Author Topic: French aircraft in Bolivia  (Read 2414 times)

Offline Acree

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French aircraft in Bolivia
« on: February 22, 2015, 02:29:16 PM »
Bolivia and Paraguay fought the Chaco War from 1932 to 1935 over control of the Chaco Boreal, the northernmost portion of the Gran Chaco.  The war was the largest and bloodiest of the 20th Century in Latin America.  That it dragged on for three years was largely a result of mistakes and military blunders from both sides.  Most foreign aid to both countries was cut off during the war.  In the end, Paraguay gained control of about 75% of the Chaco Boreal.  It was believed that massive oil and natural gas deposits existed in the Chaco Boreal, although in reality it would be many decades before this was proven.

The Chaco War ended with a ceasefire in 1935, but a formal truce was not signed at that time. **

In peace talks in Buenos Aires in 1938, the Paraguayan delegation walked out of negotiations when the Bolivian representatives (backed by the Standard Oil representative) insisted that the Boreal should be divided equally between the two nations, insisting that Bolivian military forces had not been defeated, and the nation should not be punished for a conflict that the Paraguayans had initiated.  The talks collapsed, and open conflict resumed in the Chaco on March 12, 1938 with a Bolivian air attack on Paraguayan army positions near Cordillera. 
This was the start of the conflict later known as the Second Chaco War.  In the two and a half years during which the ceasefire was in effect, both nations had taken the opportunity to refurbish and modernize their forces, especially the air components.  Bolivia sought aircraft from the United States, Britain and France to update the FAB.  However, arms imports from the United States continued to be severely limited by the US State Department, and only 10 CW-19R trainer aircraft were purchased from the U.S.  A Bolivian purchasing commission in Britain failed to make a significant British aircraft purchase, though both Vickers Vildebeest and Vickers Wellesley bombers were considered.  The Bolivians were also quite interested in the Vickers Venom project, and sought to negotiate a manufacturing license for it, but no Bolivian built Venom ever flew.  The majority of aircraft to modernize and expand the FAB came from France.  Between 1935 and 1939, The Bolivians received the following French aircraft:
   
20 Morane Saulnier MS 230 elementary trainers (1935)
10 Dewoitine D.501 fighters (1935)
12 Breguet Bre 270 observation aircraft (1935)
8 Dewoitine D.510 fighters (1936)
4 Liore et Olivier LeO C.30 observation autogiros  (1936)
6 Bloch MB 200 bombers (1937)
10 Morane Saulnier MS.406 fighters (1939)
6 Potez 633 attack bombers (1939)

** Everything BEFORE the ** is true in the "real world"  Everything after the ** is from my World War II Goes Hot in Latin America scenario. 

Shown below are a Dewoitine D.501 from the first batch of French aircraft delivered in 1935.  The second profile shows a D.510 delivered in1936.  The third profile represents a D.501 modified by a consortium comprised of a tema of engineers from Bristol Aeroplane Company, Ltd, and men of the Cuerpo de Aviación Boliviana.  The resulting aircraft was known locally as the D.501Br (converted D.510s were D.510Br).  When the converted aircraft first flew in March, 1939, it was found to be very much superior to the D.501, but still inferior to the MS 406s then being delivered from France.  All told, 11 Dewoitines were converted to "Br" status, and they saw service in the Second Chaco War. 
« Last Edit: February 22, 2015, 11:21:27 PM by Acree »

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Fench aircraft in Bolivia
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2015, 02:42:37 PM »
Interesting
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

Offline lauhof52

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Re: Fench aircraft in Bolivia
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2015, 03:51:46 PM »
Nice work!

Offline Acree

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Re: French aircraft in Bolivia
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2015, 04:04:32 PM »
Six MB-200 bombers were delivered to Bolivia in 1937 in standard French bomber green paint.  Serialled in the 300-305 range, each bomber was named for a Bolivian city.  In Cuerpo de Aviacion tradition, bombers were named after cities, and each "class" of bombers were named after cities in a particular region.  In the case of the MB 200s, each was named after a city in the Oruro region of Bolivia.  The MB-200s were:
300 - Machacamarca
301 - Tolapalca
302 - Catiracahua
303 - Huaylluma
304 - Challapata
305 - Sabaya

The MB-200s saw service in their design role during the first half of the Second Chaco War, but their vulnerability soon became evident, as two aircraft (301 and 304) were lost to Paraguayan fighters and several others damaged before the remaining fleet was relegated to transport duty.  Finally, two MB-200s remained in service in 1948, becoming the first aircraft assigned to the military-run Transportes Aereos Militares (TAM) airline.

The first profile below shows #300 "Machacamarca" as first delivered in service as a bomber,
the second profile shows #303 "Huaylluma" after conversion as a military transport, and
the final profile shows TAM-01, (originally #302 "Cataricahua") in airline service. 

   

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: French aircraft in Bolivia
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2015, 04:39:01 AM »
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

Offline Acree

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Re: French aircraft in Bolivia
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2015, 12:15:12 PM »
In my list of French aircraft imported into Bolivia, I neglected to mention the beloved Polilla.  This was the Bolivian name for the Caudron C.282.8, of which a total of ten were delivered beginning in 1937.  Intended for training and liaison duties, the Polillas were eventually used during the Second Chaco War for light reconnaissance and as an air ambulance.  The first drawing below shows a Polilla in service with the 1 Escaudrilla de Reconocimiento.  The second drawing shows a Polilla in service as an ambulance in 1944. 

Offline apophenia

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Re: French aircraft in Bolivia
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2015, 10:24:18 AM »
Very nice! I especially like the markings on the ambulance version of the Polilla :)

For something similar in the RW, see the Caudron C.510 Pélican: http://aerobarbariansgrup.com/IMAGENES%20FRANCIA%20sgm/CaudronC510%20pelican.jpg
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Offline Acree

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Re: French aircraft in Bolivia
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2015, 12:57:35 PM »
Thanks, Apophenia!  The Pelican was the dedicated ambulance version of the C.282.8 Phalene, and it was my inspiration for the ambulance Polilla, but I remembered the C.510 AFTER I had completed the blank for the Polilla and didn't feel like redoing it, so I stayed with the Phalene as a base.  However, I think you mixed up your pictures.  What you posted is a Polish RWD 13 similar to the one shown below of the Polish Navy.  There were also ambulance markings for the RWD 13 in Rumania.   But you have given my an interesting idea - some Polish aircraft in Latin American service might be quite interesting... hmmmmm.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2015, 01:02:42 PM by Acree »

Offline Frank3k

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Re: French aircraft in Bolivia
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2015, 01:09:53 AM »
The RWD 15 was used in Brazil. There's a pretty good 1/72 model of the RWD 5 (which was also used in Brazil) I can see it as a Brazilian or PAraguayan recon or patrol AC.

The Plastyk 1/72 RWD-5 also has a matching PE set that really helps the kit.