From: Birkerod, Denmark
Any city within a dozen or so hexes of the front line should be garrisoned, period. I put guys into Moscow as early as turn four as a matter of fact, just to get them digging ASAP.
As early as possible I start putting units in every city I think can be reached by Nov '41.
Hopefully the SU is sending units straight from recruitment to the front lines. Give them a few turns as garrison in the back country to get their bearings, then rotate them forward and replace with new recruits.
No cities west of Moscow should be empty. He failed to garrison essentially level 6 and 8 forts in his capital. He let you parade through. Wonder how many factories he lost, nevermind manpower.
Too much focus on straight, pretty lines, and not enough focus on the forts that litter the map from word go. I don't worry about forming a line until the rains come. Before then, I'm buying time, and making the Germans pay as much MP as I reasonably can (staying out of the open save for behind rivers) for every inch they want eastward.
I'll freely admit that not garrisoning Moscow was something of a mistake. Chalk that one up to the inability of the Germans to get through my lines at any point until then.
Guess I got a little cocky.
In my defence I will say that Moscow was pretty much empty of factories. IIRC I lost the MiG-3s (who cares?), 3 Arm and a handful of HI.
But I will also say that my focus on 'straight, pretty lines' isn't because I like symmetry.
It's simply because those pretty lines are very effective when combined with liberal use of reserves.
Shoving units into every nook and cranny that offers terrain modifiers is all very well and good in the first 5-8 turns, but after that I'll revert to a linear defence any day of the week. Manning strong-points may make for a better CV, but they won't stop the German mobility, and they are too easily cut off and destroyed piece-meal.
Even river-lines will be abandoned if there's the slightest chance of it getting outflanked in the next turn.
I'm far more interested in keeping the Red Army intact than defending rivers and cities.
Ground can always be retaken as long as most of the factories have gone east.
"Something is always wrong, Baldrick. The fact that I'm not a millionaire aristocrat with the sexual capacity of a rutting rhino is a constant niggle"
- Edmund Blackadder