Regarding the airforce: Be careful with the fighters. Their production is Germanys choke point in 1941. If you don't counter it, ignore the air war, have wrong settings and your opponent has read Dinglirs AARs about "Eagle Day to Bombing the Reich, Eastern Front edition", the Soviets can destroy 100+ fighters per turn, while replacements are only 30-40, which will neutralise the German fighter force until turn 12 or so. But current losses are a draw in the air in my book. So having enough AA gun, high % to interception, not overusing fighters for escort and making sure that all air armies cross-cover each other is important. I would also concentrate fighters in the 1HQ+2airbases stack because of 2 times bombing limit, losses of bombers (especially level bombers) aren't that important.
I don't think that airfield bombing is overpowered by the way, from my 1 game exp. the problem is that axis players think the air war for 1941 is done after T1 airfield bombing.
I am no expert regarding this but I watched 1 or 2 bombing runs on level 7 and for whatever reason many axis fighter losses were "crashed while landing", most likely as a result of fatigue and damage taken from Soviet fighters. Airfield bombing alone doesn't seem to be that effective from my experience.
One can ask "is this ahistorical"? The important question is: What had happened if the Soviets in 1941 would have concentrated their best planes against one air army after training their pilots in an all or nothing fight with the Luftwaffe. IMO rolling day and night all out attacks performed by nearly the entire Red Airforce against a single Fliegerkorps/Air army could have done severe damage if the Germans are catched off guard.
Question to Hardluck: Which is your "personal" AA gun setting for airbases? I assume heavy flak to counter high flying level bombers, leaving the light flak for the panzers/infantry to counter tac air?
This is all very sound advice. I would like to emphasis a couple of points stated above. 1. Don't over utilize the German fighter wing(I personally don't do interdiction missions(plus these can be abused by the Soviet player i.e. moving a unit farther in the rear over and over until an interdiction mission happens where fighters can't reach. Thus being farther to the rear the German fighters wont be able to escort the bombers all the way to the interdiction location. Thus the Soviets can have fighters set up on Airbases to intercept those bombers and get free unescorted bomber kills). 2. I try and keep fatigue below ~15-20% as a threshold for a turns missions/movement, even that to me is too high but needed sometimes as situations dictate (I have free airbases that I move then transfer the plane to them to keep fatigue down when moving airbases. Painful tedious but very effective(it also has drawbacks)). I also rotate at a minimum a single fighter squadron to reserve every turn(the one with highest accumulated fatigue) 3. The Germans can still conduct airfield bombing after turn two too. With the right settings, the correct aircraft, these Airfield bombings are crazy effective. 4. Watch the supply of your airbases. No supply, no flying air missions.