Japan ’45 Campaign After Action Report and WDS Summer Sale Announcement

Hi all,

With the Naval Campaigns - Kriegsmarine and Civil War Battles Demo behind us we can take stock as we head into the second half of the year.

Firstly, we want to announce that we are continuing the John Tiller Software tradition of a Summer Sale.

The Wargame Design Studio Summer sale this year runs from June 17th, 2022, to July 4th, 2022. Like prior sales, all titles are reduced by 25% to $29.95 from our normal pricing. The only exceptions are the two titles released in the last twelve months, Civil War Battles – Forgotten Campaigns and Naval Campaigns - Kriegsmarine, that remain at full price. Panzer Campaigns – Kiev ’43 that was released in May 2021, will be discounted for the first time. The bulk discount for orders over $199 will also apply for all items, regardless of release date in an eligible order. If there is a title (or three) that you are missing from a series or just want to try something new, the sale would be the perfect time.

In other news, there has been a ‘hotfix’ applied to the recent Napoleonic’s Campaign series. This is only for people who updated to version 4.01 before May 31st, 2022. The Hot Fix updates resolve the "Detached" check bug. It is only an engine update and should only be applied if you have already applied the 4.01 update. You can get more information and download links from the dedicated Support Page here. The 4.01 update and all new purchases have been updated to the latest game version.

Back at the end of January we requested play testers for a new version of the Panzer Campaigns – Japan ’45 campaign. Testing has been ongoing for the last four months and we have had some extremely useful input. We are hopeful that we can get the new campaign in your hands by the time the sale kicks-off.

One tester – EC, has kindly written up his first five days experience testing the revised campaign and he has agreed for us to share it with you. His report follows for the first and second days of action and the third to fifth days will be in a subsequent blog post. EC has been playing as the Japanese player in a head-to-head test.


Strategic decision: reinforce Sendai (303rd Infantry Division)

I think that will be the most critical sector, as the 303rd Infantry Division is a C-quality formation, badly deployed and already challenged.

Situation: Eastern and Southern beaches are under control: a few disrupted units, even a broken one, but every wavering positions had been backed up with fresh companies from nearby entrenched battalions; Western beach (Marines vs 303rd) is my main concern: one position virtually lost already (two high fatigue units, both disrupted, which cannot be reinforced), another two at risk of being overrun in the next turn, and the trenches hexes on the hills unmanned; I started moving a few companies to the hills under the cover of the terrain, hoping that the Americans won’t spot them from the sea or the air. (All images can be clicked for full size if applicable)

Elsewhere, every single engineer unit is building bunkers – they are fixed, so they are doing it in place - for the time being.

Notes: The Americans lost 54 vehicles in the landing, but I managed to destroy 62 more firing at them with infantry companies, while artillery and AT guns tried to disrupt the engineers, with limited success; maybe Japanese infantry is a bit harsh on hard targets? However, my opponent chose my MG companies instead of my infantry as the main target for his naval barrage – which was a mistake on his part, I think.

Enemy casualties: 1,055 men and 116 tanks (plus 4 naval losses)

My casualties: 1,148 men, 13 guns.

Turn 2

Situation: The Americans are not assaulting, they are sitting on the beach firing at my guys in the trenches/bunkers; so, I keep destroying their tanks with my infantry (53 more this turn, 169 total, at least four companies completely wiped out), and disrupting his engineers with my MG/arty (his infantry casualties are over 4000, mostly from the landing penalty and mines). If he’s not moving inland next turn, his situation will start to become serious.

Turn 3

Situation: Finally, the enemy assaulted several positions, and took some of them. Surprisingly, the 303rd Infantry Division is holding well against the Marines, giving ground in the center but sitting tight at both ends of the beach.

The 86th Infantry Division lost almost all its first line positions, I’m trying to build a second line of trenches moving around some companies – hoping that they won’t be spotted and mauled by the American planes.

On the Eastern beaches a similar situation is unfolding, and I’m building rear positions there too. I really hope that moving my people outside the existing trenches won’t get them shattered by the enemy navy and aviation, but if I want to keep my second line, I must strengthen it. On a better note, my first-line infantry destroyed a couple more enemy tank companies, and both ends of both beaches are still in my hands: maybe I will be able to mount some counterattacks in the near future?

Enemy casualties: 5,080 men, 3 guns and 184 tanks (plus 4 naval and 1 air)

My casualties: 2,319 men, 59 guns.

Turn 4

Situation: At the southern end of the 303rd beach, a bunker is still in my hands, but the northern one fell to an American attack; at Ariake Bay the first line of the 86th is gone, but I’m resisting at both ends of the beach, and digging in the rear; on the eastern beaches the situation is similar, and I’m thinking of launching a limited counterattack against the 33rd US Infantry Division from the Kisaki area, as I still have a local superiority there: if the Americans are afraid of being rolled up from the south, they might halt their advance for a while.

The enemy has landed his artillery, but as I was still able to see the beach hexes, I managed to destroy at least three medium arty companies, and a few more tanks. Everywhere the enemy is still pounding the first line of defenses, so I hope to be able to complete my second line before he can advance in forces.

Partisans have shown up three hexes behind the front of the Eastern beaches; I do not really know what to do with them in the middle of a pitched battle…

Enemy casualties: 5,565 men, 48 guns (+45) and 198 tanks (plus 4 naval and 1 air)

My casualties: 2,740 men, 84 guns.

Turn 5

Situation: The enemy started bombarding my second line of defenses, some heavy infantry losses due to napalm (I think). The 2nd Independent Brigade is approaching the northern end of the Eastern beaches, while the 456th IR is marching along the coastal road to back up my hypothetical counterattack from the south; if the enemy moves some ships southward, they will be mauled.

Notes: The Japanese infantry is really good against tanks, especially when they are on beach hexes; however, it seems to be pretty useless against the American battalions: even when my guys are entrenched, they always get around 10 casualties per fire, against the 1-3 of the Americans. 2-pieces inf arty sections are totally useless, they only add to the gun’s casualties.

Enemy casualties: 6,008 men, 61 guns and 202 vehicles (no additional tanks, as he landed some AA) (plus 4 naval and 1 air)

My casualties: 3,350 men, 106 guns (mostly infantry ones) and 1 tank.

Turn 6 (last daylight turn)

On the southern edge of the eastern beaches, all is in readiness for the counterattack.

Enemy casualties: 6,385 men, 72 guns and 203 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 3 air)

My casualties: 4,277 men, 119 guns and 1 tank.

Turn 7 (night)

Counterattack launched in the south of the Eastern beaches: the enemy Engineer battalion is routed, one Infantry battalion is disrupted and retreated. The 456th Regiment is marching under the cover of the night to join the effort.

Enemy casualties: 6,779 men, 72 guns and 206 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 3 air)

My casualties: 4,983 men, 135 guns and 1 tank.

Turn 8 (night)

My forces took heavy losses from naval guns, but the counterattack advanced a couple more hexes and I was able to destroy some guns and light tanks. The 456th is approaching the front.

Enemy casualties: 7,018 men, 80 guns and 207 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 3 air)

My casualties: 5,442 men, 147 guns and 1 tank.

Turn 9 (night)

The counterattack is proceeding, but enemy naval guns are cutting my frontline battalions to pieces. 456th ready to go next turn.

Enemy casualties: 7,203 men, 96 guns and 208 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 3 air)

My casualties: 5,850 men, 151 guns and 1 tank.

Turn 10 – daylight

The 152nd Infantry Division counterattack collapsed, navy and air pounding on the first daylight turn was too much for my infantry to keep pushing along the beach. I was able to destroy some more guns though. The 456th Regiment is relocating westward; its new task is to start building trenches along the main road.

On the other beaches, situation unchanged. We are slowly retiring spent units (often broken/disrupted) along the main roads, fortifying where we can.

Enemy casualties: 7,512 men, 127 guns and 251 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 3 air)

My casualties: 6,818 men, 157 guns and 1 tank.

[The enemy landed more forces: his high vehicles losses this turn is definitely caused by the landing penalty]

Turn 11

I’m worried about the 86th Infantry Division sector, where the Americans were able to advance along the Anraku-Matsuyama main road.

We are suffering heavy infantry losses, maybe it’s time to retire inland, hoping that the rest of the 303rd Infantry Division and the other second line units will release soon…

[highlighted are disrupted and broken units]

Enemy casualties: 7,879 men, 136 guns and 255 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 4 air)

My casualties: 7,914 men, 163 guns and 1 tank.

VP balance: 39

Turn 12

My infantry casualties are mounting at a 1,000-per-turn rate, and that’s not sustainable. I’m retiring where I can, leaving behind single companies to slow down the Americans, at least until night. 303 Infantry Division was released, and it was about time: now I hope to be able to stop the Marines from cutting the retreat path for the two Infantry Division still south of the Western beach and fixed.

At the Eastern beaches, I’m going to deploy 158th Regiment around Taraoka and Kawaguchi, behind the 154th and 156th Infantry Division’s front, leaving to the rest of the 212nd Infantry Division to defend the coastal route to the North.

The most worrying sector, however, is now the 86th Infantry Division one: if the 98th Independent Mixed Brigade will not release soon, there’s the possibility that the Americans will invest it in its current (bad) deployment.

Enemy casualties: 8,170 men, 140 guns and 258 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 4 air)

My casualties: 8,996 men, 181 guns and 1 tank.

VP balance: 254 (700 Objectives)

Turn 13

Two critical situations are developing, and I do not really know how to stop them:

  • South of Myiazaki, 156th Infantry Division sector, the US 33rd Division can advance almost freely to Shimokuronaga, only two inf companies being in its way; the area around Kamikura and Tsubone is unguarded too; I’m moving forces from the South, and the 158th Regiment from the North, but if the Americans do advance, they can break my front in two before night.

  • A similar situation is developing North of Anraku, where the 86th Infantry Division front have been broken and US infantry forces are advancing on Yamanokuchi, and potentially Iwagawa too; the 98th Independent Mixed Brigade is always fixed, and that’s a major problem – I imagine that in real life, it would have been called for reinforcements by the 86th Infantry Division commander way earlier than that.

Something strange is happening with the fanatical nation rule too: when my Inf units lose a melee, they retreat with A LOT of casualties, sometimes even 50-60 to 3-4 US; furthermore, in this turn a bunker fell immediately to an US attack, the defending unit being an undisrupted MG co, which was totally wiped out –is it strange behavior, or an incredibly bad roll?

Enemy casualties: 8,442 men, 141 guns and 261 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 4 air)

My casualties: 10,029 men, 186 guns and 1 tank.

VP balance: 598 (950 Objectives)

Turn 14

The situation in the 86th Infantry Division sector is definitely out of hand: an entire regiment is routed leaving a huge hole in the perimeter, and the enemy can reach Kanoya and Funama without encountering any serious resistance. 98th Independent Mixed Brigade still fixed.

Enemy casualties: 8,583 men, 149 guns and 262 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 4 air)

My casualties: 10,851 men, 188 guns and 1 tank.

VP balance: 668 (950 Objectives)

Turn 15 (last day turn on 2nd day)

Well, I can say now that my initial strategy decision was wrong: while the 303rd Infantry Division seems to be pretty able to hold Sendai at least for another 24-48 hours, due to the difficult terrain, the river and some minor reinforcements, the 86th Infantry Division is collapsing quickly. So, I decided to move two regiments of the newly arrived 216th Infantry Division to Okuchi-Kokubu, and only one to Sendai itself: it will be a long route, and I will pay dearly to US air attacks, but I cannot do anything different.

Enemy casualties: 8,861 men, 152 guns and 264 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 5 air)

My casualties: 11,944 men, 202 guns and 1 tank.

VP balance: 872 (1050 Objectives)

Turn 16 (night)

98th Independent Mixed Brigade was finally released: way too late to strengthen the 86th Infantry Division perimeter (which is completely collapsed except in its easternmost section; the division lost almost half of its forces), but maybe we can do something to keep the Americans at bay while the other reserve forces come to the rescue. A bunker is resisting in the second line area, maybe it will slow down the Americans too.

The Myiazaki garrison (most of the 448th Regiment) is definitely surrounded. They will fight to the last, and maybe give us some time to complete the third defensive line with the 158th Regiment and 2nd Composite Brigade. The 154th Infantry Division is no longer combat effective: it can now muster no more than 7500 men, partly surrounded at Myiazaki, and partly not engaged north of Sadowara, which means the two Regiments which held the second line of defense were cut to pieces; I’m currently retiring them behind the third line. In the 156th Infantry Division sector the US advance was way more cautious: they did not probe to the south and failed to march on Takaoka while the road was wide open (which is no more, I’m marching there two full battalions from the south). Maybe our counterattack last night was a good idea after all…

Enemy casualties: 9,038 men, 157 guns and 265 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 5 air)

My casualties: 12,292 men, 228 guns and 1 tank.

Turn 17 (night)

No news. We lost a couple of entrenched positions in the 86th Infantry Division and Eastern beaches sectors, but they were remains of first- or second-line defenses: we are now deployed on the third one.

Enemy casualties: 9,172 men, 160 guns and 267 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 5 air)

My casualties: 12,676 men, 236 guns and 1 tank.

VP balance: 949 (1050 Objectives)

Turn 18 (night)

Maybe I committed another mistake: I could have retired all my troops north of the bridges at Sendai during the night, and I did not. We will try to hold the Marines south of Fumoto for a couple of turns, while my engineers blow the bridges.

The only sector where the Americans advanced during the night had been precisely the 303rd Infantry Division one. The Division is no longer an organized unit, its three surviving regiments being scattered around to cover the US axis of advance. Again, I feel that the release of the Japanese forces down the peninsula is really too slow: at this point, I imagine that the 40th Army HQ (itself forced to retreat from its initial location by the advancing Marines) would have ordered a complete evacuation northward…

Enemy casualties: 9,267 men, 161 guns and 267 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 5 air)

My casualties: 12,903 men, 244 guns and 1 tank.

VP balance: 1,023 (1,100 Objectives)

You can expect part two of this After Action Report, coverings days three to five very soon.

Till then...


  • William R Betson

    I think that this is a great game that can teach us a lot about what an invasion of Japan would be like. There is, however, a significant flaw that affects how the battle goes. Japanese infantry anti-tank strength is far too high….. 4+ times the US strength. This might make sense at 0 range, but not at 1. US light tanks are suicide machines. But they did very well in New Guinea. US Shermans must fight at company, not platoon strength to survive. This is not what was successful during the war. One might ask what weapon gives the Japanese infantry at strength of 9 at 1 hex?

  • Robert Mayer

    I like these two invasion games, but I do wonder about the fine-tuning of a few things. I get that Japanese defenders are going to be tenacious, but the way small (two-digit strength, sometimes single-digit), disrupted, isolated, and even broken units can become nearly invincible. Air attacks, heavy arty, battleship guns firing into fortified positions cease to do any damage when the enemy units are very small and have poor morale. Assaults even by overwhelming force most of the time fail to dislodge, kill, or capture these “dead enders.” While on one level it’s good to simulate the likely desperation of the defenders, at another level it seems a bit over the top. I doubt every Japanese defender would have been Godzilla crossed with the samurai from a Kurosawa film!

  • clayton martin

    Nice AAR. I happen to being playing Japan 46 for the first time vs the AI. This seems to be a WDS game (along with Japan 45) that the AI can play well enough in a large campaign situation.

  • JasonHan

    Really great AAR!

  • Keith Robinson

    Thanks WDS for the note. Looking forward to the Summer Sale. Nice write-up on Japan ’45

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