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Earth is at war with alien attackers. (I believe most of the conflict takes place in the Jovian system at the time of the story.) Earth has suffered terrible losses, and the alien ships are incredibly difficult to destroy. The most effective human ships are essentially crewed single-shot missile carriers with a moderate chance of success and a low chance of survival.
The protagonist is being shipped out to captain a new missile ship; as he passes through Earth-based facilities, his observations tell us that most non-combatant roles are filled by women, and he notes approvingly of every pregnant woman he sees. (It is made clear that the birth rate is being pushed as high as possible to make up losses from the war.)
He arrives at his ship, and meets his crew. They are very hostile to him. It seems that his crew is composed of something like clones, except I recall them being described more as partly regenerated from salvaged body parts. But they are patterned after famous heroes of past battles, somehow gaining some of the capabilities of their prototypes.
Part of the reason they are hostile is that as created people they are second-class citizens. In confrontation with the captain it is revealed that they are looked down on because they are all sterile, thus only useful as cannon fodder.
The captain finally wins some sympathy from his crew when he reveals that he's been sent there because he is also sterile (some accident or previous battle injury) and so he is also no more than cannon fodder.
The story closes with the crew agreeing to try to fight hard under him, because it would be great to have a few more of him around the mess.
I recall this being a short story, or at least no more than novelette length. I would probably have read it approximately 30 years ago, in a paperback borrowed from a cousin.