xsli wrote:To me, attacking in Moscow direction is the worst choice Germans can make because the numbers are there, also because the situation is quite different from the first few months of Barbarossa that to cut off and annihilate is very difficult.
The Germans only started to recover (more replacements than losses) in April after bleeding for months. Yet the recovery/buildup is small-scale throughout July. The Russians, despite heavy losses after mindless attack (3.4 millions in the first half of the year), maintain ~9 million strength throughout the year. The only chance for the Germans to make headways is to attack the weak area - which is the south.
Logistically, it is favorable for the Russians due to overall proximity of its munition production (some may relocated a bit far to the Urals). Germans need to move most supplies from their homeland. The red army soldiers may be inexperienced but some officers did gain valuable lessons from the previous year. My impression is some high-ranking commanders are quick learners and led better. Unlike the red army in 1941, the mid-1942 red army is way more coherent and definitely fight better - especially in defense - which demands less skills/resources than offense. The failure of 2nd Kharkov and several spring offensives exemplifies the red army is not yet up to the task of staging large scale offensive due to lack of experience, as well as the logistic support (fewer vehicles, and the fact the breakthroughs are usually in area with bad roads). They would perform significantly better in defense due to fieldwork, improved weaponry, smoother logistics.
For the Germans, the panzers were weaker in June 1942 than in June 1941, troops probably would receive much less replacements than the Russians once attack started. With a concentration of Russians in front of Moscow, it is very hard to imagine the Germans can make good gains.
From the Russian angle, they should lay low and wait for the Germans to attack their strong defenses. And a German attacking Moscow (or trying to encirlce Moscow) would have fallen to the exact trap.
In May Army Group "South" took 392,000 prisoners, in June 52,000, in July 400,000, in August 180,000.
https://web.archive.org/web/20151010061 ... h_aok.html
And this despite the fact that Hitler made dozens of erroneous decisions. For example, the 4th Panzer Army could reach Stalingrad much faster than Paulus' 6th Army. Hitler turned the army of Goth to the Don, the Russians got more time to deploy reserves. 11 army did not take part in the offensive on the Caucasus, to displeasure of the German generals.
Generalize my opinion: the Russians could not fight. It was a war in the colonies, as in 1946 the Dutch landed in Indonesia and occupied it, because the white people.