This game was using the Vassal module to track things but played in person. The only change we make was to have the Romanians, Hungarians, and Italians limited to being south of a hexrow that was a couple of hexes north of Voronezh (the northenmost point of the SW front). We actually just finished July 42 on the current game using no rule changes before we called it. I tried some different strategies as the Germans this time. My July Axis card was the German Generals that allowed infantry to move in ZOCS and get full movement in the special movement. Worked great for cleaning up pockets quickly and got me to Kiev much faster than was normal. I think I took it on the last turn of July and then tried the river crossing card to outflank it in August. Pushed hard to get adjacent to Odessa and Dnepropetrovsk before he could put a 3-pt IDP in them. I managed to take them both before the October reinforcements as well as Smolensk. Also got up to the Narva river line by Leningrad. Weather was excellent all summer other than a few turns. It felt historical up to that point.
Maximum mud turns in the fall slowed things of course and some bad rolls stopped me a few hexes before Stalino though I did manage to take Kharkov (for the first time ever) as well as Orel. Good rolls might have allowed for Stalino to fall in the late fall or winter. Winter and spring were mostly back and forth bludgeoning contests and I managed to get across the final river before Leningrad. Spring mud allowed a huge buildup of the Soviets of course as I really couldn't attack for 5 turns. Being able to take 3-1-6's as losses saved the Soviets and allowed him to keep a line of 8-4's on the map despite the fact that he was being stretched in July 42 and we figured would be out of PPs by the October turn.
I actually managed to cut off Leningrad and take the hex on the other side of the straits but he then immediately counter attacked and kicked me out on a 6 roll on the July 4 turn. That is definitely a hex that should get a 3-pt fort if the Germans are threatening it. Winter attacks had taken the Valdi Hills area and had reached the reservoir by Moscow but their line was solid with 8's all the way to the Black Sea. By the end of July, I had two tank corp in the pool, 3 reduced ones on the map and a ton of reduced infantry. This was after almost being full strength at the start of July. Two fuel left and two equipment with no OPs. Soviets had been making an average of 5-8 attacks every turn since spring mud ended at minimum odds of 2-1 or 3-1 after HQ support even though I was defending with 10 to 16 point piles everywhere. I couldn't really stop infiltration and ZOCs by the 6-4-5's and other armour of course. I was actually taking forts most of the winter rather than building up a couple of cadres just to keep the odds down. I got within three hexes of Moscow (mostly through winter attacks) but there was just no way to get closer. Lots of back and forth there against any hex in clear terrain with or without a fort. Soviets would have run out of PP by Sept 4 and ended July with 23 PP, 11 Fuel, and 19 Equipment.
We decided to stop on July 4 after his successful Leningrad counter attack as there was no way I could make any more progress and was indeed getting pushed back in the Orel area. Things were just getting worse and worse even though he was getting thinner in places.
Comments: I never did use the 1942 Blitzkrieg card as he was so strong. Hard to advance and breakthrough when you are going to get hit by 4-5 hex counter attacks of 11-15 point piles. I'm also not sure what you can do to defend with the Axis if you can't keep the Soviets stretched. You can't have a solid line of 6's as it is too easy to get 3-1's on you and if you stack them, you can get infiltrated unless you have a line of two defenders and then a gap of one hex, anywhere there is a 6-4-5. It still feels like the Soviets are too strong to me though this was they game where they had been stretched the hardest. Getting to the Case Blue victory conditions seems almost impossible let alone, getting a draw for that time frame.
We are debating using a rule that would not allow you to build up army sized units in an enemy ZOC. The new weather rules affecting all motorized army movement at times gave me the idea. While this would affect both sides, it will have a bigger effect on the Soviets as they will have to pull a 4-5-4 out of the line to make it an 8-4. This would not prevent a mystery meat unit from becoming a 4-5-4 as it does not start as an army. I'm thinking this would keep a lot more smaller units in the front but still allow you to build up for counterattacks if you wanted to. German attacks and infiltration would be easier which would allow for a more historical stretching of the Soviets. With the 4-5-4's unable to build in the line, you can't produce an instant counter attack force if the Germans do punch into your lines.