From: The Netherlands
Nice, all these discussions , the bottom line of the Soviet Winter Offensive is that you simply cannot attack as the Germans and can only defend in situations that nullify the disadvantage, such as fortifications/fortresses or with sufficient strength to withstand an attack. Especially where the Russians cannot use the concentric bonus, which is deadly even without a penalty.
Any attempt to "hold the line" would only reduce the size of the Wehrmacht at little cost to the Red Army, so that's why I retreated en masse during winter. Of course, not forcing a decision in the first year is a strategic problem, one which I didn't solve, mostly due to my own mistakes in the early turns, where I lacked a coherent plan and wasted the Finnish troops in a futile frontal attack on Leningrad.
Later on I chickened out before Seille did in the battle of Smolensk. I don't know if I could have won it, but at least the amount of reinforcements sent to the Southern fronts would have been heavily reduced if Seille was forced to sustain his Smolensk front in the face of high losses. I saw too many ghosts on the map that weren't there... This is all to Seille's credit. If he had started to withdraw, my mood would have been very different and I might have overrun him then and there. His decision to stay put was the right one in this game.
Now on with the story, as we enter turn 13, February 17, 1942
I noticed the beating Seille gave my air force and the initial mood was pretty gloomy...