WWII in real time


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RealTimeWWII photo

British codebreakers have learned from cracked Enigma signals of planned huge German assault on Moscow- but know that informing Soviets risks revealing to the Germans that their most secret codes have been compromised.

Despite Hitler’s decision to avoid frontal assault on Leningrad, Luftwaffe have launched a massive bombing raid on encircled city; approximately 1000 Soviet civilians killed. https://t.co/rK3JWcNiLd RealTimeWWII photo

Japanese Naval College have finished its annual war games, this year planning a "hypothetical" surprise attack on US Naval base of Pearl Harbor.

"At night the surrounding ring is clear to see, illuminated by fires that light up the horizon, which here & there give the sky a wonderful yellow hue."

Soviet military journalist Yury Krymov, trapped in Ukraine, is writing a last letter to his wife: "All around, wherever you look there are German tanks or machine gun nests... it's our fourth day, within this circle of fire."

East of Kiev, 10,000s of Red Army soldiers still resist in tattered pockets, fighting without food & sometimes without bullets- just knives against the Wehrmacht.

Germans now occupying ravaged Kiev; Nazi SS murder squads are combing city for Jews & Communists, to "liquidate the Bolshevik menace". https://t.co/7VzO0z035z RealTimeWWII photo

Paris is the City of Light no more: stung by recent wave of sabotage, Nazi occupiers have ordered a curfew from 9pm-5am; any French found on streets will be arrested. https://t.co/x9iHMBNHF5 RealTimeWWII photo

British potato drive aims to save badly-needed cargo space by reducing food imports. Britons urged to sing pro-tato ditties:
"Potatoes new. Potatoes old
Potato (in a salad) cold
Enjoy them all including chips
Remembering spuds don’t come in ships" https://t.co/E3V9yyp2px
RealTimeWWII photo

As food grows scarcer in UK, Britons are being urged to eat more potatoes; government suggests recipes like mashed-potato sandwiches. https://t.co/ukaQqGqFTr RealTimeWWII photo

Luftwaffe using incendiary bombs to flush Red Army out of hiding in Russian forests; one German soldier: "That unique smell, sweet & acrid- the burnt flesh of men & horses."

With the capture of Kiev, Axis forces have crushed Red Army opposition from Baltic to Black Sea; next target is Moscow. New York Times map: https://t.co/tQTniVIuhP RealTimeWWII photo

Reza Shah, King of Iran, has been forced to abdicate the throne in favour of his son, at demand of British & Soviet invaders- despite threatening to shoot the general who suggested he surrender. https://t.co/EUrvjercTg RealTimeWWII photo

Kiev, the "Jewel of the Ukraine", is now a shattered shell, booby-trapped with thousands of landmines in bitter last act by Soviets. https://t.co/ayms8HtvCN RealTimeWWII photo

Over 500,000 Red Army troops have been trapped in the "cauldron" around Kiev- largest encirclement in military history. Wehrmacht: "Their annihilation is now in progress."

For six weeks, German bombs & artillery have smashed Kiev; Stalin's orders to trapped defenders: "Stand fast, hold out, & if need be, die." https://t.co/I9p149MXg8 RealTimeWWII photo

German troops have broken into surrounded city of Kiev- Red Army defenders, trapped by encirclement of Wehrmacht's panzers, are fighting a bitter last stand. https://t.co/FoPzWoLiIp RealTimeWWII photo

What cartoonist Theodor Geisel- better known by pen-name "Dr. Seuss"- thinks of those who argue that Jewish Americans are dragging USA to war with Germany: https://t.co/zdjqwhGOCC RealTimeWWII photo

Lindbergh: Jews, the British & Roosevelt must stop pushing US to war in Europe: "We are on the verge of war, but it is not yet too late to stay out."

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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