In July 1943 there was a build-up of huge armies on either side of the eastern front around Kursk in preparation for a German assault to wipe out the Russian salient that had formed in the area. The Soviets recruited over 300,000 civilians to build defensive fortifications within the salient in preparation for the anticipated German attack. Having learnt from previous German successes, whereby they used their armoured divisions to quickly pierce the front lines and attack them from behind, the Soviets now employed a defensive strategy that relied on depth to slow down any attempted offensives. Through many interconnected layers of defence, which in some areas sat over 100 miles (160 km) deep, it was hoped that the usual German offensive tactics would be rendered ineffective. Soviet counterintelligence and concealment of defensive forces also proved highly successful as the Germans went into the offensive heavily underestimating Russian preparations.
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