WWII in real time


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

Volga River is now a killing ground for Luftwaffe bombers- Red Army troops cross on slow, defenceless ferries, even rowboats, through a gauntlet of falling shells & strafing bullets. https://t.co/fyhYsmjSMC RealTimeWWII photo

Battle for the centre of Stalingrad is still raging- Soviets are hurling troops into city, trying to keep their fragile grip on the west bank of river Volga. https://t.co/KMPyLOBfFi RealTimeWWII photo

German "Laconia Order" tells submariners: "Stay hard! The enemy doesn't save women & children when bombing our towns". https://t.co/sgdorbz22b

German Grand Admiral Dönitz, shocked by American bombing of U-boats carrying Allied survivors, orders submarine captains to abandon torpedoed ships, rather than try to rescue or give supplies.

As American bombs & bullets rip into survivors cowering on exposed deck, German U-boats are forced to crash-dive, fleeing US attack- leaving hundreds shipwrecked from Laconia adrift in Atlantic. https://t.co/VUxaLy5NuC RealTimeWWII photo

An American B-24 "Liberator" bomber spots two German submarines on a rescue mission, their decks crammed with British & Italian survivors of wrecked ship. Under radio orders, the US plane attacks the U-boats. https://t.co/EFeP8GPLjY RealTimeWWII photo

Immediately after sinking the Allied ship, German submarine U-156 scrambles to save Laconia's survivors, loading hundreds onto the U-boat's foredeck & radioing nearby Axis ships for a rescue mission. https://t.co/FzAEdwqwLS RealTimeWWII photo

A German U-boat has torpedoed & sunk British troopship RMS Laconia in the Atlantic, with over 2500 people onboard- 1793 of them are Italian prisoners of war. https://t.co/PkUcYhSz9C RealTimeWWII photo

An attempted Allied amphibious assault on Libya has ended in disaster: 750 British, New Zealand & Rhodesian soldiers dead or captured in North Africa after trying to land at Axis ports of Benghazi & Tobruk.

Stalingrad: In last 24 hours, Red Army have suffered 30% casualties in desperate counterattacks to try & keep German forces from reaching the River Volga.

Cold War Use

The life-span of the Regional War Rooms appears to have been quite short, though details are unknown. By the time that most of the purpose-built structures were nearing completion in 1955-6, the advent of nuclear weapons had led to an enormous change in the perception of the threat posed by the Soviet Union, and the needs of Civil Defence. The threat now was of complete breakdown of central government with the Regional War Rooms being superseded by Regional Seats of Government (RSG), fully autonomous regional command centres, hardened against nuclear attack.
Some of the purpose built Regional War Rooms were adapted as RSG’s, but this was not the case with Kenton Bar which did not have the room for expansion required for the increased number of staff. The exact date of closure of the regional war room is uncertain although it is thought that most of these facilities had been supplanted by RSG’s by around 1960.

After its use as a war room ceased it was used as a training centre for RSG and later Sub Regional Control staff in Region 1. The presence of materials related to Exercise ARCADE (ROC run exercise) confirms the continued use of the bunker. Sub regional control units were on a smaller scale than RSG’s meaning the Kenton Bunker could have been used. However; it was deemed too near the City centre target area for use as War HQ for the Newcastle Sub Region, remaining dormant with occasional staff training until about 1965, after that date it was used for storage for the government offices on site.

In 1968 it was considered for use as a temporary Sub Regional Control until a purpose built one could be built in Hexham however nothing came of this. It remained in use until the stand down of Civil Defence in 1968 after which date it was retained on care and maintenance as the County Borough War HQ. In the 1971 Home Defence Review it was still officially performing this role and in 1974 it was transferred to Tyne & Wear County council. The newly formed Newcastle District Council officially designated it as their war HQ but nothing was done to it due to the Council’s extreme left wing policy on Civil Defence and their refusal to pay rent to the Home Office. They instead used the sub basement of Sunderland Civic Centre letting Kenton Bunker remain dormant. Later in 1982 the Sub Control in Heaton was designated as Main War HQ.
In 1986 Tyne and Wear County was abolished and the newly formed Tyne and Wear Fire and Civil Defence Authority wanted to turn the filter room into a modern emergency centre, a scheme that was halted by the end of the cold war in 1989.

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