WWII in real time


Weeks-long heatwave in Germany has turned Hamburg into the perfect site for firestorm- pillars of superheated air are feeding flames, with temperatures of 800°C, hot enough to melt steel & turn human flesh to ash. https://t.co/aNhLLt9n7q RealTimeWWII photo

German city of Hamburg has been devastated by Allied bombing: over 37,000 people have burnt to death in colossal firestorms, raging out of control across city. https://t.co/2VtVe1S9lX RealTimeWWII photo

Italians crowd into streets, destroying Fascists icons & cheering. Journalist Paolo Monelli in Rome hears: "Citizens, wake up, they arrested Mussolini, Mussolini to death, down with Fascism!' It sounded like the scream of a mute who gets his voice back after twenty years." https://t.co/cSm1t2cNUH RealTimeWWII photo

War has made "Il Duce" hugely unpopular- Italian King Victor Emmanuel has made Marshal Pietro Badoglio Mussolini's successor. Listen to radio address now: https://t.co/2oYWURYtCR https://t.co/gfEd0fst7i RealTimeWWII photo

With Allied invasion force now occupying Sicily & bombers pounding Rome, Italian government has decided to remove Mussolini & hope to exit war. King Victor Emmanuel & top Fascist generals have begged Mussolini to abandon Germany & seek separate peace.

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini has been deposed in a sudden coup by Italy's Grand Council of Fascism, & arrested, ending 21 years of his as Il Duce. https://t.co/4Rcmqu4DeV RealTimeWWII photo

Allied Operation Gomorrah air raids- named after biblical destruction of a sinful city- has left centre of Hamburg in flames. Additional firefighters are being rushed from across northern Germany to try & save city. https://t.co/aL0vy4UQMc RealTimeWWII photo

In last 12 hours, 791 bombers have hit Hamburg, killing over 1500 German civilians & blasting city centre; docks set ablaze. American planes followed last night's bombings with a daylight raid aimed at military targets. https://t.co/SnrGcPjuHJ RealTimeWWII photo

Over 400 British & Canadian planes are dropping mix of high-explosives & incendiaries on Hamburg, in new "area bombing" strategy to devastate as much of the city as possible. German firefighters & air defences can't keep up. https://t.co/mnYVgp0xIz RealTimeWWII photo

Allied air forces have launched Operation Gomorrah: a massive firebombing air raid, aiming to annihilate the German city of Hamburg. https://t.co/dMjqhzokKL RealTimeWWII photo

Yugoslavia's Communist Partisans, the most effective anti-Axis resistance force in Europe, regularly capture territory from German & Italian occupiers in pitched battle. German anti-Partisan propaganda claims Tito brings destruction to Yugoslavia (via @propagandopolis): https://t.co/uXmqmhl5F4 RealTimeWWII photo

German occupiers of Yugoslavia, fought to a standstill by guerilla resistance, have offered 100,000 Reichsmark bounty for capture of Josip Broz Tito, leader of Communist partisans. Same for fellow resistance leader, Draža Mihailović, head of ultranationalist Chetniks. https://t.co/SxTPYRmdx4 RealTimeWWII photo

In face of Allied assault, Wehrmacht on Sicily have fallen back to slopes of Mount Etna, fortifying mountain towns: https://t.co/PnlwRwLEFl RealTimeWWII photo

American, British & Canadian troops are sweeping across Sicily, more than 400,000 Allied soldiers now flooding onto island. Allies are striking towards eastern port of Catania. https://t.co/eYz9O26XIT RealTimeWWII photo

Capitalising on success in stopping German Operation Citadel, Red Army is launching a vast offensive from Kursk to the Black Sea: troops on Leningrad & Volkhov fronts join the assault. https://t.co/qxXuD7Axdh RealTimeWWII photo

German "secret weapons", new Tiger & Panther heavy tanks, are unable to turn tide against heavier numbers of Red Army tanks. Two Soviet tankists examine pierced armour of knocked-out panzer: https://t.co/ia44P60PTZ RealTimeWWII photo

Red Army troops are closing in on city of Orel in southern USSR- German attack on Kursk has turned into catastrophic clash with Soviet tanks, with Wehrmacht now forced onto the defensive.

German occupiers of Warsaw have opened a concentration camp in the ruins of city's Jewish ghetto. Based around Gestapo's Gęsiówka prison, the only building left standing in ghetto, its inmates are slave labour to search rubble for valuables & hunt for surviving Jews in hiding. https://t.co/v8bZEqXbIL RealTimeWWII photo

With Allied advance across Sicily apparently unstoppable, Hitler is mainly interested in discussing whether a German general such as Rommel can take command over remaining Italian forces. Mussolini agrees to hold the "Gustav Line" blocking way to Rome.

Hitler & Mussolini have met for an emergency council between Axis dictators to discuss Allied invasion of Sicily. Mussolini has promised Italian Fascist council to raise topic of Italy withdrawing from war, but fails to mention it.

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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