September 1943

The Changes of September

Although there were no hard and fast rules for bombing through cloud-cover, a rather general rule-of-thumb declared that bombing at high altitude should not be undertaken when 6/10 cloud is forecast, unless the overall tactical situation demands the risk.  American weathermen had seen nothing like the sky in the ETO!  Weather fronts were constantly on the move from west to east and they moved fast.  Even now, in September, the 8th would forego deep penetrations because of the weather.  But to assure doing something positive, the 8th would attack airfields and assembly plants in an attempt to neutralize the Luftwaffe.  After all, until a long range pursuit plane could escort them all the way to deep targets and back, neutralizing enemy fighters was the only way planners could hope to strike far away targets without Schweinfurt/Regensburg consequences.

While meteorologists had nightmares about the vagaries of European weather, the 8th was having growing pains and the 96th's first transitional period would happen this month.  But before the Group was to be caught up in dynamic changes, a few more missions were flown.