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The capital of the Kursk region, the city of Kursk was first mentioned in written record in 1032, as a fortress of Kievskaya Rus. It joined the Moscow State at the beginning of the 16th Century and has developed into a center for trade and industry. The history of the city is reflected in its architecture and historical monuments. Kursk is most famous this century for its involvement in WWII. Following their disastrous defeat at Stalingrad during the winter of 1942-43, the German armed forces launched an offensive in the East known as Operation Citadel on July 4, 1943. The climax of Operation Citadel, the Battle of Kursk, involved as many as 6,000 tanks, 4,000 aircraft and 2 million fighting men and is remembered as the greatest tank battle in history.