From: Living in the fair city of Melbourne, Australia
Great AAR Tarhunnas! I'll keep yours and Q-Ball's threads bookmarked. Even with 1.05 they will be a good reference :)
Great AAR, which showed that getting Leningrad only makes a real difference if you get the Crimea and as close to Rostov as you can in 1941. The south is really hard to defend due to the clear terrain, and if you can't trade space for time to fall back to a strongly defended Dneiper River in 1943, it will always be hard to slow the Soviets down, and I think they were at least 6 months ahead of schedule in this game.
It has always been tough for the Axis to make good progress in the south in 1941 and 1942, but initial signs are that the new entrenchment rules in 1.05 will make the southern flank a little less hard work for the axis than it is at the moment.
I completely agree with your first paragraph, BigA. Securing the eastern Ukraine and Crimea is key for the German to keep the First Winter manageable. However, I disagree with the second paragraph.
While AGS armor is limited, my Axis opponents tend to be unable to assign to it realistic objectives. They seem to oscillate between going first for Kharkov or going directly for Stalino, ending up going for the "middle". Focusing on Kharkov first, and then, during early October and snow turns on Stalino, would probably mean that both cities get in the bag. The usual outcome of this Buridan's ass like strategy is that only one of them is conquered or none.
One major factor introduced by 1.04 and 1.05 is that freeing up the Finns isn't that critical anymore, and might even open up interesting options in the north for the Soviets (it actually did in this game). Even leaving the finns south of the no-move line sitting on their butts doesn't seem to me as a wise move. While the 4. PzGruppe is very necessary to open up Soviet defenses on the Leningrad approaches, once these are crushed, I think it can play a far more decisive role on Moscow.
Most of the time 3. PzGruppe and 2. PzGruppe team up to take on to this objective, advancing along a narrow corridor between Rzhev and Vyazma. While this maneuver keeps the German armor concentrated, it also makes very predictable its possible attack axis.
A three-pronged assault on the capitol - say 4. PzGruppe along the Rzhev - Kalinin direction, 3. PzGruppe along the Vyazma - Kaluga direction and 2. PzGruppe along the Orel - Tula direction would probably be impossible to stop, even in front of the most stern Soviet defense. And it would probably draw resources from the south, creating opportunities to be exploited by AGS.