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B90 - A new airfield in northern Limburg

 

As the Allies push back the German forces in 1944, their respective air forces have to keep up with the ground troops advancing since Normandy to provide the necessary air support. Dozens of new airfields are constructed as close to the front lines as possible. After the failed Operation Market Garden, the Allied Commanders decide to concentrate their efforts on trying to cross the river Rhine to the east. It is decided that the 12th and 30th British Corps will cross at Wesel. The American forces will cross at Remagen. To support Operation Plunder; the crossing at Wesel, a temporary airfield must be constructed close to the frontline.
December 1944, the 16th Airfield Construction Group, Royal Engineers (GB) starts the construction of a temporary airfield on a predetermined location outside the village of 'Petit-Broghel' (Kleine-Brogel). Its infrastructure should include a landing strip, taxi tracks and aircraft revetments, fully constructed with PSP (Pierced Steel Planking). This airfield is given the codename B90 (B for British, American airfields get the prefix A). The runway lies on exactly the same position as today’s but is half as long, about 1500 meters.

 

Kleine-Brogel how it all started

 

 

March 1, 1945 the 127th Wing (83rd Group, 2th TAF) touch down. Four Canadian squadrons: 403, 416, 421 and 443 SQN, equipped with Spitfire XVIE. The Wing Commander is the famous ace Johnnie Johnson. March 7, 1945, they are joined by the Canadian 39th Recce Wing with 2 squadrons Spitfire FR.XIV: 414 and 430 SQN and 1 squadron equipped with Spitfire PR.XI: 400 SQN. In total 7 squadrons with almost 200 Spitfires. Their most important achievement during their stay at Kleine-Brogel happens March 23, 24 and 25  1945 when they deliver air support to the troops as they cross the Rhine river at Wezel during Operation Plunder.

April 1945, the Spitfires leave Kleine-Brogel for Germany. The base stays in Canadian hands until October 1945.