The Battle of Brest was a WWII military engagement that took place in the French city of Brest, from August 7, 1944, to September 19, 1944. It was one of the most intense and ferocious urban battles of WWII. It was fought between four US Third Army’s VIII Corps, under General Troy H Middleton, and three German infantry divisions, commanded by Hermann-Bernhard Ramcke. Since Brest was a city port, lying in Britanny, which is relatively close to Normandy, where the Allies had landed on June 6, it was a strategically very important objective, for the Allies needed deep water ports on which to land all the military supplies for the troops fighting the Germans.
Having surrounded the city, elements of US VIII Corps attacked the German positions on the outskirts of Brest on August 7. Then, with air support provided by American P-51 and P-47 aircraft, they moved slowly along the streets, hugging the building walls. Despite being heavily outnumbered, the German paratroopers, who made up the core of the defending forces, fought ferociouly, making the Americans pay for every yard they advanced. Several US Sherman tanks and M18 tank-destroyers were destroyed by German anti-tank weapons, such as the Panzerschreck and Panzerfaust. Although many German regular units surrendered to the Allies in the first ten days of fighting, the German paratroopers, who were deployed in strong reinforced concrete frotresses, managed to hold the Americnas off for about five weeks. Finally, on September 19, the German commander, Hermann-Bernhard Ramcke surrendered the city to the US forces, but Wehrmacht’s demolition teams had already destroyed the port facilities.
Units that took part in the battle
Germans: 2nd Fallschirmjäger (paratroopers) Div, 266th Infantry Div, 344th Infantry Div
Americans: 2nd Ranger Battalion, 2nd Infantry Div, 8th Infantry Div, 29th Infantry Div (VIII Corps, US Third Army)
German: Panzerschreck, Raketenwerfer 43, Panzerfaust, Granatwerfer 34, MG34 and MG42 machine guns, AA Flak guns, 75mm and 150mm infantry guns, etc.
American: P-51 Mustang and P-47 Thunderbolt fighter/attack aircraft, Sherman tank, M18 tank-destroyer, M7 Priest 105mm self-propelled gun, and 105mm M2A1 howitzer,