Panzer Campaigns Japan ’45 – Operation Olympic Released!

Hi All,

We’re excited to release the 22nd game in the Panzer Campaigns Series; Japan ’45 – Operation Olympic.

This game release is dedicated to Dave ‘Blackie’ Blackburn who passed away in January 2016. Dave was instrumental in building many of the Tiller games from 1999 to just before his passing. Dave was the ‘Blackie’ in the Saunders and Blackie partnership that built essentially all the Panzer & Modern Campaigns games for John Tiller Software. Vale Dave!

This game has been both the longest and quickest in development of the series. Longest in that it was started by a (reluctant) Glenn Saunders on a request from John Tiller back in the ‘noughties’ and quickest in that Bill Peters took over the game back in the summer of 2018 and completed it in approximately 9 months! Bill inherited a map and order of battle, but no scenarios other than a ‘Getting Started’ test. The game ships with forty-four scenarios, testament to Bill’s efficiency and his ready team of play testers who quickly helped identify the best way to model the various considerations for a landing on the Japanese Home Islands.

Japan ’45 is specifically focused on the invasion of the Southern Japanese island of Kyushu. The Allied aim was never to fully conquer the island, but to take enough land to build airbases. This was to provide sufficient air cover to cover the invasion of the main island of Honshu. The game covers the landings using the planned forces for Operation Olympic, an operation that was only cancelled with the dual dropping of the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Japan ’45 is built to the same standard as the ongoing Gold updates to the Panzer Campaigns series and ships with;

  • A game scale of 1 hex = 1 km, 1 turn = 2 hours, and with battalion and company size units.
  • 44 Scenarios covering all sizes and situations, including specialized versions for both head to head play and vs. the computer AI.
  • The master map covers most of the island of Kyushu (87,720 hexes) where Operation Olympic would have taken place.
  • The order of battle file covers all of the forces that would have taken part in the campaign.
  • Order-of-Battle and Scenario Editors which allow players to customize the game.
  • Sub-map feature allows the main map to be “chopped” up into smaller segments for custom scenario creation.
  • Gold standard images for unit art on both sides, including guns and vehicles covering all of the forces of the Allied and Japanese armies involved in the operation.
  • Design notes which cover or include the production of the game, campaign notes, sources and a scenario list.
  • Gold standard game graphics including terrain, in game counters and 2D & 3D units as well as the toolbar icons.
  • Gold standard sounds.

The teams at Wargame Design Studio and John Tiller Software are excited to bring you this new Panzer Campaigns title after a seven year hiatus and are confident, it won’t be as long before the next one.

You can see more on the game, download the design notes and maps as well as purchase it at the John Tiller Software website, here; JTS Japan ’45 Page

Following are some screenshots taken from the game (all can be clicked to view full size);

We hope you enjoy this latest release…

15 thoughts on “Panzer Campaigns Japan ’45 – Operation Olympic Released!

  • The screenshots look great and very refreshing. This title is definitely on my to-buy list.

    Nice dedication to the late Mr.Saunders. RIP.

    • I’m happy to say that Glenn Saunders is still very much in the land of the living! It was his partner in crime, Dave Blackman that has passed away.

      Thanks for the compliment on the game – we hope you enjoy it!

  • I have mixed feelings. I have very much enjoyed the work of Dave and i regret to know that he passed away but this title is the best dedication to his work. Thank you very much for this new addition, a great campaign with a refreshing look to the pacific theatre.

    The only thing that i encounter so far is the type 90 75mm field guns. They appear to be motorized but the portrait shows a horse so i did not know if they are motorized o horse drawn.

    Mr. Blackman R.I.P.


    • Hi Danilo,

      You’re correct, the 90 75mm field guns have the wrong image and should be motorised. We will correct that in the first patch. We hope you enjoy the game.

  • Hello! Thanks for a great game! I have a request to correct minor mistakes regarding Japanese units. Japanese ATR units are shown with Soviet PTRS rifles. The 37 mm anti-tank gun type 94 is shown as the German anti-tank gun PAK 36. The same 47 mm anti-tank gun Type 1 is also shown as PAK 36. Also, the depictions of coast defense cannons and heavy mortars should be different for cannon 120, 155, 200 mm etc. These are obviously minor shortcomings, but it would be nice to see the improved icons of units. 🙂

  • Hi there, I was perusing through the Olympic.OOB file and noticed that:

    A.) 3d Light Bomb Group in V Bomber Command has the A-20 Havoc. In the Summer of 1945, the group was in the progress of transitioning to the A-26 Invader, with the 8th Bomb Squadron having in early August 1945: 11 A-20Hs and 6 A-26Bs. By the time of the Invasion, the transition would be complete.

    B.) 41st Medium Bomb Group in VII Bomber Command has B-26 Marauders, when it was equipped with B-25s. The B-26 Marauder was withdrawn from service in the PTO in April 1943 (AAF statistical Summary 1945).

    C.) B-29 units in VII Bomber Command — the 11th BG and 494th BG are both equipped with B-29s. In real life they were B-24 units.

    Yes, Kenney did try to get B-29s for FEAF; but Arnold turned him down flatly. The B-32 was a “consolation” prize to shut up Kenney, and to give the B-32 a combat test (it was also a “pet” project of Arnold).

    If you really want to have B-29s for the US player in Japan ’45, have a small subsection of 8AF and 20AF be available for a limited period of time before they’re withdrawn to represent the initial battlefield bombardment support that Arnold would grant for the invasion, before they were withdrawn to strategic targets.

    • Thanks Ryan, very useful information. Let me pass this on to the designer and we will see whether we can make any changes. We’re working on a patch currently to fix a range of issues the community has found.

      Hope you’re enjoying the game.

  • Hi Ryan,

    Thanks for all of the good info on the bombers of the USAAF in the game. I missed the fact that the B-26 Marauders were pulled out of the Pacific Theater. Appreciate your comments on that too.

    Per your comment, “If you really want to have B-29s for the US player in Japan ’45, have a small subsection of 8AF and 20AF be available for a limited period of time before they’re withdrawn to represent the initial battlefield bombardment support that Arnold would grant for the invasion, before they were withdrawn to strategic targets.”

    At this point the B-29 units are “CARPET” (Bomb) units thus they are one shot deals. Once they are used they never come back.

    My decision to include the units was the thinking that he would have been overridden by his superiors similar to what happened in Normandy in 1944 when the heavies were used to carpet bomb the Germans. As the B-29s are just a one time use mission its not going to impact history that much. Like all “Heavy” bombers in the game you use them once and that’s it.

    So when they are NOT in use, which is most of the time, they are off bombing other strategic targets. This was a design decision by myself.

    In the game a “CARPET” mission sometimes has very little impact on the target. It all depends on the amount of enemy troops in a hex.

    Thanks for you comments! You would be welcome to review the Japan ’46 – Operation Coronet game prior to its release if you so desire.

    • Bill,

      Regarding your decision to include B-29 (CARPET) units…it’s not ahistorical.

      On 3 July 1945, Sixth Army and IX Corps Staffs held a Conference for OLYMPIC and Colonel Elliott; the Acting Engineer Officer for Sixth Army, said:

      “We have plans coordinating B-29 operations with Naval and 5th Air Force operations in this area. We have a plan to work over beachhead area three successive days prior to X-Day with 100 B-29’s per day on each beachhead – 1,000 tons a day.”

      Also on 2 August 1945, Carl Spaatz sent a telegram to Eaker detailing a conference with MacArthur and Kenney; where he said:

      “During the intensive softening up phase for Olympic, probably starting ten days in advance of landing, MacArthur through Kenney will have operational control of USASTAF.”

      Back to the 1,000 tons per beach-head; that works out to a bombload of 10 tons (20,000 lbs) per B-29. The B-29 Standard Aircraft Characteristics says that for a 20,000 lb Max Bomb Load, combat radius is 1,466 nautical miles, cruising at 10,000 feet with a climb to 25,000 ft about half hour before bomb release.

      From the Marianas, it’s 1,297 to 1,350 nautical miles to the Kyushu Invasion beaches; so everything “sanity checks out”.

      As for the ‘100 B-29s per Beach Head’ figure…

      The B-29 force went through a lot of reorganizations in this time period.

      Around May 1945, they reduced XXI Bomber Command’s aircraft authorization from 30 UE A/C per 3 squadron bomb group (10 A/C per squadron) to 24 UE A/C per 3 squadron bomb group (8 A/C per squadron).

      This freed up 173 aircraft and 132 crews within XXI Bomber Command to ease up scheduling issues.

      By late Summer 1945, they’d reorganized yet again, adding an extra UE A/C to each bomb squadron, for a total of nine aircraft (This was probably because trying to run the sorties they were doing with 8 planes wore people out).

      With this schedule, 3 Squadron VHB Groups had 27 UE A/C, and the plan was to add a fourth bomb squadron to each B-29 Bomb Group; increasing the count of aircraft to 36 U/E per VHB Group, under the following schedule:

      AUG 1945: 4 Groups Convert to 4 Squadron, 36 A/C UE Organization
      SEP 1945: 4 Groups Convert to 4 Squadron, 36 A/C UE Organization
      OCT 1945: 8 Groups Convert to 4 Squadron, 36 A/C UE Organization

      The 8TH AF would start converting to this TO&E in November 1945; probably because they wanted to get them established in theater before “bulking them up”.

      The plan was in October 1945 to have 684 x B-29 in 20AF, and 162 x B-29 in 8AF; with slow steady growth until in February 1946, it would be 720 x B-29 in 20AF and 576 x B-29 in 8AF; ultimately reaching 720 bombers in both Air Forces by March 1946.

      For DOWNFALL, the reorganization means that by November 1945, the 20AF will have converted 16 VHB Bomb Groups to the new 4 squadron, 36 UE A/C organization.

      At 100 planes per beach-head and the given U/E Figures:

      20AF: 3 x BG per Beach Head @ 36 Aircraft per BG
      8AF: 4 x BG per Beach Head @ 27 Aircraft per BG

      Given the fact that there are three beach-heads on X-Day (V PHIB CORPS, XI Corps, and I Corps); it works out to 300 B-29s in the air for that, approximately.

      That means a logical OOB for the B-29 Force for “one shot carpet bombing” would be:

      Division level unit (USASTAF) for United States Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific

      Then under it:

      V PHIB CORPS (58th Bomb Wing, VH; Tinian West Field)
      40th Bombardment Group (Triangle S)
      25th Bomb Squadron (B-29)
      44th Bomb Squadron (B-29)
      45th Bomb Squadron (B-29)
      Unknown 4th Squadron

      444th Bombardment Group (Triangle N)
      676th Bomb Squadron (B-29)
      677th Bomb Squadron (B-29)
      678th Bomb Squadron (B-29)
      Unknown 4th Squadron

      462d Bombardment Group (Triangle U)
      345th Bomb Squadron (B-29)
      768th Bomb Squadron (B-29)
      769th Bomb Squadron (B-29)
      Unknown 4th Squadron

      XI CORPS (74d Bomb Wing, VH; Saipan, Isley Field)
      497th Bomb Group (VH) (A Square)
      869th Bomb Squadron (B-29)
      870th Bomb Squadron (B-29)
      871st Bomb Squadron (B-29)
      Unknown 4th Squadron

      498th Bomb Group (VH) (T Square)
      873rd Bomb Squadron (B-29)
      874th Bomb Squadron (B-29)
      875th Bomb Squadron (B-29)
      Unknown 4th Squadron

      499th Bomb Group (VH) (V Square)
      877th Bomb Squadron (B-29)
      878th Bomb Squadron (B-29)
      879th Bomb Squadron (B-29)
      Unknown 4th Squadron

      500th Bomb Group (VH) (Z Square)
      881st Bomb Squadron (B-29)
      882nd Bomb Squadron (B-29)
      883rd Bomb Squadron (B-29)
      Unknown 4th Squadron

      I CORPS (313th Bomb Wing, VH; Tinian North Field)
      6th Bombardment Group (Circle R)
      24nd Bomb Squadron (B-29)
      39rd Bomb Squadron (B-29)
      40th Bomb Squadron (B-29)
      Unknown 4th Squadron

      9th Bombardment Group (Circle X)
      1st Bomb Squadron (B-29)
      5th Bomb Squadron (B-29)
      99th Bomb Squadron (B-29)
      Unknown 4th Squadron

      504th Bombardment Group (Circle E)
      398th Bomb Squadron (B-29)
      421st Bomb Squadron (B-29)
      680th Bomb Squadron (B-29)
      Unknown 4th Squadron

      I arranged it so that each “Beachhead” bombing unit reports to a Bomb Wing HQ; no trying to mix and match Bomb Groups from different Bomb Wing HQ’s; so that everyone is used to the same tactics within a wing.

      As for the Fourth Squadrons…I didn’t realize their importance years ago when I was in the 20th AF files at NARA II; so never copied them — I will need to recheck 20th AF files again when I get the chance.

  • David, I’m finding an error with the Tank Battalion attached to the 98th Infantry Division in IX Corps.

    You have it as 762nd Tank Battalion.

    In actuality IX Corps FIELD ORDER No. 1; Operation OLYMPIC, dated 12 AUG 1945 says that the 98th Infantry division was to be assigned the 767th Tank Battalion.

    Furthermore, the 767th TB was a “special” unit with an unique TO&E.

    MacArthur requested that 54 x M-26 Pershings be assigned to the 767th, equipping A Company, B Company and C Company.

    Speaking of “special” units; the other “special” Tank Battalion was the 706th Tank Battalion. MacArthur requested 71 x M-26 be assigned to it; equipping A, B, C *and* D company. Yes, there would be no light tank company; just four heavy tank companies in the 706th.

    Additionally, all tank battalions being redeployed to the Pacific (this is more of use for your Coronet ’46 game) were to have the following TO&E:

    Company A (M4A3 with 76MM and M4A3 with 105MM HOW)
    Company B (M26 with 90MM and M4A3 with 105MM HOW)
    Company C (M4A3 with 76MM and M4A3 with 105MM HOW)
    Company D (M24 with 75MM)

    All the M4A3 were to have wide tracks; and the 105MM Howitzer versions were to have power traverse.

    The above is from a letter issued by GHQ USAFPAC dated 14 July 1945; stating “The above organization will be considered standard throughout the theater.”

    Regarding US tanks, every tank you currently have in the OOB is a M4A2.

    During the fighting for the Philippines, 6th Army saw 75mm HE bounce off old Spanish forts in February and March 1945; and thus requested M4A3(76) HVSS as replacements.

    Because of “Europe First”, any shipment M4A3(76) HVSS to the Pacific was delayed until May 1945 to begin.

    In lieu of M4A3(76) HVSS, 6th Army settled for M4A1(76)HVSS as an interim, and there’s extensive photographic evidence of M4A1(76)HVSS piling up at Manila Ordnance Depot in July-August 1945.

    M4A3(76)HVSS, M4A3(105), M24 Chafees and M26 Pershings shipped from Europe were expected to arrive in Luzon beginning in October 1945; for a total of:

    295 x M26
    1841 x M4A3 (76)
    327 x M4A3(105)
    1320 x M24

    expected to arrive by the first half of 1946.

    • Ryan,

      Thank you. This is really useful information. We will go back and look at what can/cannot be changed in Olympic and just as importantly see what can be included into Coronet.

      Will see what we can share with you directly.



  • But,, there are no panzers in this game! Thank you, it is an incredibly nicely done game of a very interesting operation. Just when I think you can’t surprise me,

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