In French, "Baptême du feu" is a military term that refers to the first combat experience of a new recruit.
Literally translated, it would be "Fire Baptism" or "Baptism of Fire". I don't think an English audience would understand what's meant by that though. It seems that "Baptism by fire" also has strong religious connotations in English.
What is the English military term for this?
Is there a good English translation that maintains some of the "poetic" characteristics of the French version?