The Empire of Japan is the new nation added in the Pack of the Rising Sun DLC.
Japan, overall, is a mixed faction. They have superior air units, similar to the British in firepower and integrity. However, on the other hand, their tanks lack in overall performance (excluding the O-I). A good example is that their heavy tank, the Chi-Ri, lacks the firepower and armor to do combat with other heavy tanks. Despite their powerful air units, their ground to air capability is rather sub-par, thankfully being remedied somewhat by their Flak 88mm substitution, the Type 88-75mm, costing half the price of its German counterpart. The problem with the Type 88-75mm is that it has less range to tank units (500m compared to the 600m meters of the other guns) and less damage to air units, therefore the half price comes a cost.
Japan provides an unusual playable faction, combining ingenuity, low-probability, high-impact events, and cheap production costs. Players will have to make the most of half-buried bunkers to lock strategic routes, and use their Dokuritsu Kôhei infantry units – flamethrower-equipped – to flush out their enemies. Also named the “paper tank”, the Ha-Go light tank is cheap and quick to produce new solution, as well as the super-heavy tank, the O-I, will help to gain supremacy through its outstanding firepower. While the infamous Zero will dominate the skies, the surprising Shinden will cast its rear-propelled silhouette and quad 30mm cannons over the battlefield. Also, prototypes such as the A.O.V. recon and the Ha-To long range mobile artillery will surprise your opponent from afar.
Early era Japanese units are very poor, but as time goes on during a match this will change somewhat. The Chi-Ri heavy tank, in numbers of three or more, can stand up to Pershings (though at at least one will be destroyed in such an engagement), and Japanese infantry, while difficult to use, are very effective, with a sharpshooters unit able to kill infantry from afar, a flamethrower unit that will barbeque infantry garrisoned in a city, a standard but easy to produce light infantry, and both recon and elite infantry units. Shindens eventually become available, and the Renzan* bomber is a capable unit able to bomb most buildings flat. Overall, Japan is the more "extreme" version of the U.S.A
The Imperial Army of Japan started building and modernizing their forces as early as the 1920s, by the 1930's Japan had a well-disciplined, and trained force poised to invade Southern Asia. The islands of Japan had very little natural resources, most of their exports had to be imported from foreign countries. In addition, their major import partners were would-be Allies, well before World War II initially began. Finally under the rule of Hideki Tōjō, on July 7, 1937 Japanese forces invaded China, which lead into the Second Sino-Japanese war, causing the USA to cut their oil off which was 90% loss of oil income for the Japanese causing the plans for Attack on Pearl Harbor. The Chinese military (militaries, actually, thanks to China being in the middle of a civil war) managed to hold off the south-eastern, foreign invaders, however, they were mostly unsuccessful, but managed to stand their ground, and not let the few coastlines fall into Imperial hands.
At this point in the war most people didn't see Japan as a major threat, and simply ignored them. The Soviet Union was a notable exception - despite Japan being a declared ally of Axis nations, the animosity caused by the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-1905 remained, manifesting in two small wars in 1938-1939, both of which saw the Japanese incursions into USSR and USSR-aligned Mongolia thoroughly annihilated.
After Malaysia was conquered, the Japanese commanders set their sights on the Philippines, the many structures and supply dumps that were holed up there, the only problem was the fact that the Philippines were under American control. They knew if they laid siege; the full force of the American military would come and defend against the Japanese. Therefore they all agreed that the only way to win in the Pacific War was to launch a pre-emptive strike on American naval forces stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. So on December 7th, 1941 over 300 Japanese torpedo-bombers, fighters, and dive bombers laid siege on the American fleet as it laid stationary in the harbor. Many ships were sunk and large amounts of damage was put on the Americans and over 2,000 men were Killed In Action (KIA). The following day, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt asked to declare war against the Axis Powers. Congress accepted, and America, the sleeping giant, had awoken. As an interesting and ironic consequence, Soviet Army relocated massive resources to the active front once Japan proved disinterested in Siberia, the reinforcements crushing the enemy on Moscow's threshold.
In the beginning, America was not very well equipped nor trained enough to fight a major conflict due to recent recovery from The Great Depression. Therefore they were not well prepared to fight a versatile war and as a result their armies were shortened rather early. Battles such as the battle of the Bataan and the Coral Sea, which lead to the one of the worst if not the worst military disaster in U.S. Military history. After the terrible defeat at Bataan, the United States then focused more on the Pacific Theater in 1942 when Midway Island was threatened. This resulted in the Battle of Midway, a large carrier battle in which the IJN had a more powerful force, but the Americans prevailed in the end. Meanwhile, the Solomon Islands were under fierce contest, resulting in multiple more carrier battles and surface engagements. When the US finally rid Japanese forces from the island of Guadalcanal, United States general Douglas MacArthur lead his famous island-hopping campaign, which lead American forces towards the Japanese coast resulting in many more battles such as Saipan, Rabaul, Phillipine Sea, and Leyte/Leyte Gulf.
Once the island of Okinawa fell in 1945, American forces were capable of but did not want to invade Japan. The island was heavily fortified and taking it would be a bloodbath, so in August of 1945 MacArthur got the go-ahead by President Truman to use the prototype atomic bombs. Two bombs were deployed. The first one codenamed "Little Boy" abolished Hiroshima, then shortly after, the proceeding bomb codenamed "Fat Man" soon made the great city of Nagasaki all but a radioactive crater. Due to the horrifying damages, the Japanese, seeing no way to counter atomic bombs, surrendered. Later the US captured the prime minister of whom was believed to be in charge of the war; his name is to be Hideki Tojo. Later Tojo was executed by hanging, thus fully and forever drawing an end to the war in the Pacific.
Strategies and tactics
- Japan is effective in mid-game. With fast heavy tanks, and good initial air units, they can roll over enemy outposts and surround bases.
- Sharpshooters are perfect for clearing out forests filled with flak and anti-tank guns. Watch out for armored recon though, as the sharpshooters lack decent anti-tank weapons.
- Japan's weakness is the their anti-air, as they can't hide AA in forests. Keep this in mind when planning base defenses.
- Airborne recon allows for early surveillance of the enemy, especially useful on large maps.
- The multi-purpose O-I super heavy tank is an excellent assault unit combined with tank destroyers.
- Combat engineers have flamethrowers that can shoot over obstacles. Use them to clear out city squares and destroy fortifications near forests.
- A.O.V. unarmed recon is excellent for spotting enemy targets, as although it has no weaponry, its thick armor means it can't easily be destroyed by enemy artillery or fighter bombers.
- whenever a plane is shot down it causes more damaged than a regular crash,so one plane crashing into a concentration of light troops can be devastating.