So lately me and my regular ftf have been hitting up some PTO scenarios and I've noticed a few things:
1) the Japanese don't seem very powerful, even with step loss the troops appear unable to go match 1st line allied units.
2) while weather (ie mud)works against both sides it negates the japs best weapon speed and numbers.
3) I can't see a reason for allied troops to use mortars, with a normal minimum range of 3 they are extremely limited in fields of fire.
4) does an adjacent woods path hex counter the effects of straying when in an interior jungle hex?
Over all PTO has been frustrating but fun, more often than not the japs go berserk after HOB which makes for exciting game play.
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1) The Japanese must be managed with a mix of care and rashness.
They are very good to inflitrate - i.e. go around and cut rout paths - and banzai (a lone SMC can do it and distract defensive first fire)/DC Heroes/HtH CC are nice, powerfull goodies.
A 347 step reduced 1st line squad in CC vs an US 666 attacks in HtH CC at 1/2 ratio with -1 DRM (and don't forget the -1 stealth Ambush DRM), that is it kills with a 6 and CRs with a 7)...
2) Mud is not that common in the PTO. And in Jungle terrain, it does not have a very important effect... All depends upon the situation.
3) Brit 50 lite mtrs have 2 hexes range and s7 : nice weapons in the PTO.
If the US min range is an issue, use spotters. And PTO is not only jungle terrain : there are open (or kunai/palm tree) spaces which can be covered by mortars.
4) NRBH, but I believe that a path would counter straying effects : go and check in the Night rules section of chapter E (paths exist in the ETO too, so thet must be covered in the Night rules).
All in all, PTO combat (and the Japanese) is a different experience than ETO - and a very enjoyable one.
I would encourage you to perservere - and discover all the nasty tricks by playing against someone who has a greater experience than you have. After having been humiliated a couple of times by the Japanese, I am quite sure that you won't consider them as "weaker" than the Allies.
They can be very scary, when well led.:robot:
The Japanese are usually not a stand and fight nationality. Instead they have a huge collection of tricks, and take some learning how to use most effectively. They are not powerful in the same way German or Russian elite troops are, but in the direction of an expert are just as scary.
On offense, they are about movement. Step reduction means they still get where they want to go, which could be behind enemy lines. Also, they do not have to worry about rout paths as much. Use some smoke to obscure vision, launch a banzai, and you are in your opponents hex. Use a TH hero or DC hero to draw fire and free up more movement for the rest of your troops.
On defense, they have more HIP, and do not become revealed when enemy units move through their hex. Stories abound of a HIP half squad revealing itself to eliminate units during the Rout Phase.
Finally, they can be murder in CC. With Ambush, a half squad in HtH on the 1:4 column needs a 5, with a -2 on the roll for Jap HtH and Ambush. A 6 or less eliminates a lot of enemy units.
Enjoy PTO. It is a lot of fun.