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Brest fortress, Brest, Belarus

June 23rd, 2008 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 
 

Brest Fortress in Brest, Belarus, formerly known as Brest-Litovsk Fortress (the Polish name of the city was Brześć Litewski), is one of the most important Soviet World War II war monuments commemorating Soviet resistance against the German invasion on June 22, 1941. Following the war, in 1965 the title Hero-Fortress (Russian: крепость-герой, krepost'-geroy) was given to the Fortress to commemorate the heroic defence of the frontier stronghold during the very first weeks of the Great Patriotic War. It was then part of the Byelorussian SSR. The title Hero-Fortress corresponds to the title Hero City, that has been awarded to the total of twelve Soviet cities.

Originally it was the largest 19th century fortress of Russian Empire, one of the western Russian fortresses. It is located at the confluence of the Mukhavets and Western Bug rivers with total area 4 km². The initial phase of the construction lasted from 1836 until 1842. The defences were then progressively modernised and expanded throughout the 19th century, with forts added around the original citadel. The final works were carried out in 1914, the first year of World War I, resulting in a fortified area 30 km in circumference.

During World War I the fortress was captured by the German army in August, 1915, after the Russian army abandoned it during its general withdrawal from Poland that summer. The fortress changed hands twice during the Polish-Soviet War and eventually stayed within Polish borders, a development that was formally recognised by the Treaty of Riga in 1921. In 1930 the fortress became infamous in Poland as a prison in the aftermath of the "Brest elections" and the Brest trial. During the Invasion of Poland in 1939 the city was defended for 4 days by a small garrison of four infantry battalions under Gen. Konstanty Plisowski against the XIX Panzer Corps of Gen. Heinz Guderian. After four days of heavy fighting the Polish forces withdrew southwards on September 17.

The territory was assigned to the Soviet Union in 1939 in accordance with the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact.

In the summer of 1941 it was heroically defended by Soviet soldiers against the German Wehrmacht in the first days of Operation Barbarossa, earning it the title of Hero Fortress. The fortress had become a symbol of the Soviet resistance during the Great Patriotic War along with Stalingrad and Kursk.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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