So just how many colonies did Zeon gas, anyway?

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So just how many colonies did Zeon gas, anyway?

Post by J-Lead » Tue Jul 22, 2014 1:25 pm

Lately I've been running into this topic on "various forums" and while I'm obviously skeptical of just about anything I hear, it has piqued my interest. Just how many colonies did Zeon gas during the outbreak of the One Year War? Some databooks mention the use of G3 gas at Sides 1, 2, and 4, but those are usually kind of unreliable, and the animation itself has ever only shown us one colony get gassed, and it's possible that the colony gassed in Mayfly of Space was the same colony as the one seen in 08th MS team. Whenever we see the OYW outbreak in animation, we usually see the colonies being destroyed through Musai mega-particle cannon fire and nuclear weapons. I don't remember poison gas ever being mentioned in MSG at all.

The point was brought up that poison gas is an impractical and slower means of destroying your target than nuclear weapons unless your objective is to keep the colony intact, which makes sense for the colony drop. Other than that, why would Zeon use poison gas on the colonies when nukes were far more effective and deadly?

On that note, how does the "biological" aspect of "NBC weapons" fit into this?
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Re: So just how many colonies did Zeon gas, anyway?

Post by AmuroNT1 » Tue Jul 22, 2014 2:54 pm

I can't answer the primary question, but I can answer a few of your peripheral ones.

-The colony Cima gassed was indeed Shiro's, at least according to an animated cutscene in Gihren's Greed.

-The entire point of gassing the colonies was so that they could be used as drop-fodder. As Cima's backstory shows, the rank-and-file soldiers were told that they were just using an anesthetic gas to knock out the colonists so they could be transported to safety; imagine then the horror these poor soldiers felt when they saw first-hand that they'd been lied to.

-"Biological" in the context of NBC weapons refers to things like germ warfare, the use of anthrax, or even chemicals to kill off an enemy's food supply. In Gundam, the only instance of biological warfare I'm aware of is Project Astaroth from "Rise from the Ashes", which was apparently intended to make plants grow super-fast and render regions of Earth uninhabitable.
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Re: So just how many colonies did Zeon gas, anyway?

Post by toysdream » Tue Jul 22, 2014 3:49 pm

The original claims of colony gassing came from a few sources which seemed (at the time) fairly reliable, even though they don't pass muster under Sunrise's "only filmed works are official" rule...

The original setting notes claims multiple colony drops - roughly 40 in the first round, and a bunch more as a result of the Battle of Loum - and mentions that "nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons" are widely used, adding to the death toll. None of this is specifically described in the First Gundam animation, though. We see a colony destroyed by warship fire, and another falling on an Earth city, with no further explanation.

The next time this was addressed was in Tomino's novels, the main source for all these tales of gas murder:
The Principality of Zeon threw all its fighting strength into an operation unlike any in human history, in order to drive the Earth Federation Forces to instant surrender. Each Side was made up of more than forty colonies, with a population of about one billion. The Zeon fleets began to massacre them in a mass murder of four billion people.

Zeon accomplished this using an extremely simple method, merely injecting GG gas into the sealed colonies. This gas was colorless and odorless. It took less than fifteen minutes to inject ten tons of GG gas, and within five hours 25 million people would be dead. Had Zeon been able to continue this for twenty hours and then demanded the immediate surrender of the Earth Federation Forces, they would probably have complied.

However, when the Earth Federation government learned of the Operation Colony Fall that directly followed the gas attacks, it chose to mount a fierce resistance...
In this telling, the gas attacks are deliberate (not a mean hoax played on innocent widdle frontline troops, boo hoo) and undertaken as a form of blackmail against the Federation. Tomino goes on to say that the first colony drop was actually on New York, which is kind of what it looks like in the animation, too.

The last major source was Gundam Century, which a lot of the show's staff writers contributed to. (If the novels are Tomino's version of the back story, and Gundam The Origin is Yasuhiko's, then Gundam Century is the back story according to the rest of the staff.) This book goes into great detail about Operation British, giving us the new-standard story about how the colony broke up and landed on Sydney, Australia (which is now official thanks to Gundam 0083) and claiming that the Battle of Loum was a failed attempt at a second colony drop (which seems to be refuted by MS Igloo and The Origin). But it doesn't mention gas attacks at all.


What it looks like, then, is that the notion of mass colony gassing rests entirely on the setting notes and Tomino's novels. The former indicates that dozens of colonies were gassed and then dropped on Earth, which clearly isn't true in the actual anime continuity. Tomino says that the gas attacks were basically just mass murder to intimidate the Federation government, and had nothing to do with colony drops. Later publications generally echo that claim - for example, Entertainment Bible 39 says "The only reason for the attack on these unarmed and innocent colonies was a show of force aimed at the Federation Forces" - but it's never been depicted in the official filmed works.

The only colony gassing we've actually seen in the animation is the one involving Shiro Amada, and the 08th MS Team director went on to do a spinoff manga indicating that this colony was the same one used in Operation British. In Gundam The Origin, this colony is in fact the only one where gas is used, because the Zeons need it intact; if Shiro's flashback is indeed in this same colony, then the same may apply in the 08th MS Team example.


EDIT: And a followup on the idea that the soldiers who carried out the gas attacks didn't know what they were doing. I think this was first introduced in Entertainment Bible 39, which claims that "The ordinary soldiers who connected the G3 tanks to the colonies, however, were told only that it was a nonlethal tear gas." In the Gundam 0083 audio drama "Mayfly of Space," Cima has traumatic flashbacks to a gas attack that she and her Marines carried out, but it's not explicitly said that she didn't know the gas was lethal. The notion that even she didn't know it was poison gas seems to have come from the Gihren's Greed cutscenes, which are heavily based on Entertainment Bible 39.

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Re: So just how many colonies did Zeon gas, anyway?

Post by Brave Fencer Kirby » Wed Jul 23, 2014 12:29 pm

Interesting stuff! Gundam's multiple-choice backstory can be entertaining and irritating in equal measure, but it's rarely boring. In the versions where Zeon doesn't do widespread gas attacks, what does that mean for the rest of the casualties? We know from the MSG opening narration that half of humanity is killed in the opening battles of the war, so that needs to be reconciled with the idea that Zeon didn't gas Sides 1, 2, and 4 en masse. Would that mean that they physically destroyed the colonies instead? That could help make sense of the Battle of Loum, where Zeon starts by trying to do another colony drop, but when that doesn't work out just says "eh, forget it" and settles for destroying the EFSF fleet and Side 5. That seems more plausible to me than each individual colony in the entire Side being unlucky enough to be caught in the crossfire of the fleet battle (especially when the EFSF fleet was there explicitly to protect the colonies).
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Re: So just how many colonies did Zeon gas, anyway?

Post by AmuroNT1 » Wed Jul 23, 2014 12:38 pm

I may be wrong, but IIRC it was stated in at least one source that both Feds and Zeon used nuclear weapons "indiscriminately" during the One Week War - which was part of the reason for the Antarctic Treaty. As for how much damage each side did, I do find it a bit odd that Zeon never tried to use the battle as propaganda (in the same vein as Seed's "Remember Junius 7!").
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Re: So just how many colonies did Zeon gas, anyway?

Post by toysdream » Wed Jul 23, 2014 2:26 pm

Brave Fencer Kirby wrote:Would that mean that they physically destroyed the colonies instead?
Possibly - we have seen depictions, in things like Gihren's Greed and the aforementioned "Ixtab" manga, of Zakus shooting nukes directly at colonies. In The Origin, some colonies are destroyed in the heat of battle and then others have their populations hunted down and exterminated after the Zeons capture them (using conventional weapons rather than gas, which I guess makes it all okay). But again, there's no on-the-record info other than the one we see getting blown up in First Gundam's opening animation.
That could help make sense of the Battle of Loum, where Zeon starts by trying to do another colony drop, but when that doesn't work out just says "eh, forget it" and settles for destroying the EFSF fleet and Side 5.
As I mentioned above, the "second Operation British" theory - first floated in Gundam Century and enthusiastically embraced by EB 39 - appears to be inoperative now. MS Igloo says it was just a rumor spread by the Zeons to lure the Federation's main fleet out of hiding at Luna II, and this isn't mentioned at all in The Origin, which is on its way to becoming an official animated work of some kind.

Personally, since the original anime specifically describes Side 5 as a "shoal zone" filled with colony debris, whose only intact colony is Side 5, I think this does imply that its colonies were physically destroyed to a unique extent. Combined with MS Igloo's implication that Zeon had trouble luring the Federation space fleet into the battlefield, this suggests that there wasn't a lot of fleet battle during the initial attacks on Sides 1, 2, and 4, and that whatever destruction was visited on these colonies was deliberately inflicted by the Zeons at their leisure. But there's no official info about that.

AmuroNT1 wrote:I may be wrong, but IIRC it was stated in at least one source that both Feds and Zeon used nuclear weapons "indiscriminately" during the One Week War - which was part of the reason for the Antarctic Treaty.
I don't really think I've seen a published claim that the Federation side used these weapons indiscriminately. The First Gundam opening narration says that "In roughly one month of fighting, the Principality of Zeon and Federation Forces caused the deaths of half the total population," so the Federation must have done something, but aside from EB 39's claim that warship crossfire destroyed a lot of Side 5's colonies I can't think of any source that says specifically what. The only published claims about Federation nuclear weapons involve the attempts to stop Operation British, which didn't involve civilians.

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Re: So just how many colonies did Zeon gas, anyway?

Post by excalibur2008 » Wed Jul 23, 2014 3:31 pm

AmuroNT1 wrote: I do find it a bit odd that Zeon never tried to use the battle as propaganda (in the same vein as Seed's "Remember Junius 7!").
Except seeing as they were the ones attacking it would be like the Earth Alliance using the destruction of Junius 7 as propaganda.

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Re: So just how many colonies did Zeon gas, anyway?

Post by AmuroNT1 » Wed Jul 23, 2014 7:57 pm

Two things: Propaganda and truth aren't normally on speaking terms, and later Gundam animations have shown that Zeon supporters will believe anything you tell them as long as it includes a picture of Federal soldiers with forked tongues and devil horns.
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Re: So just how many colonies did Zeon gas, anyway?

Post by doghunter1 » Thu Jul 24, 2014 8:35 am

toysdream wrote:
Tomino goes on to say that the first colony drop was actually on New York, which is kind of what it looks like in the animation, too.
I thought the whole point of Operation British was to destroy Jaburo with a colony drop to end the war quicker?

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Re: So just how many colonies did Zeon gas, anyway?

Post by gunform1010 » Thu Jul 24, 2014 10:43 am

doghunter1 wrote:
toysdream wrote:
Tomino goes on to say that the first colony drop was actually on New York, which is kind of what it looks like in the animation, too.
I thought the whole point of Operation British was to destroy Jaburo with a colony drop to end the war quicker?
Epic miscalculation due to Jaburo being underground.
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Re: So just how many colonies did Zeon gas, anyway?

Post by doghunter1 » Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:20 am

gunform1010 wrote:
Epic miscalculation due to Jaburo being underground.
Wasn't that the reason why they decided to drop a colony? Because Jaburo was underground, making it impervious to nuclear armaments, and that, when EF forces interfered, Island Iffish wound up disintegrating above the Middle East, with pieces falling across the world?

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Re: So just how many colonies did Zeon gas, anyway?

Post by toysdream » Thu Jul 24, 2014 3:13 pm

doghunter1 wrote:I thought the whole point of Operation British was to destroy Jaburo with a colony drop to end the war quicker?
That factoid hadn't been invented yet when Tomino was writing his novels. In the novels, the colony drop(s) are purely to terrorize the Earth population, not for a particular military objective. It wasn't until Gundam Century that everything we now assume about Operation British - one colony, aimed at Jaburo, broke up in the atmosphere and hit Australia instead - was retconned into being.

As ever, I think it's important to understand that the Gundam back story was pieced together after the fact by a bunch of independent (and sometimes contradictory) publications. It wasn't handed down on Day One as a complete body of lore inscribed on stone tablets.

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Re: So just how many colonies did Zeon gas, anyway?

Post by gunform1010 » Thu Jul 24, 2014 3:47 pm

doghunter1 wrote:
gunform1010 wrote:
Epic miscalculation due to Jaburo being underground.
Wasn't that the reason why they decided to drop a colony? Because Jaburo was underground, making it impervious to nuclear armaments, and that, when EF forces interfered, Island Iffish wound up disintegrating above the Middle East, with pieces falling across the world?
It was the reason. Zeon suckers. :P
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Re: So just how many colonies did Zeon gas, anyway?

Post by toysdream » Thu Jul 24, 2014 3:50 pm

According to Gundam Century - which invented the idea that the colony drop was targeted on Jaburo - the entire point was that only a colony drop would do the trick. That's why they tried it again in Gundam 0083. I have no idea where you got this idea that it was a "miscalculation" by "suckers".

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Re: So just how many colonies did Zeon gas, anyway?

Post by gunform1010 » Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:17 pm

toysdream wrote:According to Gundam Century - which invented the idea that the colony drop was targeted on Jaburo - the entire point was that only a colony drop would do the trick. That's why they tried it again in Gundam 0083. I have no idea where you got this idea that it was a "miscalculation" by "suckers".

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Re: So just how many colonies did Zeon gas, anyway?

Post by toysdream » Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:23 pm

The standard explanation is the same one given by Gundam Century, which you can read for yourself right here. In particular, under the heading "Disaster":
The objective of the reckless Operation British was the destruction of Jaburo, the greatest stronghold of the Federation Forces. This was because the Jaburo base facilities, constructed beneath solid bedrock, couldn't be destroyed even by megaton-class bombs.

The loss of the Federation Forces' final refuge, and the physical and psychological aftereffects, would enable the Zeon forces to quickly bring the war to a victorious conclusion.

As the colony approached Earth, the Federation Forces halted their attacks. At this point, even if they destroyed the colony, fragments would fall across Earth's entire surface and the damage zone would be expanded. Both sides were now convinced that the success of the operation was assured.

[...]

However, an unexpected event occurred. Although the colony had been reinforced for the operation, it had been weakened by the fighting during its four-day journey to Earth. After entering the atmosphere at a speed of about 11 kilometers per second, the nearly ten-billion-ton colony collapsed over Arabia.

The colony's front section, which retained its original shape, impacted directly on Sydney, Australia and pierced the ten-kilometer-thick crust. As a result, it triggered the activity of the Pacific Rim volcanic belt and completely reshaped the eastern Australian continent.

The remaining fragments crossed the Pacific Ocean and fell across the northern hemisphere, chiefly on North America, and inflicted widespread casualties on civilians and Federation Forces soldiers alike.
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Re: So just how many colonies did Zeon gas, anyway?

Post by Deacon Blues » Thu Jul 24, 2014 5:02 pm

The 08th MS Team novels has a mentioning of the colony gassing in the opening part.
I was running, clad in a brand-new normal suit.

The downtown area would likely be busy as usual.

The shop windows and billboards dotted the road yet I did nothing but run, searching for something that moved...

But there was no one.

There was nothing.

My path was just full of a yellow fog.

There is no one... no one here?

I continued running, running towards the station, ignoring the flashing traffic signals, crossing through the shopping district.

There!

A large number of people collapsed.

I rushed over to them and helped one of them sit up. He was an older business man, probably a father.

His mouth moved but he could only gasp, his imploring eyes fixated on me.

"Are you okay?"

I had no idea whether he could hear my voice. The man who sought help clung to me.

"Nnnngh..."

Through my helmet, I could hear something that was a voice, but it wasn’t the man’s voice.

“H-hey…”

The man’s hand clung to my helmet. But, in the next instant, it slumped down lifelessly.

Sliding down my helmet, his fingers drew red lines.

Blood!

It was blood!

The dark red lines filled my view.

Across from me, the man collapsed.

A line of blood. A man who collapsed. A congestive yellow-colored gas.

Without standing, I let out a scream.
Plus the Federation propaganda (on the television show Shiro is watching):
Joe, who was leading the pack, slid into a bullet hold created by the Zeon’s shelling. Morrow and the Doc settled in next to him.

Right after, a bullet whizzed past their heads. The made it by a hair’s breadth.

“This is overkill for such a small position,” Joe said as he sat, the small cigarette angled in his mouth.

“The Zeon are always overdoing it.”

The Doc’s words were leaden.

“Poison gas, a colony drop... they don’t know moderation.”

Steven “Doc” Rogers parents were on Side 4. Australia is where is younger sister would be married.

An unpleasant silence remained.

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Re: So just how many colonies did Zeon gas, anyway?

Post by Gelgoog Jager » Thu Jul 24, 2014 8:04 pm

What about about the colonies that Zeon "occupied" during the OYW, according to at least 3 sources:

Gundam Century:

Zaku mobile suits were carrying out guerilla activities before the outbreak of the war, greatly expanding the territory of the Zeon forces. It should be remembered that the secrecy of these mobile suit operations was definitely a result of the Minovsky particle's electromagnetic wave-blocking effects.

The guerilla operations performed by the Zaku didn't stop with simple destructive operations, but extended into many areas. Examples of these missions included the removal of pro-Federation powers from the vicinity of Side 3, the securing of supply routes, and the capture of factory plants and other production facilities belonging to other Sides.


http://www.ultimatemark.com/gundam/arch ... ntury.html

MSV1:

After the One Week Battle, the Zeon forces began producing mobile suits and other weapons in the factory blocks of occupied colonies, and meanwhile the development of new mobile suits began back in the homeland.

http://www.ultimatemark.com/gundam/archive/msv1.html

Mark's Timeline:

U.C. 0079.01.08

Ramba Ral carries out a guerilla attack on a Side 1 industrial colony, taking the Federation Forces garrison by surprise and capturing the colony's facilities intact.
* Source: Master Grade MS-05B Ramba Ral's Zaku manual.


http://www.ultimatemark.com/gundam/timeline.php

On one hand this indicates that Zeon did capture some colonies in order to expand their production capabilities, even using some of these to produce MS (most likely older Zaku II types, allowing the Zeon homeland to focus on the production of new models). On the other hand, we are not told exactly what happens to the population of these colonies.

I also have some concerns about exactly how much population might have been killed at Sides 1, 2 and 4 during the OWW, which would still allow many colonies to have been largely repopulated by U.C. 0087. There's also Quess' claim from CCA indicating that the total population might already be back to the pre-OYW 11 billion figure.

I also still think that before the OYW, Side 3 might have already had overpopulation problems. The common claim is that Side 3 has a population of 2 billion and MS Igloo confirmed that Side 3 has exactly 40 colonies, giving us an average population density of 50 million per colony.

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Re: So just how many colonies did Zeon gas, anyway?

Post by AmuroNT1 » Thu Jul 24, 2014 10:08 pm

I know it's a bit off-topic, but...
Deacon Blues wrote:Steven “Doc” Rogers parents were on Side 4. Australia is where is younger sister would be married.
Am I wrong for thinking this was a deliberate reference to Captain America? I mean, IIRC, Okouchi's 08th MS Team novel is full of Western pop culture references.
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Re: So just how many colonies did Zeon gas, anyway?

Post by toysdream » Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:17 am

The notion of Zeon capturing colonies (and/or factory facilities) from other Sides is even more mysterious, since it's only been alluded to in a few places in the Japanese publications. It would be pretty interesting to see Zeon actually occupying inhabited colonies in the other Sides...

Actually, the status of the other Sides becomes more confusing the more you think about it. The First Gundam animation indicated that Sides 1, 2, 4, and 5 were completely destroyed - they're crossed off with big X's in the opening narration of one episode, and during the attack on Solomon we're told that the Federation fleets are gathered in the ruins of Sides 1 and 4. There's no indication that any intact colonies are left at these Sides, aside from Texas Colony.

And yet, in Zeta, ZZ, and Char's Counterattack, we see a bunch of colonies at Sides 1 and 2 with no indication that they were destroyed or depopulated during the One Year War. Side 5, formerly Side 4, remains a shoal zone full of colony debris; the wartime Sides 4 and 6 have supposedly been renumbered, but they're never really seen or mentioned in the animation.

It's pretty hard to reconcile First Gundam with the later series on this point. Since the First Gundam opening narration tells us that half the population was killed, I guess we have to take that as a fact, but what happened to the colonies and who are all these people living in them after the war?

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