The MS-18 Kämpfer was a mobile suit created by the Principality of Zeon in the anime series Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket, designed by Yutaka Izubuchi. For the figure Zeonography, it is redesigned by Katoki Hajime. Kämpfer being the German word for "Fighter"
The Kämpfer was the first mobile suit to use the chain mine, an anti-MS weapon utilizing a number of disc-shaped mines connected to each other by flexible cable. Each mine had magnetic claws on its underside, allowing it to be attached to targets. The chain mine could be thrown out like grenades one by one, laid on the ground or fixed to a building as a mine, or (most destructively) attached to a single enemy and detonated. The last attack method was used by Kämpfer against the prototype Gundam NT-1. While the Kämpfer failed to destroy its intended target, it did heavily damage the NT-1's newly-tested chobham armour. The chain mine was later improved upon and enlarged, for use by RX-78GP03 Dendrobrium as the demolition chain.
Despite the drawbacks of limited armor and high fuel-consumption, the Kämpfer was still an incredible mobile suit. Due to its late introduction to the war, only a few units were ever produced. A single Kämpfer was fielded by Zeon's Cyclops Team during their infiltration of the Libot Colony in the neutral Riah Republic of Side 6 on the 20th of December, Universal Century 0079. This unit was piloted by a slightly intoxicated Mikhail Kaminski. Using the Kämpfer, he single-handedly destroyed the entire Scarlet Team mobile suit squadron off the assault carrier Gray Phantom, 3 of the 5 deployed being destroyed in just a few moments after being sent out. It then faced its primary objective, the Earth Federation's RX-78NT-1 Gundam "Alex". The Kämpfer failed to destroy NT-1 with any of its remaining weapons, a shotgun and some chain mines. These succeeded only in slightly damaging it. Using its pump action shotgun with its normal ballistic ammunition it did little if any damage to the opposing Gundam and was quickly discarded after seeing its poor effects. Its chain mines only blew off its external armor and half of its V antenna. Shortly it fell prey to the Gundam's concealed wrist-mounted 90mm Gatling cannon, after attempting hand to hand combat with a concealed beam saber. Considering the skill which its pilot had in regards to the enemy and the weapons it had left at its disposal, the Kämpfer probably would've fared better if it had weapons that would've been more effective against its main target. The Kämpfer went into battle equipped with 2 bazookas, 2 rocket launchers, vulcan guns, 2 shotguns, 2 beam sabers, and the chain mines were part of 3 trucks which had weapons stashed in them for use in the mission. The Kämpfer was forced to use 1 of its shotguns, both of its rocket launchers, and 1 of its bazookas to fight off the Scarlet Team's three RGM-79SP GM Sniper IIs and two RX-77D Mass-production-type Guncannons. When the Kämpfer finally squared off against the NT-1, it had to use its remaining bazooka to gain access to the hangar the Alex was stored in, leaving it with weapons that were going to be largely ineffective against the target. If the Kämpfer had not encountered these earlier foes and had its more powerful (and more effective) weapons for use against the target, the Kämpfer might've been able to cripple or even destroy the NT-1 instead of merely destroying its external armor.
In the series Ecole du Ciel, from its ease of dissassembly and reassembly, the Kämpfer has seen usage by post-war pirates and later with the Axis forces. A prototype Kämpfer is operated by Akira and later in the series, Asuna Elnaleat. At the point of U.C. 0086, the unit's parts are difficult to locate, making maintenance of the unit extremely difficult. Later this unit is even seen fielded by AEUG, a testament to its high performance.
In the Playstation 2 videogame Mobile Suit Gundam: Encounters in Space, RX-78-5 Gundam "G05" pilot Ford Romfellow encounters a Kampfer while the Pegasus-class Thoroughbred is escourting Darcia's Chivvay-class. Ford at first assumes it to be a modified MS-14A Gelgoog, then later settles on it being a Dra-C.
The YMS-18 variant (the prototype), shown in the MS-18E model instruction manual, follows a command-type style radio horn, and a traditional green Zeon paint scheme.
Another variant from the model instruction manual is the MS-18F, Kämpfer beam weapon equipment type. This type utilizes a modified version of the MS-14Jg Beam Machine Gun.
Zeon ace Shin Matsunaga also had a Kämpfer built for him, it replaced the right spiked shoulder with another thruster shoulder assembly, with one of the shoulder mounted bazookas replaced with a gatling gun. In place of the standard shotgun, this Kämpfer variant is equipped with a long-range rifle. In the Playstation 3 videogame, a Kampfer may be obtained and modified by the player, this Kampfer may mount the shield from a MS-07B Gouf, and a 880mm Raketen Bazooka.
The concept of an Assault Mobile Suit was reused in 0083, when Mika Akitaka designed the AGX-04 Gerbera Tetra as an Anaheim Electronics attempt to create an assault suit.