I think the suggestions about leadership values are pretty good, though even without respect to reserve activation.
ORIGINAL: Michael T
Consider in the summer of 1941 that Axis units approaching a defence line will most likely be moving thru a few enemy controlled hexes so having any spare units with enough MP for offensive reserves will be unlikely in this context.
That surely adds to the lower usage as Wehrmacht to even consider using reserves on the offensive in 41, but frankly, the Wehrmacht quality is so superior that you rarely need much more. Even with spare MP to get them into the fight, pretty much the only reason to use them would be morale building. The only good units from the Soviet arsenal, assuming the survive the extended Lvov thingy, can only be at a few spots, and that won't be much trouble as long as an Axis player does not make the mistake to concentrate too much and focus on a single or few avenues of approach.
ORIGINAL: Michael T
Anyone who may take the time to set up a simple test will see what I mean. I have tested a situation that may be considered typical. And the Soviets always get more activations than the Axis.
One offensive XX reserve doesn't make much difference when the defender gets 2 extra XX in to the battle.
Also consider that most Axis Inf XX will have a MP of 10-12 while Soviet ID will have 14-16. Again favouring their rolls for activation, mulitple times I might add.
What was the test setup? Something under pretty ideal circumstances or a mess that typically prevails in most Soviet areas?
I kind of wonder what I must be doing wrong that my Soviet Army is always in such a chaotic state in 41 that I hardly have these MPs you mention. ID with 11-12 are more in line with what I see. And those MP I commonly need to rearrange my fronts and regain some semblance of a front line after each Axis thrust. Maybe 1/4 of my ID can be set in reserve mode, i.e. the 1st line should not. Those hardly suffice to create many helds -- more than often I wish they had not committed and been wasted that way.
As long as I keep being pressed, this situation remains that bad. Only if the enemy stalls, I can start to get some order back into the chaos. This is very unlike playing the German side as defender later in the war. My Mot and Tank divisions are even worse, you basically can't move them else they won't have enough MP to be used as reserves, and on an offensive role they are also, say "suboptimal". And that is not yet mentioning my lack of AP to reorganize the chaotic C&C structure and put some better leaders in place. Yes, hindsight tells me that Soviet C&C was poor, and needs to be fixed as much as the Germans learned that investing Leningrad and hoping no bad would come from it was stupid, but AP are just too short. Here I would favor more flexibility with assignments, but leaders that start out with poorer values.
I hardly get to use the reserve mode extensively, not even to think of situations of 2 fully filled Armies with 24 units nearby, ready and combat worthy to be used in reserve as you mention. If that would happen, wouldn't it mean the Axis side has made huge errors already? Like the Soviet Army that is wrecked beyond repair after a bad 41 or 42 summer? It seems what you describe might be one more of those spirals in this game, like the morale growing/declining spiral, the Soviet losses spiral, or the Axis breaking later one. When you are ahead or on "the curve", reserves play a small role, but if you do badly, then you get stuck?
ORIGINAL: Michael T
4. The whole reserve activation system favours the defender
People can choose to do what they like but I will not enter in to anymore games as Axis without some form Soviet reserve limitation in 1941. That will be a matter between me and my opponent to sort out.
I am not so sure it is too effective, but it is the only thing that makes WitE look different from bowling. Reserve mode is surely meant to give the non-phasing player a chance against the offensive player's initiatives while not being able to move his counters actively. Else all one could do on the defense is to place counters in hopefully lucky spots and see what happens -- that would be a very dull game, and a far abstraction of anything real. If anything, the reserve mode alone I find is not enough to generate things like meeting engagements, or stop units from circling around empty hexes like the Lvov opening while you units sit around idle. There would be more needed to make up for the lack of simultaneity.
Curtailing the reserve chances should be done indirectly by reviewing the leader stats and development, but reserve actions should be there and other Soviet options during Barbarossa be strengthened. I find the Barbarossa phase is really too easy and cheap when I play Axis, and having the blizzard penalties in place to punish you for that is just as silly. The Soviets cannot counterattack effectively as significant losses only arise for the retreating side, nor are the typical casualties of the Wehrmacht near what they should be...
Playing without random weather, and then cutting Soviet options much further? You already win all Axis games in 41, but isn't this getting boring? A lot of fun is in the long run, there is where Axis skill really comes in. If anything, I would be aiming at the blizzard penalties, but that would only be needed if you aim for the long games.