From: Vancouver, BC
Having just finished my first PBEM game as Allies with a successful invasion of France by the British and Americans, I can provide my own answers to the questions I posed above:
- In my game, the Germans put up a good fight to defend Paris, given the you can entrench up to level 6 there. But once the defending Germans corps was destroyed, there were no scorched earth effects.
- The supply benefits of having a friendly Major Power Capital on the continent to anchor my supply lines were considerable. My Allied HQs on every recaptured city, whether in France, Belgium or Germany, moved up from 8 to 10 level supply. This makes a big difference in terms of reinforcing units to full strength, to the supply range of my HQs, and in the combat effectiveness.
- While the game ended in an Allied Decisive Victory about five turns after I captured Paris, I still found a modest use for the MPPs that France earned once it was revived as a Major. French garrisons (which can be built in 1 turn) are useful for recapturing unoccupied French towns or defending rearguard areas. And French MPPs can be used to fund diplomacy, since France returned to the game with 3 Diplomacy chits.
- Given the above, I don't see the benefits to not taking Paris, if you are in a position to do so as the Allies. The only case I can see when you might do so is if you are are still in a knock-down and drag out fight against the Axis and you really need to keep all the MPPs you can get for British or US Production. But if that is the situation, you are not likely to be in a position on the board to retake Paris in the first place.
- I agree with everyone else that the "Rip Van Winkle effect" on French tech is strange. A restored French Major in 1943 or 1944 acts just like it is still June 1940. Surely they would have learned something from the long years fighting in exile as the Free French, using British or American equipment. The contrast with the Italians, after they are defeated as an Axis Major and switch sides, is striking.