The scant number of memoirs and war novels based on the Korean War seems only to reinforce the belief that Korea was America’s “forgotten” war of the 20th century. Arguably there was no better candidate to write a combat novel of Korea than Brigadier General Ed Simmons, a noted military historian and author of numerous non-fiction books and articles about the Marine Corps. General Simmons, like Captain George Bayard, his protagonist in Dog Company Six, was a Marine infantry company commander who fought at both Inchon and Chosin Reservoir. That may be why this book reads so much like a memoir, despite some cosmetic changes in detail such as portraying Dog Company as a rifle company rather than a weapons company.
General Simmons does a superb job conveying small-unit combat operations in Korea and his Marine characters seem genuine. I was engrossed by his description of what it was like to fight in the bitter cold at Chosin Reservoir. The only flaw I found in the book was a distracting plot line involving Captain Bayard’s fiancé, a Senator’s daughter who complicates his commitment to the Marine Corps. Otherwise, this is an excellent combat novel.
For those curious about the title, “six” is the radio call sign for a company commander, in this case D (“Dog”) Company in a Marine infantry battalion.