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If he were alive today,” said Aldinger, after some reflection, “he would tell you that the commander in chief must be the driving engine in the battle and that his troops must see him in personal control. He must have an affinity with his men. He must not be above eating with them and sharing their discomforts, including dying with them if necessary. The affinity must be genuine, for if it is not, the soldier has a keen sense of fakery and will quickly sniff it out. Yet, despite this affinity, he must not give up a snippet of his authority. Subordinate commanders and their troops, even when weary unto death, even when outmatched in numbers and weaponry, must be convinced by the commander that the battle plan will succeed if they will give it their maximum effort. A second-rate battle plan, he felt, if executed with determination, will prevail over a first-rate plan halfheartedly carried out. `In evenly matched forces,‘ he would say, `the battle will always be decided in favor of the side with the stronger will.’

“Hauptmann Hermann Aldinger . . . was Rommel’s Ordonnanzoffizier, acombination of aide, private secretary, personal assistant and, in Rommel’s case, confidant.”

[Charles F. Marshall. Discovering the Rommel Murder: The Life and Death of the Desert Fox (Kindle Locations 2639-2640). Kindle Edition.]

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