This is an apolitical forum for discussions on the Axis nations, as well as the First and Second World Wars in general hosted by Marcus Wendel's Axis History Factbook in cooperation with Michael Miller's Axis Biographical Research and Christoph Awender's WW2 day by day.
Georgik01 wrote:My father late Cnl. Edwin Caspary (1913-1990) fought in the Chaco war (1932-35). He entered the war as a young cadret. He traveled by train La Paz-Villazon then by truck Villazon-Tarija-Entre Rios and by foot Entre Rios-Villamontes. He fought in Nanawa, Gondra, Bullo and being captured in Campo Via. By foot marched to Asuncion, Paraguay and escaped his captors to be sent back to the front till the end of hostilities. The Bolivian army faced tremendous logistical problems because of the lack of roads and transportation. On the other hand, a high percentage of Bolivian soldiers from the Altiplano region faced immense disadvantage because of the unknown environment. Thery never being in the jungle. Because of the Chaco's arid environment most Bolivian soldiers died of thirst than fighting the enemy. Food arrived at any time full of flies and some days it never came. Although they had boots comparing with Paraguayan soldiers that fought bare foot Bolivian uniform was inadequate to the climate. None of the armies used steel helmets and instead used cloth hats. Bolivian soldiers lacked even machetes which was of common use by the Paraguayan army. At the officer level most Division commanders never before attended High Command and Staff School because the country did not have one like Paraguaay that sent their High Command officers to study in France prior to starting hostilities. in other words, Paraguayan High Command officers were militarily better instructed and prepared. Bolivians had good instruction up to the regiment or tactical level but not to command great units. It explain the strategic failures and finally losing the war. In spite of the disadvantages Bolivian soldiers fought with tenacity and galantry. In several of the military actions my father described how he used the platoon that he commanded. Most of his soldiers were from the jungle region of Beni and Santa Cruz and captured many prisoners and killed many enemy soldiers during the assaults and ambushes. It was a bloody war because of oil interests between Standard Oil and Shell. Hope both countries will enjoy an eternal friendship.
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