I realize that the AA guns are more effective when definding in the west against Allied “liberation” attempts. The big question is whether the tempo gain of bringing them east is worth it, and ultimately more efficient.
What I mean is: Yes, an AA-gun is better at defending a stationary stack than advancing with the aim of possibly taking some very random pot-shots at enemy planes. That is pretty obvious. � BUT they happen to start on the board in round one, and they typically won’t be needed in the west for the first several rounds. Bringing them east from the beginning will add some momentum to Barbarossa, but at the cost of a less attractive puchase mix during the mid-game if they are to be replaced by newly purchased AA-guns or their equivalent in infantry. Is the boost worth that downside?
There’s no yes or no answer to that. Even on G1, where I move the aa guns depends on what went down on G1. I’ll still be making those choices on G2-G3, depending on how the game is playing out. The aa guns in the East have limited utility because they have no attack value–their utility is to lessen Russia’s odds of a successful counter-attack. Whether Germany needs them out there depends on what Germany and Russia are doing.
I would avoid buying new aa guns mid-game as Germany. With that in mind, I’d keep half the aa guns back, barring exceptional circumstances. There’s the possibility of moving east until G3, and then turning back, in time to protect Berlin.