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could be easily transported, a major design feature when the production of heavy trucks and artillery prime movers began to fall off in the Reich. The 150-mm. version weighed only 1,200 pounds and could fire a quarter-ton of high explosives in ten seconds; the 2l0-mm. model weighed about a ton and a half and could discharge over half a ton of high explosives per salvo. These weapons lacked the accuracy and fire control features of conventional artillery, and because of the blast could be readily spotted, but their mobility seems to have been a major feature in carrying German firepower forward during the Ardennes offensive.


American and German doctrine and organization for the employment of infantry-support weapons had followed different paths during the development cycle between the two World Wars when the problem of the "infantry-accompanying gun" had plagued all armies. The German Army ultimately opted for a self-propelled 75-mm. assault gun designed to help the infantry platoon forward in the assault and, at the same time, to provide a real antitank capability. The concept and the weapon had proved themselves on the Eastern Front, but the battle wastage of this weapon, like that of the assault infantry it supported, was extraordinarily high. In December 1944, the German infantry used a battle drill and tactics "leaning" on an accompanying weapon which no longer could be issued in proper numbers to even the most favored divisions. German battle commanders invariably point to the lack of this weapon in explaining particular failures of their infantry in battle.


The American approach to this problem reflected the opposition of the U.S. Army to dual-purpose weapons, and as a result the U.S. rifle regiment carried both a cannon company and an antitank company. On the whole neither of these units performed as desired during the Ardennes battle. The howitzers of the cannon company seemed to fire effectively only when tied with the divisional artillery, the 57-mm. antitank gun lacked the punch to meet German tanks, and, what was worse, most division commanders looked upon these weapons companies as providing additional riflemen to put into the foxhole line. So it was on the thinly held American front of 16 December.


The American self-propelled 90-mm. tank destroyer and the 88-mm. German equivalent were much feared, or at the least highly respected, for they had the power to penetrate the armor they faced, they could jockey for position along the winding Ardennes roads and defiles, and they were hard to destroy. Both antagonists used 75-mm. towed antitank weapons and both lost these towed weapons and other towed artillery in large numbers. In the mud and snow, and under direct fire and infantry assault, the task of limbering gun to truck or tractor was difficult and hazardous. Furthermore, in heavy and close combat the tow vehicle often was shot up or immobilized while the gun, dug in, remained intact. The mobile, tactically agile, self-propelled, armored field artillery and tank destroyers are clearly traceable in the Ardennes fighting as over and over again influencing the course of battle. Their record should be pondered in the design of tactics