I have something to add on my opinion of the server in its current state.
In general I find the artillery to be okay in numbers but feel like the skill could be slightly lower. I don't think it should be about making artillery in a realistic representation, rather the focus should always be on gameplay. AAA should be enough of a deterrent for 1 plane to try and engage objectives at a minimum 2000-3000m in level bombing, simply because the server population is so skewed across most hours of a day. On the VVS, I simply cannot play with a decent team size in my timezone. Therefore, I'm largely relegated to doing... not much, except resupply and those level bombing runs, - hoping I won't encounter any fighters.
Defending our objectives then is more realistic, but I don't own BOM, so I cannot really do anything about that when the MiG-3 is available in larger quantity than the LaGG-3 across map. Why that is? I don't know. The LaGG-3 was produced in nearly double the quantity. I understand that maybe not many were deployed with the unreliable 37mm motor cannon, but the fact remains I don't have it, so how can I play? Anyway, as the LaGG-3 is generally considered to be the worse plane of the two, I think it is counterproductive to force people between a choice. It's no La-5 or Yak. I can't speak about the various Bf-109 models and their differences but I trust balance can be found for people facing the same issue on that side.
I actually don't find it very rewarding to fly fighters anyway, since there is only the opportunity to earn 1CM per sortie regardless of what you do while bombers only need to fly 35 minutes to achieve 2CM. I was flying the Pe-2 and found the 4x250kg bombs to be nearly half as effective as the 2x500kg set - I'm not sure if this is default physics of the game or server-specific object settings. Anyway, it's pretty annoying that AAA (I think it was an armoured vehicle/mobile AAA?) couldn't be killed with a 250kg only about 10-15m away. Now I am sure this fairly poor damage model lies mainly with the developers but if there is a way to reduce the 'hitpoints' of the objects, I think it is a good idea. It's a fairly unsurvivable scenario even in a tank, due to splash damage. For a lightly-armoured AAA, there is also shrapnel.
A point for those advocating realism: the German government estimates that around 15% of bombs failed to detonate during the war. This is obviously an example of additional realism that would not be conducive to good gameplay.
Lastly, an overlooked part of the server population issue may be due in fact to the scenarios involved. I don't know if a new campaign is currently being developed, but I think most people on other servers probably want to fly planes from later in the war, at least from Battle of Kuban, in addition to general grievances about playing TAW actually feeling like a grind for many. I can't fault the enemy fighters for having skill but that's not why I personally play on TAW. I think with some polls, we could find the overall 'economy' of TAW is what puts people off the most. Besides, if I have to grind CM to play fighters, then I will simply do it via the airfield resupply - since I don't have to worry about being intercepted - and overall the repetition and lack of 'contribution' to the outcome of the mission becomes pretty stale pretty quickly. I don't have issues about the number of lives but it is annoying to be shot down, survive and crash land and lose 2 previously achieved CM, basically undoing all progress - and then you're one more plane down, maybe your last combat plane leaving only the resupply aircraft.
I would play more, but the peak server population times make it an impossibility. That's just what happens when we can't get enough new players, and I think one improvement that can be made is to have a registration date advertised in advance so players can pick a side, rather than joining halfway through the campaign to realise that the population is so unbalanced at times that the players cannot even spawn, and are kicked from the server even after they've taken off, because there are not enough players on the opposition. Obviously if registration for one team is so lopsided, then one solution is to stop accepting registrations for that team for the sake of everyone - and suggest they play the team with fewer players. This can be implemented in conjunction with preferred timezone so that everyone has a fair chance to register for the side they want. Basically, we need a survey.
If I've gathered one thing from the the last dozen pages of this thread, the server is at risk of becoming an echo chamber without any new players... and I get the impression that some take it all a little too seriously.