From: Sydney, Australia
I'm also finding the 1942 campaign extremely taxing as the Soviets in 1.04 and later compared to 1.03.
With 1.03 I was able to easily defeat an AI opponent, and found a local PBEM player reasonably easy to defend against. I couldn't get much of an offensive going in early 1943 but by late 1943 I was pushing forwards and winning battles.
Against the same local PBEM opponent in a 1.04 game it's early 1944 and I'm still on the retreat. Moscow, Leningrad, Stalingrad are all gone, although I've had him stopped on the Volga river line for a few months. In the summer of 1944 I should be able to push forwards a bit but I think it will be late 1944 before I retake Moscow and perhaps into 1945 before I liberate Stalingrad. Leningrad will be in Finnish hands until the end of the game. My truck pool is nearly zero, and so there's no latitude to build anything as fancy as a mech corps, even if I could find the APs.
I have started an on line game of the 1942 GC and I'm expecting much the same. Stalingrad went very quickly and Leningrad will probably only last into October 1942. I should hold Moscow until after the mud finishes and rail out most of the factories (I lost the Stalingrad tank factory, but I figured it was more important to keep my manpower up than produce tanks that I will never use). However I expect that the Axis offensives though the snow turns and early summer turns in 1943 will take Moscow and have me holding on back on the Volga again.
I think the biggest difference between these two campaigns and the 1941 GC as the Soviets is the inability of the Soviets to muster APs or trucks. Early in the 1941 GC you start railing tank and motorised divisions back to river lines, dig them in until they hit fort level 2, then static them to create massive pools of APs and trucks. They later turn into rifle divisions which can be activated quite cheaply. By mid 1942 you have tank brigades aplenty and a good reserve of APs to use for building units and SUs. You don't need to mess with the command structure very much because all of your reinforcements come on under Stavka and can be reassigned for free. You don't run into a shortage of trucks nearly as quickly as you do in the 1942 or 1943 starts, and by early 1943 you can be building tank and mech corps up to a reasonable limit.
With the number of static units in the 1942 campaign as well as the messed up command structure, shortage of trucks, etc, there are never enough APs or trucks to activate units or fix all of the command issues. Additionally, the Soviet player can expect to lose about 25% of his standing infantry strength to encirclements on the first turn, leaving a line held by AT brigades and other weak units. An intelligent German player is just going to sprint through those lines and encircle more static divisions, leading to a complete collapse in Soviet manpower levels by the end of 1942. From there it's all downhill. In 1.03 the fort levels came up faster, at least allowing the rear area units to form some kind of line, however in 1.04 it seems the Germans can tear off and destroy entire Soviet fronts at will.
In the 1943 campaign the German player has two options. One is to attack and encircle the Kursk salient (easily done on the first turn) but that leads to Soviet counter-attacks and counter-encirclements which will eventually grind the Germans down. The Soviets don't need to do much with their static units in active fronts, just leave them there to get hit and they will activate. Activating units in other fronts is more important, however fixing the command structure is impossible. In the two 1943 GCs I've played as the Soviets, one was an easy victory where the Germans attacked and pulled off a first turn encirclement but by turn 3 were surrounded, and the other is turning into a slow WWI style grind as the Germans are pushed back one hex at a time. Of course in both GCs I had masses of static units all advancing one hex at a time until they get lucky and get attacked, in neither game could I afford the APs to activate the majority of those units.
Just some data points.