The difficult terrain on which the winter campaign was fought, the prevalence of pitched battles at night and in fog, the tactical failure of the American 57-mm. antitank gun, and the paucity of German assault guns and self-propelled tank destroyers brought the bazooka into a place of prominence on both sides of the line. Admittedly the bazooka was a suicide weapon, but there were always brave men-mostly platoon and squad leaders-to risk its use against an enemy tank. In the autumn of 1944 the German Army recognized that it was too late for building tank destroyers in the numbers required and that in any case fuel was lacking for their transport into battle. Therefore the decision was made to build hand rocket weapons and rely on the courage of the "single fighter"-a decision like that made in 1917-1918 when the Kaiser's army turned to armor-piercing rifles in the hands of the single fighter to stop Allied tanks. In December 1944 both sides learned that infantry companies armed with bazookas could not do the work of tank destroyers.
The success of field artillery as an antidote to the tank is difficult to assess quantitatively. American and German doctrine taught that longrange artillery could be used to break up tank concentrations before these reached the infantry zone. In the Ardennes, however, American artillery groupments not only performed this interdiction role but on numerous occasions stopped the tank assault right at the rifle line. Surprisingly enough, in several of those battles where causative agents in tank kills could be determined by postmortem possession of the battle area, the high explosives fired by American field artillery accounted for a large share of the kills made, although the actual damage inflicted may have been no more than a broken track or sprocket wheel.
Mortars, machine guns, and rifles functioned in a comparable manner on both sides of the line. Here the design of the infantry weapon proved less important in the bloody competition of the fire fight than the supply of ammunition, the numbers employed, and the small unit tactics. The single exception is the machine pistol, which had been issued in large numbers to the new Volks Grenadier divisions and was very successfully employed by the German special assault companies formed in each infantry regiment.
Weapons and fire control turned mainly on wire communications, laid forward to observation posts and back to command posts. The vulnerability of telephone wire was adequately demonstrated on the morning of 16 December and throughout the campaign-yet it continued to be the primary means of tactical communication. Radio, of the type used in late 1944, lacked the necessary range and constantly failed in the woods and defiles. Both sides engaged in jamming, but for the most part the really damaging interference came from friendly transmitters.
Three additional items of equipment deserve attention in the history of the December battle: the V-weapon, the searchlight, and the proximity fuze. The V-weapon turned out to have no tactical significance, although the German high command stepped up the attack on the Allied depots at Antwerp and Liege during the Ardennes offensive, averaging at least 121 firings a week against Liege