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But this was hardly a satisfactory substitute for personal presence.


The 12th Army Group had approximately fifty important wire circuits on 16 December between Luxembourg and First and Ninth Armies, these extending laterally to link the three headquarters in sequence. The mainstay and trunk line of this system was a combination open-wire and buried cable line from Aubange, near Luxembourg, via Jemelle to Namur and Liege. Jemelle was a repeater station (near Marche) and the key to the whole northern network. As it turned out the Germans subsequently cut both the wire line and cable; the signal operators, as well as a rifle platoon and a few light tanks on guard duty at Jemelle, were ordered out when the enemy was in sight of the station. Very high frequency radio stations seem to have been available throughout the battle but transmission did not carry very far and had to be relayed. These stations twice had to be moved farther west to avoid capture. Nonetheless the Signal Corps would succeed in maintaining a minimum service, except for short interruptions, by stringing wire back into France and through the various army rear areas. Whether this would have sufficed for the 12th Army Group to exercise administrative as well as tactical control of the First and Ninth Armies from Luxembourg is problematical.