trary, was little impeded by the scant collection of American artillery to its front. On the German left wing the Seventh Army advance was damaged considerably by the American howitzers, for the batteries here retained their link to the observation posts on the heights overlooking the Sure River and succeeded in delaying the German bridging efforts for many hours.
As the American defense solidified along the shoulders of the salient or at strong points, such as St. Vith and Bastogne, the artillery arm really commenced to make its weight felt. Experienced German artillery officers estimate that their American opponents finally had a superiority in guns and ammunition of ten to one. This estimate is far too high: the Americans fired about 1,255,000 artillery rounds during the fighting covered in this account and by 23 December had brought a total of 4,155 artillery pieces into action. Just as in 1918, however, the attacker had driven the defense back upon its artillery base of fire, meanwhile progressively losing his own firepower. The Germans tend to characterize the American artillery fire as methodical, schematic, and wasteful. There is considerable indication that the German commanders quickly recognized and made gainful tactical use of the gaps at division and corps boundaries where the defenders conventionally failed to provide overlapping fire between zones. Also, it is probable, as the enemy alleges, that the American gunners fired a very considerable weight of ammunition for each German killed. On the other hand the record is replete with instances in which the attacker was diverted from his axis of advance and his scheme of maneuver was destroyed by American artillery fire, even when he suffered little physical damage. This phenomenon became even more apparent after the American spotter planes took to the air.
The German offensive phase of the Ardennes operation, with its high degree of fluidity and dispersion, may offer profitable suggestions for the future fluid battlefield. The experience of the First Army, which generously sent its medium artillery reserves south to stiffen the defense, showed the hazard in moving isolated and road-bound units with heavy equipment across the grain of the enemy advance, even when the attack was believed to be miles away. Medium and heavy corps artillery units were quite as vulnerable to enemy ground attack as the forward divisional artillery, particularly when the attacker was moving crosscountry and the artillery equipment was difficult to displace and bound to the road. Displacing single batteries by leapfrog tactics in order to maintain unbroken defensive fires failed repeatedly during the first days of the Ardennes, largely because of the splitting effect of the German ground assault that isolated firing batteries and crippled control or resupply by the headquarters battery. Those forward American batteries which worked their guns, brought them off, and lived to fire another day, normally owed their tactical survival to other arms and weapons. The artillery battalion of 1944 was not organically constructed or equipped to beat off close-in infantry or armored assault, but the fortuitous attachment of antiaircraft weapons sections, although these no longer did much service in their primary role, gave the gunners an antipersonnel weapon which