OPERATION COBRA - BREST, FRANCE
The Battle for Brest was one of the fiercest battles fought during Operation Cobra, the Allied breakout of Normandy which began on 27 July 1944, during the Battle of Normandy during World War II. Brest was surrounded and eventually stormed by the U.S. VIII Corps. The fight proved extremely difficult, as the German garrison was well entrenched and partially made up of elite Fallschirmjäger (paratroopers) forces. Festung Brest ("Fortress Brest") was under the command of General der Fallschirmtruppe Hermann-Bernhard Ramcke, a paratroop veteran of the Afrika Korps.
General Ramcke eventually surrendered the city on 19 September 1944 to the Americans after rendering useless the port facilities. When U.S. Brigadier General Charles Canham arrived to accept his surrender, General Ramcke asked the lower-ranking man to show his credentials. Canham pointed to his nearby troops and said "These are my credentials". Canham was at the time the deputy commander of the U.S. 8th Infantry Division, and that phrase has become the division's motto.