A while since I’ve posted here.
I do think things need to be kept simple. As simple as possible. However, I think the problem that a lot of people are having is treating the commander as “just another unit”. Think about it - each battle would usually have some form of overall commander. I think what we are trying to simulate here is one with unusually high ability at a tactical level (strategic operations are performed by the player, which I think eliminates the need for theatre or supreme commanders). However, natural talent/experience can’t be simply “bought”.
For commander placement, I’m thinking something along these lines:
Whenever a “1” is rolled by ANY unit, the owning player gains a “point” towards a commander (keep track of this by a seperate IPC stack or something). Immediately after gaining a set number of points, say 10, that player places a commander in any territory or capital ship. Once a player has a maximum number of commanders in play (1 for minor powers, 3 for major), they stop counting points. When they go below this maximum, they can start counting again.
This would simulate the recognition and “promotion” of a tactically minded individual(s). Who cares whether it’s Patton or Zhukov, it’s a “commander” for KISS’ sake.
As for what a commander does, I believe they should be able to re-roll once for every type of unit they are assigned to. This would encourage combined arms whilst keeping the commanders balanced, I think. More than 1 commander in a territory is considered to still be one commander, to prevent massive “unbeatable” stacks.
Hope that all makes sense.