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Book Review
The Chaco War 1932-35
The Chaco War 1932-35 – South America’s greatest modern conflict
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by: Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]


This is a review of the Osprey Publishing LTD book “The Chaco War 1932-35” – South America’s greatest modern conflict by author Alejandro De Quesada with Philip Jowett, illustrator Ramiro Bujeiro and series editor Martin Windrow.


** The exact cost in lives of the territorial war fought by Bolivia and Paraguay in 1932-35 will never be known, but between 90,000 and 100,000 men died, and total casualties must have exceeded a quarter of a million. In extremely arid terrain and a punishing climate, conscripted armies – supported by a handful of tanks, and dozens of aircraft – fought grueling campaigns. While Paraguay was the winner on the battlefield, the war left both countries economically devastated, and the political consequences rumbled on for decades. **

** Quoted from the back cover of the book.


Osprey Publications Ltd has released The Chaco War 1932-35 – South America’s greatest modern conflict by author Alejandro De Quesada as Number 474 in their Men-at-Arms series. It is a paperback book with 48 pages. Included with the text are black and white photographs, black and white and colour illustrations, a map, and detailed captions. It has a 2011 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-84908-416-1.

the contents

- Introduction
- The Gran Chaco – the historical background – the road to war
- The Paraguayan Forces
- The Bolivian Forces
- Military Operations
- First phase, July 1932 – December 1933
- Second phase, January – December 1934
- Third Phase, December 1934 – June 1935
- Ceasefire, truces, and aftermath
- Survivors
- Weapons
- Infantry and artillery
- Armored vehicles
- The Air War
- Foreign Involvement
- Select Bibliography
- Plate Commentaries
- Index

the text

The text in the book is well written, detailed and reader friendly. Alejandro De Quesada covers the 1932-35 Chaco War in South America very well. He discusses the 1932-35 Chaco War and the various actions and countries involved in an excellent chronological correct and reader friendly format. The Paraguayan and Bolivian actions taken are well detailed which helps the reader gain an excellent overview of the Expedition. It is obvious that Alejandro De Quesada has gone to great lengths to research all aspects of the 1932-35 Chaco War. Anyone interested in this conflict will find this book very informative and interesting. I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors I read through the text. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the text for yourself.

the photographs

There are a total of 42 black and white photographs featured throughout the book. There are no colour photographs featured in this volume. Most of the photographs are nice and clear, however there are some that have an out of focus look to them and some appear to be too dark. However this is typical for this period of history and consideration needs to be given to the fact that some of the photographs are several years old. With that said the quality of the photographs is of no fault of the author, do not take anything away from the book and provide a visual guide for the actions described in the book. They will also prove valuable to the military vehicle, aircraft, figure and diorama modellers as well as the military historian and enthusiast. As with the other photographs there are several that will be of use to the figure modeller and uniform enthusiast as they show uniforms, clothing and gear such as holsters and ammunition belts worn by both combatants.

Some of the items of interest in the photographs:

- A sentry box made of a “bottletree”
- ARP Humaitá
- ARP Paraguay
- Ford Model AA truck
- Trenches and bunkers
- Swiss 20mm Semag AA cannon
- Bolivian Army Vickers Mk E Type A twin-turret 6-ton tank
- Bolivian Vickers Mk E Type B tank with a short 47mm gun and a machine gun
- Paraguayan six-seater Travelair Model S-6000-B aircraft
- Paraguayan Fleet Model 2 trainer aircraft
- Junkers F13 I/w floatplane
- Various small arms and artillery of different countries manufacture
- Various uniform types
- Pack mule carrying a Paraguayan light artillery piece on its back
- Cow’s-horn canteen (This is my favorite item shown and discussed in this volume. I found it interesting that the peasants made cow’s-horn canteens from large cow horns and they were used by Paraguayan soldiers. Please refer to the soldier in the middle on the front cover of the book as he has one of these under his right arm)
Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the photographs for yourself

the illustrations

There are eight plates of colour illustrations by illustrator Ramiro Bujeiro that are very well done and nicely detailed.

The colour illustrations are of:

Plate A:
Paraguay, Dress Uniforms
1. General José Felix Estigarribia
2. Captain, Grupo de Artilleria No 2 “General Roa”
3. Cadet, Escuela Militar
Plate B:
Paraguay, Service & Campaign Uniforms
1. Lieutenant-colonel, Regto de Caballeria 1 “Valois Rivarola”
2. 2nd lieutenant, Regto de Infanteria 3 “Corrales”
3. Private, Regto de Infanteria 1 “Dos de Mayo”
Plate C:
1. Surgeon captain, Medical Corps
2. Nurse, Paraguayan Red Cross
3. Captain, Military Aviation Service
Plate D:
Paraguayan Navy
1. Seaman, ARP Humaitá, guard uniform
2. Lieutenant, Aero-Naval Service, service dress
3. Ensign, parade uniform
Plate E:
Bolivia, Dress & Service Uniforms
1. Brigadier-general, General Staff, dress uniform
2. Trooper, Regto Avaroa 1º de Caballeria, service dress
3. Major, Medical Corps, service dress
Plate F:
Bolivia, Field & Service Uniforms
1. Sergeant, Regto Florida 12º de Infanteria
2. Major-General Hans Kundt
3. Second lieutenant, Regto Pisagua 3º de Artilleria
Plate G:
Bolivia, Field & Service Uniforms
1. Sergeant, armored unit
2. Cadet, Coleio Militar
3. Captain, Air Corps
Plate H:
Representative Rank Insignia
1. Vice-first sergeant, Paraguayan Army, field dress
2. Corporal, Bolivian Army, field dress
3. Second Lieutenant, Paraguayan Army, service dress
4. Captain, Bolivian Army, field dress
5. Lieutenant-colonel of Cavalry, Paraguayan Army, service dress
6. Major of artillery, Bolivian Army, khaki service dress
7. Brigadier-general, Paraguayan Army, service dress
8. General, Bolivian Army, khaki service dress

There is also 1 black and white illustration provided. It is of:
- The Cañonero (gunboat) ARP Humaitá or Paraguay
Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the illustrations for yourself.


There is 1 black and white map provided. It is of:

- A contemporary map showing the region of the Gran Chaco Boreal, with main routes, villages and Bolivian and Paraguayan fortifications.
Please refer to the scan that I have provided so that you can judge the quality of the map for yourself.

the information charts

There are no informational charts provided in this volume.

the captions

The captions are well written and are very detailed and explain the accompanying photographs well. They cover things such as the individuals and their units shown, as well as the equipment, weapons, and uniform items. As with the text I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors I read through the captions. As I stated before, grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the captions for yourself.


All in all I am very pleased with this book. It details the 1932-35 Chaco War very well and in great depth and with its wealth of photographs, illustrations and the well written text will be a great help to not only the well versed Chaco War historian but also to individuals that are unfamiliar with this 20th century conflict. I would have no hesitation to add other Osprey Publishing LTD titles to my personal library nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others.




The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Worlds Tanks and Fighting Vehicles
Christopher F. Foss
Chartwell Books, Inc.

The Military Book Club Encyclopedia of Infantry Weapons of WWII
Saturn Books Ltd.
Ian V. Hogg

Armored Fighting Vehicles in Profile
(AFV’s of the World Series)
Volume 2
British AFV’s 1919/1940
Edited by Duncan Crow
Profile Publications Limited

Guns of the Reich
Firearms of the German Forces, 1939-1945
George Markham
Arms And Armour Press

Osprey Publishing’s website.


You can take a look inside of the book on the Amazon website.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Chaco-War-1932-35-Men-at-Arms/dp/1849084165/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1348413025&sr=8-1&keywords=The Chaco War 1932-35

You can also view the Kindle Edition available on the Amazon website:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Chaco-War-1932-35-ebook/dp/B005UF9W9A/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1348413025&sr=8-2&keywords=The Chaco War 1932-35
Highs: Well researched, written, and detailed text and captions Helpful and relevant photographs and illustrations
Lows: Nothing noted
Verdict: This is a very nice worthwhile reference book that is well researched and will benefit the military enthusiast and historian.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:1
  Mfg. ID: 978-1-84908-416-1
  Suggested Retail: US $17.95
  PUBLISHED: Sep 27, 2012

Our Thanks to Osprey Publishing!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Randy L Harvey (HARV)

I have been in the modeling hobby off and on since my youth. I build mostly 1/35 scale. However I work in other scales for aircraft, ships and the occasional civilian car kit. I also kit bash and scratch-build when the mood strikes. I mainly model WWI and WWII figures, armor, vehic...

Copyright ©2021 text by Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]. All rights reserved.


Thanks Randy for taking such great time with a little known conflict, but equally as important. Your review makes it a compelling purchase as I am sure most of us are seeking out historical events as well as building kits. ~ Jeff
SEP 26, 2012 - 10:54 PM
You're welcome Jeff. And thank you for the positive feedback. The Chaco War was something new to me and I really enjoyed reading through the book and learning about it. I found it to be really interesting and has now become another interest of mine. Like you mentioned, I am one of those who likes to read and study history as well as model it. Thank you again, Randy
SEP 27, 2012 - 04:54 AM

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