Looking for playtester advice here. I'm playing Axis right now, but advice for either side is welcome.
My 1941 Axis CG is at the start of turn 17, just about to hit mud. I'm already tightening my lines. I failed to take Leningrad on my "grand sweep" east of Lake Ilmen, so I'm bringing back my panzers to the rear and placing infantry in front (note for future games: if you don't aim for/luck out with that hasty attack to shut down the Baltic port, you need more troops than AGN to take Leningrad-- either another infantry or panzer army). In AGC, I launched a last attack that should take Rzhev and pocket some more troops north of Smolensk. In AGS, I've launched a late attack that should take Dnepeprotrovsk and hopefully clear out most of the area north of the Crimea (alas, I have nothing in the Crimea yet), but I won't match the historical rate of advance (Stalino/Rostov).
Casualties / captured are about 300K vs. 3 million. Don't recall the AFV count off the top of my head. I think my air losses are higher than normal, but again, can't prove it either way right now.
I'm not thrilled with my rate of advance-- Leningrad was pretty much a failure, and I would have liked to have reached a line of Orel-Kursk-Stalino-Rostov and be entering the Crimea by now, but AGS didn't have the mobility do so. But I did make some grand pockets along the way and captured a lot of troops and equipment.
Anyway, that's the general situation. (I'll add a screenshot later when I get home).
Here's what I'm doing for the mud/winter turns, would like to know if I'm doing it right (or being too cautious).
1. Placing a double-line checkerboard of single-division infantry along a line Velikiye Luki - Vyazma - Briansk - Korenovo - Poltava. Most should all be at fort 5 by the blizzard. (Is this wise? Should I keep the second line of infantry right behind the first in RESERVE? Or should I break down to regiments instead and use the third regiments as RESERVE?)
Note that I have yet to figure out what to do with the Romanians. Form a line with 11th Army German forces with Romanians in support, or vice versa?
2. On turn 16 I began pulling back half of 2 and 3 Panzer Groups to 10+ hexes back along rail lines to refit. Once the fall mud is over, these will be my fire brigade reserves (under my operational control, not under the RESERVE function). The panzers currently deployed up until the blizzard hits will pull back to refit over the rest of the winter and the spring mud turns to become the spearhead for my spring offensive.
3. I intend to place most (all) of my air force in the national reserve to refit over the mud / winter.
4. I intend to reduce my infantry TOEs to a lower percentage (80%? 75%?).
5. Using about 200 stored admin points, I intend to create a line of fortified zones one checkerboard hex back behind the double-line mentioned in #1. If/when my first checkerboard crumbles, the first line will fall back to that third line. Half my panzers in #2 will be in reserve to defend that second line.
6. Supply is good. Railheads extend throughout AGN and AGC. AGS is a different story-- I'm probably going to relocate one of the AGC FBDs down south to build up the network there. I have adequate garrisons in all my rear cities, although I expect to tweak those a bit in coming turns (I may try the mix of 1 fortified region, 1 regiment where possible in order to free up the handful of German combat divisions I have in certain cities). I do expect to have to relocate some mobile units to the rear to deal with any partisan flare-ups, however. (Hungarians, Slovaks and maybe the SS mobile brigades).
7. Come spring, I intend to use what forces I have to launch a second strike at Leningrad (again aiming to isolate, if not take, the Ladoga ports), then come at Moscow from the north. I just think I'll have better luck up there than in the south. Also, I'm thinking another round of airfield attacks on the first spring turn are in order... is that wise, or a waste of planes?
So, experts: anything I'm doing wrong? Am I too conservative? Or am I too optimistic that this defense will do anything come winter? Do I still need airpower come winter or can I put them in reserve until spring?
What else should I be looking for? I'm expecting Soviet numbers to be ginormous by spring 1942, but what about their combat capability? I've already noticed that it's harder to dislodge Soviet units by turns 14-16 than it was just a few turns before, I'm getting more retreats than routs even when all things are equal, i.e. no forts. Also, Soviet airpower appears to be recovering, albeit slowly.