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Fixed Forward-Facing Weapon

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Let's hope the enemy went to the Prometheus School of Running Away from Things.

Sometimes a full broadside cannon barrage isn't enough to bring down those pesky enemy ships. Or the enemy may be running away as fast as they can, and you don't have time to turn and give them the full fury of your weapons array. That's why you should remember to design your ships with a really big weapon pointed straight forward, to make running away very unattractive as the cannon rips into them from behind.

The core of the trope is that the weapon cannot be independently aimed — it can only fire in a fixed direction relative to the ship (typically straight ahead), so you have to maneuver the entire ship in order to aim it. This is typically because the weapon is so large that it takes up a significant portion of the ship's mass and/or volume, so mounting it in a turret is impractical or impossible. It can be nose-mounted, dorsally mounted (on the top surface of the ship), ventrally mounted (on the bottom), or a "spinal weapon" (where it runs along — or in extreme cases is — the spine of the ship). Simply put, this is a gun, with an attached ship or vehicle to move it.

Commonly referred to as the "main gun" or some other such name to indicate how much more powerful it is compared to the other weapons.

Weaponized Exhaust is an (Improvised) Fixed Backward-Facing Weapon.

Nearly all fighter aircraft use this system for their guns (due to size, weight, aerodynamics, single-seaters' lack of additional crew to man the guns, and modern fighters mostly using long-range homing missiles or precision-guided bombs), so specific examples need not be listed. Many tanks, tank destroyers, and assault guns have been designed in this way as well, sacrificing field of fire for extreme forward punch.

Frequently a Wave-Motion Gun or Rail Gun of some sort. If the ship has a split hull that functions as a Wave-Motion Gun, it's a Wave-Motion Tuning Fork.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Space Battleship Yamato: the title ship has the original Wave-Motion Gun mounted on the nose.
  • Macross:
  • Gundam:
    • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED: The Archangel is equipped with massive Lohengrin positron blaster cannon in its two pylons, while the Orb Union battleship Kusanagi also has retractable forward-firing Lohengrin cannons inside its rear fins.
      • The manga spinoff Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Astray, the Junk Guild's ReHOME (originally a tender ship designed to resupply Archangel-class battleships) has been illegally refitted with its own pair of forward-firing Lohengrin in the bottom side of its own pylons.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny: The Minerva has its own fixed positron cannon called the Tannhauser which deploys from the actual nose.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam: In a non-ship example, this is the Guntank's greatest design flaw; it can't turn its torso, which means it's unable to aim its shoulder cannons without moving its entire body around. The production model Guntank corrected this flaw.
    • The early models of Zeon tanks had a detachable flying turret. The tank's main gun obviously became this type of weapon when the turret was on its own.
  • Martian Successor Nadesico: The Nadesico has the Gravity Cannon, which was actually sandwiched between two forward protrusions.
  • Legend of the Galactic Heroes:
  • Sonic X:
    • Eggman's Egg Carrier had a Wave-Motion Gun hidden in the nose that actually managed to shoot the X Tornado down.
    • The Blue Typhoon had a cannon that rose from the bowels of the ship that could power Sonic's Homing Attack to max power, enabling him to pierce Metarex armor.
  • Due to using World War 2 vehicles, Girls und Panzer has numerous examples:
    • Oarai has Team Rabbit's M3 Lee, with a sponson-mounted forward-facing 75mm gun in addition to its turret-mounted 37mm gun; Team Mallard's Char B1-Bis with a forward-facing 75mm howitzer in addition to its 47mm gun in the turret; and Team Hippo's STuG III is only armed with a forward-facing 75mm gun. Team Turtle's Mid-Season Upgrade to convert their Panzer 38(t) into a Jagdpanzer 38(t) "Hetzer" gets rid of the 37 mm gun turret, and puts in a hull-mounted 75mm gun instead.
    • Kuromorimine, as the German themed school, has numerous tank destroyers that mount fixed forward guns, including a Jagdpanther, an Elefant, and a Jagdtiger.
    • In Der Film, the University team fields a T28 Super Heavy Tank with a forward-facing high-velocity 105mm and a Karl-Gerat Siege Mortar with a 600mm weapon.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
    • The Flying Dutchman is equipped with a pair of forward facing long-ninesnote . Anyone proficient in sailor lingo was already saying Oh, Crap!, but then the "long-nines" turn out to be rotating triple-barrel cannons. Not bad for a time when real cannon were still muzzle-loaders.
    • The Queen Anne's Revenge from the fourth film has Forward-Facing flamethrowers.
  • Star Wars:
    • The spherical Death Star is literally built around its planet-killing superlaser, and it appears that the whole battle station needs to rotate in order to point its main weapon. Presumably the quick adjustment of aim is not a major consideration when it's being used as intended: How hard is it to miss an entire planet from an orbital distance, after all? The second Death Star in Return of the Jedi is shown to have some aiming ability, enough to fire off-axis and hit individual ships in a fleet without rotating to face each one.
    • Also notably in effect with fighters. Even after the attack on the first Death Star, nobody in the Rebel Alliance figured out that having weapons that could fire off axis (or even just directly backward) would be a good plan. The Y-Wings have turret-mounted ion cannons, but are never seen to fire them. Various explanations claim that either the cannons require a Guy in Back—and there were none available during the Battle of Yavin—or that the Y-Wings are old and unreliable and the cannons are mostly non-functional. And when a Y-Wing is flown with only one pilot, the turret has to be locked into a specific direction before takeoff in order to be used. Pilots almost always opt for fixed forward-firing, because that at least lets them aim the ion cannons...though rarely some pilots opt for fixed aft-firing instead. While this configuration generally won't hit anything unless it's much bigger than the Y-Wing or by dumb luck, even blindly firing backward can deter pursuit by an unshielded TIE Fighter.
    • Averted in The Force Awakens, as both the next-gen X-Wings and TIE Fighters demonstrate the ability to at least fire backwards. Poe tries to use a bottom-mounted turret on his X-Wing to repel the stormtrooper invasion before they disable the ship, and later he and Finn use the rear cannons on a captured TIE to fend off pursuers while fleeing. Unfortunately for TIE pilots, the manual confirms that the rear gun is only on the TIE/SF (for "Special Forces") model; most of the fighters that are actually seen are the bog-standard TIE/FO (presumably "First Order"), which is basically an old-model TIE with better parts and light shielding.
    • The AT-AT's in The Empire Strikes Back only seem to have weapons on the "head" of the vehicle, which can pivot, but only about 15 degrees in any direction, allowing Rebel snowspeeders to take cover under the head's range of fire and trip the walker up with tow cables. Has no one in the Empire ever heard of point defense?
    • Even the Millenium Falcon, in The Force Awakens plays with the trope in that, when Rey and Finn pilot the ship off Jakku while pursued by FO pilots, the Falcon takes some damage that renders the gun turrets unmovable but not unfireable, so Rey's forced to pilot the entire Falcon itself into a position that allows Finn to shoot their pursuers down.
  • Asteroid: The lasers are mounted on the noses of jet fighters and feature no auto-targeting of any kind. Justified in that the engineers had a limited amount of time to install these before all life on Earth ended. This becomes a plot point when one of the three fighter pilots is unable to keep the asteroid in his crosshairs due to a storm, and the asteroid is only hit with two beams.
  • Star Trek
    • The Enterprise-E revealed in Star Trek: First Contact has a bulb on the underside of the saucer that is their dominant torpedo launcher. However, photon and quantum torpedoes are able to steer themselves.
    • Star Trek Into Darkness shows the Enterprise has many side-facing torpedo launchers flush with the hull in addition to its protruding forward-facing weapons at the stardrive neck. Also generally averted in many other Star Trek movies, which show multiple instances of off-axis firing of energy weapons like disruptors or phasers (and torpedoes, which being homing weapons can be fired out the front and still hit opponents off-axis).
    • The most obvious example of a fixed forward-firing (non-homing) weapon in the Star Trek movies are the Klingon Birds-of-Prey, which have a pair of large disruptor cannons on their wingtips or torpedo launchers in the forward head as their primary armament.
  • Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning: The Excavator, of course, a parody of the Excalibur from the Crusade series.

  • A Piece Of Cake, Derek Robinson's WWII novel. The seminal moment where the Luftwaffe realizes the fixed-forward cannon in the nose of the Me 110 (its only weapon) are absolutely lethal if the target aircraft is obliging enough to position itself in front of you, but no use if the RAF pilot elects to come in from the side or rear... the feared German planes are forced to get into a mutually defending circle like settler wagons beset by Indians, and are absolutely impotent at defending the bombers they are meant to be escorting. This formation is known as Spanish Ring or Lufbery Circle.
  • Legacy of the Aldenata: the super monitor class ship has a spine-mounted Mass Driver that fires a huge slug packed with a gooey antimatter center for taking on the battle globes of the Posleen as they enter. A single round is said to be able to destroy a significant percentage of the ships in the formation of hundreds.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • The Darksaber is a cylindrical ship that houses a superlaser and makes up the majority of the ship itself.
    • Eclipse-class super star destroyers (Dark Empire) also have a superlaser that runs the length of the whole ship. But relax, it isn't powerful enough to blow up planets! It can only crack their crust, making them uninhabitable. What a relief, huh?
    • The AT-AT walkers seem to have all their guns mounted on the head. Sure, it swivels a bit, but approaching the thing from either the sides or the rear seems to be a free pass. The same is true of nearly all other walker designs, with the Expanded Universe introducing several beyond those seen in the movies. The exception would be the MT-AT "spider walkers" which at least have defensive anti-personnel lasers mounted on each of their highly flexible legs, but the main cannons are still of the fixed forward-firing type. The EU reveals that the AT-AT is designed primarily as a troop transport (it can carry 40 stormtroopers and either 5 speeder bikes or 2 AT-ST walkers) and to demoralize the enemy with the sheer size of it.
  • Honor Harrington:
    • The newer generation Light Attack Craft, nicknamed "Super LACs", have spine-mounted weapons, often grasers. Previous generations of LACs instead carried a single broadside of the biggest missiles they could carry, in hopes of delivering their payload before they were swatted out of the sky. In Enemy Hands mentions that the thought of spinal guns for ships of the wall had been banished as unfeasible earlier, specifically in contrast with using these on the much smaller and more agile LACs.
    • Larger ships usually have lasers or grasers mounted in the fore and aft ends of the ship as chase armament, for when tactical conditions preclude using the primary beam weaponry in the broadside arcs.
    • The reason most ships tend to mount weapons on their broadsides is because, if the space navies went with this trope for most designs, then all ships would be constantly exposed to enemy fire, since bows and sterns are generally unshielded due to the nature of this setting's Reactionless Drives. The bow- and stern-walls are a relatively recent invention, made specifically for the new LACs. Even then, when they are in use, a LAC can't accelerate or maneuver using its impellers (since they're, essentially, short-circuited by the new walls) and must use old-fashioned chemical thrusters instead.
    • Graysons designed their LACs anticipating that, at some point, Havenites would use LACs of their own and have fitted them with forward-facing rotary missile launchers, whose primary purpose is to take out enemy LACs but later turn out to be useful for other tasks, such as intercepting capital ship missiles.
  • The Lost Fleet: Some capital ships have a weapon called a "null field" that is projected from the front of the ship. Unlike most of this type of weapon, it's short range (for a space weapon), but tends to a One-Hit Kill as it just disintegrates a large chunk out of whatever ship it hits. Although the null field is specifically stated to blow only through weakened shields.
  • Troy Rising: Assault Vectors have several spinal mounted heavy laser weapons that are clustered on the nose, each with their own independent power supply.
  • All ship-based weapons appear to fit this trope in Sergey Lukyanenko's Competitors, which is slightly justified by all ships having a Crew of One. The ridiculousness of this is Lampshaded several times throughout the novel, especially since it appears to be more like a video game than Real Life (and the controls are dumbed down to the point where anyone who has ever driven a car can fly a ship). Even gigantic ships are designed with a single crewmember in mind and can only fire forward. This is why tactics like "let's pretend to run away, then turn around and strike the enemy's flank" work in space, even though they really shouldn't, since the enemy would be expected to have rear-facing turrets. Of course, they don't.
  • Ciaphas Cain averts this trope by demanding any Salamander he's requisitioned have a pintle-mounted bolter installed. The standard armament for the Salamander is all front-facing, and Cain would really prefer some more flexibility in his tactical choices.
  • In Mikhail Akhmanov's Arrivals from the Dark books, the annihilator tends to fit this trope, as it's typically the most powerful (if not only) weapon on a ship. Faata battle modules are only armed with a single annihilator, although their maneuverability makes up for the disadvantage of not being able to aim the weapon independently. This applies to human ships as well (even though Faata-derived gravity drives grant them great maneuverability as well) until the introduction of Pallas-class cruisers, which have two side-mounted annihilators with independent targeting (although still largely forward-facing). Until then, the only controls for the annihilator on a ship was a Big Red Button for firing it, since targeting was done purely by the pilot.
  • In The Expanse series, many warships are outfitted with "keel-mounted railguns". The Donnager is explicitly said to have one in the first book, though we never see it used. Later on, the Rocinante gets outfitted with one.
  • In the Alternate History series Jour J, World War 2 is between England and France and without nuclear weapons. Spies discover a plan for a submarine that at first glance appears completely stupid as the torpedo tubes point towards the surface (the idea of roboteching ICBMs being completely foreign to them, but not the audience).
  • In The Bio of a Space Tyrant series by Piers Anthony, guns on military and pirate spaceships are set up this way due to the problem of recoil in a zero-gravity environment.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Stargate-verse:
    • Stargate SG-1: The Ori mother ships have a massive slow-firing weapon that frequently annihilates any ship it hits. There are smaller pulsed weapons on the sides that can still take out a Ha'tak with a single triple-volley.
    • Destiny in Stargate Universe also has a massive main gun that appears to only rotate on one vertical axis, requiring the ship to face its target.
  • Star Trek:
    • Photon torpedoes are depicted much like a torpedo bay on a submarine, with dedicated, and limited, ejection ports. They do have a degree of homing ability upon release, but upgraded quantum torpedoes have stronger homing but also typically limited to the forward bays like the Defiant or Enterprise-E.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Whereas the direct energy phaser weapons on previous Starfleet ships were depicted as internal mounted weapons, the Enterprise-D introduced phaser strips along different sections of the hull, able to charge and release the energy at any point and in any outward direction. The phaser lance from the alternate future version in "All Good Things" ran under the saucer section, and was a Wave-Motion Gun that sliced through Klingon battleships.
    • Common on weapons emplacements used on Klingon and Romulan warships, which seem to have a very limited ability to alter their angle of fire relative to the direction the ship's bow is facing. While smaller disruptors tend to have 360-degree traverse, the much larger "main gun" does not. In all the incarnations of Star Trek, Klingon ships have a big honkin' torpedo launcher on their nose. Both races rely heavily on using their cloaking devices to line up an Alpha Strike.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The USS Defiant is an escort cruiser, first of her class, purposefully designed for combat, containing 4 fixed-forward pulse phaser cannons and 4 quantum torpedo launchers (2 fore, 2 aft). However, she is a Pintsized Powerhouse, and is quite agile with a slim profile. She also has conventional phasers on the top and bottom of the hull, meaning that there are no blind spots, but those have nowhere near the power of the fixed primary weapons.
    • The bioships of Species 8472 in Star Trek: Voyager appear to be only able to fire directly forward, which can be justified by the fact that each ship is crewed by only one being. Then there's their planet-busting Wave-Motion Gun.
    • The Krenim timeship’s primary weapon, a temporal beam capable of erasing entire species from history, is one. Considering the nature of the weapon, that's probably justified. And the ship is not Point Defenseless.
  • Babylon 5:
    • The Vorlon Cruisers have Converging-Stream Weapon of this type. Also the Narn G'Quan cruisers are equipped with those.
    • All Vorlon ships appear to have only forward-facing weapons. The crown jewel is the Eclipse-class Planetkiller, a 45 kilometer monster whose forward-facing beam can destroy a planet with a single shot Death Star-style. They had a number of those (at least 2) and weren't shy about using them during the end of the Second Shadow War.
    • Many of the smaller warships in the B5 setting are equipped this way, such as the White Stars, the smaller of the Centauri's two depicted warships, Earth's cruisers, and even the Star Furies.
  • The Excalibur in Crusade, being derived from Vorlon technology. Her total helplessness for several minutes after firing this Wave-Motion Gun was a slight downside, though.
  • In the series finale of the original Battlestar Galactica, the Galactica uses a pair of such weapons, massive laser cannons mounted in the nose of the ship, to wail on a disabled Cylon Base Star.
  • In the remake Battlestar Galactica, the Battlestar Pegasus packs multiple forward facing guns that, when fired in a salvo, can leave an enemy Cylon Basestar reeling, or possibly outright destroy it if the salvo is sustained.
  • The Expanse:
    • The armament of the Amun-Ra-class stealth ships consists largely of a single huge rail gun that takes up a considerable amount of their interior space. They can only fire the gun straight ahead, but as they are nearly impossible to detect they almost always get the first shot, which is all that they need.
    • In Season 4, Rocinante gets a keel-mounted railgun of her own. Like the Amun-Ra stealth ships, it lets her punch significantly above her weight class.
  • When MythBusters tested the spy car machine-gun myth, they first tested the machine gun as if it were "spinal mount". Adam was shocked at how effective it was, especially since he had believed he wouldn't be able to aim it very well (turned out he could aim it up or down via the brakes).
  • In Season 5 of The Last Ship a computer virus has rendered most of the Nathan James' weapons inoperable; and the single weapon still working is on the front of the ship, locked facing forward. When this is explained to the helmsman (who is effectively steering and aiming), he responds by saying "So the ship is a rifle?" His superiors are surprised, and agree that's an appropriate analogy. He then proudly states he's from Texas, and as such knows how to hunt. He sets up the shots perfectly.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Star Fleet Battles (and its PC implementation the Star Trek: Starfleet Command series):
    • The Romulan Mauler, essentially a ship built around a massive beam weapon and its supporting batteries/capacitors designed to break starbase or planetary defense shields in one shot. Not typically a stand alone vessel though - it depends on its sisterships to defend it while it gets into position. They sold the design to other races, but even when it was added to an existing ship, it still had to be hard bolted into a single direction.
    • Prior to this, they had already had this issue with their signature weapon, the Plasma Torpedo. Even when technology allowed most of the designs to integrate a limited turret, the massive Plasma-R type always had the forward fixed design, often having the ship carrying it built around the weapon.
  • Traveller: most starship weapons did incremental damage and could wear down an opponent over time. Spinal mount weapons (either a particle accelerator or a meson gun) ran the length of the ship and could blow opposing ships to atoms with a single shot.
  • Games Workshop games:
    • Warhammer 40,000:
      • The Vindicator is a Space Marine tank that has a front-mounted short-ranged ordnance weapon designed for blasting through fortifications.
      • The Necrons' Doomsday Ark, a skimmer built around its massive cannon.
      • Early editions of the Epic version of the game included the Deathstrike Cannon as a weapon option for the Warlord Titan. This massive artillery weapon is one of the most powerful weapons available to a Titan and replaces the god-machine’s head with the centreline weapon mount that can only fire at targets directly in front of it.
      • The carapace weapon mounts of the Lucius-pattern Warlord Titan are limited to a forward facing position. This isn’t much of a disadvantage for the Warlord as the highly warlike nature of the war machine means that it can always be found advancing straight at the enemy.
      • The Astra Militarumnote  has a number of tank destroyers and Super-Heavy tanks with these kinds of weapons. The larger ones, such as the Shadowsword, are designed specifically with being able to hunt down, and snipe enemy super-heavy vehicles, and Titan class walkers
      • Flying vehicles, for the most part, are also this to certain degrees, for the same reasons as real life military aircraft. Most flyers though use fairly common weaponry on their flyers though, (Rapid Fire Auto-Cannons, Gatling style Assault Cannons, multiple launch missile/rocket pods, lascannons, or a races rough equivalents to these), then, because this is of course, Warhammer 40,000, there's the Super Heavy Flyers, and bombers who take this to a further extreme. Space Marine Thunderhawk Gunships, being a jack of all trades troop lander, space fighter/bomber/assault boat, and of course, gun ships, mount a huge, Super-heavy class cannon on top. The Tau, being ones for being ultra efficient, have the Tiger Shark bombers, which mount Twin-Heavy Railguns with the expressed purpose of hunting the Titans and other vehicles of their enemies. And being a Destroyer strength weapon, basically means whatever gets hit by it, is going to have a really bad day and likely shorter remaining existence on the tabletop.
      • The Caestus assault ram is basically a magna-melta (a scaled up version of a handheld almost-melee-range anti-tank weapon) given an engine, a prow, and a passenger compartment. Its purpose is to speed towards an enemy spaceship or fortress wall, fire its weapon, and then slam into the gooey mess that was once a wall, allowing the Space Marines inside to unleash merry hell.
    • Battlefleet Gothic:
      • Some ships have a nose mounted main cannon. Ork ships quite often have a large main gun, and the Imperium has the Nova Cannon, which is a massive mass driver that runs through most of the ship and fires building-sized projectiles at relativistic speeds. The well named chaos ship 'Planet Killer' is build around its main gun.
      • Prow-mounted torpedo tubes are also a regular feature of several of the fleets, though the Imperial Navy, Space Marine Chapter Fleets, and the Orks are the ones that primarily play this straight. Even then, the Space Marines are also prone to using ''boarding torpedoes''note , which have limited maneuverability. The Tau, notably the "Forge World" designed ships, do make use of "bow" (often, "wing") mounted ship-grade missile launchers, but avert this as the missiles are guided and far more maneuverable.
      • Most escort vessels and Eldar ships have entirely forward-facing weaponry because they can maneuver much more effectively than the big clumsy seventeen-kilometer-long battle cathedrals and thus don't need weapons in more than one fire arc.
    • In the Warhammer naval combat Gaiden Game Man O' War, the Empire fleet has the Hellhammer Wargalley. This ship is armed with the truly immense Emperor Cannon that runs almost its entire length and takes up the majority of the its main deck. The cannon is held in a forward facing position by massive iron bars so that it doesn’t shift when fired, and is so large that the Hellhammer can only carry enough ammunition for three shots.
  • GURPS Spaceships:
    • Said spaceships have massive spinal weapon batteries. By default they fire out the nose but they can also be constructed to blast out the rear.
    • In Transhuman Space particle accelerators have to be fixed, as they are several hundred meters long.
  • Spelljammer has a Giff ship called simply "Great Bombard". One glance at deckplans explains why. And yes, this thing doubles as a blunt ram, too.
  • A Car Wars article once talked about these for... well, cars. The scenario involved someone in basically a Crown Victoria (or non-Ford equivalent in class), normally able to at most mount something like an M61 Vulcan cannon, treating some enemies to 75mm cannon fire.
  • BattleTech mostly avoids this; weapons are standardized no matter what platform mounts them and even big guns are usually just part of a unit's entire array. There are, however, a couple of cases that play the trope more or less straight:
    • For ground units, it's the heavy Gauss rifle, whose massive recoil prevents it from being arm- or turret-mounted and makes firing it while moving risky for BattleMechs because doing so forces a piloting skill roll to avoid falling.
    • Meanwhile, suitably large space units — as in, 750,000 tons and up — may potentially be equipped with as-yet-experimental mass drivers, whose firing arc is literally just the straight line of hexes in the direction they're pointed into (which for WarShips, which can only carry one at most, means dead ahead). They're also quite massive themselves and rather inaccurate even if they do get a target lined up, so many players don't consider the damage they can potentially inflict really worth it (it's not that out of line with a simple volley of more 'regular' naval weapons, anyway). Turns out that the mass drivers were actually designed to throw small asteroids at planetary targets from beyond the range of surface and orbital defenses, not to shoot other ships.
    • Finally, while there are few weapons embodying the trope, there is the occasional individual unit that does so, with three of the most famous classic examples (the Hetzer Wheeled Assault Gun, Saladin Assault Hover Tank and MechBuster conventional fighter aircraft) being each built around a single autocannon of the largest caliber available with nothing else for backup. The Saladin and MechBuster are both fast-but-fragile Glass Cannons; the Hetzer is tougher, but also slower and still easily immobilized, at which point its lack of turret and the short range of its main gun will seriously compromise its remaining threat potential.
  • In the starship miniatures game Full Thrust, this is a standard part of Kra'Vak (the most antagonistic alien race) design philosophy; their ships carry mass driver cannons called K-guns (for Kinetic Gun) as their main weapons, and only the smallest two classes can have more than a sixty degree firing arc. A typical Kra'Vak ship carries the two biggest K-guns the ship can structually carry on outrigger-type pods facing forward (sometimes with barrels as long or longer than the main hull of the ship) as her main battery, plus secondary weapons. A few Kra'Vak ships carry a third main gun as a spinal mount in the main hull, while some of their biggest ships carry four outriggers.
  • In Firestorm Armada, this applies to the two human factions, the Terran Alliance, and the Dindrenzi Federation. The Terran Alliance ships make use of large bore Mass Drivers (Coil guns), often with Nuclear Warheads, backed up with the standard array of Torpedo tubes, turrets, and broadsides. The Dindrenzi however, plays this trope very straight, as their primary weapons are incredibly precise and powerful Railguns, which take up most of the length of their ships. It's more accurate to say the ship is primarily gun, with an engine/crew compartments stuck on one end of it. Even their Torpedo tubes are primarily aimed only forward. It's also their Crippling Overspecialization, as for broadsides, Dindrenzi ships have to rely on Gun Racks, which can only fire on one side or the other each turn, and their rear are even less protected than other fleet's ships.
  • In Atomic Highway, buying these for your post-apocalyptic death cars lets you save on vehicle points because you don't have to buy turrets or pivot mounts. It may even be an advantage if your driving skill is better than your firearm skill; shooting usually uses the latter, but fixed weapons require the former, because you're not aiming the gun, you're aiming the entire car!
  • Most primary weapons in X-Wing Miniatures have a firing arc extending forward 45 degrees on each side of the central line, to encourage Old-School Dogfighting, although some ships have variations - the Ghost with a docked Phantom shuttle can fire in its rear arc too, while the Millennium Falcon has a 360 firing arc and one of the Hound's Tooth pilots has a 180 degree field of fire for cannon upgrades. Cannon, missile and torpedo secondary weapons are usually locked to this fire arc except on specific pilots, although turrets have a 360 firing arc, making them really useful against Fragile Speedster arc-dodger lists. Exaggerated by the M12-L Kimogila fighter, which has a thus-far unique "bullseye" arc that stays a constant width and extends straight along the central line; ships caught in the bullseye can't spend tokens defensively, and bonus effects apply depending on upgrades and pilot choice.

    Video Games 
  • Brothers in Arms: The German StuG III Assault Gun is a vehicle armed with a powerful 75mm tank gun based on the Panzer III tank, complete with good frontal armor protection. However, thanks to lacking a turret, it must move to face its target, exposing its weaker side and rear armor, a weakness that can be exploited by both Baker and Hartsock in order to defeat it.
  • Dawn of War: Many vehicles have secondary guns that can only fire forward (except those on sponsons, which can turn).
    • The Baneblade's Demolisher cannon is fixed in the front armor plating, requiring the entire tank to turn around and fire. Fortunately, most of its other weapons (eleven barrels in total) are turret-mounted.
    • The Ork's Squiggoth has a Zzap gun mounted behind its head. Since it can only swivel through 180 degress, the entire Squiggoth has to turn around to shoot behind.
  • Dune II: The Harkonnen Devastator tank carries a pair of plasma cannons in a fixed-forward mount.
  • FreeSpace 2: Most of the newer Shivan warships take this approach, having their most powerful weapons mounted on the nose of the ship and having a limited firing arc. Terran and Vasudan warships favor the broadside approach. The Shivans use this configuration to good effect with their blitz tactics: jump in, take down the target, jump out. Their Sathanas warships do resemble the Vorlon cruisers.
  • Halo:
    • UNSC ships have a MAC (Magnetic Accelerator Cannon) built into the length of the hull that acts as a primary weapon.
    • The Super MACs are simply massive floating guns with support structures built around them. A single round from a Super MAC is said to weigh 4 million pounds and is be able to take out any Covenant ship in one shot, even the 29 kilometer long ones, even with full shields. While normally outclassing humans in every way, the Covenant have to resort to tricks in order to take out the Super MACs before attacking a planet, such as ramming or boarding.
  • Explosive attacks in Jackal are launched whichever way the ride's facing, but the standard gun always shoots straight up.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Coilguns amplified by Element Zero are the weapon du jour on typical warships. The codex explains that every ship has its biggest gun mounted in the nose, because that way, the gun can run 90% of the length of the ship — and the energy you can put into a coilgun projectile is proportional to the length of the barrel. Smaller guns are usually mounted in turrets and sides, the latter only being invisible on the hull as the only external components are tiny firing ports (dreadnoughts, for example, have 156 broadside guns running 40% of the ship's width each), but if you want to punch through somebody's shields or leave a sizable mark on a planet, you're gonna need the nose-gun. Dreadnoughts are a class of warship with a main gun that meets energy output specifications that make it a weapon of mass destruction, and are thus regulated in Citadel member navies by the Treaty of Farixen.
    • The Collector ship has a similar situation on their slow turning ship, though if they're facing you, you're pretty much screwed. Just ask anyone who survived the destruction of the original Normandy.
    • The Normandy SR-2 can get the newly-developed Thanix cannon mounted on the nose, which is the same sort of weapon the Reapers use, except the Normandy is a lot more maneuverable than the Collectors. Given that the same weapon was capable of one-shotting a cruiser...the results were clear...and oh-so-poetic.
  • The Homeworld games provide a few examples:
    • the Ion Cannon Frigate in the first game is basically an ion cannon with a ship wrapped around it. It's mentioned in the manual that this trope is the only possible option for equipping a ship of such a small size with an Ion Cannon (indeed, Destroyers and Heavy Cruisers mount multiple turreted Ion Cannons, but they are also much larger ships), and at the cost of renoucing to all other weapons. The only exception is the Kadeshi Multi-Beam Frigate, which sports four ion cannons. They're still fixed forward. The Assault Frigate too has its plasma cannons fixed forward, but, having four turreted cannons, it doesn't depend on the main weapon. Other examples are the Kadeshi mothership, that sports an ion cannon in the prow in addition to small defensive guns, and the Turanic carrier, that has two plus turreted defensive guns. This is tactically important, as ships of frigate size aren't exactly manouverable ships and the ion frigates are thus unable to face attack crafts;
    • Cataclysm features most of the frigates from the first game (the Kadeshi and their ships don't appear) and features a new addition: the Siege Cannon of the Kuun Lan, a Wave-Motion Gun that is mounted to the side and forward-facing because it's an addition to an already complete ship and is just that big. This is not as important as with the frigates, as the Siege Cannon is an area-effect weapon for long range fire, and in fact hitting something too close has the risk of destroying the Kuun Lan herself. Cata also has an aversion in the form of the Somtaaw Multi-Beam Frigate, which bears a noticeable family resemblance to the Kadeshi ship from the previous game but has five significantly less powerful beams in proper turret mounts, and is a lot more manoeuverable on top.
    • Homeworld 2 has a few examples. Aside from the Hiigaran Ion Cannon Frigate (a descendant of the Kushan Ion Cannon Frigate of the first game), we have: the Vaygr Battlecruiser, whose Trinity Cannon is a battery of three forward facing kinetic cannons of enormous power; the Progenitor Dreadnought, with her phased cannon array is practically the equivalent of a frigate's ion cannon on steroids and scaled up to dreadnought size; and Sajuuk, that sports a phased cannon array with over three times the firepower and range. Again, this is tactically important, as all these ships have limited turn speed.
  • Most R series ship from R-Type have their Wave-Motion Gun mounted and cannot change direction, they have to rely on Force and Bits to fend off Bydos from behind.
  • SV-001 Metal Slug has its turret fixed with two pistons, while it can duck, it cannot change direction. This is justified that the Metal Slug is a one-man-vehicle which has the turret as its cockpit. The turret's inability to move is also made up for with the Metal Slug's twin vulcans, which have a full 360 degrees of movement, and which the player will be using far more often since they have unlimited ammo.
  • Skies of Arcadia:
    • The Delphinus is armed with the Moonstone Cannon, which is basically an Expy of the classic Wave Motion Gun. While the visible portion is a telescoping barrel that extends out of the bow, the cannon actually runs the full length of the ship's hull. This can be seen with the glowing of lower aft portion of the ship whenever the Moonstone Cannon is fired. Really, they just took a huge cannon and built a ship around it.
    • Admiral Vigoro's Draco is a standard Valuan battleship, except with all of its turrets replaced by a gigantic fixed shell-firing cannon. While larger (in diameter, at least) than the Moonstone Cannon, it's less powerful. And the first playable ship, the Little Jack, has the Harpoon Cannon mounted on its bow, which is exactly what it sounds like.
  • Escape Velocity:
    • Nova: Most Auroran and Polaran capital ships have fixed guns (railguns and Capacitor Pulse Lasers respectively) as their primary armament, as opposed to the mostly turret-and-missile using Federation. The Aurorans get around the inherent inflexibility of the gun by using its phenomenal range, while Polaran ships are so hellishly fast and maneuverable that it almost doesn't matter. Granted, the railguns did have a limited "swivel" when targeting other ships to make up for it a little.
    • The player could modify any acquired capital ship to use this trope in the two older games, although the only ship to truly fit it from the start in the first game was the non-acquirable Alien Cruiser, with its Heavy Fusion Beam. The second game, Override, had the Phased Disruption Beam of the Zidagar, a powerful (but fuel-draining) weapon by default mounted on both their fighters (in contrast, unlike most fighters their normal weapons actually weren't fixed, having a swivel radius) and their dedicated warship, the Zidara (which got around the inflexibility of the gun by being a highly maneouverable "pocket warship").
  • Warcraft III: Subverted due to game mechanics: a projectile can and often will be loosed before the unit completes its turning animation, though units always turn to face the enemy.
  • Wing Commander:
    • From Wing Commander II, the Confederation class dreadnoughts (including the player home ship, the TCS Concordia) had the Phase Transit Cannon as an integral part of the design's keel. The Kilrathi design from which the PTC was copied, aboard the Sivar dreadnought from Wing Commander: The Secret Missions that used its gun to destroy the Confederation's Goddard colony was also a fixed mount. As the latter wasn't of any use against anything smaller than planetoids, maneuverability of the platform wasn't an issue.
    • Wing Commander III gives us TCS Behemoth, a one-of-a-kind planet-killing cannon with a ship built around it, in a desperate attempt to end the war in one shot. It failed.
    • In Prophecy, the Nephilim Kraken-class ship had a fleet-killer plasma cannon that could only face in on direction... but could wipe out a fleet in battle formation with one shot. After being captured, it was given a new fixed mount between the Midway's split forward arms.note 
  • StarCraft: Protoss Carriers have a forward-facing laser used to sterilize planets, although you don't use it in-game. The Terran Battlecruiser also has one called the Yamato Cannon.
  • Sword of the Stars: Spinal mounts for destroyers, strafe sections (although these are a batter of smaller weapons) and impactors all point forward. Heavy beams usually do, but certain dreadnought specifications have the option of using them as broadsides and the Zuul have them turreted. The Siege Driver is probably the crown example, insofar adding one does not so much add the weapon to the ship as add engines and a cockpit to the weapon. The human variant of the Siege Driver is especially prominent, as it is, essentially, a battleship-sized revolver that fires asteroids. The sequel averts this with the humongous Leviathans, who mount the previously-forward-mounted weapons as turrets.
  • Star Control II has many examples. Most notable are the Ur-Quan dreadnought's forward firing fusion cannon and the Chenjesu broodhome's photon shard, both of which are powerful enough to obliterate most other ships in a couple of shots. There is also the VUX intruder's and the Chmmr avatar's forward superlasers which can burn down anything in short order. The Druuge Mauler's forward-facing main cannon has a powerful recoil that flings the ship backward, and is considered by some players a more effective way of getting around than the ship's actual engine. Inverted by the Spathi Eluder, which disguises its actual spine with a radial structure but nevertheless possesses a powerful homing missile which only fires backwards, presumably so the Spathi can reliably engage their enemies while running away in a blind panic.
  • Sins of a Solar Empire:
    • Several flagship-sized ships have their most powerful weapon pointed forward. This includes the Kol-class Battleship (TEC) with a massive railgun and heavy laser emitters, the Radiance-class Battleship (Advent) with an extremely-powerful overcharged beam cannon, and the Marza-class Dreadnought (TEC), specially designed as an artillery gun in space for laying waste to groups of ships or entire planetary populations with its powerful forward-mounted gun. They do have side- and, sometimes, rear-facing guns, but these are only meant to keep those pesky destroyers and cruisers at bay, while the main guns are all for flagship-to-flagship engagements.
    • In the Ragnarov Titan in the Rebellion Expansion, the ship is built around a gigantic railgun. This can actually make the Ragnarov very vulnerable to another Titan with most of its firepower focused forward. The Loyalist Vasari Vorastra Titan can perform a short-range phase jump to the rear of the Ragnarov (i.e. where most of the Ragnarov's weapons can't target) and pound it mercilessly, performing another jump when the Ragnarov turns to face it.
    • Most ships, in fact, are designed to have their weapons point forward, from tiny fighters to heavy cruisers, requiring the ship itself to turn to face the target. It's rare to have an aversion for anything lower than a capital ship.
  • While averted for the most part in Nexus: The Jupiter Incident, where pretty much all guns are turreted and are spread out through the hull, with the exception of the Siege Laser, which is mounted on the front of Gorg and (later) Nova battleships. This laser can take out most ships with one shot and can even take down the mighty fortress shield with a few shots but takes a long time to charge and require the combined power output of three other ships.
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl has two examples: The Battleship Halberd has a large cannon mounted below the mask which does not seem to aim. The Subspace Gunship (literally a space gun) is easily the largest in the game, and most of its length consists of a single immense cannon with a Wave-Motion Tuning Fork on the end. The main gun is never used in combat; it is actually used to tear the fabric of space, creating portals to subspace.
  • Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force has one level that took place on a vessel called "Dreadnought" which was described in game as "a giant cannon on autopilot." The monster has a barrel 700 meters long that you repurpose to fire on a Harvester ship approaching Voyager.
  • Master of Orion ships can be designed with narrow firing arcs if the player wants to mount more guns since guns with a larger arc take up more space. A spinal mount is an option in MoO 3.
  • Based on the animations, ship special weapons (read: Wave Motion Guns) in Infinite Space are fixed like this, as are most large weapons.
  • Naval Ops series: Wave Motion Guns, railguns, and a variety of other energy weapons can only shoot straight forward or backward.
  • The Galactic Armory mod for Star Ruler adds a Spinal Mount Hull, which allows you to link a weapons system to it to massively boost the damage output and range of the weapon at the cost of firing rate, resources, and aiming. The Spinal mount essentially reverses how the ship is built - rather than sticking a gun on a ship, you stick a ship on a gun.
  • World of Tanks: Most tank destroyers and artillery have guns that are almost entirely fixed to the hull with only a very slight angle of adjustment before you have to move the entire tank hull. Several exceptions exist, such as the American "turreted TD" line, and some artillery like the GW Panther. There are also a few tank tanks that have both a larger fixed hull gun and a smaller turreted gun, including the American M3 Lee, Italian M11/39, and French Char B1 Bis.
  • Empire: Total War and Napoleon: Total War have, for the most part, your typical Age of Sail warships that fire broadsides at each other. Some of the larger ships may have a cannon or two mounted on the front to take potshots at the enemy without doing any serious damage. Then you have the mortar and rocket ships. While by no means precise, they can ruin your day pretty easily if you don't deal with them quickly. While they do have a small number of side-mounted cannons, their main strength is their forward-facing mortar/rocket launcher. A successful mortal hit can even cripple a first-rate battleship and can decide the course of a battle if that first-rate happens to have an admiral on it. The rockets don't do much damage but can set ships on fire, even the ships firing them. Won't do much good against ironclads in Napoleon, but those come so late in the game that most games tend to end before you even research them. Unfortunately for the mortar/rocket ships, the fact that they're facing the enemy means that they can't get away quickly if one decides to come within range of their broadsides.
  • Total War: Shogun 2 (the "Fall of the Samurai" DLC) replaces mortar ships with torpedo boats that also launch directly forward. Some of the smaller ships can also have their most powerful guns mounted on the nose, which also includes the Japanese ironclad Kōtetsu (technically, French-built).
  • In Sonic Adventure, the Egg Carrier has a colossal Wave-Motion Gun behind its bow, which is revealed by said bow splitting in two.
  • X-Universe:
    • These are only used on frigates and smaller since destroyers and carriers are too unmaneuverable to make them useful. Usually they put the ship's most powerful guns there.
    • It's notable that the latest games of the series made fighter weapons forward-facing, but not fixed — they have limited swiveling ability, such that when the control is moved the weapons fire at the pointer's location, then the rest of the ship follows more slowly.
    • The Sucellus in X: Rebirth carries a massive spinally mounted railgun, the most powerful weapon in the game. Sadly due to some braindead AI the fragile Sucellus will attempt to approach enemy targets and get into broadsiding battles with its token point defenses.
  • Freelancer
    • Except for turreted weapons, all weapons for fighters and freighters have semi-fixed mounts that always point in a relatively narrow forwards arc.
    • The Liberty Cruiser is pretty much built around a massive Wave-Motion Gun that takes up pretty much the entire front quarter of the ship just for the external parts of the weapon. A small handful of Cruisers are shown to be able to take down a much larger battleship.
    • The various gunboats used by most navies also have a relatively powerful bow gun that makes up most of their firepower.
  • SD Gundam G Generation turns battle ships and several units with XXL size (GP03 Dendrobium, Strike Freedom Meteor, Devil Gundam, etc) into this. Unlike smaller units, you need to manually turn them into the right direction to use their most powerful attacks such as hyper beam cannons, micro missiles, and Hi-MAT Full Burst. While these attacks are multi-target and very strong, the units are almost sitting ducks if the enemy can sneak up from the sides or from the behind where they can't counter attack.
  • Treasure Planet: Battle at Procyon has the Procyon ships be this way, for the most part, while the Imperial ships mostly focused on "traditional" broadsides.
  • Several in Star Trek Online. Although dual cannons and their kin can technically hit a 45-degree cone in front of the ship, in a 3D environment that's usually close enough to this trope to qualify. In addition to DCs, there's the Galaxy-X dreadnought cruiser with its spinal phaser lance (see Star Trek: The Next Generation above), and KDF counterpart, the Javelin on the Nausicaan-built Guramba Siege Destroyer. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
  • Airfix Dogfighter slightly subverts this; you still have to have your target more or less in the center of your view in order to shoot at them, but the game will automatically aim the crosshair at the target as soon as they're within range.
  • All of your ship's weapons in Rodina fire out of the front of your ship. However, the missiles can curve in any direction, and you are able to fly backwards and sideways while fighting.
  • Several of the more powerful attacks appearing in Dynasty Warriors: Gundam are like this. While most large weapons like the Wing Zero's Buster Rifle will allow the player to adjust their aim, several will not for one reason or another — for instance, the Gundam Double X's musou is pretty much a single devastating Wave-Motion Gun blast aimed in the direction the Double X was facing, no fine shot corrections. The RX-78 Gundam's Beam Javelin is also like this, as a single all-piercing projectile thrown directly in front of the Gundam in a straight line. If you miss, you'll have to line up another throw.
  • In From the Depths, the vast majority of warships use traditional turrets, though a few special-built ships have massive cannons fixed to the hull. The Onyx Watch Catapult has nothing but four massive Custom Cannons that can shred anything. The Deepwater Guard Marauder likewise carries a massive cannon, though it is of noticeably poor design despite having some backup weapons in the form of broadside blackpowder cannons. Hull-mounted weapons have the advantage of keeping the boat airtight (useful for submarines), they can load absurdly massive shells (think "telephone pole"), and are immune to the tactic of shooting at a turret's mounting bearing to instantly destroy it. The Particle Cannon is so massive that it pretty much can only be mounted fixed to the hull.
  • Command & Conquer:
    • Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn and Command & Conquer: Red Alert both have the Mobile Artillery, essentially a big cannon on wheels (the MRLS on the other hand, did have its missile launcher on a turret in-game). Red Alert added the V2 Rocket Launcher that fires a big rocket forward.
    • Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun has the Mammoth Mark II, which in addition to its ventral machinegun turret and dorsal missile pods, packed devastating railguns on each side, which could only be aimed vertically.
    • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 has several vehicles with these. Most notably is the German tank destroyer, which fits a larger cannon that devastates enemy armor but is useless against anything else, though there are also the Allied mirage tank,note  the Soviet V3 rocket launcher,note  and just about every naval unit.
    • Command & Conquer: Generals has the Marauder Tank for the GLA. It's heavier and more powerful than the Scorpion, but has to stop to fire because its turret doesn't rotate.
      • The ShockWave Game Mod for Generals adds a few more, such as the Chameleon (a World War II "Hetzer" tank destroyer) and the Basilisk, a huge assault gun that breaks vehicles and structures with ease, but whose sole other weapon is a small machine gun to deal with infantry.
    • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3: While most vehicles have turrets, quite a few lack it:
      • Multigunner IFVs must turn the entire vehicle around to fire. Particularly odd as they use the same gimmick as the Multigunner Turrets (loading an infantry unit inside changes the main weapon), which can rotate 360 degrees, and sometimes leads to the actual projectile firing at an angle to the barrel of the IFV's gun.
      • Dolphins, Yari minisubs and Akula subs can only fire straight ahead. Riptides have a pintle-mounted machine gun, but when on water can only fire their torpedoes forward. The Akula's special ability fires a pair of high-powered torpedoes straight ahead, leading to problems when their less-than competent pathfinding decides to turn just as you tell them to fire.
      • The Giga Fortress' flying mode has a massive superlaser known as the God's Breath Device, able to obliterate defenses from well beyond their range. As it comes from the Fortress' mouth, the entire monstrosity needs to turn around, allowing surface Anti-Air units to get in its minimum range and shoot it out of the sky. Its sea mode, on the contrary, can attack any target from any direction.
      • The Apocalypse tank's main guns are on a turret, but its magnetic harpoon forces it to face the target.
      • Subverted with Uprising's (RA 3's Expansion Pack) Harbinger gunship, where the fixed-facing weapons are mounted on the side (it can switch to a swiveling chin-mounted chaingun to avert the trope), meaning the plane keeps circling the target until it's dead. While shooting miniature-fusion-bombs or gatling guns ensures this happens quickly, it often sends the plane right into enemy Anti-Air.
      • The Allied Aircraft Carrier launches drones and must turn to orient its runway towards the target.
      • Zigzagged with the Shogun Battleship: Its fore and aft gun batteries are turret-mounted and can swing more than 180°, but can only use the fore when facing the target. Ordering it to move perpendicularly to the target lets it use both, however.
  • Anomaly 2 introduces the Sledge Hammer, a hovercraft armed with a forward-facing howitzer that is the longest ranged weapon in your arsenal but can only attack turrets within a limited arc.
  • Star Fox:
    • The Great Fox only has two (high power at least) front-facing cannons affixed just above the ship's exit port, and nothing else. Its likely that the ship just relies on Fox and his team themselves to defend it via their Arwings, but there are two parts in Star Fox 64 where the Great Fox's cannons are used to decent effect: shooting some asteroids away in the Meteo level and providing covering fire for Fox in Area 6. But in the Sector Z level the Great Fox is caught in a rather open debris field with missiles bearing down on it from the side, yet the ship can't even seem to turn itself around and at least try to shoot the missiles down itself, relying once more on Fox and his crew (and possibly Katt) to deal with the problem.
    • The Arwings themselves (as well as the Star Wolf team's Wolfens) only have frontal-facing weapons as well, either a single nose-mounted cannon or twin cannons mounted on each wing if the player got the upgrades needed. This is mitigated a little bit in the unreleased Star Fox 2 onward where the Arwing's charged blast can home in on any enemy the ship's reticule gets a solid lock on.
  • In Star Trek: Armada, long-range artillery ships can only fire forward, while most other ships avert this by having 360-degree firing arcs.
  • Gummi Ships in Kingdom Hearts the cannons in their mounted direction relative to the ship (which any rational shipbuilder will make 'forward', since interspacial flight is a one-dimensional rail shooter); lasers adhere to the same principle without a target, but as lock-on homing weapons this is irrelevant in practical use. Kingdom Hearts II averts this, making all weapons fire in the direction the camera is facing (despite the Kingdom model design being identical to the first game).
  • Your most powerful weapon modules in Stellaris are spinal-mounted superheavy guns like the Giga Cannon, Tachyon Lance, and Focused Arc Emitter. They're only capable of being used by battleships fitted with the aptly-named spinal mount bow, and late-game space battles invariably become unmoving lines of battleships facing one another and unleashing their firepower while the smaller ships act primarily as meat-shields. These weapons also have a big brother in the Titan's Perdition Beam (and the Titan Lance, its Fallen Empire counterpart), that can only be carried by the enormous Titans, and which all Titans carry. While the battleship fixed forwards-facing weapons may need to hammer away at their target to bring it down, the Perdition Beam is powerful enough to burn through the shields and slag the hull of almost any conceivable target smaller than another Titan in a single shot.
  • Vigilante 8: Two of the attachable weapons can only shoot straight: the rocket launcher and the flamethrower; the Emergency Weapon machine gun also only shoots forward. Some characters' special weapons (like John Torque's or Dallas 13's) are only effective on frontal enemies, while Molo's is shot to the back (as heavy exhaust gas).
  • Cannons (not of the turret variety) and rocket launchers in Crossout have a very limited firing angle and most players will obviously place them at the front of their machines, thus having weapons that only face forward. At least, these weapons are quite powerful, accurate in most circumstances and don't eat up too much energy, thus they are still widely viable in spite of their impracticality.
  • The A7V "heavy tank," the St. Chamond "assault tank," and the Char C2 in Battlefield 1 have their main cannons sticking out the front of the tank; drivers have to rely on crew to man the machine guns on the sides to kill would-be flankers.
  • Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams introduces a new breed of Genma with cannons in their heads who fire explosive shots in front of them. They can prove to be dangerous to both sides as you're able to kick them to make them face a different direction, such as one where enemy Genma are clustered. Averted by their evoluted form, which can turn back and attack you up close.
  • Can be averted in Jets'n'Guns. If you equip your ship with the Rotary Cage, you can change the angle of your forward-facing weapons. The sequels also has an equipment that just straight-up flips your ship 180 degrees.
  • This is one of the big weakness of Tank Destroyers in Valkyria Chronicles. While their main gun is stronger than even a Heavy Tanks', it can't rotate, forcing the tank itself to turn to face its target. This not only forces the Destroyer to waste AP to be able to hit anything, limiting its movement range, it makes it easy to render a Destroyer helpless by destroying its treads (which reduces a tank's AP to a nigh-unusable sliver.) Its anti-personnel gun, while being able to turn, also has a severely limited cone of movement, making it easy for infantry to get around behind it, especially Lancers looking for a good shot at its radiator.
  • Battalion Wars features the Battlestation, a tank that every faction regards as the be-all, end-all of military firepower... despite its main gun (and only worthwhile weapon) being in a position where it can only aim up and down, requiring the entire tank to slowly rotate in place just to hit something slightly to the side of where it's facing. Fortunately, this issue was fixed in the sequel, giving it a proper rotating turret.
  • In Starcraft II, until the release of Legacy of the Void, Terran Siege Tanks in Tank Mode and Protoss Immortals had to rotate their entire body to face their target before attacking them. The Protoss Colossi had a downplayed version of this trope, as it could rotate its turret while moving, but only while also attacking foes - otherwise, the turret had to be facing forward to move (this too was fixed in a later patch).
  • Several tanks in BattleTanx have this issue. The first game just had the Moto Tank, which fits two machine guns to the sides, while Global Assault added several more, most notably the Rhino, which has extremely thick armor out front and a heavy cannon, but next to nothing protecting it from attacks to the flanks or rear.
  • Sunrider:
    • The Sunrider's Vanguard Cannon is built into the nose of the ship, as is the Legion's own Wave-Motion Gun.
    • Sunrider 4: The Captain's Return makes this trope into a gameplay mechanic. All weapons now have distinct firing arcs as part of the combat overhaul, with lasers—which, on capital ships, are typically mounted on the bow—having an extremely narrow arc extending from the unit's front. If you want to shoot someone with the Maray's laser, you'll have to turn the ship to face them.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Megas XLR: The UPDnote  mounted on the Glorft ship is mounted under the main hull of the mother ship, but is almost the size of the entire mothership.
  • The big gun always seen at GI Joe headquarters was this. As an ex-writer explained, it was at a fixed position and thus you basically had to be downrange of it to get hit by it. "Cobra Commander may have been stupid, but he wasn't THAT stupid!" The only time it was ever actually seen firing was in an animated commercial for the GI Joe comics before the series was on the air, and it never appeared as such (the Joes in the comic used an Elaborate Underground Base).
    • The toy version of the Headquarters, introduced in 1983, was a single-level playset with a smaller dual cannon mounted in the forward position that could rotate slightly. This smaller version was depicted in the comics, but as a pre-fabricated fortress that could be transported in its component pieces and quickly assembled.

    Real Life 
  • Ships:
    • The rostrum, or ram, of the Ancient galleys. The rostrum (Latin for "beak") was a reinforced extension of the keel under the waterline at the galley's bow. The ideal ramming attack was to strike the enemy ship at side amidships, piercing her hull and causing her to sink. Unfortunately, galleys tend to be subtle but fragile on their construction, and ramming, where violent sideways forces are involved, could easily lead into mutual destruction if not handled properly.
    • Because ramming was such a delicate business, the Romans (who were kind of crap at naval warfare) mostly left the ramming to last-ditch efforts, and tried other methods. Their first attempt was during First Punic War, when they needed a way to counter the superior Carthaginian Navy. They invented the corvus, a boarding bridge that would let them turn a naval battle into an infantry engagement—and nobody but nobody did ancient infantry warfare like the Romans.
    • The trouble with the corvus was that it was itself sort of a fixed forwards-facing weapon; it was fixed to the prow, like the ram, and so you had to get into basically the same position as ramming to use it. Also, when not in use, it was this big heavy iron thing standing upright at the front of the ships; this raised and moved forward the ship's center of gravity, and so ships with corvi had a nasty habit of capsizing in rough seas. It wasn't until harpagones (grapples) came along, which were both light and could be deployed in any direction, that the Romans could really live their dream of turning naval engagements into infantry ones without ill effects.
    • The Byzantines, who inherited both the Roman tradition of infantry and the Greek knack for the maritime, gave their galleys an apostis, an enlengthened bow ram, which was over the waterline. The idea was not to ram the enemy under the waterline, but over, thus enabling the marines to enter the enemy vessel via the apostis. This type of combat was far less suicidal than the ancient ramming tactics. Other medieval navies of the Mediterranean world borrowed the apostis idea from the Byzantines.
    • Eventually the apostis was replaced by fixed cannons on the forecastle. They were the first true Fixed Forward Facing Weapons. This innovation also enabled the use of Slave Galley rowers instead of free rowers. But it was also the swan song of galleys: sailing vessels could board far more guns than galleys, and wipe them out at distance before they even had a chance to attack. The heyday of Slave Galley really lasted only less than one hundred years - from the beginning of the 16th century to the battle of Lepanto 1571.
    • Scaling down the concept to a giant shotgun mounted on a rowboat gets you the "punt gun", which was used for duck hunting in the 1800s. To a lesser extreme, gunboats with powerful chaser guns fixed in the bow were a staple of coastal defense in the days of Wooden Ships and Iron Men. Individual gunboats were not at all survivable, but they could be built and deployed en-masse, with the added advantages of shallow drafts, fiendish maneuverability in the confines of a harbour no matter which direction the wind is blowing, and a disproportionately heavy armament for their small size.
    • During the 1850s to 1880s, several ship designers experimented with mounting 'spar torpedoes' (a long boom with an explosive warheadnote ) on the prow of ships. The most notable use of one of these was by the Confederate submersible CSS H. L. Hunley, which successfully sank the USS Housatonic with its spar torpedo (though the Hunley also sank shortly afterwards, and when the wreck was found it was speculated that the spar torpedo had gotten lodged in the target, such that the explosion took both ships down).
    • In the early part of the ironclad era, the uncertainty of whether then-existing cannon could penetrate ship armor of the day led to many ships - including the CSS Virginia (better known by its previous name, the Merrimac) - to be mounted with iron rams. The Virginia would use its ram on the first day of the Battle of Hampton Roads, sinking the USS Cumberland, though the ram would get stuck and nearly sank the Virginia as well before it sheared off.
      • Armored ships would continue to mount rams for decades to come, and when Whitehead motorized torpedoes and their successors were introduced, experiments combining the two systems led to the brief development of the 'torpedo ram'. While this design didn't lead anywhere, it did show up in some fiction of the time, including the HMS Thunder Child in the novel War of the Worlds. Even battleships would have ram prows (that is, a prow designed so that the underwater section jutted forward) as late as HMS Dreadnought, and indeed the Dreadnought would use its ram prow to sink a U-boat!
    • Until guided torpedoes were developed, submarines had to be point the bow — or stern, for aft tubes — directly at their target. Off-axis launches were possible even with early Second World War technology, with the torpedo being set to turn to follow a pre-determined bearing after launch; a few models could even be set to zig-zag in order to make evasive action more difficult. The reliability of the technology left quite a lot to be desired, however, and outside of about twenty to thirty degrees off-boresight the chances of a hit dropped significantly. Or your luck is bad enough with the torpedo and it won't stop turning and the thing comes back to hit your own ship.note 
    • This limitation also applied to motor torpedo boats, but not, as a rule, to destroyers, which fired torpedoes from tubes that could be pointed at several different angles.
    • Up until World War I it was not uncommon to have fixed forward-firing torpedo tubes fitted into the bows of warships up to the size of battleships, but combat experience demonstrated that the benefits to be derived from them were far outweighed by the drawbacks to the ship's structural stability and watertightness. The loss of the German battlecruiser S.M.S. Lützow at the battle of Jutland for instance is chalked up to the forward torpedo compartment being punctured by heavy artillery and flooding.
    • The USS Vesuvius was a Dynamite Gun Cruiser, likely the only ship of her design, whose primary battery consisted of a trio of 15 inch pneumatic guns in her bow, mounted at a fixed 16 degree elevation. These guns used pressurized air to fire hollow projectiles loaded with between 200 and 500 pounds of a desensitized blasting gelatin (similar to dynamite, hence the name). The explosive mixture was too sensitive to be fired from a conventional gun, but was much more potent than conventional explosives used at the time. While the guns had a limited range of up to 4,000 yardsnote , they were also effectively whisper-silent, leading to her use in night attacks. During the Spanish-American War, the first warning many Spanish troops had of the Vesuvius's presence was her first volley exploding around them, which was believed to have a significant impact on their morale.
    • During the First Sino-Japanese War and Russo-Japanese War, the Imperial Japanese Navy fielded three ''Matsushima''-class cruisers, each Cool Boat armed with a 13-inch Canet gun that made it look like a 19th-century monitor. The result was Awesome, but Impractical — the gun took too long to reload, and the recoil was too much for the small ships — and was only good against the poorly-armed Chinese navy, so the IJN sensibly did not put these ships in the front line against the Russians.
    • British Nelson-class battleships (Nelson and Rodney) had 2 forward-mounted torpedo launchers in addition to their massive 9 16-inch guns. While the turrets themselves don't lend themselves completely to this trope, the class's unique positioning of the turrets (all three turrets in front of the superstructure) meant that the battleships were, effectively, defenseless from behind (French Strasbourg and Richelieu-class battleships had similar arrangements for their guns as well.)
  • Aircraft:
    • Early fighter designs tried to defy this by placing guns on trainable mounts and turrets, which required one or more additional crew members to man the guns while the pilot steered the plane. Single-seat fighters required fixed forward-facing armament as a matter of course, since the pilot couldn't steer the plane and aim the guns in a different direction at the same time. The last single engined fighter with turret-mounted guns was British Boulton Paul Defiant, a late 1930s design that would stay on in front line service until early phase of the Battle of Britain. By 1940, however, it became clear that flexible gun mounts were too heavy and fighters flew too fast to be reliably targeted from such mounts anyways. Fixed forward firing armament became the standard feature of nearly every fighter from World War II on—especially if they were expected to fight other fighters.
    • While many early combat aircraft in World War I had trainable machine gun mounts, the introduction of fixed forward-facing weapons on them was what made the existence of dedicated fighter planes possible. While an extra crewman can easily operate a pivot or turret mounted machine gun, the pilot is too busy flying the plane to do so. Increasingly efficient methods allowing a pilot to fire directly forwardnote  meant he could simply point his plane at an enemy plane to shoot it. This in turn led to deletion of back seat and its trainable machine gun, allowing dedicated fighters to be lighter, faster and more agile than the initial converted reconnaissance planes had been.
  • Several medium and light bombers in the US inventory during World War II had solid noses, as opposed to the normal glass nose traditional to bombers of the time, with multiple machine guns in immobile mounts for the purpose of having a ground attack role.
    • The American B-25 Mitchell bomber had a variant (the B-25G, and improved in the H model) designed for anti-ship strafing, with a 75 mm M-4 cannon in the nose, and several gun pods mounted to each side of the fuselage near the canopy.
    • Old 666, a B-17 from the same era was also fitted with a forward facing machine gun that the pilot could use to fend off head-on attacks from enemy fighter planes.
  • One version of the DeHavilland Mosquito carried a 57mm cannon for anti-submarine work, attacking them on the surface and holing their hulls so they could not dive. Its effect on enemy aircraft, when circumstances permitted its use (i.e. caught unawares, not dodging and weaving) was described as 'spectacular'.
    • Likewise, a never-used variant of the German Me-262 jet fighter replaced the 4 30mm cannon of the standard model with a single 57 mm. This was because it took 12+ well placed hits from the 30mm to bring down a B-17 or B-24, and the 262 was too fast to maintain a firing position. The 57mm required one hit almost anywhere on the plane.
  • The A-10 Thunderbolt II is built around a massive 30MM Gatling gun, to the point that even the nose wheel for the landing gear is off-set to make room for the gun in the nose. This design is born of necessity, as the sheer recoil, producing thrust comparable to the plane's engines (in fact, slightly higher than either of the twin engines can produce alone), could push the plane out of control if aimed in any other direction.
  • In 1943, the obsolete JU-87 Stuka was given a new purpose by mounting an automatic-firing 37mm cannon under each wing. Stukas diving on Soviet tanks from above could make mincemeat of the thinnest armour on a tank, on its upper body shell and turret roof. This variant was known as the Panzerknackernote .
    • While examples of individual fighter planes fitting this trope are unnecessary due to their ubiquitousness, it is worth explaining that this wasn't always the only way to arm a fighter. In the 1930s so-called "Turret Fighters" were built and fielded which carried their armament in a powered turret (behind the pilot) rather than fixed forward around the nose or wings. These were eventually withdrawn from daytime combat roles since the turret incurred a nasty weight and drag penalty, as well as leaving the fighter essentially defenseless to head-on attacks (having both a turret and conventional forward-firing guns would've been an even worse weight penalty) and generally too vulnerable to modern fighter planes such as the Bf-109. Turret-armed fighters continued to see success as night fighters throughout the war, being guided to enemy bombers via radar and typically cozying up underneath before ripping into them with the turret. Another aversion is the Luftwaffe's Schräge Musiknote , where night fighters instead had autocannons mounted to fire upwards instead of forwards, using a similar tactic to turret-armed fighters, exploiting the achilles heel of most RAF strategic bombers which were largely defenseless to attacks from below because of the lay-out of their turrets. Japan employed similar upward-facing guns, apparently developed independently rather than having the Germans pass the idea on to them.
    • While not going as far as the turret fighters above, two-seated fighter planes with rear-firing machine guns for self-defense existed and proved quite viable in World War I. A particularly successful example was the Bristol Fighter. Attempts to continue this trend into World War 2, e. g. with the Messerschmitt Bf 110 (quoted above under "Literature") did not work out — at least as daytime fighters — because the added gun didn't compensate for their greater size also making them bigger and less maneuverable targets next to their single-seated competition.
    • Modern fighters with helmet-mounted displays and the latest generation of air-to-air missiles with better seeker heads are an aversion. They allow high off-boresight launches of missiles, often around 90 degrees from the direction that the plane is facing. A data link from aircraft other than the launching fighter can allow even 360-degree target selection, while modern missiles are capable of making a 180-degree turn in pursuit.
  • Armored Fighting Vehicles:
    • The approach taken by WWII German and Soviet assault guns and tank destroyers was to install a more powerful gun that would be too large to fit inside the limited space of existing tank turrets, by just getting rid of the turret and having the big gun stick out the front of the hull. This worked at the longer engagement ranges tank destroyers were usually designed for, since the vehicle could reposition itself to face targets and omitting the turret made it a smaller target in turn. Naturally the risk was that it would find itself in trouble if it were outflanked. Some important considerations are that these vehicles were cheaper to manufacture than turreted tanks, as they did not require turrets and ball bearings, and provided a solution to the problem that shutting down and retooling a tank factory to produce a new type of tank caused a lot of time and money to be lost. Whenever a new tank design entered production and the previous one became obsolete, the military could easily change the old factories over to producing effective self-propelled guns based on the chassis of the obsolete tank, while setting up new production lines to make the new tank model. For example, the StuG III continued to be produced long after the Panzer III it was based on was discontinued, and the Panzer 38(t) was used as the basis for the Panzerjager 38(t). Sometimes existing tanks that were obsolete or had been partially destroyed could also be rebuilt into self-propelled guns of either an open-topped or closed casemate type. For example, the Sturmtiger armored mortars were converted from late model Tiger I chassis that were felt to be superfluous after the Tiger II was introduced. This vehicle type became much less common after World War II was over, since it had basically been a stopgap measure to save money and get bigger guns in the field ASAP, whereas during the Cold War there was more time and money to spend developing tank turrets which could mount as big a gun as any tank destroyer.
    • The main battle tank Stridsvagn 103 (aka "S-tank", because it was the fully indigenous Swedish design chosen instead of conventional alternatives that were based on foreign tanks) used by the Swedish Army from the 1960s up until 1997 had a completely fixed gun (no elevation or traverse capability whatsoever) that could only be aimed by moving the tank. Elevation was provided by the advanced hydraulic suspension, and horizontal traverse by the very precise steering system of the tank. It would've been all but impossible for an Strv 103 to fire its gun while moving, but this was not required for the intended ambush tactics, especially since no country had really perfected gun stabilization at the time it was developed. The design focused on defence, as it was better at stationary firing and had a lower profile than conventional tanks when in a hull-down position behind a hill. Such a low profile that it would often be difficult for an invading tank force to see them, let alone shoot them. And to add to this, 1 out of each 3-tank platoon was fitted with a bulldozer blade to create hull-down positions if none already existed, and eventually all the other Strv 103s were upgraded with the dozer blade. The extreme angling of the hull also meant that even though the armor plating isn't particularly thick, its effective thickness was such that anti-tank shells or missiles were unlikely to reach the crew compartment and ammunition racks. At least not when shooting it from the front; even more so than in most tanks, the top and rear are weak points.
    • The French Char B1 heavy tank, produced from 1935 to 1940, had a 75 mm howitzer in the hull for use against infantry, artillery, and fortifications, as well as a turret with a 47 mm antitank gun. The French designers figured they could save on both complexity and crew size by fixing the cannon to fire straight ahead and providing the driver with sights, an elevation wheel and the means to fire it. Since the 75mm had no horizontal traverse, only up/down elevation, the steering system was modified to make the small adjustments necessary for accurate gun laying by turning the whole tank. The third and final version of the B1 was altered to save on cost, getting rid of the expensive Neader hydraulic precision transmision and instead changing the 75 mm mount to allow five degrees of traverse to each side, but only three prototypes were built before France's surrender.
    • The US M3 Lee which had its main 75mm gun on a forward pointing sponson in the hull, instead of in the turret. The M3 was developed as a stopgap because the allies really needed a tank with a 75mm gun, but the M4 Sherman would take more time to develop. Downplayed in that the gun did have a limited amount of horizontal traverse. As with the Char B1, a turret with a smaller anti-tank gun (in this case a 37mm) was mounted on top to retain the ability to fire canister shot and partially compensate for the limited arc of the main gun, but this had its own drawback of making the M3 Lee very tall and almost impossible to hide.
    • A number of WW2 era tanks were equipped with fixed forward firing machine guns: this includes most US tanks and a couple of older Soviet models. In smaller similarly configured tanks such as the Italian M11 or the even smaller two-man C33, the driver had to leave his seat to load, lay and fire the main armament.
    • To elaborate on what was mentioned above, the fixed hull machine guns on US tanks go back at least as far as the interwar M2 Medium. The two machine guns sticking out of the glascis had no traverse—only elevation—and in fact were operated by the driver who had to turn the whole vehicle in attempt to spray things with his machine guns. Why he'd need to do that is a mystery, especially considering that the M2 already had four sponson-mounted machine guns—one for each corner of the hull—plus the turret coaxial and a pintle mounted machine gun on top of the turret. When the U.S. saw the Germans roll over Poland and France and realized the M2 was already obsolete, they rushed out the M3 Lee with the 75mm cannon but many of the same features, including the fixed driver machine guns. It was quickly found out that this distracted the driver from his main job, and the gunner of the sponson-mounted main gun (itself a forward-facing weapon, although with a little bit of traverse; this being an interim feature because the Army felt it needed a medium tank with a 75mm gun immediately rather than waiting for a turret that could mount it to be designed) would presumably get mighty annoyed by the driver unpredictably jerking the vehicle left and right and messing up his aim. The majority of M3s had these fixed machine guns removed and the holes for them plugged up. It even spilled over to the first M4 Shermans ever made, with a pair of driver's machine guns superfluously located next to the hull machine gunner's ball mount. This feature was deleted from the M4 very early.
    • Continuing even into the Cold War, the Soviet T-54 and T55A tanks included a 7.62 mm machine gun fixed in the hull, which the driver aimed by steering the tank and which fired out a tiny hole in the front glacis. Perhaps this was to compensate for the elimination of the traditional hull machine gunner position. A rubber bung was provided to plug up the hole in case of rain. Later T-55 tanks didn't have the hole at all, and removing that machine gun freed up space for some more main gun ammo.
    • The IS-7 Heavy Tank prototype's excessive armament of eight machine guns included two fixed, forward-facing SG-43 machine guns stuck on hull above the tracks, giving the driver something to play with.
    • The American T28 Super Heavy Tank, of which only two prototypes were built (the surviving one will be displayed at Patton Park in Fort Benning, GA starting in 2020). It featured a single giant 105mm gun mounted on a fixed carriage and was intended for use against the German fixed defenses of the Siegfried Line or for the invasion of Japan, but the war ended before it could be introduced in either theatre.
  • Other:
    • Subverted by the Vespa 150 TAP which looks like a scooter with a bazooka (actually a recoilless rifle), but in reality the weapon is removable and is supposed to be mounted on a tripod also carried by the scooter. It can be fired while mounted if the driver really, really wants to, but doing so is generally considered unwise. Since no provision was made for aiming the recoilless rifle while it's still mounted to the scooter, this only would've been done in emergencies when there's not enough time to dismount and set up the tripod.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Spinal Weapon, Bow Mounted Super Weapon


The StuG

The Sturmgescutz, better known as the StuG, is a turretless tank destroyer used by the Germans during World War II. Of particular note is that, due to this lack of a turret, the vehicle must move its front to face its target, something that the narrator clearly points out here.

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Example of:

Main / FixedForwardFacingWeapon

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