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and 235 against Antwerp. These mostly were the pilotless aircraft or V-1 type, bearing 2,240 pounds of explosive. The military casualties inflicted by this V-weapons attack were slight, except for one strike on 16 December which destroyed an Antwerp cinema, killing 296 British soldiers and wounding 194.


Searchlights had been used by the Allies to illuminate the battlefield during the North African and Italian campaigns. However, the six battalions of tank-mounted searchlights (Canal Defense Lights) which the Americans brought into Normandy had been reconverted in November for normal armored use on the grounds that no "operational requirement" for the Canal Defense Light existed. The Germans had produced a large number of search-lights for use with flak batteries in the defense of major target centers in the Reich. In early December OB WEST ran two tests of searchlights in a ground role, with and without troops. These tests showed that an accidented battlefield could be extensively illuminated in front of attacking infantry. As a result some two hundred searchlights were gathered immediately behind the assault front and, on the morning of 16 December, flicked on to guide the first waves of infantry and to point targets, by cloud reflection, during the artillery preparation. Although very successful in assisting the assault companies over the first one or two thousand yards, the 60-cm. lights (with a ground range of little more than three thousand yards) could not keep up with the attack, and a number of German detachments, supposed to guide on the searchlight beams, wandered away from their objectives. Some of these smaller lights were brought forward and appeared in attacks as late as 18 December, but the ponderous 150- and 200-cm. lights seem to have been left behind at the original line of departure. [3]


The proximity fuze, a tightly guarded American secret design for detonating projectiles by external influence in the close vicinity of a target, without explosion by contact, got its first battle test in a ground role during the Ardennes. This fuze, also known as the VT or POZIT fuze, had been prepared for some 210,000 rounds of artillery ammunition on the Continent in December. Most of this stock was antiaircraft artillery ammunition, and the 12th Army Group had proposed to try it out in the so-called Liege River Belt, the cordon of antiaircraft gun battalions which was organized to shoot down the Vweapons in flight to Liege. On 16 December a few field artillery battalions in the First Army had small stocks of the new ammunition, a few had witnessed demonstrations, and a very few had fired it. Two battalions in the VIII Corps artillery had been issued some rounds of VT ammunition, but so far as can be determined none were fired on the first day of the German attack. Actually this highly secret ammunition was employed on only a few occasions prior to the Allied counterattack in early January, and then usually at night or in poor weather when the American gunners could not get sensing for normal time fire missions. The postwar claims as to the value of the much tout-


[3] For the characteristics of this equipment, see H. A. Koch, Flak: Die Geschichte der Deutschen Flakartillerie (Bad Nauheim, Germany: PodzuhnVerlag, 1954).