The Siege of Brest-Litovsk Fortress

Discussion in 'The Eastern Front' started by Gerard, Feb 13, 2009.

  1. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    One of the First Battles of Operation Barbarossa the Fortress of Brest-Litovsk was identified as a prime objective to be taken on 22nd June by invading German Forces due to its strategic location overlooking the crossing points of the River Bug.

    The taks of forcing the citadel was given to the 45th German Division. Russian forces defending the citadel totalled 7-8,000 made up of various units including NKVD and elements of the 6th and 42nd Rifle divisions. Part of the problem for the Soviets was the fact that the Germans controlled the outer ring of the forts on the other side of the river which fell to them under the agreement signed when Poland was carved up in Sep-Oct 1939. The citadel also contained Medical and Staff units as well as families of the garrison
    The Battle commenced on 22nd June with a German Assault preceded by a short bombardment giving the Soviets no warning at all. But the Resistance quickly stiffened and soon, in a forewarning of what was to happen all over the Eastern Front, the Germans realised that they were dealing with a vastly different type of soldier to those they had encountered before. They found that the Russians refused to Surrender even in the most hopeless circumstances.

    As the Commander of the 45th Division, General Fritz Schlieper reported : "It was impossible to advance here with only infantry at our disposal because the highly-organised rifle and machine-gun fire from the deep gun emplacements and horse-shoe-shaped yard cut down anyone who approached. There was only one solution - to force the Soviets to capitulate through hunger and thirst" (source Wiki)

    The Germans tried a number of methods to force the citadel, Artillery fire, attacks with pioniere squads, Air Attack, Tear Gas, Robert Kershaw in his book "A War without Garlands" mentions that the Germans brought in a French Somua Tanks and a Pzkpfw 38 to assist the troops.

    No quarter was given nor asked in this battle. Any attempt by the Russians to fetch water from the River Bug was driven back by the Germans and the Civilians and wounded suffered terribly. Indeed when civilians did actually surrender, some were made to lie in front of the German guns to force the Soviets to stop firing at them. It took until the 30th June for the majority of the defenders to capitulate and after this sporadic resistance continued up until August.

    Here are some links to this fascinating battle:

    the wiki link :Defense of Brest Fortress - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    A Belarussian site about the Brest Fortress. Good pictures here: The defence of the Brest Fortress

    A German wartime film highlighting the capture of Brest-Litovsk fortress:

    YouTube - Soviet Citadel of Brest-Litovsk is Captured (Jun 1941)
  2. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Brest-Litovsk was later elevated to the status of Heroine City, together with Leningrad, Stalingrad, Moscow and a few others. To their city blazon was added the Gold Star of Hero of the Soviet Union.

    (I have a badge set of these... ;) )
  3. tovarisch

    tovarisch Discharged

    This was one of the first battles of the Great Patriotic War, and some incredible stories of valor and heroism have emerged from there.

    The defence lasted only about 10 days, but that was only organised resistance. Small groups of men continued to fight in and around the perimeter of the fortress, and a full German capture was only ensured a month later, or maybe more, I don't know the exact time constraint.

    Anyways, cheers for starting the thread.
  4. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    This particular battle started today and it wasnt to end for weeks.
  5. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Alex aka deadb_tch told me awhile back about this Russian film.
    I haven't seen it yet.

  6. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    At 1:26 in the film you can see an old WW1 Renault FT17 tank, wonder who was using it - the Germans or the Soviets, both were users of it!
  7. AlexW

    AlexW Junior Member

    The garrison of Brestskaya Krepost.

    17th NKVD Border Guards Detachment

    Elements of 6th Rifle Division;
    84th Rifle Regt (without 2 rifle battalions)
    125th Rifle Regt (without 1 rifle battalion and engineering company)
    333rd Rifle Regt (without 1 rifle battalion and engineering company)
    44th Rifle Regt (without 2 rifle battalions)
    455th Rifle Regt (without 1 rifle battalion and engineering company)
    131st Artillery Regt
    98th Anti-Tank Artillery Battalion
    393rd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion
    75th Reconnaissance Battalion
    37th Signal Battalion
    31th Automobile Battalion
    158th Automobile Battalion
    Elements of 33rd Engineering Regiment
    Gerard likes this.
  8. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    we had this come to the Admin email account.

    Dear Sirs,
    Let me to propose for your kind attention a high-quality video from Belarus dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945 (World War II for the USSR). May be it will be interesting for your readers.
    From Belarus with LOVE!
    One of sons of your former Allies who did not and will not forget it!


    HD video, Brest-Litovsk Fortress 22-th of June 1941 battle reconstruction to mark the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945
    BREST, 22 June 2011, (BelTA) – Brest Hero-Fortress Memorial became an international memorable events center on 21 June to mark the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Great Patriotic War. Apart from thousands of Brest residents, attending the event were 45 foreign delegations
    The first German attack was reconstructed with all historical details.
  9. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Alex aka deadb_tch told me awhile back about this Russian film.
    I haven't seen it yet.

    Really good movie. Definitely much better than the "Enemy at the gates" :). Recommended.
  10. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    At 1:26 in the film you can see an old WW1 Renault FT17 tank, wonder who was using it - the Germans or the Soviets, both were users of it!

    Probably ex-Polish tank(s), left there after Soviets occupied fortress. Seems they were used by Poles against Germans during 1939's fighting


    Polish FT-17 tanks used to block successfully the northern gate to Brest Fortress, against German Guderian's forces
    File:Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-121-0007-24, Polen, polnische Panzer Renault FT-17.jpg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    And some info here:

    Renault FT-17 tank in the Polish service

    The 112th and 113th light tank companies arrived at Brzesc upon the Bug fortress (now: Brest, Belarus). They were deployed in defensive positions there, expecting an attack. The German 10th Panzer Division attacked Brzesc on 14 September. 12 tanks FT-17 of the 113th company, deployed in allotment gardens to the north of the Citadel in Brzesc, were destroyed fighting against German II battalion of the 8th tank regiment. There is no information about the German losses. The enemy tanks, however, did not manage to cross the northern Citadel gate, which was blocked by the tanks of the 112th company. On 15 September the enemy assaults on the Citadel were repelled, with a help of the 112th company's tanks, which were firing from covered positions within the fortress. On 16 September, after all-day combat, the Polish units abandoned the citadel. A breakthrough trial of the remaining tanks failed, so they were left.
  11. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

  12. deadb_tch

    deadb_tch the deadliest b#tch ever

    Brest Fortress captured photos from 56th Artillery Regiment soldier's album:

  13. the warlord

    the warlord Junior Member

    a new russian film is just out on dvd
    called fortress of war worth watching

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