Helion's Azules y Colorados

Author/Artists: Antonio Luis Sapienza Fracchia


Helion  Publishing


$29.95 MSRP from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 104 pages, softcover, approx 100 images
ISBN 978-1-804512-19-7

It is no surprise to most who are aware of history, that most nations of central and south America have gone through turbulent times. Argentina is one of those. Despite having all the proper levels of government, there have been times when coups have taken place. Often times these are assisted by the military or at least one branch thereof. This results in the military being in charge of the government and the cessation of proper civilian government. There are times when one of the most prominent members of the military will end up being a dictator and ruling for many years before being overthrown.

A most unusual coup occured in 1962 and 1963. In this case, there were two opposing sides one which was mostly the AirForce and the other the Navy. The Army generally went with the Air Force side (the Azules) while the rest sided with the Navy (the Colorados). The 1962 event, while there were casualties, was the more benign of the two while the 1963 fighting was much more intense with the Navy fully using its air power to bomb and strafe Azules positions and other installations. Of course the Air Force also used its assets in both situations including the use of its Lincoln bombers.

Most of the Naval air power was ground based units with those deployed mostly staying out of the way. In the end the Azules emerged victorious. Not only was Naval air power severely reduced, but the Navy in general was reduced to near minimum and not allowed to reach the level it had prior. As is the norm with these sorts of events, a lot of the officer corps in all of the services during both conflicts was reduced significantly with some being jailed and the rest removed from service.

The author has done a superb job of telling this story which is little known outside of South America. It shows that while some nations can say they are stable democracies, it is not always the case. Often there are underlying differences which can get out of control. I very much appreciated the images provided, though a fair number were gleaned from newspapers so aren't the clearest. Again, there are great color profiles and a nice selection of maps. It is a book I can very much recommend to you if you want to learn something new.

November 2023

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