WWII in real time


Italians use Enigma cipher machines, gifts from their German allies, making their signals "impossible to decrypt"- so they believe.

Codebreakers at Britain's Bletchley Park have cracked a single signal from Italian Navy- three days to a major attack. Working flat-out to decode more & discover location.

Göring: Now that British bombers are "targeting national monuments", Luftwaffe will do same. "I wouldn't give 2 pfennigs for the Houses of Parliament."

Berlin bombed overnight, for the first time this year: 48 Royal Air Force planes hit city centre, but missed their targets, the rail depots- hit Reichstag & museums instead.

Greek counter-attacks have forced Italians to retreat back into no-man's-land- where their own artillery is mistakenly shelling them.

Italian forces in Albania making a desperate night attack, charging Greek trenches with bayonets in last-ditch attempt to break their lines.

German advance beginning in Libya- Rommel's Afrikakorps forces have captured El Agheila. British troops wrecked 1 German armoured car, then abandoned town.

4 Yugoslavian Cabinet Ministers have resigned over Hitler's ultimatum to join "Axis" - & warn government of anti-German revolution brewing.

Menzies on Churchill: "He's a great one for detail- but his real tyrant is the glittering phrase, so attractive to his mind that awkward facts have to give way."

Australian Prime Minister Menzies in London, to discuss Australian troops fighting in Greece & Africa; records Winston Churchill "positively enjoys the war."

Nazi-issued postcards- to be sent to family in Vichy France- have no blank space, just phrases to be circled: sick, no news, send food etc.

After 9 months of Nazi occupation, inhabitants of northern France are still banned from sending sealed letters south. Only German-issued postcards allowed.

King has requested a national day of prayer in UK today. George Orwell: "Appalled by the jingoism & self-righteousness of the whole thing": https://t.co/Q6Geh0YrDb

Anti-German demonstrations flaring across Balkans- angry Yugoslavians protesting Hitler's ultimatum to join Axis & admit Wehrmacht troops.

Pope cancelling usual lavish Easter service in St. Peter's Square- "war is not a time for great gatherings". His Holiness will instead say Mass in a private chapel.

French refugee turned firefighter André Savignon, in Plymouth: "This town is wasting away in reddish trails of smoke; most citizens now lie, all their distress ended, under the ruins."

Plymouth was bombed again last night- 284 people now dead, thousands homeless. British air defences brought down 2 German planes out of over 100. https://t.co/7yoFiAH4zN RealTimeWWII photo

Soviet Military Intelligence Chief Golikov reassures Stalin: "while Britain remains undefeated, Hitler will never attack the USSR."

Italian Army Chaplains again asking Greeks in Albania for ceasefire, to bury Italian dead covering slopes of Monastery Hill. Greeks refuse, demand a full armistice.

Celebrity aviator & isolationist Colonel Lindbergh says USA cannot enter the war: "We have less military aircraft than Germany produces in one week."

History

The bunker was built in 1938 – 1939 at what was Kenton Quarry, and under the Dowding System of air defence became the headquarters of No 13 Group Fighter Command, which stretched from Humberside to The north of Scotland, including Northern Ireland.

Commanded by Air Vice-Marshal Richard Saul, the bunker was a typical MOD design of the time, with everything centred around a two storey high operations room complete with curved glass observation posts above a plotting table. There was also a plant room that enabled the circulating air to be filtered, and indeed the ventilation system is still intact.

The bunkers’ day in history came on the 15th August 1940 when around midday the controller sitting high above the plotting table realised that the north east coast was under attack by a cavalcade of German fighter bombers from Luftflotte 5. Scrambling fighters from sector airfields around the North east and further afield, the Germans were sufficiently repulsed and never mounted a daylight attack again over the north east.

Around the end of 1940, bunkers known as Group Filter Rooms were built near each Group HQ bunker to filter out the important information. So the site at Kenton Bar had a sister bunker built (of different layout) at what are now the Blakelaw flats just off Blakelaw Road. The Filter bunker  housed the local Sea Cadets and was thought for many years to be the 13 Group HQ. It is now mothballed and the entrances sealed

When the decision was taken to build the filter bunker, the area that 13 Group covered was reduced, and No 14 Group was formed at Inverness to cover the area north of Montrose. In 1943, the bunker was decommissioned as 13 Group HQ, with No 12 Group taking over responsibility for the area. For the rest of the war it was used for teleprinter and communications work.

uk map with groups1

After the famous Yalta Conference (attended by Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt) in February 1945, the political and geographic map of Europe was changed considerably. The Cold War had begun.

The bunker was used for civil defence meetings at this time in case of Nuclear attack, though I doubt that it would have protected the occupants completely.

The Department of Social Security buildings were built in 1948-49 and Demolished in 2005. They have been replaced by a housing estate.

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