WWII in real time

Broken remnants of Axis armies in Tunisia are being driven back by Allied armies, fleeing up the Cape Bon peninsula. https://t.co/VKRx9VYNnv RealTimeWWII photo

In a seven-day running battle in the open ocean, 43 U-boats attempted to destroy Convoy ONS-5; but despite sinking 13 ships, German losses have been catastrophic. 6 submarines, U-125, U-192, U-438, U-531, U-630 & U-638, were sunk in last 24 hours alone.

Allied Atlantic convoys are now equipped with anti-submarine tactics & a new weapons to destroy German U-boats, from long-range bomber patrols to "Hedgehog" mortars, which fires 24 charges, each loaded with enough TNT to blow a hole in a sub's hull. https://t.co/CmBXjPde8p RealTimeWWII photo

Allied convoy ONS-5, heading from Liverpool to Halifax, has decisively fought off a German submarine attack in the North Atlantic: the merchant convoy & its warship escorts has sunk 7 U-boats & seriously damaged 7 more, turning tables on Kriegsmarine "wolfpacks". https://t.co/1nVRHytiQi RealTimeWWII photo

British troops have advanced into Tunis, capturing the Tunisian capital five minutes after the American II Corps took control of Bizerte; the two remaining Axis-controlled port in North Africa are in Allied hands. https://t.co/rcMx3BcVPO RealTimeWWII photo

The unknown woman diarist in Warsaw: "Everything is engulfed in fire. It looks like the end of the world." Read her diary: https://t.co/MQZ6wuylxz

"Our emotions are terrible. Some people lie on the ground unconscious. Most vulnerable are the children. We've been through 3 days without food. All beg for help. Most of them, almost all, cry out: 'God, show your power, have mercy on us.' God... does not answer."

One young woman hiding in Warsaw's ghetto keeps her diary: "Five difficult & tragic days have passed; the bunker is now crowded since we took in 45 more."

SS forces & their Fascist auxiliaries are sacking the Jewish ghetto in German-occupied Warsaw, crushing hidden bunkers, & capturing hundreds of Jews in hiding; those not shot are sent to Treblinka concentration camp. https://t.co/G0HRs9batM RealTimeWWII photo

American, British & French armies are closing in on the last Axis holdout in North Africa; Italian & German forces are being shipped out slowly via remaining ports of Bizerte & Tunis, but Luftwaffe have withdrawn across Mediterranean, leaving Allies with complete air superiority. https://t.co/pX9R5XZ2Jj RealTimeWWII photo

British diplomats demand Spanish authorities turn over documents carried by “Major Martin”; as hoped, German intelligence are interested, & are pressuring the Fascist-aligned Spanish to let them see secret letters found in a briefcase handcuffed to the corpse. https://t.co/ZbAg0RHVvo RealTimeWWII photo

Glyndwr Michael died earlier this year after eating rat poison: now his body, dressed in a Royal Navy uniform, has been dropped off the Spanish coast by a British submarine. Attached to the corpse are faked documents suggesting the Allies plan to invade Greece (not Sicily). https://t.co/UwGBiOAhxY RealTimeWWII photo

Huelva, Spain: a funeral is held for a man who never existed: Major William Martin of British Royal Marines, body found floating off Spanish coast. In reality, it’s the corpse of a Welsh vagrant, planted by British Naval intelligence in Operation Mincemeat, a deception campaign.

Allied intelligence are desperate to divert German forces away from Sicily using any ruse available. As Churchill said during planning of “Operation Husky” landings: "Everyone but a bloody fool would know that it's Sicily.”

British have set up a fake headquarters in Cairo commanding “Twelfth Army” of nonexistent divisions, & are recruiting Greek interpreters & ordering maps of the Balkans.

Allied intelligence have begun a complex piece of deception work, Operation Barclay, to try & persuade Germans that they are planning an invasion of Greece this year; attempt to disguise real attack on Sicily.

"National War Labor Board" negotiates between employers & unions, & is supposed to forbid strikes in vital industries; but powerful UMW union has ignored President's order to return to work. More: https://t.co/4mKYbSA9qa https://t.co/KpClC2Ma2H RealTimeWWII photo

The US government has seized control of all coal mines to try & keep producing fuel during a massive labour strike. 480,000 American miners have struck, ordered by the United Mine Workers union. https://t.co/kAvhOvVp1B RealTimeWWII photo

To celebrate May Day, artist William Gropper produces poster showing soldiers of all the Allied nations dancing around an enormous maypole, their ropes strangling Hitler, Mussolini & Tojo, leaders of the main Axis powers. https://t.co/Z0gITz0cFD RealTimeWWII photo

Port Darwin, northern Australian, has been bombed: Japanese planes & Zero fighters have struck the town, wrecking its airstrip. Royal Australian Air Force, flying brand new Spitfire fighter planes, were battered by Japanese as they tried to fight off attackers. https://t.co/VKfSLJ5m1l RealTimeWWII photo

Blakelaw Filter Room

This facility was somewhat smaller than the Group Headquarters, but built to a similar pattern.
Filter rooms were the nerve centres of the UK radar system and vital to the success of Fighter and Bomber Command headquarters throughout the country. Information from Radar Stations, airfields, aircraft and ROC posts were directed into the Filter Room. From here, a dedicated and hard working team of RAF personnel collated all of the information to provide an as accurate as possible air picture to be passed onto the Operations Room where, commanders could direct aircraft resources.

The work done by the WAAF plotters of the Filter Room, the Movement Liaison Officers and the Filter Officers who were responsible for calculating and rectifying the position, and identifying the hundreds of tracks of hostile and friendly aircraft leaving and approaching the coasts of the British Isles, was vital. Working conditions were difficult; ventilation and heating were poor. Personnel had two fifteen minute periods when possible during the watch for a refreshment break. The food available varied considerably. Sandwiches of marmite and raw cabbage were a popular snack!
The requirement for the Filter Officers to have quick reactions was patently obvious. They had to sort out the correct position of the aircraft from the various overlapping Radar station plots which covered the same aircraft responses. They needed to estimate both height and number of aircraft, as well as direction from information given, having intimate knowledge of the siteing of the Radar stations involved and judging their accuracy. All of this had to be done with great speed as the aircraft themselves were constantly moving on to new positions. It was found that male Filterers, mostly well over thirty years of age were far too slow during periods of intense activity and they had to be removed from the table!
For the displayed information to be of value to the Operations Room, it had to be as up-to-date as possible. This meant that in times of the greatest activity, a Filter Officer must estimate and display accurate information on up to fifty different tracks within a minute. The mental stress and physical strain were intense under these conditions and when the personnel came off watch, whether officer or airman, tension was invariably high. Quite often however tired, sleep was impossible.
On the whole, it was amazing how few buckled under the strain. They all realised the importance of their work and it took a really major illness to prevent them from appearing for duty. However, subsequently, time has taken its toll of some amongst that small group. There have been instances of suicide, of recourse to alcohol in later years and bouts of deep depression. This is not to be wondered at when one considers that whilst filtering the tracks of the bomber squadrons on operations over Germany or plotting fighter sorties against incoming hostiles, these young women knew that their own husbands or sweethearts were amongst the aircrews. They would count with trepidation the numbers of the returning Allied aircraft.
The mixture of backgrounds amongst the members of the Filter Room officers was vast. Most of the senior male officers hailed from the Stock Market where they worked as brokers. It was an inspiration on the part of the RAF to choose these men for the positions as Controllers and Movement Liaison Officers. All personnel involved had to have quick reactions, good mathematical ability and be physically very energetic. The women chosen ranged from psychology or science students, young actresses, county debutantes, and grammar school high flyers to daughters of famous people – novelists, painters, musicians and vicars. But they were all dedicated to their work.
At approximately the same time another underground bunker was constructed. The communications bunker. All communications from airfield squadrons, aircraft and group headquarters were relayed through here before branching off into either the Filter room or direct into the Operations bunker. (The location of the Communications bunker is not known)

Information from http://www.websitedcm.com/bunker/filterroom.htm

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