From: Virginia, USA
Some responses from your esteemed opponent:
1) Moscow was not evac'ed because it didn't need to be. The Germans got no closer to Moscow than the Volga east of Rzhev. They then backed off into their winter quarters. This left plenty of time to evac those factories should the need arise.
2) Bitburger noted during his winter offensive that his experience seemed to show that tank battalions were causing more casualties than motorcycle regiments, so he started building tank battalions. I did not know about all the tank brigades. Planning too far ahead, IMO, though perhaps he was trying to absorb all the tanks rolling off the production lines. I would think that all these tank units would start to create a strain on the vehicle pool. At any rate, I too would not have built that many tank units.
3) Tank armies are nothing special as far as I can see. They offer a +1 roll to admin rolls for motorized units. That is cool for movement, supply and replacements, but does not impact combat power directly. Guards armies also offer a +1 roll for admin for non-guards units. (Of course, I doubt there are any guards armies at this point.) Plus they have a command capacity of 21. Nor were Tank armies available at the time you took over the game.
4) One reason to assign tank corps to Stavka at this point in the game is because they are still basically unusable. Their experience is low so they probably still need to train up, plus their TOE is so small that they offer almost no combat power. If used for exploitation (which seems unlikely at this stage) they have no defensive power. Might as well let them sit well behind the lines and train.
5) Stavka is a useful place to leave units assigned to while they are training up and before they get assigned to front line armies. In my Soviet game, when divisions on the front line get destroyed, I have divisions currently assigned to Stavka that have been trained up go join the army which lost some of its divisions during the current turn.
6) I agree with your decision to take those brigades off the front with the Finns are replace them with forts. Doesn't seem particularly gamey to me. This is precisely the kind of use the Soviets put fortified regions to.
7) "Is it too gamey to build defenses this far in the rear over the winter?" I hope not! (See my Soviet AAR)
8) "BTW the Soviets did the same thing in 1942 in real life once Case Blue started. The strength of the German spearhead – with just 2 tank armies, mind you – reached all the way to Grozny and Stalingrad while the Soviets pulled back and bided their time. Granted, they did launch a major attack in the north with Operation Mars,"
Some commentary on this:
The Russians did launch lots of offensives during the spring and summer. They launched several attempts to close off the Demyansk pocket and encircle the Rzhev salient all through the summer. It wasn't call the Rzhev meat grinder for nothing. They also tried to relieve Leningrad. And off course, there was the disastrous second battle of Kharkov which cost the Soviets 125k casualties right where the Germans were about to launch case blue. Even their retreats in the face of the panzers during the early stages of case blue seem to have been local decisions, not directives from Stavka. Certainly, by the time the Germans reached Kalach Stalin had had enough and issued the famous "Not one step back" order. Plus, after the Germans reached Stalingrad the Soviets launched numerous failed offensives from the north to try to break the siege.
Thus, I would not say the Soviets "bided their time." If anything they were--as always in 41-42--too offensively oriented, at least for the capability of their troops.
Also, Mars happened almost simultaneously with Uranus.
9) You, Bitburger and others mention Rostov a lot. Not sure why. It is the gateway to the caucuses, but as a population center it is matched by Tambov, Stalingrad, Voroshilovgrad, Voronezh, Tula, etc. Doesn't seem all that special to me. (Of course, I will grab a population center if I can!)