As has been touted, CPP, admin movement, recovery variation based on exposure, and the logistics system create a much more dynamic understanding of a unit’s relative strength and value. Whereas in many other games - WitE1 included a panzer division is a panzer division and a rifle division is a rifle division, perhaps existing in various states of attrition - in WITE2 units can exist in a vast array of states; strong but unready, weak and ready, experienced and weak but just had a recovery week, etc - all of which adjust the relative value. All sorts of options for finding opportunities and dangers arise.
It also far more accurately reflects exhaustion and over extension of a force, and is largely responsible for refuting the otherwise Ego-boosting Endless Blitzkrieg that crops up so often in games. It certainly smashes flat the old WitE1 version of it.
But, you knew all that.
What is less visible is that it is possible to cross lines, geographic and otherwise, that are akin to Isserson’s prediction that an attacker might “carelessly approach this strategic rubicon.” There are points where the exhaustion and extension of units cannot be recovered with simple means. Pretty much all players ensure they have an effective rotation of recovering units, a few refits, operational pauses, and deliberate recovery and preparation of key units as a matter of course. However after a point (I tend to think about 3-5 turns “in contact” or past what I’m now calling the first Loki line centered on Bryansk) these routine actions are no longer sufficient to recover. Entire segments of the operation have to be dedicated to deliberately recovering or you may never gain that strength back.
Crazy as it may sound, the difference between pushing for 4 weeks or 5 may be the difference between being able to recover with a short rest, perhaps a refit , and having a unit that might take a month or more - or a winter in some cases - to be anything more than a shell. And it is very rare to notice you’re doing it to yourself unless you look for it in a disciplined manner. Since everyone is thinking Germans, I’ll use a soviet example:
I was conducting an attack sometime in the winter. I opened up a middling CV looking rifle division because I wanted to make sure it had an attachment. Imagine my surprise when I saw the unit was at 48% TOE, low on ammo, and fatigued. I was pretty shocked because I thought I had been making sure units were freshening up, I had rarely extended more than 50 miles from a depot, and even committed to super depots in support of the big axes of attack. How did it come to this? Well, a post mortem showed I’d pushed the army too hard. 3 major attacks in 4 turns, and while they’d had a rest, it’d been a week where the depots were catching up.
And now I didn’t have a one week “well, keep them back, refit the worst of them” problem. I had a “send things to the SR, pull an entire army out of the line for three weeks, re-shuffle attachments, bring up an assault echelon army to cover a gap in the line, and rethink the next month of offensives” problem. And it wasn’t caused by something I saw coming. That was one army. Imagine what you can do to a theater.
I think that is an excellent thing: in so many games, the decision not to overextend is cleanly presented, a deliberate clear and easy decision. Here you can see how history came to be…
In terms of operations, it also creates a very new dynamic: imitative is often a matter of who can maintain readiness. A side that can keep the other side low on readiness can basically dictate the stance of the campaign. Even apparently strong and valuable units can become much less capable - and in the case of mobile units, have a lot of potential energy sucked out - through continuous applied pressure.
More importantly, this creates a new operational dynamic. A key imperative is keeping the enemy in a state of low readiness, limiting his options to make decisions, throw off your plans, or even just stop you. Essentially you want to push him - and if he helps you, great - into a position where there is no easy recovery and he has to make major alterations. The only real recourse to being put in that position is to bring up an operational reserve of ready units to allow a major recovery. That in turn creates strategic opportunities when your opponent has committed his reserve. Either he’ll be unable to recover until you finally exhaust yourself (which might be a moment), or he’ll have to concede cities, terrain, force density, and/or initiative somewhere else.