WWII in real time


More French colonies join the Allies: Admiral Darlan, American-appointed "High Commissioner" of Morocco & Algeria, has negotiated peaceful surrender of French West Africa, transferring huge swath of colonial territory from Nazi-aligned Vichy government. https://t.co/JMY4FtHm69 RealTimeWWII photo

Winston Churchill: "I sympathise with General von Thoma: defeat, humiliation, annihilation and, worst of all... dinner with General Montgomery." https://t.co/GuGDXhZ1ZV RealTimeWWII photo

Celebrating Allied victory in Egypt, Gen. Montgomery invites to dinner German General Wilhelm Ritter von Thoma, commander of the Afrikakorps- captured after Axis collapse in El Alamein. https://t.co/8IMdOeSvbk RealTimeWWII photo

Hitler is unsure whether to order German troops to abandon Stalingrad & attempt to break out of Russian encirclement; Reichsmarschall Göring argues his Luftwaffe can supply the Sixth Army over winter purely by air.

British airborne agents carried sabotage equipment & wore civilian clothes under uniforms, to aid their escape after mission. Under Hitler's recent "Commando Order", all captured British have been handed over to SS for torture & execution.

British "Operation Freshman", glider-borne commando mission attempting to blow up a hydroelectric plant in Nazi-occupied Norway, has ended in disaster. Both gliders crashed & badly injured surviving troops have been captured by Germans. https://t.co/dG0abbyXi3 RealTimeWWII photo

German observer reports Romanian troops around Stalingrad: "had an expression of horror frozen on their faces- as though the very devil was snapping at their heels."

German General Paulus begs Hitler to let Sixth Army retreat & try to escape from trap of Stalingrad: "Murderous attacks on all fronts... Lack of bullets will soon render us defenceless."

Red Army encirclement has stranded 250,000 German, Romanian, & allied Russian troops in frozen territory around Stalingrad. https://t.co/NhawcYPJkc RealTimeWWII photo

Soviet soldiers embrace as two wings of the Red Army meet south of Stalingrad: pincers of Operation Uranus have closed, trapping German Sixth Army in the ruins of the city. https://t.co/JLnPDoz8ot RealTimeWWII photo

Many shellshocked Romanian forces in Caucasus are fleeing before Soviet advance; one Romanian colonel tells a German officer: "My soldiers will no longer obey me, and they will no longer die for you."

German High Command are horrified by huge Soviet assault around Stalingrad- after months of believing Red Army to be on its last legs. https://t.co/3Pq0ensKxB RealTimeWWII photo

Southern assault of Operation Uranus has begun: 500,000 Red Army men are sweeping around Stalingrad, smashing into Axis flanks north & south of the city. New York Times map shows the battlelines: https://t.co/sgYzGG8eeI RealTimeWWII photo

British troops are invading Benghazi: chasing German Army as it flees from Egypt, Allies now capture key Libyan port. https://t.co/yDEv0zz0ME RealTimeWWII photo

Henry Metelman is facing the Red Army assault in the Caucasus: "We scrambled from our beds to our guns, pulling on clothes sleep-drunk. Cold wind blew on my arse- I'd put my trousers on backwards."

Red Army tanks have punched through outnumbered & outgunned Romanian & Italian lines north of Stalingrad, taking 27,000 prisoners in one day.

Henry Metelman, with Romanian Army, is facing first shock of Operation Uranus: "All hell broke loose, an inferno of bombs; the Russians are coming!"

Soviets have deployed 900 new T-34 tanks into the Uranus assault. In last week, Germans have sent hundreds of Luftwaffe bombers west, to face Allied forces landing in North Africa. https://t.co/nCxfQ4Y29U RealTimeWWII photo

Romanian troops, guarding Axis flanks near Stalingrad, are desperately overstretched- easy prey for the Red Army's onslaught. https://t.co/G176zju97v RealTimeWWII photo

Red Army are launching Operation Uranus, a huge new offensive: colossal 500,000-man pincer movement to smash into German rear & strand the 6th Army in Stalingrad. https://t.co/A2Ho1AyDVK 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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