Checkman's Reviews > The Dogs of War

The Dogs of War by Frederick Forsyth
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's review
Dec 14, 2013

really liked it
bookshelves: military-fiction, seventies-classics, espionage
Recommended for: military fiction fans
Read from October 08 to 10, 1999 , read count: Two

I spent fourteen years in the U.S. Army (1986-2000). Approximately seven years in the Army National Guard and Army Reserve and seven years in the Regular Army. I was eighteen when I enlisted in 1986 and I was all about the "action". I had obviously watched too many Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone movies. By the time I separated from the Army in 2000 I had come to realize a few crucial things about the military and combat operations.

1. Beans and bullets (logistics) are everything. The side that excels in running an effective logistical network might not "win" the conflict, but it will probably at least ensure that when it's time to pull out the troops they'll do it on their own terms. See Iraq (2003-2011).

2. For every soldier whose mission is to engage in active combat operations against an opponent there are five or more soldiers and civilians whose job is to get that soldier (marine, airmen, sailor etc.)into the combat zone and keep that soldier supplied and cared for.

3. Wars are expensive.In more ways than one.

4. Combat operations consume vast amounts of resources. Money, lives, food, fuel, raw materials and so on. (See #3).

5. The devil is in the details. Effective organization and planning is very very important. Without it you don't have a chance.

6. A soldier's life is not a glamorous one.

Mr. Forsyth does an excellent job of showing what goes into organizing a professional and effective military force and combat operation.It's a tedious and time consuming job. He shows that a one hour combat operation involving a few dozen soldiers entails several thousand hours of planning and training. The details that many have found to be tedious are part of war. How much the details of the International Arms Trade has changed over the past forty years I can't say. Obviously technology has changed. However one thing that hasn't changed is the side that has the best chance of winning is the side that is the best equipped, organized and led. The Dogs of War isn't a Tom Clancy novel. It's a non-sentimental look at a military operation. Albeit a mercenary operation.

It might be a little dry, but then so is real life.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Arsalan ale just what i thought. this is why the main part of the novel is focused on choosing, gathering and shipping the fuel of the invasion and the second main part of the book is on the planning of the attack. fight is a night!
one thing in this novel that really shakes me is that there are parts which technically stresses on special war related subjects which can individually be considered as independent articles!! all and all from a former political journalist's point of view to ensure us there's no fiction involved

Checkman Arsalan wrote: "just what i thought. this is why the main part of the novel is focused on choosing, gathering and shipping the fuel of the invasion and the second main part of the book is on the planning of the at..."

Yep Mr. Forsythe did a good job.

message 3: by David (new) - added it

David Why just the three stars? You make the book sound like fascinating fiction. Did you find it kind of boring? I wasn't a soldier myself, but I come from a family where 80% of my extended family were in the military so I definitely appreciate your perspective. I'd suggest the book "On Killing" that also takes a unconventional but rational look at the psychological implications of combat.

message 4: by David (new) - added it

David That's "On Killing" by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, by the way.

Checkman David wrote: "That's "On Killing" by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, by the way."

I changed it to four. I think the three stars was an oversight. I attended Grossman's class a couple of years ago here in Boise. It was one day long. Spoke to him a little. Interesting class. Grossman has the classic military style style down pat. Very dynamic speaker.

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