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As the ground hardened after the muddy Russian Spring, the German army prepared to launch their Summer offensive, codenamed Operation Citadel. The target was Kursk, a city in the centre of a huge bulge in the front line, where several Soviet armies could be cut off and destroyed.
To ensure success, new weapons were rushed to the front, including Ferdinand heavy tank-hunters and Panther medium tanks. These were combined with several Panzer and Panzergrenadier divisions, totalling an impressive 2450 tanks and assault guns. Over 3600 Soviet tanks were waiting for them, setting the scene for the largest tank battle on the Eastern Front.