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German Tactical Doctrine, Military Intelligence Service, Special Series No. 8, December 20, 1942
[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the wartime U.S. War Department publication. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


The decision must indicate a clear objective to be attained by the coordinated and aggressive use of available means. The strong will of the leader must dominate at all times; often the stronger will compels victory. Never let anxiety over personal security interfere or influence in any manner the real task, which is the annihilation of the enemy. Calmly weigh the situation, thinking quickly but overlooking nothing essential. Insure that all assistants clearly understand your plans. Nervousness on your part is quickly reflected by subordinates.

Never hold a council of war. Complication and confusion are frequently introduced, and generally only an incomplete decision results. One can think through a situation much better and reach a definite decision by independently estimating the situation.13

Once a decision is made, do not deviate, except for excellent reasons. In this connection, however, one can bring about disaster by obstinately clinging to the initial decision when justifiable grounds are present for a change. The true art of leadership is the ability to recognize when a new decision is required by the developments or changes in the situation. The commander should be resolute but not obstinate.

13 The division commander will generally hear the suggestions and proposals of his chief of staff.

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