As I write this the world outside my window is covered in icy slush, and sleet is beating down. Large drops of mostly frozen rain pelted my face as the dog and I picked our way around patches of ice and through the icy clumps of snow left on the ground. The weather seems a lot like what Engelandvaarders and aviators described for some of their treks over the Pyrenees into Spain in January and February 1944, except the wind isn’t as strong or as cold. I was also much better dressed for the weather than they were and walking on a flat sidewalk rather than a sheep path in the mountains.

So it occurs to me that there is another vital factor about moving through a wartime city or boundary land that a map cannot convey: the weather. It made a world of difference for Engelandvaarders and aviators whether they were climbing the Pyrenees in dry and mild weather or in the middle of a blizzard.

On the other hand, a little bad weather was a help in crossing the Franco-Swiss border. After all, it was a lot harder for the border guards on either side to see a fugitive on a cloudy night than on a clear night with a full moon.
And resisters generally hoped that the forces of law and order were less likely to be on patrol in a rain storm. Furthermore, rain might obscure the sounds of your footsteps if you were out after curfew.

Of course there was nothing resisters could do about the weather, other than try not to send men into a snowstorm. It was just another variable, like random document controls or rail lines closed by sabotage that they had to adjust to as they navigated the cities, trains and borders of occupied Europe.