Lascaris War Rooms

Lascaris War Rooms

The "War Rooms"[a] is where the allied invasion of Sicily was masterminded. Blasted into the rock 150 feet beneath the surface, this was the first subterranean command post the British had ever built. The tour costs EUR 10, and I can really recommend it.

The entrance to the war room complex.

Going through the entrance tunnel.

Soon we stumble upon a secret weapon.

A typical office. There weren't that many people in the war rooms when they were used. Front commanders would come here for quick briefings and orders, but would not remain here.

In 1942, this was high-tech communications equipment. Thanks to the telephone switch, the air commanders could stay in constant contact with all the airfields on Malta and guide their planes away from threatened positions.

This is how the air component of a global war is managed. The commanders would use little clips that would attach to the board to mark the status of each squadron. I must say I am a bit surprised at this. Given the size of World War II - huge - I somehow expect everything to be to the same scale. This is a global armed conflict, for Christ's sake, you can't fight it in a tiny office with pen and paper!

The plotting table, over which the commander presided. Pieces representing flights were pushed across the table by assistants.

The flight clock. Squadrons didn't spend much time in the air. From takeoff to battle to back was on the order of seven to twelve minutes (although it probably felt longer for the person in the plane). A flight would be color-coded with the triangle closest to the minute hand when it took off. So, for example, a plane taking off now would be "yellow".

The commander's view of the room.


Pilot's equipment and a flag.

The clips used to track the status of squadrons.