Fortress of War with subs2017 969
The Brest Fortress (2010) is a joint Russian-Belarusian production that chronicles the heroic defense of the fortress in Brest, Belarus in 1941 at the beginning of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, known as «Operation Barbarossa," in World War II.
The country of Belarus lost approximately 40% of its population, or 3,650,000 (three million six hundred and fifty thousand) people, during the course of World War II as a result of fascist aggression. During the three years of war in occupied Belarus (June 1941-July 1944), the partisans killed and incapacitated 500,000 Nazis. The SS often executed entire villages sympathetic to the partisans – more than 600 villages like Khatyn were burned to the ground and their populations murdered.
The defense of Brest Fortress accounted for 5% of all Nazi casualties on the entire Eastern Front up until the end of the siege on June 30th, 1941. The events of the film are seen through the eyes of Sashka Akimov (Аlyosha Kopashov), who also narrates the story. The basis for the character of Sasha was fifteen-year-old Petya Klypa, one of few defenders of Brest Fortress who survived. The attack on the fortress began on June 22, 1941, when the town of Brest and Brest Fortress were bombed by artillery guns.
The Nazi 45th Infantry Division of the Wehrmacht, 17,000 men strong, led the attack, launching assaults all around the border and the town of Brest. These same men had participated in the occupation of Poland and France. During the first half-hour of the assault, the Germans fired on the entrance gates, fortifications, bridges, artillery, the barracks, food, water and medical supplies, warehouses and civilian dwellings. Writing about the attack on the fortress, the commander of the 45th Division stated the following in his reports: «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 Russians to capitulate through hunger and thirst. We were ready to use any means available to exhaust them… Our offers to give themselves up were unsuccessful…”
The defenders of the fortress continued to resist even after the German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Joachim von Ribbentrop, held a press conference in Berlin announcing that resistance along the border had been broken. The Wehrmacht Division attacked the fortress from the 22nd to the 30th of June, sometimes six to seven times a day, repelled by the Red Army and armed civilian resistance. By July 8th, the commander of the 45th Division reported that the headquarters had fallen, but pockets of resistance continued until mid-July through rifle and machine-gun fire from small groups of soldiers inside the fortress, particularly from the cellars.
More powerful guns, artillery shells, rocket mortars tear gas and flamethrowers could not break the resistance. There were reports of fighting as late as August. To prevent any last resistance, the cellars and basements of the fortress were flooded with river water. During this time, Hitler and Mussolini visited the fortress under heavy guard to protect them from remaining partisan fighters. There are rumors that Hitler picked up a stone from the destroyed bridge and kept it in his office at the headquarters of the Third Reich until the end of war. No one knows who these last defenders were, when they died, or when the very last shot was fired in the fortress.
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