Junior Officer in Battle
Combat Lessons, Number 1, Rank and file in combat: What they're doing, How the do it. (US Army, 1944)
A company officer must build a legend about himself. He must take calculated risks.
Captain William T Gordon, Infantry, Sicily:
"Since November 8, I have had seventeen officers in my company, and I am the only one who started out with it who is left in the fight. In Tunisia, from troops pinned down in the dark, I have heard enlisted men call out such things as 'Where is an officer to lead us?'—'We don't want to lie here—we want to attack—where is an officer?'
"… In each case an officer or officers have risen to the occasion, but this nevertheless shows beyond anything else the demand for battle leadership.
"A company officer must build a legend about himself. He must take calculated risks. He must, on the other hand, do what he expects his men to do: he must always dig in; always take cover. His men must know that when he ducks they must duck; on the other hand, they must not believe that when the officer ducks they must run away. The officer must come through every barrage and bombing with a sheepish grin and a wry remark. Masterly understatement of hardship and danger endured plus a grin always pays dividends."