The Soviet army went on the offensive after Stalingrad in February 1943 designed to retake Kharkov and Rostov. At virtually the same time, the Germans launched a counter offensive that virtually destroyed four Soviet armies and reclaimed most of the territory lost the past several months and stabilized the Eastern front. The city of Kursk became a focal point for the German high command, now completely dominated by Hitler. Both sides pushed forces to the Kursk area with an eventual buildup of Russian forces to 1.3 million men with 3,600 tanks, 20,000 artillery pieces and 2,400 aircraft. The Germans countered with 900,000 troops, 2m700 tanks and 2,000 aircraft. The resulting battle at Kursk was the largest tank battle ever fought with each side losing several hundred tanks. This was the Germans last offensive ibn the East. Shortly afterwards, one of the largest battles in history took place as the Soviets drove to the Dnieper River, where over 4,000,000 troops collided over an 1,100 mile front and the result was over 2.7 million combined casualties. The Germans would now fight a war of defense and retreat against continued Soviet offensives.