WWII in real time

German armies surging east have trapped 100,000s of Red Army soldiers in a vast "kessel" (cauldron) of tanks & troops to the west of Minsk, cutting off Soviet retreat. https://t.co/AWOz0VqV6Y RealTimeWWII photo

German "Blitzkrieg" relies on swift & decisive victory, before USSR can bring man- & industrial power to bear; Hitler: "We need only kick in the door & the whole rotten structure will come crashing down."

Germans continuing breakneck charge deep into USSR- New York Times map shows invaders' route- but underestimates their speed: https://t.co/QtgIpJ9ws0 RealTimeWWII photo

Panicked NKVD, Soviet secret police, are arresting 1000s of suspected "saboteurs, spies & traitors"; 700 imprisoned today in Moscow alone.

Latvian nationalists have captured 3 towns, declared independence, & radioed advancing German troops begging help against Soviet occupiers.

London's Daily Mail newspaper cartoon on German invasion of USSR: "Forgive me comrade, but it seemed such a good opportunity!" https://t.co/XYeviBWApP RealTimeWWII photo

Stalin has created a "Stavka"- old Tsarist word for supreme army command- & demands Russians "fight for the Motherland". https://t.co/pHnxWODgXs RealTimeWWII photo

A German NCO is SS Das Reich division writes home: "My conviction is that the destruction of Russia will take no longer than that of France, & I assume I will still get my leave in August."

One Russian soldier suggests to his commander: "We should let the Germans get close & explain to them how they should embrace Communism & overthrow Hitler."

Many Germans shocked by news of invasion of Russia: propaganda minister Goebbels notes in his diary: "We must win quickly; the nation wants peace & every new adventure brings worry."

German General Reinhard: “One of our panzers got stuck in mud; without hesitation, a KV-1, the black monster, just rolled forward, crushing the tank.”

Red Army not helpless in the face of German invasion: Wehrmacht have been stopped at Dubissa river by massive KV1 heavy tanks, nicknamed “Russian colossus” & "steel beasts": https://t.co/NMxKOdBjqc RealTimeWWII photo

Only two of Pavlov's messengers, carrying vital orders to Red Army officers, have reached their destination on the front line - & are summarily shot by NKVD as "German spies".

Red Army communications severed. Front commander Pavlov must send orders via messengers in obsolete U2 biplanes- no match for Luftwaffe fighters: https://t.co/0Jf04yIFcb RealTimeWWII photo

Italy has declared war on the USSR; Mussolini, upset he wasn't warned of Operation Barbarossa more than a day in advance, privately hopes "Germany will lose many feathers in this adventure".

Estonians fleeing into the wilds to escape German invaders & await destruction of Soviets; anti-Communist partisan Juhan Jaik: "Estonia’s forest & bog are now more populated than farm & field."

Nationalist guerrillas in Estonia, Latvia, & Lithuania have risen against their Soviet occupiers- welcoming German "liberation" of Baltic states.

Politburo have ordered immediate counter-attacks by all Red Army troops close to border. Impossible: most units destroyed or fleeing, few are receiving orders from Moscow.

Vichy French have fled Damascus, leaving a deserted city- & graffiti: "Wait, dirty English bastards, 'til the Germans come- then you'll run."

Allies are victorious in Syria: Damascus, capital of Vichy French colony, falls to an army of Australian, Indian, & Free French troops: https://t.co/UkCPK1zaDs RealTimeWWII photo

Bunker 13 – RAF Blakelaw

RAF Blakelaw was a WW2 Royal Air Force Fighter command station based at what is now Kenton Bar in Newcastle Upon Tyne.

Map with waves

It’s location was chosen before September 1938 and a temporary surface station was brought into use by July 1939 to coincide with the formation of 13 group which controlled fighters north of the Humber and throughout Scotland.

The permanent underground bunker was completed and became fully operational on December 3rd 1939 at 23:59hrs.

Although the site is now surrounded by new houses the Bunker still exists and is listed grade II

 The Bunker formed part of the revolutionary air defence system devised by Dowding.

This comprised an integrated air defence system which included:

  • Radar (whose potential Dowding was among the first to appreciate).

  • Human observers (including the Royal Observer Corps), who filled crucial gaps in what radar was capable of detecting at the time (the early radar systems, for example, did not provide good information on the altitude of incoming German aircraft),

  • Raid plotting

  • Radio control of aircraft.

    The whole network was tied together, in many cases, by dedicated phone links buried sufficiently deeply to provide protection against bombing. The network had its apex (and Dowding his own headquarters) at RAF Bentley Priory, a converted country house on the outskirts of London.



Bunker13 Ltd is currently unable to arrange visits to the bunker.


Look North visit 2015

Lights! Camera! Action!

Lights! Camera! Action!

See the results of the filming here










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