Spitfires fly beer support operations into France

Wars are fought by young men and young men (some of whom) like beer — a point not lost on Henty and Constable Brewing Company of Chichester, England. Immediately following the Normandy Invasion on June 6, 1944 Henty and Constable offered free beer to the troops in France. It was their way of saying thanks, quelling the thirst of British and Allied military personnel and doing their part in the war effort — not to mention recruiting future beer drinkers. Unfortunately, logistics at the time were chaotic. Men and materials were pouring into France to fight the Nazis and wounded personnel and damaged equipment was being sent back to the UK. There was no obvious way to get beer across the English Channel to the struggling British and Allied troops and Air Force personnel.

Air Force aircrew and ground crew enjoy a beer as much as any soldier. The brilliant and thirsty minds of the Royal Air Force (RAF), Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and the Polish and Norwegian Squadrons in the RAF put their heads together to solve the problem. What if the free beer could be flown to France from Southern England?  The RAF and squadrons of RCAF were flying as part of the Second Tactical Air Force. They initially flew out of South East England harassing Nazi troops and aircraft. After the invasion, and as the invading Allied forces succeeded and advanced further into France, the Tactical Air Force moved from England to temporary airfields called Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs) in France. These temporary airfields were usually one runway made of square metal mesh that took about a week to lay down. New ALGs were built onward until existing Luftwaffe airfields were captured.

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