KevinW4, on 24 December 2010 - 10:40 AM, said:
Put yourself in the officers situation.... the order to attack has been given and there is this chap either unable or refusing to move, possibly holding up all the men behind him, and those out in front need support. What do you do? You can't easily have a polite chat, it's " For f*** sake, move!" If no response, the delay could prove disastrous, for the attack, and the rest of his men. If he's not bundled out of the way, and starts shouting to the rest to stop, then you have little option but to act quickly... No time for niceties. If the officer doesn't act, the men behind may certainly do so, one thing you have to understand is that in a fighting unit, it's not King and Country, but your mates beside you that you fight for. You need them to protect you as you would protect them. If you can't trust the man next to you to be prepared to put himself in danger for you, then he's not a chap to stand next to!!
I've not seen a documented example of a case where a soldier has been shot by an officer or NCO in such circumstances although there are cases (rare) where an officer has shot men leading a panic stricken rush back and then rallied the rest. There are some unsubstantiated accusations of battle police shooting men out of hand but no actual eye witness accounts merely circumstantial evidence that even a mediocre barrister couldn't demolish in seconds. A man who refused to go in this case would probably be court martialed afterwards.
In the case I mentioned the sergeant had been in an attack that was repulsed and was ordered to counter attack again, instead he walked away. What was in his mind has never been clear. I suspect , given his excellent service record, that, had he not been a sergeant and expected to set an example, his sentence would very likely have been commuted (many were) but instead having failed to set an example an example was made of him.