Should the best generals be in command of German Armies/Russian Fronts? Or should you have them at the tactical level, at the German Corps/Russian Army? Are there some qualities that are better for an Army/Front commander, like Initiative and Admin, while Morale and Mech/Infantry are better for Army/Corps commanders? Or should you just promote your best guys as high as they can go?
There are different schools of though on this. The manual states bluntly the best should go to the top. But I think there is a more nuanced approach.
Certainly if there is an overloaded command, which means a larger command penalty, a good leader may make little difference. Points wise getting rid of the command overload may be better value than getting new leaders.
Many Soviet players I see put their best general in charge of armies. As fronts start off so overloaded their high command penalties can mean that having a good leader will make little difference. Instead the best leaders are used for critical georgraphical points were you really need good leaders - like the final defence of the Neva, Pskow, infront of Moscow etc.
Generally I like high admin/initiative for HQs where I want the units to have high MPs, mech/infantry if they will be in a lot of combat. Because the first level of command (usually corps for Axis, army for Soviet) has no range penalty I actually consider them more important. Higher level commands have a range penalty so will only be useful if you move the HQ in close, and only for those in its local area. If you tend to leave an army/front HQ miles behind the front line, it will not be useful to have a good commander. But others disagree on this and this is of course different from the view given by the manual.
Also remember that higher leaders make ratings checks only when lower level leaders fail theirs. If you have very good corps leaders say, the army leader will not be making many ratings checks. So you may prefer to put your best higher level leaders where you have your worst first level leaders.
How about STAVKA/OKH and the German Army Groups? Do I care? So far I have never made a command change at those levels (too expensive, for one thing). But I know historically Stalin put his best guy at STAVKA and it seemed to make a big difference.
As morale has no range penalty this is usually the most important rating you would look for the higher up in the chain of command. Changing the leader of OKH, say, can cost very few points - and so is very good value given the number of units it impacts. I have a view that the other ratings, which have a range modifier, matter very little as you go up the chain of command as the HQ tends to be so far away from the units. Others disagree. This really depends on whether you move higher HQs close to the front line - and are prepared to pay the supply and transport costs for doing that - or leave higher HQs further back on rails and mbeing moved little. This is similar to the point about Axis army commands - but in the case of Axis army group and higher command HQs the costs can be extremely significant, in some cases the same cost as moving whole armies. Personally I like to put leaders who have good morale and bad other stats, like Jodl, into higher commands to also stop them getting a lower command where other stats are important.
Also, what is with the enormous AP cost of some generals? I've got a couple of very nice German generals who can't realistically be assigned even to corps command because they would cost as many AP's as a HQ buildup.
This is generally because they need a special promotion to take that position (if they have a P next to the cost). Most of the time if you wait they will get promoted in their normal course and cost much less. Also if you make a promotion out of turn they may lose some points on their ratings. So unless for very special reason you may be better off just using the leaders who already have reached that rank, and wait for the others to get their normal automatic promotion.