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

The Preservation Group

About us and our Plans

Bunker 13 initially met in 2007/8. We are a group of like-minded people who formed a group together to protect the bunker as it is an extremely important historic building having significant roles in WW2 and used during the Cold War also. The bunker was and is at risk as a vacant building. A target for vandals and other criminal activity. Our challenge was to find a new use for the bunker that preserved and celebrated its past while having a minimal effect on the residents living around the bunker.

We have devised a plan which we think will work for all concerned as it will relieve the residents from the burden of being responsible for the maintenance of an empty Grade 2 listed building which they cannot use. While ensuring the bunker is preserved for future generations having a new active role educating and enriching lives with the bunker experience. No one who has visited the bunker even in its current empty state leaves feeling anything other than enthralled and amazed it still exists and is sitting empty wasting away.

The project has many challenges.

1)The bunkers position in the centre of a residential development.

2)The buildings condition which, although good for a war time structure that has been neglected for many years,  will need a lot of restoration work and updating to make it safe and usable again for access by the general public.

3) Restoration costs a lot of money so making the aims and objectives of the project fit the criteria necessary to be eligible for funding by various funding sources such as Heritage Lottery, Historic England, Architectural Heritage Trust etc.

4) Untangling the mine field of ownership / lease of the building which is extremely complex due to Taylor Wimpey who built the housing development having set up a framework which created a means to fund maintenance on the bunker in perpetuity tying the residents financially to the bunker.

For the bunker to be eligible for the sort of level of funding required to restore the building it has to have a new purpose and be an asset serving the community once more. A chance encounter outside the front of the bunker with a group of youths early in the formation of Bunker 13 sparked the idea of the bunker being an Educational resource. The group had entered the Central Grange estate intent on breaking into the bunker to use the building as a play den as they had done on a number of occasions previously while the development was still an active building site. We were confronted by the gang who asked various questions about the building which informed us that we had in front of us the perpetrators of numerous break ins to the bunker. However when we spent time with them educating them of the buildings original use and importance the gangs attitude changed from hostility at our re-securing the building to one of genuine interest asking if they could help in the restoration and from that day forward the break ins stopped.

Our plan is to open the bunker as an educational resource to teach children about various different aspects of WW2 and the Cold War as the bunker had a use in both era’s informing of the bunkers history and the wars in general making it invaluable to schools as these eras are part of the national curriculum. This qualifies the building for multi streams of funding. The next problem is how to do this when the building is in the centre of a residential development. Our plan is set out below in order.

  1. Obtain funding for initial phase of feasibility studies/building surveys to quantify costs and to obtain a lease/freehold value for the bunker.
  2. Negotiate lease or freehold of the bunker.
  3. Restore and fit out the bunker for educational visits and occasional public visits.

Maintaining the Residential Environment

All of the plans to restore and repurpose the bunker have to be done with the residents of Central Grange in mind and involved to ensure we keep impact on them to a minimum while benefiting the residents by removing the financial burden of the bunker from their shoulders. To do this logistics and planning are key and however our plans are simple.

  1. All access to the bunker will only be by in advance pre booking. No one will be admitted without prior booking to stop unwanted foot fall of people onto Central Grange.
  2. All access to the bunker and Central Grange will be via the bunker bus. Which will drop off outside the bunker no loitering straight into the bunker. Whilst in the bunker the bus will leave site only returning at the pre set time to pick up visitors directly after their time-controlled visit. The bus then leaves site. We estimate 3 bus tours per day maximum.
  3. In the main this will be during school term time and only between the hours of 9.00am >4.00pm. Minimising the impact of the bunker being active.

The above plans will mean that even if you live in front of the bunker entrance you will not see activity involving people entering the bunker if your working hours are 9am>5pm.

To also enhance the appearance of the bunker we will ensure the guard houses are painted and well maintained the current temporary but aesthetically ugly security grills will be a thing of the past and we will sympathetically plant shrubs to mask the disused mast bases behind the main guard house. We will also remove the cattle fencing around the various air vents, make sure they are properly maintained and find a better way to protect them which is pleasing on the eye if possible.

We will always consult with the residents and make changes where required.

Bunker 13 

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