History of the Brest Fortress. Heroes of the Brest Fortress
Some sources claim that historyThe Brest Fortress began a century before her heroic feat in 1941. This is somewhat untrue. The fortress has existed for a long time. The complete reconstruction of the medieval citadel in Berestie (the historical name of Brest) began in 1836 and lasted for 6 years.
Immediately after the fire of 1835, the tsarist government decided to modernize the fortress in order to give it the status of a western outpost of state significance in the future.
The fortress originated in the 11th century, mention of itcan be found in the well-known "Tale of Bygone Years", where the chronicle captures episodes of the struggle for the throne between the two great princes - Svyatopolk and Yaroslav.
Having a very advantageous location - on the cape between the two rivers, the Western Bug and Mukhavets, Berestye soon acquired the status of a major shopping center.
In ancient times, the main ways of the merchantthere were rivers. And here the whole two waterways gave the opportunity to promote the goods from east to west and vice versa. According to the Bug, one could reach Poland, Lithuania and Europe, and along the Mukhavets, through Pripyat and the Dnieper, to the Black Sea steppes and the Middle East.
One can only guess how beautiful the medieval Brest Fortress was.Photos of illustrations and drawings of the fortress of the early period are a rarity, they can only be met as museum exhibits.
In view of the constant transition of the Brest Fortressthe jurisdiction of a state and arrangement of the town in its own way, plan and outpost, and the settlement underwent minor changes. Some of them were inspired by the demands of the times, but more than half a thousand years of the Brest Fortress managed to preserve its original medieval flavor and atmosphere.
1812 year. The French in the citadel
The frontier geography of Brest has always been the cause of the struggle for the town: for 800 yearshistory of the Brest Fortresscaptured the rule of the Turov and Lithuanian principalities, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (Poland), and only in 1795 Brest became an integral part of the Russian lands.
But before the invasion of Napoleon, the RussianThe government did not attach much importance to the ancient fortress. Only in the times of the Russian-French war of 1812 the Brest Fortress confirmed its status as a reliable outpost, which, as people say, helps its own, but destroys its enemies.
The French also decided to leave Brest for themselves, but the Russian troops repulsed the fortress, having won an unconditional victory over the French cavalry units.
This victory served as a starting point forthe decision of the tsarist government to erect in place of a fairly flimsy medieval fortress a new and powerful fortification, corresponding to the spirit of the times in architectural style and military significance.
And what about the heroes of the Brest FortressThe Patriotic War of 1812? After all, any military action implies the emergence of desperate brave and patriots. Their names remained unknown to a wide circle of the then public, but it is possible that they received their awards for courage from the hands of the Emperor Alexander himself.
Fire in Brest
The fire, which swept through the ancient settlement in 1835,accelerated the process of general reconstruction of the Brest Fortress. The plans of the then engineers and architects were to destroy the medieval buildings, in order to build in their place a completely new architectural and strategic importance of the structure.
The fire destroyed about 300 buildings in the ancient settlement, and this, paradoxically, turned out to be in the hands of the tsarist government, and the builders, and the population of the town.
Having given out to the fire victims payment in cashmoney and building materials, the state persuaded them to settle not in the fortress itself, but separately - two kilometers from the outpost, thus providing the fortress with a single function - protective.
The history of the Brest Fortress did not know this beforeThe medieval settlement was demolished to its foundations, and in its place a powerful citadel with thick walls, a whole system of elevated bridges connecting three artificially created islands, with bastion forts equipped with ravelins, with an impregnable ten-meter earthen rampart, with narrow embrasures , allowing defenders to remain the most protected during the shelling.
Protective capabilities of the fortress in the 19th century
In addition to defensive structures, which, of course, play a leading role in repelling enemy attacks, the number and schooling of soldiers serving in the border fortress are also important.
The defensive strategy of the citadel was thought outarchitects to the subtleties. Otherwise, why give the ordinary soldiers' barracks the importance of the main fortification? Living in rooms with walls two meters thick, each of the servicemen was subconsciously ready to repel possible enemy attacks, literally, jumping off the bed - at any time of the day.
500 casemates of the fortress easily fit 12 000a soldier with a full set of weapons and provisions for several days. The barracks were so successfully disguised from an outsider's eye that the uninitiated could hardly have guessed their presence - they were in the thickness of that very ten-meter earthen rampart.
The architectural solution of the fortressthe inseparable connection of its structures: the towers that stood out ahead covered the main citadel from the fire, and from the forts located on the islands, it was possible to conduct purposeful fire, defending the foremost.
When the fortress was fortified by a ring of 9 forts, it became practically invulnerable: each of them could accommodate a whole soldier garrison (and this is 250 servicemen), plus 20 guns.
Brest Fortress in peacetime
In the period of tranquility on the state bordersBrest lived a measured, unhurried life. And in the city and in the fortress there was an enviable dimension, services were performed in the temples. On the territory of the fortress of the churches there were several - yet to accommodate a huge number of military one church could not have been able to.
One of the local monasteries was rebuilt into a building for meetings of officers' ranks and was called the White Palace.
But even in quiet periods of time, the fortress does notit was so easy to get into. The entrance to the "heart" of the citadel consisted of four gates. Three of them, as a symbol of their inaccessibility, were preserved by the modern Brest Fortress. The Museumbegins with the old gate: Kholm, Terespol, Northern ... Each of them was ordered to become a gateway to heaven for many of its defenders in future wars.
Equipping the fortress on the eve of World War I
During the Troubles in Europe, the fortress of Brest-Litovskremained one of the most reliable fortifications on the Russian-Polish border. The main task of the citadel is "to facilitate the freedom of action of the army and the fleet", which had no modern weapons and equipment.
Of the 871 weapons, only 34% answeredthe requirements of combat in modern conditions, the remaining guns were obsolete. Among the cannons, old samples prevailed, capable of firing at a distance of no more than 3 versts. At this time, the potential enemy had mortars and artillery systems of the 45th caliber.
In 1910 the aeronautical battalion of the fortressgot his first airship at his disposal, and in 1911 the Brest-Litovsk fortress was equipped with a special royal decree with its own radio station.
The first war of the 20th century
The First World War found the Brest Fortress for a fairly peaceful occupation - construction. Attracted peasants from nearby and distant villages actively built additional forts.
The fortress would be perfectly protected ifthe day before the military reform did not break out, as a result of which the infantry was disbanded, and the outpost lost its combat-ready garrison. At the beginning of the first world war in the Brest-Litovsk fortress, there were some militiamen who, during the retreat, were compelled to burn the most powerful and modern outposts.
But the main event of the first war of the twentieth century for the fortress was not due to military actions - the Brest Peace Treaty was signed in its walls.
Monuments of the Brest Fortresshave a different kind and character, and one of those remains this important contract for those times.
How the people learned about the exploit of Brest
Most contemporaries know Brestcitadel on the events of the first day of the treacherous attack of fascist Germany on the Soviet Union. Information about this did not appear immediately, it was made public by the Germans in a completely unexpected way: by displaying a reserved admiration for the heroism of the defenders of Brest in personal diaries, which were subsequently found and published by military journalists.
This happened in 1943-1944. Until then, the heroism of the citadel was unknown to a wide audience, and the heroes of the Brest Fortress who survived in the "meat grinder"according to the version of the highest military ranks, were considered ordinary prisoners of war, who surrendered to the enemy from cowardice.
Information that local battles were hammered inthe citadel, and in July, and even in August 1941, also did not immediately become public. But, now historians can accurately state: The Brest Fortress, which the enemy expected to take in 8 hours, held very long.
Date of the beginning of hell: June 22, 1941
Before the war, which was not expected, Brestthe fortress looked absolutely not threatening: the old earthen rampart was a donkey, overgrown with grass, on the territory - flowers and sports grounds. In the first days of June, the main regiments deployed in the fortress left it and left for summer training camps.
On the night of June 22, the outpost was practically defenseless.
The history of the Brest Fortress for all centuries is notknew still such perfidy: the pre-dawn hours of a short summer night became for its inhabitants an infernal hell. Suddenly, out of nowhere, through the fortress, artillery fire was opened, catching all unawares, and 17,000 ruthless "lads" from the Wehrmacht stormed into the outpost territory.
But neither blood, nor horror, nor death of comrades could not break and stop the heroic defenders of Brest. They fought eight days on official data. And two more months - unofficial.
The Brest Fortress was not so simple and not so fast. Defense of 1941became an omen of the whole further coursewar, and showed the enemy the ineffectiveness of his cold calculations and superweapings, which defeats the unpredictable heroism of the poorly armed but fervently loving fatherland of the Slavs.
What is the Brest Fortress silently shouting about now? The museum has preserved numerous exhibits and stones, on which it is possible to read the records of its defenders. Short phrases in one or two lines are taken for a living, touch the tears of representatives of all generations, although they sound mean, manly dry and businesslike.
Muscovites: Ivanov, Stepanchikov and Zhuntiaev kept the chronicle of this terrible period - a nail on the stone, tears in the heart. Two of them were killed, the remaining Ivanov also knew that he did not have much time left, he promised: "The last grenade remains. I will not give up alive, "and immediately asked:" Take revenge for us, comrades. "
Among the evidence that the fortress held for more than eight days, there were dates on the rock: July 20, 1941 - the most distinct of them.
In order to comprehend the significance of heroism and the fortitude of the defenders of the fortress for the whole country, it is only necessary to recall the place and date: the Brest Fortress, 1941.
Creating a memorial
For the first time after the occupation on the territory of the fortressrepresentatives of the Soviet Union (official and of the people) were able to get into 1943. Just at that time, publications of excerpts from the diaries of German soldiers and officers appeared.
Until then, Brest was a legend transmitted from the mouth inmouth on all fronts and in the rear. To give the events of the officialities, to stop all sorts of inventions (even positive ones) and to capture the feat of the Brest Fortress in the centuries, the western outpost was decided to be re-qualified as a memorial.
The realization of the idea took place severaldecades after the end of the war - in 1971. Ruins, burned and shelled walls - all this became an integral element of the exposition. The damaged buildings are unique, and they constitute the bulk of the testimony of the courage of their defenders.
In addition, the Brest Fortress Memorialfor peaceful years has acquired several thematicmonuments and obelisks of later origin, which harmoniously blended with the original ensemble of the fortress-museum and with their severity and laconism emphasized the tragedy that took place in these walls.
The Brest Fortress in Literature
The most famous and even somewhat scandalousthe work on the Brest Fortress was the book of SS Smirnov. Having met eyewitnesses and surviving participants in the protection of the citadel, the author decided to restore justice and whitewash the names of real heroes, whom the then government accused of being in German captivity.
And he succeeded, although the times were not the most democratic - in the mid-fifties of the last century.
Many helped to return to normal, notthe book "Brest Fortress" despised by fellow citizens. Photos of some of these lucky ones were widely published in the press, the names sounded on the radio. Even a series of radio broadcasts dedicated to the search for the defenders of the Brest Fortress was established.
The work of Smirnov was the saving onea thread along which, like a mythological heroine, out of the darkness of oblivion came other heroes - the defenders of Brest, the rank and file and commanders. Among them: Major Gavrilov, Commissioner Fomin, Lieutenant Semenenko, Captain Zubachev.
Brest Fortress - a monumentvalor and glory of the people, quite tangible andmaterial. A lot of mysterious legends about his fearless defenders live in the people until now. We know them in the form of literary and musical works, sometimes we meet in oral folk art.
And to live these legends in the centuries, because the feat of the Brest Fortress is worthy of being remembered in the 21st, and in the 22nd, and in the following centuries.