WWII in real time


Constant shellfire churns Stalingrad's earth to dust; Russian journalist Vasily Grossman watches as "corpses jump high in air, buried again as they fall."

If Wehrmacht can hold the blood-drenched hill, their artillery will dominate Stalingrad & smash Soviet reinforcements as they're ferried across Volga.

Battle rages for Mamayev Kurgan hill, the high ground overlooking Stalingrad- Red Army & Germans swap control of the summit almost daily. https://t.co/EhAAD9ZYo0 RealTimeWWII photo

British, South African, & black King's African Rifles troops have fought for four months to beat Vichy French & African soldiers in Madagascar. https://t.co/h1AbI31dRQ RealTimeWWII photo

British troops are now occupying Tananarive, capital of Madagascar- Allied forces claim "peaceful intent" as they take control of the French colony. https://t.co/lHd8Gfho6m RealTimeWWII photo

Halder: "Farewell to the Führer. My nerves are worn out, his too". Hitler now demands "fanatical faith in the Idea" from all the German General Staff. https://t.co/xvW50r0LK8 RealTimeWWII photo

General Halder's most recent "defeatist" act that enraged Hitler was calculating total German casualties in USSR so far. 1,637,280 killed, missing, or wounded. https://t.co/LvoAK6QNd8 RealTimeWWII photo

Adolf Hitler has had an explosive break with German High Command, sacking his Chief of General Staff Franz Halder, for "pessimism" over the military situation in USSR: https://t.co/zHH3gsagZ2 RealTimeWWII photo

Wehrmacht have stormed a landing stage on the Volga & seized the riverbank in centre of Stalingrad- city's Soviet defences are now cut in two by Germans.

Stalingrad's Tsarita Gorge, cutting west from the river Volga, is now the only part of the city not choked with rubble from smasher buildings- turning it into a potential route to the river for the Germans, & a fierce battleground: https://t.co/SxGPX7cWLA RealTimeWWII photo

American Superfortress bomber has been in design since 1939, aiming for an operational range of 2,667 miles: allowing USA to bomb Nazi Europe if Britain fell to Germans. In theory, B-29 can fly higher (31,850ft) & faster (350mph) than almost any Axis fighter plane. https://t.co/UfWy7SBsda RealTimeWWII photo

The world's largest bomber has made its first test flight: Boeing B-29 "Superfortress" can carry its own weight, 20,000lbs, in bombs. https://t.co/2N7lVhYG0R RealTimeWWII photo

Japanese troops in Papua New Guinea are starving & diseased- 10 die to malaria for every 1 shot by Australians. Supplies must be carried by hand along 60 mile jungle track.

Japanese invaders of Guinea are now just 25 miles off Port Moresby, crucial gateway to north Australia; Aussies are throwing in all available troops.

Andrei Khozyainov, Soviet soldioer in Stalingrad: "Little ammo, no water. Heat, thirst, smoke. We have to piss in the machineguns to keep the barrels cool."

Improvised stronghold in Stalingrad’s grain elevator defies German infantry charges & artillery shelling; the stored corn within has caught fire. https://t.co/gH5yTQdLPl RealTimeWWII photo

Stalingrad's civic monuments have become fortresses- a few dozen Red Army men hold out in the city's concrete grain elevator. https://t.co/mljMURk0ga RealTimeWWII photo

Chuikov: "Most of the divisional commanders didn’t really want to die in Stalingrad. The second something went wrong, they’d start saying: 'Permit me to cross the Volga.' I would yell 'I’m still here' & send a telegram: 'One step back and I’ll shoot you!'"

Chuikov has sited his command post on the west bank of the Volga, close to front line, ferociously enforcing Stalin's order "Not one step back!" & denying his officers permission to retreat.

Red Army General Vasily Chuikov is newly appointed commander of forces in Stalingrad, leading shattered remnants of two Soviet Armies: "I understand my orders just fine... I’ll either keep them out of Stalingrad or die trying." https://t.co/zLDpIXjdAm RealTimeWWII photo

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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