The Chaco Air War 1932-35

The First Modern Air War in Latin America

Antonio Sapienza

A compelling account of a neglected but intense air campaign of the interwar period.
Date Published :
April 2018
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
Latin America@War
Illustration :
over 200 ills, mostly b/w, color maps & aircraft profiles
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781911512967
Pages : 80
Dimensions : 11.75 X 8.25 inches
Stock Status : Available
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The Chaco War was probably the first “modern” conflict in Latin America where military aviation was widely used in all roles. Bolivia, as the reader will find out, had a very powerful military air force, but unfortunately for them and luckily for Paraguay, its high army command did not take advantage of it. On the other hand, the Paraguayan Commander-in-Chief, General José Félix Estigarribia used military aviation to help him defeat the enemy on the ground, and the result was clear: the Bolivians were expelled from the Chaco after three years of war.

Previous publications have focused on the Chaco Air War with the aircraft technical details and almost no information on aerial operations, which is this book’s centerpiece. All dogfights and bombing missions mentioned are detailed including crews, aircraft, serials, places and outcomes. The book also describes how both military air forces were organized, how pilots and aviation mechanics were trained, how and where aircraft were purchased and many other unpublished before details.

The maps included in the book will help the reader have an idea of where aerial operations took place, both combatants air bases, Bolivia’s plan to conquer the whole region and how the Paraguayan Army finally expelled the enemy out of the Chaco. The text is supported by a large number of photographs, and specially commissioned color profile artworks from modelers.

About The Author

Antonio Luis Sapienza Fracchia was born in Asunción, Paraguay on 14 May 1960. He graduated from the Catholic University of Asunción, where he got a BA in Clinical Psychology. He also took specialized English courses at the Tulane University of New Orleans, Louisiana, USA and the San Diego State University in California, USA. He is, at present, an English teacher and one of the academic coordinators at the Centro Cultural Paraguayo-Americano (CCPA), which is a bi-national institute in Asunción. Married with two children, he resides in the capital and is an aviation historian, as well as a founding member of the Instituto Paraguayo de Historia Aeronáutica 'Silvio Pettirossi'. He is also a corresponding member of similar institutes and academies in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Spain, the United States and Uruguay. Antonio has written more than 500 articles for specialized magazines and webpages on Paraguayan aviation history and has given numerous lectures in schools, universities, institutes, military and civil institutions in Paraguay and abroad. Since 2010, he has been an aviation history professor in the Paraguayan Air Force (FAP). To date, he has had nine books published: Aircraft of the Chaco War, 1928-1935, with Daniel P. Hagedorn in the US (1996); Potez 25, with several aviation historians in France (1996); Pioneros de la Aviación Iberoamericana, with several aviation historians in Spain (1999); La Historia de Líneas Aéreas Paraguayas (LAP) in Paraguay (2004); La Contribución Italiana en la Aviación Paraguaya in Paraguay (2007); Silvio Pettirossi. El Rey del Aire in Paraguay (2011); El Pájaro Verde. Cien años del primer vuelo en Paraguay, with Luis Verón in Paraguay (2012); Fuerza Aérea Paraguaya, Historia Ilustrada, 1913-2013 in Paraguay (2013); and Agustín Pasmor. Un gran héroe aeronáutico del Paraguay in Paraguay (2016). Antonio has received a total of five decorations for his academic merits: The Orden al Mérito Newberiano, given by the Instituto Argentino de Historia Aeronáutica in 1995; The Cruz Newberiana Académica by the Instituto Nacional Newberiano of Argentina in 1998; The Orden al Mérito Santos Dumont by the Força Aérea Brasileira in 2003; The Medalla de la Aeronáutica by the Fuerza Aérea Paraguaya in 2003; and The Medal Dinac Honor al Mérito by the Dirección Nacional de Aeronáutica Civil in 2010.


“Tom Cooper's 21 color profiles superbly sample the swath of participating warplane warpaint. And six maps help chart actions. Images even include Paraguayan warships… Roundly recommended!”

- Cybermodeler

"This is a fine reference for anyone wanting to delve into details: names, dates, places, and aircraft serial numbers for every consequential action of the three years of combat are provided."

- Air Power History

“This book should provide readers with an understanding of the Chaco War, and an interesting look at the first use of Air power in the Americas. There is plenty here from those interested in not just conflicts in the air, but Latin American wars as well. Highly Recommended.”


“Tom Cooper's 21 color profiles superbly sample the swath of participating warplane warpaint. And six maps help chart actions. Images even include Paraguayan warships… Roundly recommended!”

- Cybermodeler

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