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they faced during "winter construction" of airfields.
When the engineers first moved onto the site near Aachen, it was blanketed with snow and the ground was frozen to a six-inch depth. Henceforth the engineers worked against a series of thaws, frosts, increasing mud, and almost continuous rains. The traffic of heavy construction equipment was hard on roads, and the site restricted the use of grading equipment to the extent that a good share of the work had to be accomplished by hand. The soft mud made it at times almost impossible for proper distribution of surfacing materials at the runways, necessitating a "planking in" method in which a completed part of the runway was used as an access road to build additional lengths.
Mud conditions were at times so bad that regular pickets for the pierced steel plank surfacing would not hold.