WWII in real time


Constant shellfire churns Stalingrad's earth to dust; Russian journalist Vasily Grossman watches as "corpses jump high in air, buried again as they fall."

If Wehrmacht can hold the blood-drenched hill, their artillery will dominate Stalingrad & smash Soviet reinforcements as they're ferried across Volga.

Battle rages for Mamayev Kurgan hill, the high ground overlooking Stalingrad- Red Army & Germans swap control of the summit almost daily. https://t.co/EhAAD9ZYo0 RealTimeWWII photo

British, South African, & black King's African Rifles troops have fought for four months to beat Vichy French & African soldiers in Madagascar. https://t.co/h1AbI31dRQ RealTimeWWII photo

British troops are now occupying Tananarive, capital of Madagascar- Allied forces claim "peaceful intent" as they take control of the French colony. https://t.co/lHd8Gfho6m RealTimeWWII photo

Halder: "Farewell to the Führer. My nerves are worn out, his too". Hitler now demands "fanatical faith in the Idea" from all the German General Staff. https://t.co/xvW50r0LK8 RealTimeWWII photo

General Halder's most recent "defeatist" act that enraged Hitler was calculating total German casualties in USSR so far. 1,637,280 killed, missing, or wounded. https://t.co/LvoAK6QNd8 RealTimeWWII photo

Adolf Hitler has had an explosive break with German High Command, sacking his Chief of General Staff Franz Halder, for "pessimism" over the military situation in USSR: https://t.co/zHH3gsagZ2 RealTimeWWII photo

Wehrmacht have stormed a landing stage on the Volga & seized the riverbank in centre of Stalingrad- city's Soviet defences are now cut in two by Germans.

Stalingrad's Tsarita Gorge, cutting west from the river Volga, is now the only part of the city not choked with rubble from smasher buildings- turning it into a potential route to the river for the Germans, & a fierce battleground: https://t.co/SxGPX7cWLA RealTimeWWII photo

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

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 

4 Responses to The Preservation Group

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Our Twitter Feed

Donate

Help Preserve The Bunker