Fightings within Kobrin Fortification

Nazis near North-Western Gates of the Fortress. June, 1941.

Dwelling houses of commanding staff. June, 1941.The Kobrin Fortification, the largest of the fortress islands, covers the Citadel from the north and the east. The North-West, North and East Gates in the curtain wall served as an exit points from the fortress.

The island was the area where the following units were stationed: the 125th Rifle Regiment, the 393rd Detached Anti-aircraft Artillery Battalion, the 98th Detached Anti-tank Artillery Battalion and various smaller units.

There were also the dwelling houses within the island, where more than 170 families of the Red Army officers lived.

When the war broke out, the assault group of the Wehrmacht 135th Infantry Regiment of the 45th Infantry Division burst into the western part of the Kobrin Fortification, trying to enter the Citadel.

Within the first hours of the war several separate groups of the defenders were organized here: the location of the 125th Rifle Regiment, the dNazis near barracks of 125 infantry regiment. June, 1941.welling houses, the North-East curtain wall, the North GEast Fort. June 1941.ate and the East Fort.

After the artillery barrage, the commander of the 125th Rifle Regiment, Major A.E.Dulkeyt, having organized separate sub-units, managed to lead them out of the fortress to the area of concentration. Those who remained had to withdraw to the eastern part of the island.    

Commanders who met the war in their apartments and couldn't break through to their units, together with the soldiers who had retreated from other sectors, consolidated in separate houses. Captain V.V.Shablovsky was in charge of the defence of one of them. Women and children attended to the wounded.

In the area of the eastern curtain wall the enemy assault was stopped by the soldiers of the 98th Detached Anti-tank Artillery Battalion. Only a few artillery crews, led by the commander of the battalion, Captain N.I.Nikitin, managed to break out from the fortress. The remained were organizedNazis near North-Western Gates of the Fortress. June, 1941. in a combat group by Lieutenant I.F.Akimochkin and Senior Political Instructor N.V.Nesterchuk.

At the North Gate the men of the 44th Rifle Regiment took the defence under the command of Major P.M.Gavrilov.Rodion Semenyuk (1921-1998) with the rescued by him banner of the 393rd detached anti-aircraft artillery battery.

During June 22, the resistance was so strong that the enemy had to withdraw its units by the end of the day.

On June 23, German assault groups seized the North Gate. The defenders had to retreat to the East Fort, that was the strongest centre of defence throughout the Kobrin Fortification.

Here Red Army soldiers and officers from different military units, women and children under command of Major P.M.Gavrilov launched a lasting defence.

The soldiers were divided into companies with their own commanders. Each company was responsible for a certain sector of defence. On June 30, the Fort was taken by the Nazis after a heavy air bombing. Luftwaffe bombers dived upon the Fort, dropping 500-kg bombs. One of the planes dropped a huge bomb weighing almost two tons.

Only a small group of the defenders managed to survive in the casemates of the Fort. On July 12, this group tried to break out from the fortress, yet the people perished in fighting.

On July 23 (the 32nd day of the war), Major P.M.Gavrilov entered his last fight in a caponier in the northern part of the Kobrin Fortification. Being seriously wounded and shell-shocked, he was taken POW in the fight. In 1945, having survived the captivity, he was freed. After the war Major P.M.Gavrilov was awarded the rank of the Hero of the Soviet Union (1957).

In 1956, the banner of the 393rd Detached Anti-aircraft Artillery Battalion, hidden by the Soviet soldiers during the fighting at the East Fort, was found in its casemates.

Ivan Akimochkin (1910 -1941).Nickolay Nesterchuk (1901- 1941).Pyotr Gavrilov (1900–1979).

All photos in photogallery...