Air War Over the Putumayo...

...Colombian and Peruvian Air Operations during the 1932-33 Conflict, Helion & Company, via Casemate Books

Title:  Air War of the Putumayo

Author: Amaru Tincopa & Santiago Rivas

Publisher:  Helion and Company

ISBN:  978-1-912390-23-6

An 80-page paperback format book, number 7 in the Latin America at War series from Helion Books.  Once again it tackles events I knew nothing about before hand, and I wonder how many of us in Europe were aware of this border conflict back in 1932.  It deals with what was essentially a border dispute between Colombia and Peru in a region where there was no simple physical guide to where the border was and when as ever, economics drew two sides into confrontation.  The bulk of the area under dispute was largely Amazonian jungle which also restricted movement for significant land forces.  It led to the greater development and use of aircraft over this inhospitable area, and where the use of the rivers meant a widespread use of float planes.

So, the book starts with an Introduction and part one of the story which sets out the background to the situation that led to the border conflict, with the story of the development of the new Republic of Peru and of Colombia from Neuva Grenada and the events that led to the start of the conflict.  Part 2 of the book considers the two opposing sides, which includes the growth of their respective air arms as well as a look at their Orders of Battle for their naval and ground forces.  Then we get the story of their initial deployments and the chronological story which details the events that took place during the conflict itself.  Fortunately the League of Nations stepped in and was successful in stepping in and finding a solution that both sides were able to accept, before it turned into all out war.

We get an interesting bit of history from the early 1930s and for the aviation historian and modeller, we see an absolutely fascinating selection of archive photos which will be new to pretty much every reader I suspect.  The variety of aircraft types from this early era of aviation, where the majority are still biplanes but not entirely.  Some we see on conventional wheeled undercarriage but the majority are fitted with floats to operate from the rivers, and there are some boat hulled flying boats as well.  The variety of manufacturers is every bit as varied, supplied from the USA, the UK, France Italy and Germany.  The most famous I guess will be the Ju 52, on floats.  Add maps and 5 pages of fine colour profiles, there is a lot to inspire a modeller to try something a bit different.

Another interesting and informative addition to this series, and again I enjoyed discovering more about a history I hadn't known about beforehand.

Distributed by Casemate Books, who kindly provided my review copy.

Robin