From: The Eastern Sierras
1) I don't think PzH had his dreams set on playing a strong defense. He is very aggressive. For some reason, he decided to stop his attack long before he should have/had to. At least, I think so. As with most aggressive players, he may not enjoy playing a drawn-out defensive game. I think that's the reason for his lack of interest in the game (not Real Life matters, though that may have contributed at an earlier point). Steve probably decided he didn't have a good shot at auto victory, so that he felt he had to go on the defensive. I think he had a shot, but I'm not positive.
2) I continue to believe that an experienced, gifted and aggressive IJ player in Scenario Two has a strong shot at auto victory. I can think of at least two players who, IMO, would have a very high probability of scoring an auto vic against me. That may be because of my style of play and the flaws included therein. The thing is, an IJ player would probably have to sacrifice long term health (IE, his prospects for a good defense should auto-vic fail so that the game went on into '44 and thereafter) in order to have a strong shot at it. Under the right conditions - IJ player with that mentality against an Allied player of my ability and typical "soft defense" strategy - auto vic is a distinct possibility. I think PzH had set things up very well to test out this theory, but decided to call it off. I wish he had gone for it. :)
In truth, the entire Japanese strategy in real-life was based on something very similar to an auto-victory. Hit the Americans so hard and scare them so bad that they'll just cede over any interest in their region of the world. Instead, as Adm. Yamato feared, they only succeeded in helping to awaken a slumbering giant.