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

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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