Japan ’45 Campaign After Action Report - Part Two


This blog post is the second part of the playtest of the new campaign in Panzer Campaigns - Japan ’45. You can read the first two days in Part One here

As mentioned in the original after-action report, one of our testers, EC was playing the Japanese in a head-to-head test. You can follow his experience in his own words below. If you have not already read the prior entry it is probably worthwhile for context before tackling this entry covering days three, four, and five.

Turn 19 – (daylight, day three)

A tiny, tiny foot bridge suddenly appeared north of Sadowara. I’m joking, the bridge was there all the time, I didn’t see it, but the Americans did, and I have had to move a battalion in the open to block it. (all images can be clicked for full size if applicable)

Luckily, the 212th Infantry Division was released and is now marching to strengthen the Northern flank of the Eastern beaches front. I’m mildly worried about the center of this sector, but I have the 112th Independent Mixed Brigade and the 518th Regiment that are now fully deployed in the third line of defense. Miyazaki will fall next turn: goodbye to most of the 448th Regiment. We did wipe out an US artillery battery with a couple of air attacks though.

In the West, I now have too many troops at Sendai, where I’m in the process of blowing the bridges anyway. Present, are the remnants of one regiment from the 303rd Infantry Division, one fresh regiment from the 216th Infantry Division, and the newly released 5th Independent Mixed Brigade. However, in the West the problem is not Sendai: it’s further South, on the road to Kagoshima where the remnants of the 303rd Infantry Division are alone confronting a presumed two whole Marine divisions… and the two and a half Japanese Infantry Divisions deployed further south in the peninsula are still fixed…

Enemy casualties: 9,830 men, 167 guns and 267 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 5 air losses)

My casualties: 13,348 men, 260 guns and 1 tank.

VP balance: 1,114 (1,200 from Objectives)

Turn 20

During the US turn, the Marines called in several airstrikes on the 303rd Infantry Division units retreating in travel (T) mode toward the bridge at Sendai, and they were mauled (more than 100 casualties in a single hex). My fault, I did not realize they were visible from a little knoll 5 hexes to the south.

The situation on the front of both the 303rd and 86th Infantry Division is critical. The only good news is that the Americans are not advancing on the Anraku-Kasaki road, possibly because Anraku itself was turned to RUBBLE: this might buy me enough time to fully deploy the 98th Independent Mixed Brigade.

In the East, Myiazaki’s garrison is mostly routed but still alive. The three US Infantry Divisions are advancing along the whole front.

Enemy casualties: 10,003 men, 170 guns and 267 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 5 air losses)

My casualties: 14,102 men, 282 guns and 4 tanks (from air interdiction).

VP balance: 1,309 (1,300 from Objectives)

Turn 21

In the 303rd Infantry Division sector, we are going to execute the following moves in order to close the Sendai-Kagoshima gap. Hopefully, we can stabilize the front with (West to East): one 216th Infantry Division Regiment in Sendai, the 5th Composite Brigade from Tanohara to Ichihino, and the other two regiments from the 216th Infantry Division on the mountain.

The 156th Infantry Division launched another (small) counterattack at the southern end of the Eastern beaches, trying to slow down the 33rd US Infantry Division advance.

A whole battery of US medium artillery in T mode was wiped out in the 86th Infantry Division sector.

Enemy casualties: 10,156 men, 180 guns and 267 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 5 air losses)

My casualties: 14,749 men, 288 guns and 8 vehicles (4 AA vehicles in Myiazaki).

Turn 22

In the West, we are starting the movements determined last turn.

Another US artillery battery was wiped out at Ariake Bay. The enemy is moving them along the main road in plain view of the remnants of the 86th Infantry Division left behind on the hills. However, a hold-out bunker in the 86th Infantry Division sector finally fell. Since its construction, on turn 2-3, we were not able to build a single additional bunker – which is a problem, as they are the only feature which can stop the US advance for at least 24-36 hours.

I must decide what to do with the 212th Infantry Division that is arriving in the Eastern beaches sector from the North: reinforce the line in a purely defensive way, or orchestrate a counterattack on the spearheads of the US attack columns inland, away from the navy guns? The priority in this sector is holding the Tsuma-Takaoka main road, which is still giving us the ability to move reserves on the North-South axis.

Enemy casualties: 10,280 men, 194 guns and 270 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 6 air losses)

My casualties: 15,569 men, 300 guns and 10 vehicles (2 AA vehicles in Myiazaki).

VP balance: 1,584 (1,450 from Objectives)

Turn 23

The 206th Infantry Division was finally released: it’s now marching north-east towards Kagoshima, hoping to hold it till the 146th Infantry Division further south will be released too.

We shot down 4 US planes but suffered almost 1,200 infantry casualties in a single turn (vs 200 US) – which is a dubious new record. The Marines are mauling every unit I throw at them: until now, they seem to be simply unstoppable.

Enemy casualties: 10,424 men, 202 guns and 270 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 10 air losses)

My casualties: 16,785 men, 311 guns and 10 vehicles.

VP balance: 1,793 (1,550 from Objectives)

Turn 24 (last daylight turn)

Apparently, an entire Marines division is trying to secure a bunker in Kushikino, which gave me just the time I needed to deploy the 5th Composite Brigade and march the 216th Infantry Division, south from Okuchi. Also, south of the Marines beachhead, the enemy spearhead stopped its advance along the main road just west of Kori and progressed instead into the coastal hills directly south. The 206th Infantry Division is marching to Kagoshima: the road network behind its former deployment sector is awful though, and it will take several turns to even reach the other side of the peninsula south of Kagoshima…

At Ariake Bay the US troops finished their job, destroying the last remnants of the 86th Infantry Division west of Shibushi. The remainder of the unit of 4,200 men is no more. To make a comparison, the battered, and splintered C-quality 303th Infantry Division is still able to muster more than 5,400 men. The only force between the Americans and Miyakonojo is the 98th Independent Mixed Brigade, entrenching itself around Matsuyama.

In the East we have multiple crisis unfolding: the three US divisions are advancing along the entire front, mauling the remnants of the 154th and 156th Infantry Division. The 212th Infantry Division is arriving just in time, maybe I’ll mount a small night counterattack at Sadowara, while trying to blow up the bridges at Shimodashima with the 212th engineers. As a side note, the guys in Miyazaki were heroic: they resisted the whole day, tying down a good part of the 41st US Infantry Division.

As a rule, from now on I’ll try to deploy on the frontline only 400+ manpower two-company units: no more single companies which are completely destroyed by these huge US battalions in a single turn…

Enemy casualties: 10,668 men, 202 guns and 270 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 10 air losses)

My casualties: 17,578 men, 315 guns and 10 vehicles.

VP balance: 1,866 (1,550 from Objectives)

Turn 25 (night)

The Americans tried a couple of assaults in the East, at least one against a 400+ inf stack, and failed with more casualties for the attacker than the defender. Maybe that’s really the solution I was looking for to put an end to that endless streak of destroyed infantry companies. Accordingly, I started to redeploy all the units in the Eastern sector to always have 400+ units entrenched on the frontline. That’s not possible in the (ex) 86th Infantry Division sector, or in the southern part of the 303rd Infantry Division sector due to a lack of numbers.

Enemy casualties: 10,851 men, 206 guns and 270 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 10 air losses)

My casualties: 17,884 men, 317 guns and 10 vehicles.

VP balance: 1,878 (1,550 from Objectives)

Turn 26 (night)

Well, it seems that to defend against those killer US battalions, two-company Japanese units are the way to go – and possibly, full battalions are the way to counterattack, we will see in the future. During our active turn, our casualties were less than the enemy’s – my forces managed to maul a couple of companies of the tired US 154th Infantry Division during his turn.

A US battery revealed itself on the Eastern beach and lost 8 guns to my counterbattery fire. I wonder why the Americans are keeping part of their guns on the beach hexes, maybe they did not realize how large the beach modifiers are? Some battered battalions from 154th and 156th Infantry Divisions are healing and resting behind the positions of the new defensive line. Maybe tomorrow they will be useful again.

In the (ex) 86th Infantry Division sector, a lone US AT gun battery hit the 98th Independent Mixed Brigade defense line in T mode and was annihilated.

Enemy casualties: 11,016 men, 220 guns and 271 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 10 air losses)

My casualties: 18,460 men, 318 guns and 10 vehicles.

VP balance: 1,878 (1,550 from Objectives)

Turn 27 (night)

Well, for the first time we do have a couple of interesting situations for the Japanese side – both in the Eastern Beaches sector.

  1. A battalion from the US 33rd Infantry Division assaulted and displaced a two-companies unit from the 454th Japanese Regiment, but ended up isolated; moreover, next turn it will not be “liberated”, as the US support units are locked by Japanese zones of control… we will see if my opponent is able to suppress all my surrounding forces with his artillery/planes on the first daylight turn, or will I be able to destroy my first US infantry battalion...
  2. At the other (northern) end of the same sector, a two-companies unit from the freshly arrived 212th Infantry Division assaulted and forced to retire a battalion from the 25th US Infantry Division. Two more US battalions are nearly surrounded, and three full 212th Infantry Division battalions are about to be deployed in that sector: maybe we will be able to check that advance too.

However, everywhere else on the map, the situation is still very serious for the Japanese forces.

The Marines have managed to reach the last 303rd Infantry Division company entrenched on the main road to Kagoshima, and next turn they will undoubtedly break through it; if so, the 206th Infantry Division will not be able to reach Kagoshima in time, and we will have to rely only on the (just now, and finally) released 125th Independent Mixed Brigade to defend it.

In the northern part of the Marines bridgehead, the enemy is keeping only a disrupted battalion in contact with the rubble hex in front of the blown bridges at Sendai. A Marine battalion appeared on the top of the mountain to the south-east though.

In the Ariake Bay sector, I expect the Americans will attack the new defensive line, which is garrisoned by the lonely 98th Independent Mixed Brigade plus some remnants of the battered 86th Infantry Division. They will have to cope with three full US Infantry Divisions. So, good luck to the commanding officer of the 98th

Enemy casualties: 11,155 men, 226 guns and 273 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 10 air losses)

My casualties: 18,660 men, 319 guns and 10 vehicles.

VP balance: 2,110 (1,750 from Objectives)

Turn 28 (daylight)

Well, this is awkward: I complained extensively about the Japanese 146th Infantry Divisions late release over and over again, and now some crazy US troops have landed at Maxwell Beach (Kiire) apparently without any naval assets to suppress the shore defenses. Four out of six US engineer battalions were disrupted by artillery and MG fire, and some tanks were destroyed too. We will see how it plays out in the next couple of turns, but it seems to be a totally suicidal landing – made worse, because the 146th was released this turn, allowing me to reinforce the sector.

In the Kagoshima sector the Marines managed to rout the last 303rd Infantry Division company entrenched on the main road, and the 125th Independent Mixed Brigade is still in Kagoshima, bogged down by a barrier of four RUBBLE hexes on the northern outskirts of the town. We will see if it is enough to slow down the Marines at least until the 206th Infantry Division reaches Kagoshima.

At Ariake Bay the Americans are advancing. They achieved no Japanese disruptions this turn though.

At the Eastern beaches, good news! The lone 33rd US Infantry Division battalion was surrounded indeed, and then assaulted by three Japanese two-company units: it is now reduced to a handful of men, and next turn it should be destroyed. The US troops in Shimmachi are now in a precarious situation too: if I can assault the disrupted battalion just north of the village, two-three US battalions will be isolated. We’ll see, but this is a good morale boost for me as it is.

Enemy casualties: 11,801 men, 227 guns and 278 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 11 air losses)

My casualties: 19,094 men, 330 guns and 10 vehicles.

VP balance: 2,126 (1,800 from Objectives)

For the first time, the single-turn US casualties are significantly higher than the Japanese ones!

Turn 29

The counterattack in the 156th Infantry Division sector is gaining momentum: we destroyed the isolated battalion, and we are now going to isolate three more – unless my opponent stops its advance and recalls his reserves to unblock them.

In the other sectors, the situation is unchanged. Next turn we will have a couple of battalions from the 125th Independent Mixed Brigade deployed north of Kagoshima, hoping that will be enough to keep the Marines away from it, at least for a few hours

At Maxwell beach, the full 98th US Infantry Division is now landing: maybe it won’t be a suicidal move after all – last turn I thought these units were some army reserves my opponent ordered there in the first turn strategic decision, expecting that the 146th Infantry Division would already be gone. They did not exit the beach hexes though, so they are going to take some more casualties before being able to advance inland.

Enemy casualties: 12,389 men, 229 guns and 270 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 11 air losses)

My casualties: 19,746 men, 335 guns and 12 vehicles.

VP balance: 2,137 (1,800 from Objectives)

Turn 30

The 303rd Infantry Division defensive system West of Kagoshima is shattered, and several of its infantry companies are going to be surrounded and eliminated in the next few turns. However, the 125th Independent Mixed Brigade succeeded in extricating itself from the rubble of Kagoshima and is now deploying a couple of full battalions north-west of the town. 206th Infantry Division is starting to file through the southern suburbs of Kagoshima: maybe we will be able to save a couple of its regiments at least.

The 86th Infantry Division is no more: even its last-ditch line of defense on the heights of Hirabo was attacked and pierced. Matsuyama however is holding out, and we managed to build a bunker in Kasaki.

In the 156th Infantry Division sector, the Americans strafed to death one of my blocking units, and saved the three isolated battalions from being annihilated: their situation however is far from being optimal, and I managed to re-occupy the 50 VP hex in Shimmachi too.

At the northern end of the Eastern beaches, the 212th Infantry Division is massing its forces for a possible counterattack: if the Americans are greedy enough to advance one more hex, they will be assaulted by three 800+ men full battalions. In the center of the Eastern beaches sector, US and Japanese battalions (both 400-wise) are staring at each other, hardly firing.

At Maxwell Beach, the Americans are still bogged on the beach. I managed to wipe out a Sherman company as well.

Enemy casualties: 12,874 men, 233 guns and 285 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 12 air losses)

My casualties: 20,650 men, 338 guns and 12 vehicles.

VP balance: 2,124 (1,750 from Objectives)

Turn 31

Sendai-Kagoshima sector:

At Matsuyama, the 98th Independent Mixed Brigade is already starting to give ground: it simply cannot match a whole US division, possibly two.

In the 156th Infantry Division sector I retired my forces from Shimmachi: it proved impossible to keep pushing with troops already tired from three full days of fighting-pounding.

In the 212th Infantry Division sector the Americans got greedy, and two of their battalions ended up being surrounded in front of Tonokorimachi: next turn they are going to be isolated, one of them is already disrupted.

Heavy air bombardment on Maxwell beach during the US turn: more than 80 casualties for the Japanese defenders, but no disruptions. The 98th US Infantry Division remains on the beach/sand hexes.

Enemy casualties: 13,213 men, 234 guns and 285 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 13 air losses)

My casualties: 21,357 men, 343 guns and 16 vehicles (AA guns in the 98th Independent Mixed Brigade sector).

VP balance: 2,323 (1,900 from Objectives)

Turn 32

It happened: the 212th Infantry Division destroyed the best part of a 25th US Infantry Division regiment: two battalions surrounded and obliterated to the last man, and the third battalion disrupted, assaulted and forced to retreat. Now we have the possibility to roll back the whole northern wing of the US bridgehead. Even a lone 154th Infantry Division company re-crossed the river at Sadowara to flank the US forces. Maybe this will not lead to much of a blow to the US forces, but it will certainly block the advance of the other two Regiments of the 25th US Infantry Division in the center…

At Maxwell beach the American did not move, received more casualties, and the Japanese are being reinforced by three-four new companies from the 146th Infantry Division. The other units of that division are marching northward under the cover of the mountain range behind the beach.

Enemy casualties: 14,692 men, 235 guns and 289 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 14 air losses)

My casualties: 22,217 men, 346 guns and 16 vehicles.

VP balance: 2,253 (1,900 from Objectives)

Turn 33 (last day turn)

Sendai sector: my opponent is advancing only in the Yamanako-Uto sector, where the 5th Composite Brigade is now deployed and entrenching itself.

Kagoshima sector: the Marines are a real steamroller: even 400- or 600-something units seem to not be enough to stop them… At least, some units from the 125th Independent Mixed Brigade are now in position between Koriyama and Nakagawa.

In the Eastern peninsula, the 98th Independent Mixed Brigade is bracing for a tough night, as the Americans capture the 100 VP hex near Matsuyama, and seem to be eager to advance even further up the main road.

The mud slowed the counterattack in the 212th Infantry Division sector, but in the next few turns we will have 8+ fresh full battalions moving against a couple of battered US infantry battalions and a few support troops. If my opponent does not shift a good deal of his troops northward, tonight and tomorrow morning he will have a tough time.

Enemy casualties: 15,164 men, 246 guns and 291 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 15 air losses)

My casualties: 23,159 men, 352 guns and 18 vehicles.

VP balance: 2,385 (2,000 from Objectives)

Turn 34 (night)

I’m retiring anywhere that I’m in contact with US units, to get some rest and not be pounded by the naval guns too.

The only exception is the Northern half of the Eastern beaches sector, where the situation is developing in a promising way for the Japanese: the 212th Infantry Division forced the battered regiment from the 25th US Infantry Division to retreat, isolating and disrupting another one of its battalions. Moreover, my ragtag forces deployed in front of Hanjo managed to isolate two more US battalions. These last ones will be no doubt be liberated next turn, but to do so my opponent would not be able to focus where the real threat is: around Sadowara, where I now have six-seven full battalions of the 212th Infantry Division against few US support troops of the US I Corps.

Enemy casualties: 15,510 men, 255 guns and 297 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 15 air losses)

My casualties: 23,700 men, 358 guns and 18 vehicles.

VP balance: 2,449 (2,050 from Objectives)

Turn 35 (night)

Another US battalion was annihilated in Wazume, 212th Infantry Division sector. This is the third enemy battalion which has been wiped out in this sector, and the 25th US Infantry Division has lost one third of its infantry units. Moreover, its last intact regiment, deployed West of Konagamo, assaulted again and advanced one more hex westward: if the 212th maintains its momentum, it will be surrounded too in the next few turns.

Meanwhile, a whole US armored recon company was wiped out in front of Kiwaki.

Enemy casualties: 16,164 men, 263 guns and 309 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 15 air losses)

My casualties: 24,310 men, 359 guns and 19 vehicles.

VP balance: 2,425 (2,050 from Objectives)

Turn 36 (night)

The 212th Infantry Division advance was stopped by two US regimental HQs – they are really hard to disrupt, therefore they resisted three assaults. Next turn, with daylight and US air support ravaging my frontline units, we will see if there’s any future for developments in this sector. I hope that my opponent will have to at least to stop his advance further south to avoid being flanked.

It seems that it will be possible to evacuate the two Japanese divisions from the Western peninsula after all. The 206th Infantry Division is either deployed or approaching the ruins of Kagoshima, while the 146th is slipping from its terrible position, marching northward to the West of the 96th US Infantry Division bridgehead at Maxwell beach. The latter’s presence, by the way, makes it completely impossible to hold the peninsula while being cut off from the main Japanese force further north.

Looking at the overall situation of the southern part of the battlefield after four days of fighting, it is now clear that the most critical sector is the south-eastern one. The 86th Infantry Division was destroyed by day three, and the 98th Independent Mixed Brigade is giving ground. In the next few hours, it will have to choose between Kasaki and Miyakonojo – that is, between defending the rear of the forces on the Western or the Eastern beachheads. Next turn, the 77th Infantry Division might release, and therefore be able to reach Kasaki and Miyakonojo in a few turns. However, as the 98th Independent Mixed Brigade will be almost gone by then, the 77th will be again alone against three US divisions. Tomorrow it might be necessary to retire the 156th Infantry Division from its current positions and send it to strengthen the defenses of Miyakonojo: but it is a really fatigued unit, and it will be closely followed by the US 33rd Infantry Division.

Enemy casualties: 16,506 men, 265 guns and 313 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 15 air losses)

My casualties: 24,769 men, 359 guns and 21 vehicles.

VP balance: 2,437 (2,050 from Objectives)

Well, the fourth day of battle was really harsh for my opponent: he lost nearly the same number of men as I did, and four of his full battalions are gone forever – while I only lost single-company units from the 303rd, 86th Infantry Division and 154th Infantry Division.

Turn 37 (first daylight turn – day 5)

In the 212th Infantry Division sector we destroyed two regimental HQ (both from the US 25th Infantry Division). Moreover, we counterattacked in the center and right sector of the northern beachhead too, bouncing a US battalion from the ridge and posing a threat to the US 41st Infantry Division too. I would not like to be my opponent next turn: he will have to make some live-or-die choices.

My very fatigued troops of the 156th Infantry Division surrounded a US engineer battalion, assaulted it, and killed 200+ of its men. More to the north, three full US infantry battalions will start the next turn isolated, although I will not have the forces to effectively assault them. My opponent keeps pushing his units forward, without looking at flank protection of any sort: maybe I spoiled him on the first three days, but now he must have realized that he’s confronting full battalions instead of single companies… If I was him, I would have waited for the Arake Bay forces to march north and force the Japanese forces to retreat from the Eastern beaches sector altogether…

The 98th Independent Mixed Brigade started a full retreat, leaving behind a few red-fatigued companies of the 86th Infantry Division to gain a turn or two. The 77th Infantry Division is still fixed.

At Maxwell beach, I keep inflicting appalling losses on the few US units deployed on the only “beach” hex of the whole bridgehead and rotating the other units while the 146th Infantry Division marches northward.

Enemy casualties: 17,308 men, 285 guns and 325 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 17 air losses)

My casualties: 25,827 men, 366 guns and 26 vehicles (the poor tank regiment in the Sendai sector).

VP balance: 2,448 (2,100 from Objectives)

Turn 38

The Americans managed to isolate two full battalions of the 212th Infantry Division, disrupting and inflicting 100+ casualties on one of them. However, the Japanese artillery concentrated its fire on a three-US-battalions stack, and three waves of infantry dislodged them from their blocking position reducing the three of them to less than 100 men each. Another full battalion of the 212th advanced and isolated three more US battalions – one of them disrupted. Things are getting incredibly bloody in that sector; I wonder who will break first?

In the 156th Infantry Division sector, the situation is more and more chess-like: the only way I have to block the US advance, is to isolate the US stacks which I do not have the force to assault, or even repel. I sent an additional battalion from the 154th Infantry Division to strengthen the rear area.

On the other hand, the Marines are simply undisruptable – even when isolated – and the 98th Independent Mixed Brigade is in full retreat (with the 77th Infantry Division still fixed).

Enemy casualties: 19,047 men, 285 guns and 331 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 20 air losses)

My casualties: 26,973 men, 379 guns and 27 vehicles (plus 1 air, at Maxwell beach).

VP balance: 2,575 (2,300 from Objectives)

Turn 39

Three more US battalions (from the US 41st Infantry Division) are isolated and disrupted in the 212th Infantry Division sector: they lost 800+ men to fire and assault. My guys are getting tired and are taking heavy losses too, but the Americans are losing irreplaceable assets, and are facing clear defeat in this sector.

In the Sendai sector the Marines are pushing hard in the Ichihino-Nakasu zone, trying to flank Sendai itself and pierce the main Miyanojo-Kajika road. Up to now, they are unstoppable. I’ll try to reinforce the defenses with the released 6th Composite Brigade, but I am not too optimistic.

Even more critical is the Eastern Peninsula sector. The 98th Independent Mixed Brigade is being flanked by the US Cavalry Division through Futugawa, and is fully retiring towards Kasaki and Miyakonojo, hoping the bunker and trenches along the roads will be enough to slow down the Americans until the 77th Infantry Division finally releases…

The Americans at Maxwell beach are advancing inland, but the 146th Infantry Division is mostly north of Higashibyu and will be 99% able to slip safely to Kagoshima.

Enemy casualties: 20,188 men, 286 guns and 334 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 21 air losses)

My casualties: 28,306 men, 387 guns and 28 vehicles (plus 1 air loss).

VP balance: 2,659 (2,350 from Objectives)

Turn 40

Several assaults in the Eastern beaches sector, three more US units wiped out (battalions? companies? They lost less men than the previous ones…)

Enemy casualties: 21,351 men, 288 guns and 339 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 22 air losses)

My casualties: 29,286 men, 397 guns and 28 vehicles (plus 1 air loss).

VP balance: 2,748 (2,450 from Objectives)

Turn 41

Relatively calm turn. Few US advances except in the Sendai sector where the Marines are still pushing my forces back by sheer brute force, and in the Eastern peninsula where the 98th Independent Mixed Brigade for the most part is no longer combat effective – and the damned 77th Infantry Division is still fixed.

There’s a curious situation in the rear of the US divisions advancing from Arake Bay. They did not bother to “clean up” the 86th Infantry Division forces which retired at both ends of the beach, and now the result is that I have two pretty coherent “battlegroups” located behind enemy lines. I know that some players refuse to move such “left behind” units, but my opinion is that in real life such strong Japanese forces, even if isolated from their superior commands, would have tried guerrilla-style attacks on the rear and lines of communication of US forces, and even try to regain some ground. Accordingly, next turn “Group 1” (mostly from 189th Regiment) will re-enter the village of Kushira and seize control of the main Kushira-Funama road, while “Group 2” (I/187th with the 187th Regiment HQ, and 86th Cav) will probe towards Shibushi and try to raid the US supply bases on the beach during the night.

Enemy casualties: 22,076 men, 290 guns and 343 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 22 air) losses

My casualties: 30,464 men, 400 guns and 30 vehicles (plus 1 air loss).

VP balance: 2,797 (2,450 from Objectives)

Turn 42 (last daylight turn)

[Strategic assessment]

Destroyed a medium art battery at Maxwell beach, and a tank co. at Higashikaminaka

Except for one regiment which is reconstituting West of Sendai and the cavalry battalion, the 303rd Infantry Division is no more. The 86th Infantry Division does not exist as a division either: it can muster 3,500 men, but 2,000 of them belong to the two infantry-only “stay-behind” groups in the Ariake Bay area, and it’s only a matter of time before the US send some armor back to kill them.

Enemy casualties: 22,507 men, 298 guns and 355 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 23 air losses)

My casualties: 31,340 men, 407 guns and 31 vehicles (plus 1 air loss).

VP balance: 2,814 (2,450 from Objectives)

Turn 43 (night)

The 77th Infantry Division finally released (almost 24 hours behind schedule) and began marching towards Kasaki and Miyakonojo.

The two 86th Infantry Division group are converging on the Nakazon-Anraku area, to cut the US supply line to the beach. Group 1 marched through Kushira and Karijuku, so if my opponent keeps an eye on the VP dialog, he will know that something is going on in his rear.

Enemy casualties: 22,745 men, 299 guns and 355 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 23 air losses)

My casualties: 31,966 men, 408 guns and 31 vehicles (plus 1 air loss).

VP balance: 2,707 (2,300 from Objectives)

Turn 44 (night)

We are maintaining pressure on the Eastern beaches.

The Marines assaulted the 5th Composite Brigade units on the hill west of Tanohara, and forced them to retire.

I started a limited counterattack against the northern flank of the 5th Marines Division, which seems to be overstretched from Star Beach all the way to Semmyo.

The 146th Infantry Division is safe from being cut off by the 98th US Infantry Division, now we can see if we are able to march it through the rubble in Kagoshima, and then safely retire the 206th Infantry Division units west of the town.

Both “stay-behind” groups from 86th Infantry Division are marching towards the Anraku-Nakazon-Shibushi triangle, to reoccupy the bunker and the US supply bases there.

Enemy casualties: 23,017 men, 309 guns and 355 vehicles (plus 4 naval and 23 air losses)

My casualties: 32,571 men, 411 guns and 32 vehicles (plus 1 air loss).

VP balance: 2,783 (2,350 from Objectives)

That brings us to the end of this After-Action Report. As it was a playtest for both balance and general play it was deemed a success after five days. Several playtests went to conclusion and were both close and exciting. Hopefully this series of reports have given you a feel for the challenges and choices both sides had.

We are releasing the revised campaign today for download. It has a range of changes to the standard scenarios and some of these fixes maybe retrofitted for the full 4.01 releases coming later in the year. The changes made are as follows:

  • Revised objectives and victory conditions. The number of objectives has been reduced and values adjusted.
  • Various values in the PDT have been changed. Air interception and interdiction has had their values adjusted downwards.
  • Japanese infantry in the original release, had a one hex range for their hard attack value to represent their ability to attack armored units. The range is reduced to zero, but the hard attack values remain at the current high values.
  • The Japanese Type 92 70mm Artillery and Type 94 37mm AT guns are now moved to regimental level and can be combined as required.
  • Reinforcements overall have been adjusted with the French (from Nov 21st to Nov 19th) and the 214th infantry (Japanese) a day earlier from Nov 16th to Nov 15th. The US strategy option reinforcements have not been adjusted but there is now an option to land the US 11th Airborne Division.
  • Minor adjustments to replacement & recovery rates.
  • Adjustments to the master map, all sand hexes converted to beach hexes.

All the above are contained in dedicated OOB, PDT and scenario files. If you want to play the new revised campaign for Panzer Campaigns Japan ’45, you can get it from here.

This is the last weekend of the WDS Summer Sale, if you are still on the fence about a title or two, don’t delay too long!

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