The 100 Hour War...

...The Conflict Between Honduras and El Salvador in July 1969, Helion & Company, via Casemate Books

Title:  The 100 Hour War

Author: Mario Overall and Dan Hagedorn

Publisher:  Helion and Company

ISBN:  978-1-911096-50-4

Another paperback format book in the Latin America at War series from Helion and Company.  Again with this series, as a European, I was fascinated to read an account of a conflict that perhaps I should remember, but I didn't.  It happened at around a time that my attention, and perhaps much of the rest of the world, was focussed on the story of the first moon landing.  It is also thought provoking in how a conflict breaks out between two neighbours where something happens which ignites a story that has actually been building over the years from quite separate events, and which until you have an opportunity like this to look back and take a wider view rather than being caught up in the specific events of the time.  In this case it was fuelled by the past, when 2 large fruit companies were unable to find enough local workers in Honduras so brought in some 300,000 from neighbouring El Salvador.  At the time this was good for the Honduran economy and they were welcomed.  Things changed over the years, both in economic and political terms.  After a Coup d'Etat thousands of Salvadorian immigrants were expelled.  That created an economic crisis in El Salvador which caused unrest.  It was a preliminary round of the World Cup which happened to bring the two countries together on a football field which prompted violence to break out and that soon turned into a short war of some 4 days.

In a 72-page softcover book the detailed story of this conflict is broken down into 9 chapters.  These are A War by Any Other Name: No Need for an Air Force: At Least we have That: A Massive Air Strike: Returning the Punch: Out of Steam: The Longest Day: Maximum Efforts: and The War That No One Won.  The story is well illustrated throughout with archive photos plus helpful maps and some good colour profiles which will be welcomed by modellers looking for something that little bit different.  The story involves the last conflict which saw WW2 vintage piston engine aircraft facing each other in armed combat.  Mustangs and F4 Corsairs were mainly involved, with a mixture of other aircraft types which were cobbled together and even using C47 Dakotas as bombers, by rolling 100lb bombs out of the cargo door.  It is rounded off with two appendices that list the individual aircraft used by both sides and including comments on their eventual fates where available.

For the military historian, the aircraft enthusiast and the modeller this is a really interesting read and the result of about 20 years of research by the authors.  Another book from Helion Books which I can heartily recommend.

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

Robin