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.

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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