Helion's Air Wars Between Ecuador and Peru Vol 3
|$24.95 MSRP from Casemate|
80 pages, softcover, over 100
Just as have the nations of Europe, Asia and Africa, those in Latin America have had their share of conflicts. Sometimes they are over political ideology, but as often as not, they are over land.
Such is the case regarding the several wars held between Ecuador and Peru since the 1940s. These have been over a rugged area of the Condor Mountains that border the two nations in Ecuador's southeast. Due to the relative inaccessibility in terms of roads, the majority of equipment and manpower has been delivered by air, so it is not surprising that air power has been important in all three of the wars. This book covers the final one in 1995 that eventually led to a peace treaty in 1998 that firmly established the border
Like the previous two wars, the actual number of troops involved has been fairly small as conflicts go. Mostly it is groups that have manned outposts along the disputed area, with war breaking out because one side or the other has tried to move into areas the other felt was theirs. The 1981 war saw fairly large use of helicopters, something not available in the 1941 war and used even more so during 1995. This was especially true as they had become quite large and powerful. In addition, helo gunships, such as the Hind and armed Gazelles were used with great effect. Also very useful were COIN type aircraft such as AT-33s and the A-37s that were operated by both sides. There was also use of fast jets, but given the terrain, they were not as effective as hoped.
Unlike the earlier conflicts, in this one Ecuador had the technological edge in equipment and training. Peru had suffered from many years of economic plight and was unable to provide the funds to keep aircraft in the air or to allow crews the flight time that is so important. They were also unable to upgrade their equipment, while Ecuador was able to accomplish all of these things.
As with all conflicts, the fighting cannot be separated from the politics involved and there is plenty of that on both sides. In fact, from this reviewer's point of view, it is the politics that makes this event and others covered by Helion to be the most interesting. As with other books in this series, there are great photos, some of them in color, a nice selection of full color profiles and a couple of nice maps. I will confess that I had to use Wikipedia to figure out exactly where the war was fought as the book offers a great close-up map of the battle area and a nice overall one showing Ecuadoran and Peruvian bases, but never pinpoints on the larger map were the Condor Mountains are located. It is a case of assuming that the reader knows, something easy to overlook when one is steeped in the subject.
Anyway, it all combines to make for another superlative read and one that I most highly recommend to you.
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