"In the unlikely event that Zhukov was correct and Mars was really a diversion, there has never been one so ambitious, so large, so clumsily executed, or so costly" - - David Glantz.
Here from the book "SPETSNAZ" by Victor Suvorov:
"Marshal Georgi Zhukov, the outstanding military leader of the Second World War, had million men, and often several million, under his direct command practically throughout the war. Of all the generals and marshals at his level he was the only one who did not suffer a single defeat in battle"
NO!! Here again we have caught the Soviet defector and author Victor Suvorov [Vladimir Rezun] in an inaccuracy. I hesitate to use that word LIE! Rather I prefer for various reasons inaccuracy.
On at least TWO occasions, the military strategic vision, the implementation of plans as formulated and approved by Zhukov were not successful. Combat actions by Soviet troops as commanded by Zhukov stymied - - mission not accomplished.
1. Operation Mars. Soviet offensive action - - as envisioned by Zhukov and approved by Stavka. This was another Soviet effort to destroy the German Army Group Center on the Eastern Front during World War Two [WW2].
"Operation Mars was the operation codename for the Rzhev offensive operation part of the Rzhev-Vyazma strategic offensive operation (08.01-20.04.42) launched by Soviet forces against German forces during World War II."
"The offensive was a joint operation of the Soviet Western Front and Kalinin Front coordinated by Georgy Zhukov. For many years it was virtually unknown in the West, and just relegated to a footnote in Soviet military history."
"The battles became known as the 'Rzhev meat grinder' . . . for their huge losses, particularly on the Soviet side."
German troops fighting defensively able to stop Soviet advance - - Soviet troops under the command of Zhukov defeated - - losses among the Soviet very heavy!!
2. Cherkassy Pocket. The goal being "Stalingrad on the Dnieper". Surround and defeat, capture and kill an entire German Army, in the style of Stalingrad. A plan conceived by Zhukov with the approval of Stavka.
"Battle of the Korsun-Cherkasy Pocket which took place from 24 January to 16 February, 1944"
"Marshal Zhukov realized the potential for destroying Wöhler’s 8th Army with the Stalingrad model as precedent and using similar tactics . . . Zhukov recommended to the Soviet Supreme Command (Stavka)" [his strategic vision of how this could be done. A strategic vision approved for implementation with the guidance of Zhukov!]
As with Mars, the plans, the strategic vision, the implementation of the mission under the command of Zhukov, going awry!! Mission not accomplished. German defenders able to escape encirclement - - albeit with heavy losses. BUT NOT a Stalingrad on the Dneiper.
* Zhukov did have a "million men, and often several million" troops under his command during WW2! A man who had mastered the art of war on the colossal scale.
* Think more of Zhukov as a representative of Stavka? A man, Zhukov, having the strategic vision and being given overall responsibility for implementation of that vision?
* It has been suggested that Mars was a diversion for the much more important Uranus Operation [Stalingrad]! This seems not to be the case. Because of failure, Mars is a mere "footnote". It is conceivable that Suvorov, himself a product of the Soviet military education system - - is not even aware of the catastrophe of Mars?
* During WW2, the German showed a lot of skill and ability whether on the offensive or on the defensive [Mars, Cherkassy]!
* Zhukov had to submit all his proposals for approval to Stavka and Stalin. This was the standard procedure for Soviet commanders during WW2. Initiative was for the most part NOT allowed!
NO ONE can deny that Zhukov was a great commander of WW2. Among the various Soviet marshals and generals the MOST famous. But not uniformly successful. Defeated on several occasions.