We all know that walkers are useless militarily as Star Wars so kindly showed us in Episode 5 of the Skywalker saga. However what I have noticed is that planes can only fly if there's an atmosphere to hold them up, but if there isn't one, then what other options could people use to try and take walkers down?

Now what I am working on is a scenario where there is a war engulfing most of the Earth and Moon; so though this question applies to anywhere with little to no atmosphere I am specifically asking about the Moon.

What I have thought of is that the Walker (which would be massive) are artillery platforms, troop transports etc., think of them as a battleship equivalent. They're obviously vulnerable to something to small to easily shoot. This is why there are smaller walkers around to protect it. There are also infantry to be a more versatile defense and offense. What is wrong with this?

I'm partly relying on tanks tumbling over too much on the Moon because of their speed. So if you actually slowed them down to a speed where they could gain traction. that a well made Walker could easily surpass them. Also is there any point in having infantry (in suits oc) as an integral part of these Walker groups?

(Also a lunar faction attacks Earth with a walker group. And we all know how that will turn out.)

  • $\begingroup$ "if there isn't one then what other options could people use to try and take them down?" Rockets? $\endgroup$
    – RonJohn
    Mar 10, 2018 at 2:53
  • $\begingroup$ Who would carry those rockets? The anti-walker thingy could also be destroyed, that's why they have smaller things to defend the Walker. $\endgroup$
    – skout
    Mar 10, 2018 at 2:55
  • $\begingroup$ Kinetic energy projectiles (think "coil gun slugs") to the knee joints, since that's the weakest point (just like the middle of a long board is the weakest part). $\endgroup$
    – RonJohn
    Mar 10, 2018 at 3:07
  • $\begingroup$ So rockets. Would that make walkers unfeasible? Consider that they are heavily defended. $\endgroup$
    – skout
    Mar 10, 2018 at 3:13
  • $\begingroup$ Check this out. A lot of the same issues still apply, air force or not. $\endgroup$
    – AndreiROM
    Mar 10, 2018 at 3:57

3 Answers 3




Adaptations of the Painted Turtle / Erin Williams

I like your idea that airlessness would improve the advantages of a walker. I like your idea that walkers could deal with lunar terrain better. The walker haters always hate on the legs. They are kind of silly, the legs. How to work around their obvious deficits?

You could have your huge walkers be like turtles with retractable legs. They pull in the legs when they are not moving and settle onto the ground. Legs are for going from place to place but once the walkers in in position it becomes a fixed emplacement.

Consider also: your walker does not need to be the Star Wars walker tottering along on 4 gazelle legs. You have increased stability with multiple legs. What about a walker patterned after a millipede? Would this not be a badass walker?

flatbacked milipede https://www.whatsthatbug.com/2009/05/03/millipede-3/

An attack on any one leg would not disable the walker, and such an attack would reveal the location of the attacker which the walker would then take out. The legs are more underneath the armored body and so safer from attacks from above.

Millipedes protect themselves by rolling up. The turtle maneuver would be good for a 4 legged walker but for a long articulated walker like the millipede it could roll into an armored ball - for protection and also for faster transit downhill.

Consider also the game Centipede. If you hit the centipede in the middle it will break and you have to fight 2 centipedes. A millipede walker could be modular, like a train. A damaged car could be abandoned and the rest move on. It could break into 3 car sections that move off in different directions. If you kill the head, that part can be detached and the second segment acts as the head.

Recommendations: 1: Vulnerable appendages (head, legs, guns) are retractable and come out only when needed.

2: Appendage redundancy decreases the importance to the whole of any one vulnerable appendage.

3: A low, flat, many legged walker is more stable than a wobbly baby pony walker.

4: Modular body segment redundancy has not been done with SF walkers to my knowledge, and this as well as other aspects taken from millipede body design will let you surprise and delight your readers.

  • $\begingroup$ Great, but can I ask for a bit of information on small walkers, you are of course focusing on the big guy but in my scenario there are smaller walkers and infantry to defend it. Is there any use to them and recommendations for anti-walker and anti-infantry vehicles would be appreciated. If you have time to answer these questions it would be appreciated. $\endgroup$
    – skout
    Mar 10, 2018 at 23:15
  • $\begingroup$ @skout this one did not get marked to close which is an achievement on WB stack. Why not put up a separate question about defending against a walker? $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Mar 11, 2018 at 15:03
  • $\begingroup$ I will need to put up multiple on a similar topic, specifically one about small walkers vs tanks on the moon. I'll be using many millipedes on the moon; thank you. $\endgroup$
    – skout
    Mar 11, 2018 at 17:41
  • $\begingroup$ I like the idea of basically walking turrets, which can deploy in forward defense posts, utilizing heavy cannons (deployed) while being able to quickly switch positions. Sadly the germans already had the idea before you. It was never actually deployed though. -Edit: It's also not a walker. They only had tanks. $\endgroup$
    – JFBM
    Mar 13, 2018 at 11:27

Whether there's an atmosphere or not, tall walkers are impractical because their center of gravity is high, which is a tipping hazard. While it could probably survive a shot to the knee (animals do it), it's maneuverability is greatly diminished. If it's tall enough and heavy enough up top, it might tip over anyway.

But short and squat (for stability and protection) multi-legged (think spiders or centipedes, great for rough terrain) armored vehicles eliminate those problems.

  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$
    – James
    Mar 16, 2018 at 18:57

Airpower would still play on the moon, but going with the idea that it won't...

The counter to walkers would be tanks.

There's no reason tanks or wheeled vehicles, especially those designed for that environment, would have any more trouble there than a walker. After that the disadvantages of walkers really just leaves them as not being very competitive against tanks.

The problem with legs has been addressed here, and some solutions have been proposed.. but all of the solutions make the second problem walkers have even worse. The mechanics involved in "walking" require a larger amount of mass and volume than the mechanics involved in rolling. The more legs you add, the more outclassed the walker will end up in terms of actual fire power and protection.

They look cool and they make for a cool story, but as a practical weapon they're just not the way to go.


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