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Japan 45
09-08-2019, 10:40 AM, (This post was last modified: 09-08-2019, 06:51 PM by Elxaime.)
#1
Japan 45
The first patch has come out for this wonderful new addition to the Panzer Campaigns series.  My initial sense so far is that it the campaign is decently balanced versus the AI, but needs some work on PBEM balance.  The Japanese ground forces are modeled as quite tough, which seems legitimate given they are fighting in their homeland.  However, based on comments and my reading, it seems a design choice was made to model the Japanese order of battle based on the forces in their plan of expansion expected to be in place by November 1945, but the US-led forces are based on original planning.  

This seems fine if you want to model a surprised Allies, but it tends to lead to, at best, an Anzio-like stalemate and, at worst, the eastern most wing of the US landings thrown into the sea.  The numerical ratio of forces is about 1 to 1, but Japanese quality may make it even worse.

Historically, the Allied contingency, should their expectations of Japanese resistance change, was to use forces being gathered for Operation Coronet for Operation Olympic instead.  This would mean additional US land, and perhaps naval and air forces, plus possibly using the additional proffered Allied forces, such as a Commonwealth Corps of four divisions (UK, Australia, Canada, NZ - possibly five if you add an Indian), the Commonwealth "Tiger Force" heavy bombers (transferred from Bomber Command in Europe) and the Australian 1st Tactical Air Wing. 

The existing "Take Kyushu" campaign takes a step in this direction by adding some additional forces, including a French expeditionary corps.  But it may not be sufficient.

Further PBEM balance issues include the choice to model small Allied air squadrons of 12 planes, as opposed to entire groups (e.g. as in Normandy 44).  This seems to make Allied air superiority much less imposing that it probably would have been.  Some work probably needs to be done on Allied naval gun support, which also seems less than fearsome.

Great game.  But look forward to the designers looking further into PBEM balance.  I posted on a Facebook page for opponents for PBEM but got no takers, I assume because the Allied side looks too hamstrung.
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09-09-2019, 06:38 AM,
#2
RE: Japan 45
I have no experience with either the HtH or Solo campaigns in this game and no knowledge regarding Operation Olympic so I am not pretending to be in a position to make any useful comments on this.

But the question of balance in campaigns is an interesting one. It has never been clear to me exactly how playtesting is done given the immense time that would be involved.

The way that I use to get a rough feel for balance is to look at the Strength values of each side and in particular the total VP values of the two forces. I am not sure how these VP values are arrived at but my assumption is that they represent a overall estimation of a units worth and take into account relevant attributes such as quality, firepower, mobility, etc. If this is correct, then it is allows a better comparison than just looking at numbers of men, guns, etc.

For the Operation Olympic Solo campaign (Historical Plan) the comparison is 24,000 VP for the Allies vs 22,000 VP for the Japanese. This is intended to be played as the Allies. For the HtH campaign (Historical Plan) the comparison is 23,000 VP Allies versus 33,000 VP Japanese.

These seem the wrong way around to me as you would expect a Human Japanese opponent to be tougher than the AI. But of course the victory conditions are quite different between the two so this is not a fair comparison. But at first glance it does look like the HtH version would be tough fight for the Allies as they seem to be attacking with a weaker force!

Similar VP comparisons with some other campaign games are as follows;

                    Allied      Axis
Sealion        17,000    17,000
Sicily           15,000    10,000
Salerno          9,000     6,000
Anzio           13,000    11,000
Normandy    85,000    28,000

None of this proves anything but it does provide some superficial support at least for your view that the Allies are up against it in the Japan '45 HtH campaign.
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09-10-2019, 04:33 PM,
#3
RE: Japan 45
There could be a case that the A Class Japanese divisions should be B rated instead. I also made sure that the Allies got some B rated US Army divisions. Mainly the ones that fought in the Pacific (as we are adding in Euro divisions for Coronet).

I really would like to have finished my campaign game of the Solo scenario but somehow the file wouldnt open through all of the changes that we did in the update. My feeling is that I could get the Major Victory as the Allies. At least I was heading in that direction when I was playing through turn 40 .... The Marines in particular were just roasting the Japanese forces ...

I learned the trick of building Trenches for the US Army Divs. .. really helps them .. you can do that on the beaches too .. something that not many people think to do. That really cuts down on losses ...

So keep on sending the comments .. I would like to see your sources for the Coronet forces shifting to Olympic .. I have never read that .. even in the more recent book by Skates ... (listed in Bibliography). Send along any info you have on the force changes.

Also remember that MacArthur was hesitant to use the Allies' forces other than the ships and planes ... the land forces were required to use US equipment .... that applies for the French very well ... but for the Commonwealth you will find in Coronet that they were still using British equipment types in part ...

But anyway .. its a grand game .. The OB was looked over by David Freer and updated .... a big help as I didn't have source material on that and thought we could use the OB "as is" when I picked up the project. Turns out we had a lot of work to do on the OB.

I added in 2000 additional map tags .. not realizing that the series games usually do not name the small villages .. did the same thing on the Coronet map too. In the end that will be one of my major additions to the series ... I like a detailed map. I added in a lot of embankments on the maps .. the graphics for those are very close to the Cliffs ... and really not a great "mesh" or the artwork .. but its very accurate ... the armor would have been restricted to the lower elevations ... except for roads that cross passes ... etc.

If you would like to turn in a game file from a solo campaign file let me know. I would like to see how you did. Always helps me in determining the victory levels too. The campaign scenarios are always too long to playtest ... same went for when I was on the Napoleonic team ... we could never full playtest the campaign files of 3-8 battles each.
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09-10-2019, 10:46 PM, (This post was last modified: 09-10-2019, 10:48 PM by Outlaw Josey Wales.)
#4
RE: Japan 45
I found this.  Not a lot of details, but, it's a start.

In this initial draft staff study, for the assault, First Army would command two corps, the XXIV Corps made up of the 7th, 27th and 96th Infantry Divisions, as well as the III Amphibious Corps, comprising the 1st, 4th and 6th Marine Divisions. The XXIV Corps had not been created until March 1944 but had already fought through two tough Pacific campaigns – those of Leyte and Okinawa – with all three divisions participating in both campaigns. Of the Marine Corps' six divisions, three were scheduled to take part in Operation Olympic (2nd, 3rd and 5th) while the other three were scheduled to participate in Coronet. III Amphibious Corps had landed at Guam while V Marine Amphibious Corps had landed at Saipan and Tinian in July 1944. The 1st Marine Division was the most senior formation and had fought all the way from Guadalcanal through Peleliu to Okinawa. The 4th had fought on Iwo Jima while the 6th had fought on Okinawa. Eighth Army would command three corps – X, XIII and XIV. The X Corps had been formed in the USA in May 1942 and deployed to the Pacific in July 1944 to take part in the fighting for New Guinea and fought through the campaign for Leyte. Of the three divisions, the 37th was the most experienced, having fought on New Georgia, Bougainville and Leyte. The 24th had fought on Hollandia, New Guinea and Leyte and for the remaining months of the war was engaged in clearing the southern Philippines. The 31st trained in the USA from the time it was federalised (November 1940) until it deployed to New Guinea to continue training and finally entered combat at Morotai and in April and May 1945, helped to clear Mindanao. XIV Corps would command the 6th, 32nd and 38th Infantry Divisions. The corps had been sent to the Pacific in January 1943 to command the forces on Guadalcanal once the marines had been augmented by two army divisions, and also fought on New Guinea and Bougainville. It took part in the assault at the Lingayen Gulf under Sixth Army in January 1945 and continued to take part in the Luzon campaign until August 1945. The divisions assigned to the corps were veteran divisions, the 6th was a regular army formation that entered the Pacific War at Wake Island in 1944 and participated in the Luzon campaign from the start, mostly serving under XIV Corps. The 32nd had been sent out to Australia in May 1942 and took part in the fighting for Buna from November 1942 to January 1943. It also fought in the campaign for northern New Guinea in 1944 as well as taking art in the Leyte and Luzon campaigns. The 37th, a National Guard division like the 32nd, had seen its share of fighting on New Georgia, Bougainville and the attack at Lingayen. Of the five corps slated to take part in the initial assault, the XIII, along with its two component formations, the 13th and 20th Armoured Divisions, was the only redeployed unit scheduled to take part in the opening phase. The corps had had experience of leading armoured forces across Europe, a skill lacking among the other corps headquarters as no armoured divisions were deployed in the theatre. Both armoured divisions had entered combat during the last stages of the war in Europe and suffered relatively few casualties.

On Y-Day+30, each army would receive an additional corps of three infantry divisions. When the staff study had been published, the corps headquarters had not been finalised but would have almost certainly had to have come from the forces in Europe. The six component divisions would have also had to have come from forces redeployed from Europe and were slated to include the 5th, 44th and 86th Infantry Divisions for the First Army, and the 4th, 8th and 87th Infantry Divisions for the Eighth Army. Likewise, with the exception of the 11th Airborne Division, all AFPAC reserves would be made up from redeployed units. The 97th Infantry Division, slated to be the floating reserve on Y-Day had entered combat late in the Northwest Europe campaign. The AFPAC follow-on reserve would contain three veteran infantry divisions – 2nd, 28th and 35th. The AFPAC strategic reserve would contain another three veteran divisions, the 91st which fought in Italy, as well as the 95th and 104th. While the plans failed to identify specific corps and corps commanders, Marshall made it plain to his assistant, General Hull, that he had no intention to seek MacArthur's personal approval before redeploying corps headquarters and commanders to the Pacific. Instead, he sought to select those who were acknowledged as the best from the ETO and send them out. If MacArthur had any specific objections, he could make them known at that time. Marshall suggested: III Corps under Major General James A Van Fleet; V Corps under Major General C R Huebner; VII Corps under Lt General J Lawton Collins; XIII Corps under Alvan C Gillem; and XVIII Corps under Major General M B Ridgeway (Memo, Marshall to Hull, 28 May 1945, Verifax 1193, Item 2288, Marshall Library; Message, Hull to MacArthur, 29 May 1945, Verifax 1193, Item 2799, Marshall Library). Planning documents for the naval and amphibious phases of Coronet had not been drafted when the war finished but it is evident from the AFPAC staff documentation and plans that the Navy's role in the operation and the relationship between Nimitz's staff and MacArthur's staff would have been very similar to that of Olympic. CINCPAC would plan for the naval and amphibious phases while AFPAC would plan for the land campaign. It is likely that similar arrangements would have been made for the transition of command between the naval and ground commanders as the ground forces were established ashore. Naval and air bombardment of the objective areas would start from about Y-Day-15. On Y-Day itself, the two field armies would make simultaneous landings and although the preponderance of force was with Eighth Army, in the initial staff study, neither assault was designated as a main one. First Army would land elements of the XXIV and III Amphibious Corps near the middle of Kujukuri Beach. The 7th and 27th Infantry Divisions as well as the 1st and 4th Marine Divisions would land and establish a beachhead. On Y-Day+5 the 96th Infantry and the 6th Marine Divisions would then come ashore. First Army would face three major tasks once they had come ashore. Firstly, forces would move south and west across the Boso Peninsula to tackle the defences guarding Tokyo Bay. Forces would also move northwards towards Chosi in order to secure this small port. An open corridor leads northwest towards Tokyo, bounded by Chiba and the northern shore of Tokyo Bay on its western side, as well as two lakes (Imba-Numa and Tega-Numa) to the north. First Army was to advance towards Tokyo using this corridor. Eighth Army would land on the beaches at the head of Sagami Bay with elements of X Corps and XIV Corps. The initial units to land would be the 24th and 31st Infantry Divisions (X) as well as the 6th and 32nd Infantry Divisions (XIV). After establishing a beachhead, Eighth Army would move eastwards clearing the Miura Peninsula and capture the Yokosuka Naval Base. On Y-Day+10 the XIII Armoured Corps would land and then drive straight north up the Sagami River valley, establishing blocking positions north of Tokyo from Kamagaya to Koga with XIII Corps being ready to advance towards Tokyo as necessary while other elements of Eighth Army were to capture Yokohama and assist First Army's capture of Tokyo.
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09-11-2019, 08:55 AM,
#5
RE: Japan 45
Yes, this all applies to Coronet. I thought you implying that the Coronet forces were going to fight in the Olympic operation. My bad.
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09-11-2019, 11:04 AM, (This post was last modified: 09-11-2019, 02:27 PM by Elxaime.)
#6
RE: Japan 45
My reference was indeed to the point that the plan for Operation Olympic could be reinforced if needed by forces being gathered for Operation Coronet.

"Should these four corps prove insufficient to accomplish the tasks assigned, a build-up from the elements earmarked for "Coronet" would be instituted at the rate of three divisions per month beginning about X+30. The "Coronet" operation would be adjusted accordingly."

https://history.army.mil/books/wwii/MacA...1/ch13.htm

On planning, Marshall had made clear he was not going to let MacArthur act as a veto to things Marshall wanted done.  So on the issue of using Allied forces, which MacArthur opposed, if those were deemed needed then MacArthur could have been overruled.  Bear in mind Australia was more or less demanding to be part of the finale, but MacArthur had a history of fraught relations with the Australians and this may have colored his view.  MacArthur thought the Japanese were more or less finished already and didn't see the need for the USA to share the limelight.  Mac also had difficult relations with the British, who were not as enthusiastic as Australia but who could have mustered a Commonwealth Corps.  The equipment standardization issue hadn't after all prevented the Normandy invasion.  

My sense from all this is that, if Allied planners had assessed the Japanese strength as being as great as it became, e.g. the dreaded "1 v 1" ratio, then they had options to reinforce Olympic, either initially or with follow on forces.  This would be true not only in the land element, but also naval and air.

*** Some other comments from playtesting the campaign ***

1.  In the "Take Kyushu" big campaign, it looks like the Japanese reinforcement strategy choices appears twice, meaning the Japanese get duplicate divisions

2.  In the campaigns, but not the "East Beaches" smaller scenario, the Japanese get a bunker at 150,64, right on the beach.  In the smaller scenarios this is a trench.  Given that bunkers are modeled at -40%/+40, this must be a mistake no?  

3.  Speaking of bunkers, the -40%/+40 rating seems out of whack, especially given the default optional rules which include optional assault rule.  In other PzC titles, e.g. Stalingrad 42, the bunkers are the usual -40%/+10.  Is this WAD or an oversight?  A -40%/+40 bunker decently held by Japan is well-nigh untakeable in this game given the strong infantry defense values and fanatical rule.  I did some testing with multiple full US Army battalions assaulting this bunker defended by a single 4-gun Japanese battery - it took four turns, whittling away the battery one gun at a time.  Seems to me the bunker values should be dropped down

4.  Are the default optionals just for playing the AI or also for PBEM?

5.  On optionals, just curious why the artillery/airstrikes by the map option is not a default?  Weren't US and Allied air doctrines so advanced by the end of the war that they could strike by map?

Thanks in advance for any answers to the above.  Great game, and hope it gets some more love.
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09-12-2019, 07:19 AM,
#7
RE: Japan 45
(09-11-2019, 11:04 AM)Elxaime Wrote: 3.  Speaking of bunkers, the -40%/+40 rating seems out of whack, especially given the default optional rules which include optional assault rule.  In other PzC titles, e.g. Stalingrad 42, the bunkers are the usual -40%/+10.  Is this WAD or an oversight?  A -40%/+40 bunker decently held by Japan is well-nigh untakeable in this game given the strong infantry defense values and fanatical rule.  I did some testing with multiple full US Army battalions assaulting this bunker defended by a single 4-gun Japanese battery - it took four turns, whittling away the battery one gun at a time.  Seems to me the bunker values should be dropped down

No, bunkers are -40%/+40 in the rest of the PzC games as well.
Think you've got them mixed up with pillboxes which are -10%/+10

But that aside I agree with the analysis. With the Alt. Assault OR, fortifications become far too powerful, especially with the Mac PDT. Put anything with a decent Hard attack value into a bunker, and it becomes pretty much impregnable.
You can't use Direct Fire, since very few weapons have a high enough Hard Attack to be effective.
Artillery (bar very, very large calibers) can't be used since fortifications are Hard targets.
Which leaves assaults. And since the Mac PDT have significantly lowered the Hard attacks of infantry units, the whole thing leads to wildly ahistorical tactics.
Pioneers have  Hard Attack of 3 or 4, whereas a Sherman has a Hard Attack 21 IIRC.
Which means that even factoring in the combined arms penalty, sending tanks in against bunkers without infantry support is still about 3 times as effective as using pioneers........ Rolling Eyes

I mean, I get the logic behind the Alt. Assault rule, and I also get the idea of lowering the Hard Attack of infantry so they don't become tank-hunters. And to some degree I agree with the above.
The problem is that the PzC engine only has Hard or Soft targets. It can't differentiate between AFVs and fortifications.
So you can't use the Alt Assault rule to nerf infantry without also making fortifications a massive problem for the attacker.

IMHO Alt. Assault coupled with the Mac PDT will completely screw the balance of any scenario with major fortifications, Normandy being another prime example.
I have several other issues with the Mac PDT, but the above is the major reason I refuse to play _alt scenarios.
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09-12-2019, 09:41 AM,
#8
RE: Japan 45
On bunkers/pillboxes, I double checked the Normandy 44' Gold alt scenario and the bunkers are indeed -40%/+10 in that one, which uses McNamara. I know designers do tend to vary these across the games. Japan 45' seems to use McNamara values as the default (there are no "alt" scenarios and just a single .pdt) so it was the super bunker values that caught my eye.

I haven't extensively tested this, but I think a quick fix might be to reduce the Japan 45' .pdt bunker value to -40%/+10. The other option would be to mirror the scenario files like in Normandy 44', with regular and "alt" versions like that game, but obviously that would be a lot of work. Another option of course would be to turn off Alt. Assault. But I am not sure how that plays, since the game is built on McNamara.

Welcome any wisdom of others here. I'd love to see Japan 45' do well. But right now, the bunker issue, at least, is a real concern. Not sure what other issues folks have with the McNamara. But since Japan 45' seems McNamara-based, the most available fix seems to be tweaking the .pdt.
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09-12-2019, 11:32 AM, (This post was last modified: 09-12-2019, 07:04 PM by Green.)
#9
RE: Japan 45
(09-12-2019, 09:41 AM)Elxaime Wrote: On bunkers/pillboxes, I double checked the Normandy 44' Gold alt scenario and the bunkers are indeed -40%/+10 in that one, which uses McNamara.  I know designers do tend to vary these across the games.  Japan 45' seems to use McNamara values as the default (there are no "alt" scenarios and just a single .pdt) so it was the super bunker values that caught my eye.

I haven't extensively tested this, but I think a quick fix might be to reduce the Japan 45' .pdt bunker value to -40%/+10.  The other option would be to mirror the scenario files like in Normandy 44', with regular and "alt" versions like that game, but obviously that would be a lot of work.  Another option of course would be to turn off Alt. Assault.  But I am not sure how that plays, since the game is built on McNamara.

Welcome any wisdom of others here.  I'd love to see Japan 45' do well.  But right now, the bunker issue, at least, is a real concern.  Not sure what other issues folks have with the McNamara.  But since Japan 45' seems McNamara-based, the most available fix seems to be tweaking the .pdt.

Yes, these values vary from game to game, even for those using McNamara. Values of -40%/+20 for pillboxes and -40/+10 for bunkers are quite common. I do not recall ever seeing -40%/+40 but there may be games other than Japan '45 that have this. Regardless, it is an extreme value and particularly so when using the Alternative Assault rule combined with the Fanatical Nation rule.  

You could certainly change this easily enough by altering the .pdt file but unless you are playing solo, your opponent would need to do the same. From a design perspective, the values used where obviously intentional and have been playtested so presumably are unlikely to be radically changed. The difference between +40 and +10 is massive and would have balance issues for all scenarios that use bunkers.
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09-12-2019, 02:10 PM,
#10
RE: Japan 45
Guys,

Let us check the bunker values and get back to you. This was not a deliberate design decision to make them tougher, and if anything they were an issue due to insufficient concrete being available.

That said, you will notice a paucity of bunkers & pillboxes in this title for that exact reason. This was not Hitlers West Wall and the Japanese did not start to fortify their coast line until very late in the war. By that time there was shortages of everything.

David
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