Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union which was launched on Sunday 22 June 1941.
At 4:15 June 22, 1941 the German Wehrmacht attacked the Brest fortress with no warning. Attack started by artillery barrage, including 600 mm mortars of the second battery of the Heavy Artillery Battalion 833 Nr. III (“Thor”) and Nr. IV (“Odin”). Defenders were taken by surprise and failed to form a solid front. By 9:00 the fortress was completely surrounded. Most parts of the fortress were taken by the 30 of June. 25 officers and 2877 soviet soldiers were captured, 1877 soldiers and officers died.
Yet despite being stunned by the surprise attack, heavy losses from the initial shelling, shortage of food and ammunition and being cut off from the outside world the remaining Red Army soldiers took a stand in the Citadel of the fortress. Officers families caught up in the Citadel tended to the wounded and even took part in defence effort. Pockets of resistance held until 20 of July. Their sacrifice became a testament to the resilience and courage of Red Army and Soviet people.
On August 8 Hitler and Mussolini visited the fortress. Unprecedented security measures were in place because of fear of Red Army defenders possibly still remain in the fortress. During the visit Hitler picked up a stone off the bride to the Citadel. After the war this stone was found in his workroom.