From: the Netherlands
The soviets are retreating because it is very VERY hard to effectively defend or counterattack. The risk of encirclement (due to HQ buildup and one week turns) is always present. You caught me ofguard in our game Helio and the result is around 600.000 men in a pocket (I'll admit I made it worse then it should have been).
Still, if the Soviets actually had a decent fighting chance it would be easier to at least try to stand and fight. Now your best chance is to checkerboard and retreat...
Damn, down to 600K already? I thought it was a million. I'm doomed.
But I agree with you that the uniform feeble status of the Red Army throughout the first 10 turns is something that ought to be looked into from a playability standpoint (which is to say, favoring that over realism). Without a backbone, CF's right: there's never a tactical reason to stand and fight (sometimes there are strategic reasons that compel you to do so anyway).
I disagree with this, to a certain degree. In 1.05.xx, I think the Soviets need, more than they have since the pre-1.03.xx versions, to stand and fight whenever practical. Further, I think that many Soviet players are misjudging what is practical. With 1.05.xx versions, Axis attacks are regularly causing at least 5:1 average loss ratios. I've found that in my Soviet games, Soviet attacks during the 1941 season are regularly averaging 1:1.5 loss ratios. This is a huge differential. Especially since some of the more recent changes have dialed down the amount of frontline attritional losses, it is important to start causing some direct damage back to the Axis, to keep his replacements (manpower and armaments) from accumulating. By engaging his forces more often, you also put a strain on his supply state, which can cause further morale degradation, and unrepaired equipment loss, beyond that which the lost battles might themselves cause.
Now, that said, if the Soviet player is not making the "good" attacks, and is not mindful of being able to return to his fortified positions, favorable terrain, or simply withdrawing out of reach of the Landsers, then he may overcommit himself to attacks that cause more harm than good. However, to simply run away, or hunker down and wait for the Axis to attack each turn will lend the initiative wholly to the opponent, and reduce the number of victories that your units need to overcome their loss totals and qualify for Guards status.
Helio is doing a great job of denying me these possibilities. There are always a couple of attacks I can make, and I make them, but nothing that slows his advance..
"It happened, therefore it can happen again: this is the core of what we have to say. It can happen, and it can happen everywhere.”
¯ Primo Levi, writer, holocaust survivo