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We all know mechs, as cool as they are, are super impractical in a combat situation because of multiple factors, the biggest being that they would be more expensive and harder to maintain then a tank + they are more visible then a tank. Another big thing is that many moving parts make them a bit more problematic to repair and maintain.

Now the thing tho is... Mechs are really cool and I was thinking if there would be any realistic use they could have on a battlefield. So in my quest I was thinking how big would the mech be? If you go to big square cube law is gonna bite you in the butt. I will mostly ignore power generation as this is imo a can of worms that will always be explained by weird sci fi mumbo jumbo. I am more thinking, could there even be a situation where a tank or wheeled vehicle isn't completely superior to a Mech?

Then it hit me! Maybe a low G environment?

So I decided to do a little bit of research and found this:

https://spectrum.ieee.org/legged-robots-surprisingly-well-low-gravity

IEEE Spectrum: Why are legs ideal for mobility in low gravity environments?

Rudin: In low gravity environments, rolling on wheels becomes more difficult because of reduced traction. However, legs can exploit the low gravity and use high jumps to move efficiently. With high jumps, you can also clear large obstacles along the way, which is harder to do in higher gravity.

I think when it comes to mechs we mostly think about their usage in earthern warfare where Mechs would be very much impractical but if Legs are better in space maybe a realistic use for them could be in low g combat?

If we do a hypothetical Sci Fi story that I'm may or maybe not currently writing and say its the far future, Humanity has colonized space and we have different factions in the solar system, due to resource scarcity we mostly fight over asteroids and ice that we can mine. Most warfare is in space but since we cannot just destroy the asteroids we do need "ground" units. To control a physical space we do need boots on the ground. Marines, maybe equipped with powered armour, would need a fire support platform, since wheels and tracks are rather impractical due to reduced traction in a low g environment a 3-4 meter mechsuit with a bunch of weapon options (similar to the titans in titanfall maybe?) is used as the go to fire support platform. Warfare in space is, due to the distance and time required for travel (since there is no warp/hyperspace travel here), more "low scale" instead of massed battles like we saw on earth.

So I would imagine a mech not like some towering monstrosity but more like some kind of "super", exo skeleton/powered armour that serves as a fire support platform. Another thing I thought of is that maybe a 3/4 meter mech would be easier to transport on a dropship (since you could in theory put them in a compact squat position) then a tank since space and weight are very valuable on a spaceship.

So that are my initial thought. Mechs are super impractical and will never find any real use in earth based warfare. They will maybe be practical in logistical capabilities like the powerloader in Aliens, if even that. The thing is, maybe we just think about the wrong place were mechs could be useful, in a low G environment legs are actually superior to wheels so maybe a reasonable, not to big around 3 to 4 meters tall, "super exo skeleton", mech could actually be practical as a fire support platform where other normal vehicles would not be.

Do you think this would work, or is my thinking regarding this wrong? I'd love to hear some thoughts.

Cheers =)

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    $\begingroup$ This reads more like an open ended discussion prompt or request for feedback, rather than a specific answerable question about a worldbuilding problem you're having. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Jul 18, 2022 at 21:40
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    $\begingroup$ Hello Alexkon3, welcome to Worldbuilding. We need to modify your Q a bit. Stack Exchange is not a discussion forum. We only answer specific questions. You certainly can use a 3-4m mech in a low-gravity environment. But what does it mean to ask if it's more realistic when you're asking about a piece of equipment that isn't realistic in the first place? Legs are a good idea for soil-sampling robots, but a bad idea for military vehicles. What's stopping you from using your mech in a low gravity environment? Is there an actual problem that needs solving? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Jul 18, 2022 at 22:15
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    $\begingroup$ By the way, you should take our tour and read the following two pages: help center and help center. They'll help you understand the rules of our Stack and lead you to good advice about asking questions here. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Jul 18, 2022 at 22:16
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    $\begingroup$ Do you know what we call flying soldiers on the battlefield? Skeet $\endgroup$
    – Mark
    Jul 19, 2022 at 3:38
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    $\begingroup$ Something 4 meters tall is a landmark. Unless you have things like super sensors and defence fields, your scifi future will end up with man-portable hypersonic anti-armor missiles that will blast a hole clean through your mech in an instant because you're incapable of hiding. Tanks tend to be low to the ground for a good reason! $\endgroup$ Jul 19, 2022 at 5:56

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You've got it backwards... I didn't bring my mech-suit with me for fighting. It's a mining tool, a tall and powerful frame which amplifies my scrawny body's ability to pull treasures out of the accursed floating rocks. That it happens to be great for defending my scrawny body from pirates and claim-jackers... that's just a bonus.

Space ships are closed systems. Everything they carry out to the asteroid fields has to be hauled up out of Earth's gravity well at great expense. That applies to the survival equipment, the mining tools and most dramatically, to the crew itself. We aren't chosen for the strength of our muscles. We're anorexic dwarves, underweight and enfeebled, with a minimum body mass and a maximum ratio of brains over brawn. We breath less, eat less and take up less living space than "normal" size people.

Without putting on a mech-suit, none of us could even lift our mining tools or defensive weapons. Human muscles are expensive. You have to feed them and exercise them to keep them healthy and strong. Mech muscles are a far better deal. All they ever need is a shot of oil and an occasional recharge.

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Possible, albeit probably not as you're thinking

Though not necessarily for the reason you think it is. The description you're giving me makes me think of the Jenner from BattleTech. This is quite deadly in a low gravity environment, but has a weak point - the legs. No matter what you do, the legs and the joints are an optimal fire location, not to mention that something as simple as bolas can tangle them up.

Ultimately, a walker may be practical for a low gravity environment, but it's never practical for combat - the sleek profile of a battle tank, low risk for incoming fire and tactical options is just superior in every way. Even if the locomotive method is superior, tanks are better.

Unless...

Ever hear of dragoons? They were mobile heavy infantry that traveled the battlefield on horse and fought on foot. So, instead of walkers for combat, you could have dragoons - tanks which could attacked legs to move faster, but abandoned them one in combat.

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At the smallest end of your scale I don't see why mechs would not be very effective in an urban environment. One or two being deployed with a support platoon would be hellofa force multiplier in tight urban setting, space station, large arcology; or industrial facility for example?

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Robonana

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Humans are alien colonizers of the planet where the story happens. The dominant species is the Banana.

The Banana plants are the main source of food for the soldiers and also the best cover from enemy fire.

They need something to pick the bananas without chopping down the plants. But the bananas are too high and heavy for a regular man to harvest and carry.

The fruit grows up to seven metres off the ground in six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch. From Wikipedia:

Cultivated banana plants vary in height depending on the variety and growing conditions. Most are around 5 m (16 ft) tall, with a range from 'Dwarf Cavendish' plants at around 3 m (10 ft) to 'Gros Michel' at 7 m (23 ft) or more.[12][13] Leaves are spirally arranged and may grow 2.7 metres (8.9 ft) long and 60 cm (2.0 ft) wide.1 They are easily torn by the wind, resulting in the familiar frond look.

The four metre tall robot is the ideal size to move quickly through the forest, harvest the banana bunches as it goes and return to base.

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