Helion's Air Wars between Ecuador and Peru: July 1941 War

Author/Artists: Amaru Tincopa


Helion  Publishing


$29.95 MSRP from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 72 pages, softcover, over 100 images
ISBN 978-1-911628-67-5

Helion has made a reputation for itself by providing well researched books on the lesser known conflicts around the world. South American was by no means isolated from conflict and many nations had wars that were primarily based on border disagreements. This is not as unusual as it might seem as often these disputed areas were either highly mountainous or somewhere in the Amazonian jungle.

A case in point is the disagreement of Ecuador with its larger southern neighbor Peru. Of the two, Peru was much more wealthy and so had a considerable military and air force. Ecuador was originally fairly poor so military expenditures were only a small percentage of what Peru couild afford. However, Ecuador did spend its money wisely and got the best it could afford, which was an armed trainer.

Conversely, Peru had a larger budget and was able to purchase a fair number of bomber and fighter types from Italy during the 1930s. They were even the largest user of the fighter version of the T-6, the NA.50/P-64. Douglas was also successful in several South American nations with sales of the then-modern 8A-3 attack bomber.

Attempts to make a permanent border fix fell apart in mid 1941 and open warfare in the remote areas of eastern Ecuador/north-eastern Peru broke out. Initially both sides used air power, but the Ecuadorans were quickly overwhelmed by the larger Peruvian forces sent into the are. All additional air power projection for the rest of the conflict was Peruvian as Ecuador moved its air assets to cover the capital city.

This did not mean that things were one sided as Peru lost a considerable number of aircraft to ground fire. Recall if you will that armor plating was not something even the most modern planes of the time had installed so it is easy to see how even rifle calibre bullets could cause fatal damage. Work by several other nations put an end to the fighting on 31 July 1941, mostly in favor of Peru, creating a fairly large disputed area where military forces were not allowed, however, history showed that was not the end of things.

As is often the case in this series, the author has done a magnificent job straightening everything out for the reader so that we can follow not only the twists and turns on the ground, but also in the political arena. While not as convoluted as those conflicts involving insurgencies, politics plays a part in every war and it is important to see why each side did what they did. When you add in the great period photos, excellent charts and maps along with a nice selection of color work on the aircraft involved, you have a book that makes for a great read.

This one is very much recommended to those who have an interest in this sort of conflict or this part of the world. Pick it up. You won't be disappointed.

June 2020

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