From: La Salle, Colorado
So, the changes' descriptions (I've left description of DD changes, they, are a part of the main naval program and interconnected with changes to cruisers):
This scenario assumes, that with Yamamoto assuming the position of the Aeronautics Department's head in 1936 and becoming the Naval Minister later, he intensifies Japanese naval aviation development a bit, and attempts to optimize the utilization of limited engineering and production resourses. Chief engineers of aircraft design teams are given slightly greater input in formulating development directions and cooperation between various aircraft manufacturers is assumed to be somewhat improved.
In particular, the concept of dedicated land-based interceptor is abandoned and the Mitshubishi fighter design team under Jiro Horikoshi remains free to concentrate all of its efforts on modifying A6M and creating its successor A7M. Horikoshi's proposal to install the more powerful Mitsubishi Kinsei engine on Zero is approved in 1942, instead of late 1944, and A7M is developed to use Mitsubishi Ha-43 engine, as he desired, from the beginning. A6M3 is developed into a whole line of Zeros that sacrifice range in favor of superior armament and pilot protection, and eventually are officially designated as pure land-based models. IJN maintains the policy of sticking to just one single-engine fighter airframe, until Kawanishi team develops N1K1-J Shiden as a private initiative (this happens slighltly earlier than in RL, because alternative projects of land-based interceptors, that tied Kawanishi resourses, do not exist). It is adopted as a stopgap measure until availability of A7M.
As a side effect of greater effort put into development and production of Mitsubishi Kinsei (Ha-33) and Mitsubishi Ha-43 engines, several planes that historically used these engines are added to the mod (IJN planes that existed only as prototypes by the war's end), or accelerated.
Aircraft weapon development is streamlined, with a push for unification with IJAAF in this area (historically, IJN and IJA did cooperate in aircraft weapon production, in this scenario their cooperation becomes much broader). Instead of attempts to produce licensed German machine guns, that ultimately failed to provide the fleet with sufficient numbers of them, IJN switches to the more powerful Army 7.7 catridge and eventually adopts 12.7 Ho-103, the first aircraft HMG developed in Japan. This allows for improved armament on some planes, mostly 2E bombers.
This scenario also assumes mild overall boost to Japanese aircraft industry (at the cost of reduction in starting resources). As a result, several planes that historically faced severe problems with transition from prototypes to mass production, such as B6N, D4Y and G4M2, become available a bit earlier. G8N1, the Japanese 4E bomber that was successfuly tested but not mass-produced in real life, becomes available in 1945.
It's also important to mention, that A6M3 Zero is made carrier-capable in this mod, allowing Japanese players to freely upgrade IJN fighter groups from carrier-capable to land-based models through A6M3 -> A6M3b upgrade, if PDU ON is chosen. This enables greater flexibility in customizing IJN fighter force mid-war. Beware, though, that groups switched to land-based fighter models won't be able to use A7M2/A7M3.
In addition, there are many minor tweaks to various Japanese and Allied aircraft, intended to make their statblocks and performance closer to historical. The changes that can affect gameplay most noticeably include:
-G4M has slightly better durability, G3M sligtly worse, to give G4M an edge over the older plane it historically had.
-E16A1 Paul no longer has artificially reduced normal range.
-Late Ki-61 versions are slightly improved. Ki-100s are significantly improved. In RL they were supposed to be good, particularly Ki-100, but in AE they are very underwhelming. And Mitsubishi Kinsei engine, used by Ki-100s, gets widespread use earlier in this mod, allowing greater degree of improvement and polish by 1945.
-Ki-67-Ib does not lose the ability to carry torpedos.
-Later models of Ki-84 are faster. Ki-84b is no longer outside the normal upgrade line. Ki-84r is available later in the war.
-Old Russian fighters no longer have unparalelled MVR. Their clear superiority to Nate has to go.
-On Allied side stats (MVR and Durability) for all versions of Hurricanes and Corsairs are slightly toned down, stats for all versions of Hellcats are slightly increased. Late-war Corsair versions carry higher bombloads.
-Stats for heavy (30mm+) aircraft cannons on both sides are increased. This particularly benefits most models of 2E Japanese fighters, that carry these as their primary weapons (making said 2E fighters less than entirely worthless).
Following aircraft were added to this scenario (all but new Zeros and G3M4-Q existed in RL as prototypes or even production models):
-A6M3b Zero. Replaces A6M3a and emphasized armor and weapons instead of range.
-A6M4, A6M4-J, A6M8-J. Successors to A6M3b that follow the same design philosopshy but use Mitshubishi Ha-33 engine.
-A7M3. The historical successor to A7M2. Carrier-capable and features 6x20mm armament. A7M2 factory upgrades to it, instead of A7M3-J.
-B7A3. The historical armored successor to B7M2. Uses Mitsubishi Ha-43 engine.
-D4Y5. Mitshubishi Ha-43, armor.
-G3M4-Q. ASW patrol version of Nell.
-G8N1. Fast, tough, long-ranged 4E bomber.
-J6M1. IJN version of Ki-83.
-N1K4-A. Carrier-capable Shiden.
-N1K5-J. High-altitude interceptor Shiden. Uses Mitsubishi Ha-43 engine.
-Yasukuni. IJN version of Ki-67. "Yasukuni" might actually be the name of the naval unit, that employed these bombers in RL, but I can't find any other designation for them.
A call to standartize sub production is given by Yamamoto as the war approaches. As IJN already struggled with shortages of trained personnel for its submarine arm IRL, and this situation is only going to be aggravated by expansions in other areas, postulated by Scen 70, the decision to stick to the best available projects, even at the cost of significantly reducing the number of produced subs is made. As a result, with the exception of a few sub carriers and transport subs, only C2 and KD7 (later replaced by an improved KD8 type) subs are built before and during the war, with emphasis on KD subs. K6 and KS subs are eliminated from the queue, and the number of B/C subs built during the war is reduced, due to only constructing the most advanced type of large boats. However, upgrades to newer Japanese subs become available earlier.
All non-midget late-war sub types are eliminated from the queue, freeing resources for small surface combatants and fast transports.
Large transport subs have their carrying capacity increased, while durability of small transport subs is drastically reduced, making them far cheaper to build, so that there will be greater incentive for building either.
Smaller Combatants and Auxilaries
A lot of work is done in this area. A number of historical late-war ships absent from AE was added to to Scen 70, including several LSDs, minelayers and small transports.
Escort production is streamlined, with Ukuru-class escorts replaced with a slightly greater number of C/D-class escorts. However, all escort ships and Japanese Type 2 depth charges are downgraded to DaBabes standard (while late-war USN subs are improved accordingly), to eliminate extreme efficiency of Japanese ASW in 1944-45, that was observed before.
In addition, Japanese building priorities late in the war are shifted from submarines to fast transport craft (APDs and LSTs) and PT boats. Building programs for these ships are expanded and extended to the end of the scenario, at the expence of all late-war subs, except for Type D Koryu midgets. Alongside with Tachibana-class destroyers, those are only warships which construction will continue in autumn of 1945 and in 1946. This will give Japanese players significantly expanded fast transport capabilities late in the war, and a significant number of cheaply-built surface combatants for final defensive battles.
< Message edited by FatR -- 6/19/2011 9:39:14 PM >