From: Murrieta, CA
ORIGINAL: When I look at a checkerboard defense I don't see it as one division here, another one sitting over there by itself 10 miles distant. I see it as two divisions linked together continuously along a thinner line, with longer frontages, using real life tactics to extend the division's reach to cover more ground. Units arranged this way have the primary focus of a flexible defense to slow down an opposing offensive, using real world tactics such as hedgehogs, fallbacks, minefields and the like rather than holding fast. ZOC's in this respect simulate that division's influence, in this case not just how far they can shoot, but actually spreading the division out on a wider frontage than the single, solitary hex it appears to occupy.
I could be wrong, but I don't agree with this, mainly because I don't think that the Sovs had mastered what you call the "flexible defense" in 1941, and that your analysis implies a degree of operational sophistication that the Russians just didn't possess at this point. Sure, they could probably fall back from one tactical position to another, but to maintain a multidivision flexible defense against a mechanized opponent? I don't think so...
Well for the most part I was attempting to stress that checkerboarding simulates wider frontages more than anything else, and the Russians certainly had the ability to cover more than 10 miles per division, even in '41. They may have not been able to do it well, but I think that is simulated pretty well with their anemic CV values and limited ability to maneuver, especially through ZOC's and opposing territory.
It is clear that most players can setup a more viable defense in '41 than in real life but I don't really see that checkerboarding is the major culprit. Any Russian player who knows anything about history is simply not going to repeat the mistakes of allowing huge encirclements, attacking piecemeal, and trying to hold ground at all costs. Also the Russian player has way more understanding of what he's up against, more situational awareness of his overall position and has more cohesive control of his forces than the dire and confused situation afforded the Russians in real life.
Finally I don't see checkerboarding as the be-all, end-all defense that some people are complaining about. In the AAR's we have seen skilled and aggressive German players continuing to pull off large encirclements and keeping the Russian player off balance and unable to setup solid fortified lines, checkerboarded or no. It takes real skill, and detailed long term planning to do these things (as in real life) and I think a lot of players simply don't coordinate their turns and long term objectives well enough to do this. You have to do a lot more than say, "I'm going to try to take Leningrad or Moscow before the blizzard" to actually achieve it.