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Air Wars Between Ecuador and Peru, Volume 1

Air Wars Between Ecuador and Peru, Volume 1 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review June 2019 Title Air Wars Between Ecuador and Peru, Volume 1
Author Amaru Tincopa Publisher Helion
Published 2019 ISBN 9781911628675
Format 72 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $29.95


Conflict between Ecuador and Peru has suffered “an incredible number of myths, rumours and pure guesswork, and [with] emotions running high whenever these are discussed, the lines between facts and fantasies have become heavily blurred over time.”

That’s historian Amaru Tincopa Gallegos on the brief, bitter 1941 war between the two South American nations.

Now he authoritatively sifts fact from fiction in Air Wars Between Ecuador and Peru, Volume 1: The July 1941 War – twelfth in Helion’s superb “Latin America@War” series.

Available in North America from Casemate, the lavishly illustrated, splendidly researched effort spans six illuminating chapters across 72 pages:

  • Origins of the conflict
  • Peruvian military build-up
  • The Ecuadorean military
  • Peruvian combat operations, July 1941
  • Peruvian combat operations from August 1941 to the end of the conflict
  • Postwar equipment and diplomatic developments

Tincopa calls the Ecuador-Peru border dispute “the longest-running international armed conflict in the Western Hemisphere.”

“Tensions dating back to the 19th century resulted in skirmishes in 1938, which escalated into a war fought in July 1941. Further armed clashes took place in early 1981 and again in 1995.”

The Aviación Militar Ecuatoriana (AME, Ecuadorean Military Aviation) entered the 1941 war with a motley collection of light-attack and training types. It played no effective role in the conflict.

By contrast, the Cuerpo Aeronáutico del Perú (CAP, Peruvian Aeronautical Corps), having learned lessons of its 1932-1933 air actions against Colombia, embarked on extensive modernization, acquisition, training, and organization improvements – ensuring, Tincopa observes, the “overwhelming quantitative and qualitative superiority of Peruvian aerial forces”.

That proved critical to Peru’s victory. And Tincopa’s day-by-day commentary competently chronicles the combat.

CAP performed “attack, recognition and transport duties without problems, and therefore provide[d] invaluable [support] for the Peruvian advance, allowing the ground and naval forces to operate unmolested in the prosecution and achievement of their objectives.”

Over a hundred rare and previously unpublished photos season the study. Extended, explanatory captions further augment the account. Twenty-one color aircraft profiles and five maps illustrate the effort. And tables, endnotes, sources, and acknowledgments conclude contents.

But Tincopa includes no enlargements or insets of CAP unit badges among color profiles. And the fuselage of Luca Canossa’s North American NA-50 color profile is too shallow, retaining T-6 forward-fuselage proportions. This is clearly evident on page 20’s starboard “Torito” shot. Modelers should reference Planet Model’s 1:48-scale kit for correct outlines.

Ecuador and Peru signed the “Rio de Janeiro Limits, Peace and Friendship Protocol” 29 January 1942 – ending the conflict.

Not quite.

Ecuador ratified the agreement a month later. But “in 1960, Ecuadorean President José María Velasco Ibarra declared,” Tincopa reports, “the Rio de Janeiro Protocol null and void.”

That set the stage for further clashes between Ecuador and Peru. And I can’t wait for Tincopa’s histories of those.

Robustly recommended!

My sincere thanks to Casemate Publishing for this review sample!