mitment, between 8,000 and 17,000, the lower figure representing those divisions which had been refitted at 80 percent of the 1944 Volks Grenadier division table of organization and equipment and the upper figure, which can be applied to only three or four divisions, representing those, like the 26th Volks Grenadier Division, which retained the older, regular infantry division composition. The strength of the German infantry divisions across the board probably averaged little more than 10,000 men. The normal German rifle regiment numbered 1,868 as contrasted with the American infantry regiment of 3,207 officers and men.
The majority of the German panzer divisions had the same manpower configuration as the two U.S. square armored divisions (the 2d and 3d), that is, a little more than 14,000. The six remaining U.S. armored divisions had the new triangular organization with a roster reduced to 10,666 officers and men. The armored weight of the opposing divisions, however, strongly favored the Americans, for the German panzer division brought an average of 90 to 100 medium tanks into the field whereas the American triangular division was equipped with 186 and the two square divisions had 232 medium tanks in their organization tables. Hitler personally attempted to compensate for this disparity by ordering the attachment of separate Army tank battalions of 40 to 50 Panther or Tigers to the regular panzer divisions.
The battle area during the period of 16 December through 3 January has to be measured as a salient in which the relation between the width of the base and the depth of the penetration represents a measure of the adequacy of the forces employed and their operational mobility. The German failure to break through on the north shoulder at Monschau had considerable impact on the width of the planned assault front, and by 18 December the base of the salient had stabilized at a width of fortyseven air-line miles, narrower than desired. The greatest depth of the German penetration, achieved on the tenth day of the attack, was about sixty air-line miles. On that date, however, the average width of the salient had been reduced to thirty miles and at its tip measured no more than a five-mile front facing the Meuse. Indeed, the width of the assault front proper can be considered as the range of the 75-mm. guns of the 2d Panzer tanks. By this time the Americans had something approaching a coordinated and homogenous line as a retaining wall north and south of the salient, with a frontage of nearly seven miles per division on the north flank and a little more than thirteen miles on the southern flank.
The Opposing Weapons
Although winter in the Ardennes placed severe limitations on the use of armor, the tank was a major weapon in the hands of both antagonists. The Sherman tank, a medium of the thirty-ton class, bore the brunt of all American armored action, while the light tank was relegated to minor tactical tasks. The Sherman (M4) was battle tested, and most of the mechanical bugs had been removed. Its major weakness-tank gun and armorby this time were well appreciated by the user. A new model, the M4A3, had been equipped with a