Well, here are a few observations on my part:
1) Instead of building fortified Zones on the Finnish front, simply place some bad units here and set them to 20% MaxToE. This will save you a few AP for use elsewhere.
Hadn't done this because I usually feel desperate for movable units on the map so I can try to speed bump and harass the Germans, so I kind of like to 'set it and forget it' with the FZs north of Leningrad.
I like to defend the Janisjarvii Line in most cases because if the Axis decide to beat heads with you it's usually a good way to farm wins for Guards units.
2) Build forts on the north side of the Neva River in order to get the fortification level here to three before the Germans reach the south side of the river. I also like to build forts in shlisselburg and similar places in order to slow the German advance.
I do likewise. I also like to FZ ports that I can hold long enough to get high fort levels too.
3) Is there a point to having a unit embarked on a transport in Leningrad? Has it been evacuated and left without points to disembark, or are you planning on an amphibious operation?
I forgot to explain this. Check back on turn 4. I had retreated a brigade on the island to force the Germans to clear it since there is a port on the island to provide supply. I also put defenders in Tallinn to force him to commit infantry to seize the city. The rifle divisions survived the first infantry assaults on turn 5. I then tried to withdraw them by sea to the islands to the south east on turn 6. The plan was to rest them and when the Germans pushed onto the island (as they finally did after breaking down a division so they had sufficient MP to cross the waterway) they would move to the northern island. From there they could swoop south and cut off the single German division that was pushing the brigade toward the port.
But the rifle divisions were annihilated by air power on the trip because 4th Panzer Army was taking the Baltic route, and was supported by well by the Luftwaffe. The port supply completely refilled the TOE, but it didn't seem right so I evacuated them. The ship you see if when I pulled the final brigade to do digging by Leningrad.
4) The German attacks could be much better organised. First of all, when battling your way to Leningrad, assign Pioneers to the combat units and also make sure to put in some good leadership and super heavy artillery when attacking fortifications. Also, I have noticed the Germans setting their Panzers up in swamp, even if there is no reason to do so.
Teun557 is free to comment in the thread, but I think he's still on the learning curve for maximizing his assaults. I would say I think the mech forces have been used to much as a hammer instead of an exploitation force. They are powerful, and can take a hex, but they're scarier when they run through a breakthrough and turn flanks, and corral the low morale Soviets that can't easily push through enemy territory.
To the degree the Axis player makes his strategic focus evident and doesn't leave himself operational flexibility the Soviet can concentrate defenses.
I think my cutting off of units multiple times have put a degree of caution into Panzer operations as well.
5) Do not necessaily leave Rifle Divisions behind to get encircled in cities. It will cost you 10.000 Ivans, often for no gain whatsoever, as they will crumble long before the German rail lines reach the city.
I usually don't, except in cases I think they can tie up enemy units to some advantage for me.
6) Evacuating city AA will only cost one MP once the Germans are sufficiently close to the city it is in. This will give you a lot fo "free" AA units you can then assign to your combat armies.
This is something I could do a better job of, but I tend to get caught up trying to organize and re-organize my armies. I need to spend more, earlier on sub units as it is.
7) I personally find that using the Rumanians to hammer away en masse on the Odessa fortifications is a complete waste of men and material. Simply encircle the city and leave it alone until such time that a German Corps with sappers and Super Heavy Artillery can lead the attack.
But from the Soviet perspective requiring a heavy Axis concentration is the entire goal.
On the strategic side of it, it seems obvious to me that the Axis player is not yet familiar with how to play the Axis. With four turns to mud, there is absolutely no threat to either Leningrad, Moscow, Kharkov or Stalino. This should mean you are in for a game that will not really challenge you that much, as the situation is so much in favor of the Soviets.
With the general idea of the winter line in place at this point, STAVKA is definitely forming plans for the blizzard offensive. But before we get to that there is one more surprise.