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.

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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