WWII in real time

Images of female factory workers have become shorthand for ever-growing mobilisation of USA for war; like this "We Can Do It!" poster by Pittsburgh artist J. Howard Miller, created to encourage workers at the Westinghouse Company. It was only on display for two weeks, last month. https://t.co/jirgWj9oqU RealTimeWWII photo

Up to five million women across the USA have joined war industry, taking opportunities for factory work left vacant by men joining military- including rare chances for black women to get well-paying jobs. https://t.co/DmxQQAEBP0 RealTimeWWII photo

Over 300,000 women are now working in American aircraft industry, 65% of the industry’s total workforce- up from under 1% before USA joined the war. Like this Texan turret lathe operator building transport planes: https://t.co/hiCVgfFStP RealTimeWWII photo

LIFE magazine features American female factory workers, replacing men on the front line of US industry; like Florence “Woo Woo” DiTullio Joyce, one of 2000 "Winnie the Welders" working in the war effort. https://t.co/zugkZAXrl6 RealTimeWWII photo

To help confuse night-flying Allied bombers, Germans have built the Kruppsche Nachtscheinanlage, a decoy 6 miles away from real site, with dummy industrial buildings lit like a poorly disguised steelworks. 64-75% of British bombs hit the fake factory.

442 Royal Air Force aircraft have raided Essen, targeting the Krupp steel works. Only 153 planes dropped their bombs within three miles of the target- usual poor accuracy for British "strategic bombing". https://t.co/a5DTMYOWwl RealTimeWWII photo

British Bomber Command has launched the "Battle of the Ruhr", planning strategic air raids to cripple German industry in the Ruhr Valley. First target: Essen. New York Times map shows the Allied bombing targets in Europe since start of this year: https://t.co/GQYwUnhCV9 RealTimeWWII photo

Indian independence campaigner Mohandas Gandhi has ended a 21-day hunger strike in British captivity, protesting his arbitrary detention by the colonial Raj government. He drank a glass of fruit juice. https://t.co/ryhyk4ZYKt RealTimeWWII photo

Polish government-in-exile, in London, for the first time reports evidence of a Nazi "murder camp" at Auschwitz, German-occupied Poland, executing Polish dissidents & Jews.

15th annual Academy Awards ceremony has been held in Los Angeles, USA; strong wartime flavour to this year's Oscars. Winner of Outstanding Motion Picture, Best Director & Actress is "Mrs. Miniver", drama about a British housewife during the Blitz: https://t.co/i8R3egMpyt

Stalin promotes himself to Marshal of the Soviet Union; Communist Party newspaper Pravda declare him to be the "greatest strategist of all times & all peoples." https://t.co/pkpawuotqq RealTimeWWII photo

Brilliant counterattacks by German Afrikakorps under command of Rommel have slowed the Allied advance into Tunisia- but now American, British & French are closing in: https://t.co/ho4dXWwb3Z RealTimeWWII photo

Mareth Line- built by French colonial government of Tunisia as the "African Maginot Line", & captured intact by Germans- stretches across the rocky Tunis desert in a network of trenches & bunkers: https://t.co/iyHhQJL4X5 RealTimeWWII photo

In Tunisia, Allied advance has trapped German & Italian forces with their backs against the Mediterranean- British troops are closing on Axis defences of Mareth Line. https://t.co/mJRo7froZa RealTimeWWII photo

Cameras on Australian Air Force planes record “smashing of the Bismarck convoy” in an Allied propaganda coup (although they overestimate 22 . Japanese ships destroyed). Watch now: https://t.co/l3rObHYEn4

Battle of Bismarck Sea ends after three days of relentless Allied air attack on Japanese troop convoy headed for New Guinea. 12 Japanese ships sunk, more damaged, ~3000 troops killed, attempt to reinforce South Pacific outposts a failure. 6 US & Australian planes shot down. https://t.co/fn6mw7zixU RealTimeWWII photo

Stalin ordered Vlasov not to withdraw his Second Shock Army when Axis forces threatened to surround them near Leningrad; Vlasov refused to be evacuated away from his men, but now condemns "Stalin's disregard for the life of the Russian people." https://t.co/hanSc3aLji RealTimeWWII photo

Soviet General Andrey Vlasov, captured by Germans last year after his troops were encircled, has defected to the Nazis. He's published an open letter, "Why Have I Taken Up the Struggle Against Bolshevism", urging Russians to rise against Stalin. https://t.co/Qu8VZgZjqZ RealTimeWWII photo

Dr. Martin has been ordered to complete silence, as British government censors news of the disaster, for fear of inspiring German attacks- or embarrassment at admitting the death toll. More: https://t.co/8OLnxPooMk

Dr. Joan Martin treats victims from Bethnal Green: "The first wet, mauve, body was carried into the hospital. Wet, because when they pulled the bodies from the shelter all they did was to dump them on the pavement & throw water on them. Mauve, because they were all asphyxiated."

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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