WWII in real time


Weeks-long heatwave in Germany has turned Hamburg into the perfect site for firestorm- pillars of superheated air are feeding flames, with temperatures of 800°C, hot enough to melt steel & turn human flesh to ash. https://t.co/aNhLLt9n7q RealTimeWWII photo

German city of Hamburg has been devastated by Allied bombing: over 37,000 people have burnt to death in colossal firestorms, raging out of control across city. https://t.co/2VtVe1S9lX RealTimeWWII photo

Italians crowd into streets, destroying Fascists icons & cheering. Journalist Paolo Monelli in Rome hears: "Citizens, wake up, they arrested Mussolini, Mussolini to death, down with Fascism!' It sounded like the scream of a mute who gets his voice back after twenty years." https://t.co/cSm1t2cNUH RealTimeWWII photo

War has made "Il Duce" hugely unpopular- Italian King Victor Emmanuel has made Marshal Pietro Badoglio Mussolini's successor. Listen to radio address now: https://t.co/2oYWURYtCR https://t.co/gfEd0fst7i RealTimeWWII photo

With Allied invasion force now occupying Sicily & bombers pounding Rome, Italian government has decided to remove Mussolini & hope to exit war. King Victor Emmanuel & top Fascist generals have begged Mussolini to abandon Germany & seek separate peace.

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini has been deposed in a sudden coup by Italy's Grand Council of Fascism, & arrested, ending 21 years of his as Il Duce. https://t.co/4Rcmqu4DeV RealTimeWWII photo

Allied Operation Gomorrah air raids- named after biblical destruction of a sinful city- has left centre of Hamburg in flames. Additional firefighters are being rushed from across northern Germany to try & save city. https://t.co/aL0vy4UQMc RealTimeWWII photo

In last 12 hours, 791 bombers have hit Hamburg, killing over 1500 German civilians & blasting city centre; docks set ablaze. American planes followed last night's bombings with a daylight raid aimed at military targets. https://t.co/SnrGcPjuHJ RealTimeWWII photo

Over 400 British & Canadian planes are dropping mix of high-explosives & incendiaries on Hamburg, in new "area bombing" strategy to devastate as much of the city as possible. German firefighters & air defences can't keep up. https://t.co/mnYVgp0xIz RealTimeWWII photo

Allied air forces have launched Operation Gomorrah: a massive firebombing air raid, aiming to annihilate the German city of Hamburg. https://t.co/dMjqhzokKL RealTimeWWII photo

Yugoslavia's Communist Partisans, the most effective anti-Axis resistance force in Europe, regularly capture territory from German & Italian occupiers in pitched battle. German anti-Partisan propaganda claims Tito brings destruction to Yugoslavia (via @propagandopolis): https://t.co/uXmqmhl5F4 RealTimeWWII photo

German occupiers of Yugoslavia, fought to a standstill by guerilla resistance, have offered 100,000 Reichsmark bounty for capture of Josip Broz Tito, leader of Communist partisans. Same for fellow resistance leader, Draža Mihailović, head of ultranationalist Chetniks. https://t.co/SxTPYRmdx4 RealTimeWWII photo

In face of Allied assault, Wehrmacht on Sicily have fallen back to slopes of Mount Etna, fortifying mountain towns: https://t.co/PnlwRwLEFl RealTimeWWII photo

American, British & Canadian troops are sweeping across Sicily, more than 400,000 Allied soldiers now flooding onto island. Allies are striking towards eastern port of Catania. https://t.co/eYz9O26XIT RealTimeWWII photo

Capitalising on success in stopping German Operation Citadel, Red Army is launching a vast offensive from Kursk to the Black Sea: troops on Leningrad & Volkhov fronts join the assault. https://t.co/qxXuD7Axdh RealTimeWWII photo

German "secret weapons", new Tiger & Panther heavy tanks, are unable to turn tide against heavier numbers of Red Army tanks. Two Soviet tankists examine pierced armour of knocked-out panzer: https://t.co/ia44P60PTZ RealTimeWWII photo

Red Army troops are closing in on city of Orel in southern USSR- German attack on Kursk has turned into catastrophic clash with Soviet tanks, with Wehrmacht now forced onto the defensive.

German occupiers of Warsaw have opened a concentration camp in the ruins of city's Jewish ghetto. Based around Gestapo's Gęsiówka prison, the only building left standing in ghetto, its inmates are slave labour to search rubble for valuables & hunt for surviving Jews in hiding. https://t.co/v8bZEqXbIL RealTimeWWII photo

With Allied advance across Sicily apparently unstoppable, Hitler is mainly interested in discussing whether a German general such as Rommel can take command over remaining Italian forces. Mussolini agrees to hold the "Gustav Line" blocking way to Rome.

Hitler & Mussolini have met for an emergency council between Axis dictators to discuss Allied invasion of Sicily. Mussolini has promised Italian Fascist council to raise topic of Italy withdrawing from war, but fails to mention it.

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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