WWII in real time


Damage has slowed Bismarck: she can no longer, as Germans once boasted: "outgun any ship that outruns her & outrun anything that outguns her."

German paratroopers have fought their way into Galatas town, pushing Allies out in a brutal house-by-house melee; "These New Zealanders fight like bulldogs!" https://t.co/yZTcz4Wkhs RealTimeWWII photo

Ever-stronger German forces on Crete are staging all-out assault on Galatas, a crucial Allied strongpoint; Luftwaffe have smashed New Zealanders' defenses. https://t.co/aSoMmvDQlA RealTimeWWII photo

100 German troop-trains now head east every day, carrying huge force of 3.2 million soldiers into occupied Poland- right up to the German-Soviet border.

Battleship Bismarck hasn't escaped unscathed from sinking HMS Hood yesterday: she took 3 shell hits, now leaking oil & fleeing for safe port.

Vast explosion: HMS Hood has been blown in two. Of 1,418 crew, there are just 3 survivors, Ted Briggs one of them. Battleship Bismarck has her first kill. https://t.co/siaIm5LwRw RealTimeWWII photo

HMS Hood's ammunition is on fire; Ted Briggs: "shrapnel has made the upper decks a charnel-house; screams of the maimed are a strident chorus." https://t.co/ctUJfDAg8m RealTimeWWII photo

Hood- pride of the Navy- is being torn apart by her "prey", the Bismarck; seaman Ted Briggs, onboard: "Screams of dying emit from the voice-pipes to the lower decks."

HMS Hood opens fire- at the wrong ship, Bismarck's escort "Prince Eugen"; Bismarck retaliates: huge broadside at HMS Hood, smashing into British ship's weak deck armour. https://t.co/9DGjfvLfsu RealTimeWWII photo

Battlecruiser HMS Hood is the largest, heaviest warship in the world, & HMS Prince George is newly-commissioned battleship- so new she still has shipyard crew working below decks. https://t.co/iLexi0If3O RealTimeWWII photo

Two of the British warships hunting German battleship Bismarck has spotted their target off the coast of Iceland. HMS Hood & HMS Prince of Wales are moving in to attack. https://t.co/4Lkmb1NAD5 RealTimeWWII photo

GS1's announcer, German refugee turned British spy Peter Seckelmann, denouncing "flat-footed drunken old cigar-smoking Jew, Churchill!" He goes on to praise Hitler but attack "decadent" Nazi bureaucrats.

British Intelligence have started a "black propaganda" radio station, Gustav Siegfried Eins, who claim to be patriotic Germans hidden in the Reich. The presenter is insulting Winston Churchill to establish credibility.

"Here & there among the Germans lies a dead Englishman. All alike, every nationality, have turned black from the burning heat, thick with fat flies."

German advance in Crete finds scenes of slaughter; Luftwaffe officer Walter Gerick: "Dead parachutists hang in olive trees, swinging gently in breeze." https://t.co/S7D7GPhrlw RealTimeWWII photo

Despite dreadful losses, Churchill orders Royal Navy to stay at Crete: "Loss of half the Mediterranean fleet would be worthwhile to save Crete."

Allied forces are retreating in Crete, before a tide of freshly airdropped German soldiers- they're abandoning west of island to Wehrmacht.

Richthofen: "My pilots are giving triumphant shouts of joy. We've finally shown that a fleet in range of the Luftwaffe cannot hold the sea."

Luftwaffe commander Wolfram Von Richthofen: "The British take hit after hit. Ships burn & some flee, trailing oil, to escape this hell."

Luftwaffe are back in the skies over Crete, doing horrific damage to Royal Navy guarding island; two more Royal Navy destroyers, HMS Kelly & HMS Kashmir, sunk with 100s dead. https://t.co/dYu6i5nDhA 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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