As a matter of fact, I must admit that I have, along with my 3 or 4 usual opponents, given up on the game for the moment. It's not even the problem of balance, strictly speaking - it's just that we bought WithE because we enjoy historical simulations, and that, with all due respect for the devs' and the designers'admirable work in many aspects, and the unavoidable( and therefore perfectly acceptable) distortions/simplifications that arise from squeezing reality into a computer game equation, well, it doesn't feel right...
It's a bit as if I were playing a game pitching the Gallic hordes vs the Roman invader, and that the Gauls were able to conduct an orderly and gradual retreat, protected by a disciplined screen of rearguard skirmishers backed by a line of tortuga formations. That might have been a smarter thing to do, but that simply ISN'T a Gallic army. Whichever side I would play, it would still amount to a very unsatisfying game experience.
As I explained earlier, the army conducting the skillful orderly retreat that we witness most commonly (not to mention such intricated defensive niceties such as "carpet" or "checkerboard", which border on system exploitation) simply IS NOT the Red Army of 1941.
The Red Army of 1941 was INTRINSICALLY not able to perform that.
All we're waiting for (and I admit we might be in for a very long wait) is some sort of mechanism that places certain Soviet HQs on "counterattackattack mode" - I mean, fundamentally, it's no different that have HQs on "frozen mode"! Frozen units had legs and wheels, their status merely reflects unpreparedness, confusion, friction, whatever. Those defending player omnipotence should have rebelled against that ("Hey, I'm in charge, what prevents me from giving these damn frozen units the ORDER to move on?")
About omnipotence/omniscience, I remember a Clash of Arms game that is still pretty much acclaimed as a fine piece of work ("Edelweiss", on the Caucasus campaign) that contained a mechanism for asking permission to retreat, to abandon bridgeheads, etc. Rather than frustrating or unpleasantly constraining the game, it actually added an additional layer of challenge and made for an extremely rewarding game experience.
Of course, such system as I recommend would strongly tilt the balance in the Germans' favour, and I think it could be compensated by putting the Germans on a shorter supply leash (as I do not seem to be the only one to deem Axis logistics overgenerous) and by somewhat shortening the most extreme spectrum of unfavourable results for Soviet counterattacks (as I mentioned before, the couple of dead German soldiers vs zillions of Russian men and AFV). If not in term of losses, in term of loss of readiness for the attacked, which in turn will reduce their movement points total - as a effect of the delay inflicted upon them.
A note on the Lvov opening: I do consider it a lesser problem. It basically derives from the fac that the German player has access to the Soviet set-up at start, which certainly wasn't the case in reality and doesn't happen later in the game because of the FOW rules. I am therefore in favour of a limited randomness in Soviet initial placement of some units in order to prevent that.
Muling and Lvov openings might be seen by some as necessary features in order to give the Germans a chance, but I sincerely believe that compensating unrealistic advantages on one side with unrealistic advantages on the other is not a good solution.
I have been waiting for so long for this game, and it is pretty good in many ways, what a shame to see players drop out like that