I believe Cataphrak said that it was held in the same regard as latrine duty.
Also I’m pretty sure that being in the Engineers is only bad if you’re an officer. Marcus and Hartigan have no idea why Keane hates the Engineers, and even when they do ask him, his complaints are mostly about the officers.
But Wulfram is the army commander. If Havenport of all people could have grudgingly accepted that being at the very front of his brigade is not necessarily the best place for him to be, I think we can say Wulfram could have chosen to lead like a general instead of merely the senior cavalry colonel.
I strongly dislike “he had no choice” about things like this, I must admit. Wulfram saw the situation, weighed or did not weigh the possible consequences, and went forward to die at the head of his regiment. No force in Heaven or Earth took control of his will to make him pick something.
There might have been a bunch of thoughts meaning he didn’t approach this dispassionately, but all decisions are always made with some degree of that.
Edited to add: In brief, I think this is another case of Wulfram’s only prewar experience being merely a major showing. I don’t think he’s “stupid” as much as picking what felt right to him as someone who would have a big problem with “sitting out the battle” as opposed to asking himself whether or not this was the best place to lead the army from, or if the army even needed his direction once it started.
Imagine him sitting back while watching his army defeated, his personal unit annihilated, and his reputation destroyed in the biggest battlefield loss of his life. And with the clock already ticking, Miguel would have sent him home a failure. There would have been no second chances for him. Dying a hero so that the rest of his army could escape may well have been the most attractive among the unpalatable options left to him.
It’s not preposterous that he’d think like that (making decisions based on personal pride is very human), but I have higher expectations of dukes and generals than “I can understand that people, being fallible creatures, make decisions on a basis other than what the most objectively sound idea is.”
Someone who is going to only meet that level is not above criticism for it.
As you said previously, he wasn’t approaching the situation dispassionately, Tierran military tradition along with his own pride both pushed him in the same direction here. And since when were most dukes, born with incredible privilege, not prideful people?
To be absolutely honest, the harder people try to present this sort of thing in a nonnegative light, the less sympathy I feel for people like Wulfram and the more I’m inclined to treat failures like that as worthy of strong criticism.
It does not make him into some kind of terrible person who deserves nothing but contempt for him to be responsible for his decision, but it most certainly does not make him into anything I have much respect for for him to be so weak willed that making a decision other than the easy one would be like commanding the waves.
I’m hesitant to blame him for not living up to the modern military standards of 21st century advanced democracies. Wulfram never attended a modern military academy or staff college, and very few people have the ability to transcend the cultural expectations of the land and time period they were born without others lighting the way first. Wulfram was solidly competent, but not a brilliant visionary.
If the commander of an army considering whether or not commanding an army is best done from the front would require living up to “the modern military standards of 21st century advanced democracies”, then describing my opinion of Tierra as below Takara’s would be about right.
This is not some bizarre, unheard of concept like expecting machines to render horseborne cavalry out of date.
I think there’s an argument to be made that given how critical the cavalry’s success was to both his immediate tactical and wider strategic goals, and the likely difficulties he’d have communicating with them in the event something did go wrong, directly supervising that element was more important than managing the army as a whole. It might not have been the right call, but I understand some of his reasoning in making the cavalry brigade his top priority.
This I have no particular problem with. I don’t necessarily agree with it, but I can say that it would make sense for him to think that way and to approach the battle that way - especially if he expects his generals of brigade to be able to handle things on their own based on past battles, which all signs point to him feeling.
I just have nothing good to say about how “the weight of tradition” is an excuse for being an ignorant monkey who couldn’t think past “I can has martyrdom?” because only 21st century professionals would imagine that armies might need to be managed. (Edit: The wording is, of course, entirely my own. My apologies for any implication of putting words in someone else’s mouth.)
Tierra is based on Spain and Ingland. Both nations would have made the best option left for him die as a hero. Retreat would cost his head and probably damage his family forever. He could not retreat from that battle he only could march towards the glory.
You can’t expect a Leader act against absolutely against his cultural heritage and all his previous behavior just because from a logical and out of context perspective is easy to see. Of course you know how the future holds. He does not he is human.
It is like Expect Leonidas chicken out and retreat to home because it was scared. Or expect Cid retreat in cowardy or Patton.