The Volhyn Fortification covers the Citadel from the south. At the beginning of the war two military hospitals, medical units and regimental school of the 84th Rifle Regiment were stationed within the island.
On June 22, 1941, the Volhyn Fortification became the target of the Wehrmacht artillery fire.
In the first minutes of the war the head of the Brest District Military Hospital, Medical Officer of the Second Grade B.A. Maslov, deputy head of the hospital the Battalion Commissar N.S.Bogateyev organized the evacuation of the patients and wounded from the hospital buildings to the gunpowder depots and casemates in the curtain wall. N.S. Bogateyev was killed in the hand-to-hand combat with enemy soldiers.
The border guard units and trainees of the regimental school of the 84th Rifle Regiment headed by Lieutenant M.E. Piskarev were fighting the outnumbering enemy. Their resistance was quite strong, and at midday of June 22, the enemy was forced to employ fresh forces, yet to no effect. The commander of Wehrmacht 45th Infantry Division, Major-General F. Schlieper stated in his report, «New forces reappeared after a short time, where the Russians had been driven or smoked out. They emerged from cellars, buildings, pipes and other hiding places, shooting accurately, so that our losses rose even higher».
On June 23, after an artillery bombardment the Nazis launched another offensive, resorting to a «live shield» of captured Red Army wounded and medical personnel. The offensive was repelled by a counterattack, killing many enemy soldiers.
Some of the defenders of the island managed to break through into the Citadel and continued the defence.