WWII in real time

German city of Kassel has been devastated by Royal Air Force bombing raid, with over 1800 tons of bombs causing a vast firestorm. https://t.co/D4lJQAwquO RealTimeWWII photo
The first exchange of prisoners of war between UK & Germany has begun in Sweden: most of the 4340 Allied troops released today have been captives for over 3 years. Over 3000 are seriously ill, & are being swapped for German PoWs in similar condition.
17 Allied countries have formed a new body, the United Nations War Crimes Commission, to investigate reports of Axis atrocities. https://t.co/kX5xmfhvGX RealTimeWWII photo
After pursuing retreating Axis forces across Ukraine, Red Army have reached the Dnieper river- Russians are at the gates of Kiev. https://t.co/iLMrqlmLhy RealTimeWWII photo
~110,000 people, 16,000 of them Allied prisoners of war, have died laying 258 miles of track across the Thai-Burmese border: horrific conditions including brutality from Japanese guards, sickness, & starvation. https://t.co/VRGajWc3yo RealTimeWWII photo
Japanese occupiers have opened a new railway linking Burma to Thailand, built in three years of breakneck construction by conscripted labourers & Allied prisoners of war, who call it the “Death Railway”. https://t.co/r4Ws4NAhEa RealTimeWWII photo
On Hitler’s orders, German police in Rome have arrested 1,259 Jewish Italians, for deportation to death camps in Reich. Most of the city’s 8000 Jews have fled into hiding, forewarned by friendly Italian officials.
Nazi propaganda brands those Italians who have chosen to join fight against Germans "fratricides" (kin-slayers) & shows Americans & British laughing at them. Germans still occupy most of Italy & keep over 1 million disarmed Italian soldiers as prisoners. https://t.co/C7T9Mm2UyN RealTimeWWII photo
Sobibor prisoners must cross two barbed-wire fences & run across a minefield to flee the camp, under machine-gun fire from SS & collaborator guards. ~300 Jewish escapees die in the attempt, ~150 remain behind. Just over a hundred escape into surrounding forest.
As SS begin to miss the dead officers, inmates begin their breakout, inspired by inmate Alexander Pechersky, a Jewish Soviet commissar: "Our day has come. Most of the Germans are dead. Let's die with honour. Remember, if anyone survives, he must tell the world what happened!" https://t.co/7w4nsBGfHY RealTimeWWII photo
Sobibor conspirators spend afternoon killing SS officers, incl. acting Commandant Johann Niemann. Camp's head tailor, a prisoner, asked SS-Untersturmführer to remove his pistol, to try on a leather jacket taken from a murdered Jew. Other inmates then slew the Nazi with an axe. https://t.co/JUfy5hDk6p RealTimeWWII photo
Sobibor will soon be closed; slave labourers know they will be killed, from labels found sewn inside clothes of Jewish "Sonderkommandos" of other camps: "We worked at Bełżec for one year and did not know where we would be sent next… Be aware you will be killed also! Avenge us!"
Sobibor is the fourth most deadly Nazi death camp: ~200,000 people have been killed here in last 18 months, with almost all Jewish inmates gassed on arrival. 600 are kept as slave labour, worked to death while helping to maintain camp & dispose of corpses. https://t.co/Ri4NHgPByP RealTimeWWII photo
Prisoners of Sobibor extermination camp, in German-occupied Poland, have rebelled against their Nazi guards, killing 11 SS men & staging a breakout. 300 inmates have rushed the camp wire under machine-gun fire. https://t.co/yhAaz2ilqs RealTimeWWII photo
Mussolini, now the puppet dictator of northern Italy, "rules" from small town of Salò, with a few loyal Italian troops, unable to command German forces occupying most of the country. https://t.co/wlWZMyxXC0 RealTimeWWII photo
Italian troops who have escaped capture by Germans will now march alongside Allied armies to recapture their country from the Nazis: https://t.co/RJJjlcrONw RealTimeWWII photo
One month after surrendering to Allied forces, government of Italy has switched sides & declared war on Nazi Germany, its former Axis partner. https://t.co/7JNBsVWkV0 RealTimeWWII photo
Portugal has agreed to permit bases for British warships & planes in the Azores, off Atlantic coast of Africa; despite officially being neutral between Axis & Allies, Portuguese government references 570-year-old treaty with UK, signed in 1373, to justify military bases. https://t.co/roFQbBE4R4 RealTimeWWII photo
Nazis struck on Jewish New Year, assuming Danish Jews would be praying at home. SS raids across Copenhagen have arrested ~400 people, but 1000s are in hiding or have already escaped. 90% of Denmark's Jewish population are safe. https://t.co/ZKmjCJaMgY RealTimeWWII photo
Thousands of Danish Jews have now fled to neutral Sweden to avoid arrest by the Nazis, hidden from German occupiers & smuggled out of country on fishing boats by their fellow Danes. https://t.co/hLMKYGFXEW 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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