.

It’s like that angry old man in the neighborhood who yells “Get off my lawn!”, except that the angry old dude is a Marine, his shotgun is a 19-ton tracked vehicle, and the neighborhood punks are packing AKs. He doesn’t really need that shotgun to scare people off his turf – all he needs is a well-practiced, menacing scowl to make you wet your pants.

Or in Clint’s case, an M1 Garand

Sadly, while the Marines on the ground appreciated the devastation the Ontos could render upon Victor Charlie, the USMC top brass didn’t see much potential for the vehicle. The M50 was eventually pulled out of service in 1969, with the 176 vehicles in USMC service eventually being dismantled.

While Ontos is a sad story of how military beaurocracy can screw over even the most badass of weapons, its existence does leave us with some ideas on how to improve the bazooka arms. For starters, scrap the bazooka arms entirely, and replace them with the M50’s turrets.