I am aware that there are some Event cards that work based on "Leadership strength". It seems however that Leaders are less valuable than a regular army unit. They both the chance to roll, (the regular unit can always be rolled in an army of 5 or less) while the Leader only gets to re-roll for initially missed dice throws. However, the regular unit gets to absorb a "hit" while a leader does not. Especially for non retreat into Fortress Stronghold battles, the regular unit always seems move valuable. Am I missing some major insight?
It sounds like you've properly considered most of the pros and cons of leaders vs regular units. The one thing I'd add is that having at least one leader lets an army move on a character die in addition to an army die, so leaders can improve an army's mobility in addition to adding a die roll.
Still though, I think leaders are best used to make your army stronger after it has at least 5 units. This can be especially important when defending a stronghold because you can only have 5 regulars/elites in the stronghold but any number of additional leaders.
Wow... Ok that is two things I did not realize. I thought I could only move on character action die if I had a companion in the army. I did not realize I could use the Character action die to move an army if I only had a leader and non a companion in it!
I also did not realize that Leaders did not "fill up" the stronghold. I thought it was 5 units max! Thank you!