The book is a thin paperback (40 pages) but it contains numerous 1:72nd-scale colour drawings of all the main aircraft types used by both sides during the Chaco War. It also contains a brief history of the war as well as a chronology of the main air operations carried out by both sides. Whilst it was not cheap, it is a very helpful addition to my collection of books etc., about the Chaco War.
A SCALE MODELLER’S GUIDE TO AIRCRAFT OF THE GRAN CHACO WAR was written and illustrated by Richard Humberstone and published by Blue Rider Publishing in 2015 (ISBN 978 1 32 055024 6)
The class’s characteristics were:
- Displacement: 4,725 tons
- Length: 319’ 3” (97.3m)
- Beam: 50’ 6” (15.4m)
- Draught: 29’ 3” (8.92m)
- Propulsion: 2 x Triple Expansion engines (11,500shp), each driving a propeller
- Speed: 20.5 knots
- Complement: 420
- Armament: 4 x 7.9” (4 x 1) Hontoria M1883 Guns; 6 x 4.7” (6 x 1) Hontoria M1883 Guns; 6 x 57mm (6 x 1) Nordenfelt Quick Firing Guns; 6 (6 x 1) Machine Guns; 5 x 14” Torpedo Tubes (2 bow, 2 beam, 1 aft)
- Main deck: 4.7” to 3.15” amidships between the main guns and 1” fore and aft
- Gun shields: 2.9”
The lead ship of the class – the Reine Regente – was laid down on 20th June 1886, launched on 24th February 1887, and completed on 1st January 1888. She was built in James & George Thompson’s shipyard at Govan, Clydebank, Glasgow, and delivered to the Spanish Navy upon completion. She sank with all hands on 9th March 1895 off the southern coast of Spain.
Alfonso XIII was built at the Naval Dockyard, Ferrol. She was laid down in 1891, launched on 31st August 1891, and used as a training ship from 1896 onwards. She was eventually commissioned on 18th May 1900 and served for seven years before she was discarded and scrapped.
Lepanto was built at the Naval Dockyard, Cartagena. She was laid down on 1st October 1886, launched on 6th November 1893, and completed on 26th January 1899. She was discarded in 1911 and scrapped.
The book is a slim paperback (it only has eighty pages), but it contains over two hundred illustrations and gives details about the organisation of the air forces involved and the missions that were flown. Reading it made me wonder if at some time in the future I ought to consider producing a military source book about the war along the lines of LA ULTIMA CRUZADA … but I have a few other projects that I want to finish first!
There is also a model of the ship on display.
The cruiser was built in 1887 by James & George Thompson of Clydebank, Glasgow, and was the first of three ships of her class to be constructed. (The other two ships in the class were Alfonso XIII and Lepanto.)
On 9th March, 1895, the Reina Regente set out from Cádiz, Spain to sail to Tangier, Morocco. She was under the command of Captain Francisco Sanz de Andino, who was an experienced officer, and her crew numbered 420. Soon after leaving port the weather worsened, and strong winds and heavy seas made conditions very dangerous For the low freeboard cruiser. It is believed that Captain de Andino decided to turn the ship about so that she could return to Cadiz, but before she reached the safety of the port she sank with all hands somewhere off the coast of southern Spain.
The originals appear to have two signatures; A Buisan and C J Cusachs. The former is a contemporary watercolour artist who seems to specialise in military subjects, particularly uniforms. I can find no information about a C J Cusachs, although I did discover that there was a Catalan soldier and painter named Josep Cusachs i Cusachs who lived from 1851 to 1908. He specialised in military subjects, portraits (including King Alfonso XIII, General Juan Prim and Mexican President Porfirio Díaz), and paintings of sport riding.
Having studied some of Cusachs’s uniform paintings (which are very similar in composition to those painted by A Buisan), I have come to the conclusion that the paintings that I photographed in the museum were by A Buisan in the style of Josep Cusachs.
Back in August 2011 – and before I expanded the collection with purchases on eBay – I organised some of the figures that I did have into two small Napoleonic armies and used them to fight some battles from the imaginary Cordeguayan Civil War. The two armies were mounted on temporary 50mm x 50mm squares of green-coloured mounting board, with three Infantry figures per Infantry unit, two Cavalry figures per Cavalry unit, and two Gunners and a Cannon per Artillery unit. The results looked as follows:
Looking at these two armies now, I realise that my existing collection would enable me to field similar armies several times over (possibly at least three or four times larger) … a somewhat sobering thought!
The rules I used were a mishmash based on Joseph Morschauser’s rules that became an early version of the PORTABLE WARGAME. The playing surface was a 15 x 15 grid of 50mm squares that easily fitted onto the table in my toy/wargames room and could accommodate both of the two armies I had assembled.
Reading the two battle reports (‘The Battle of the Bridge over the River Blanco‘ and ‘The Battle of the Cherro Rico road‘) made me realise just how much fun I had experienced fighting them, and it was at that point that the motivation to get this project finished started to return. Hopefully it will not dissipate before I actually do anything … but like so many wargamers, I can resist anything except temptation!
This is one of the lesser-known campaigns of the war, and featured a number of interesting land battles between Axis forces (including Germans, Romanians, and a few Italians) and the Red Army as well as coastal operations and amphibious landings by units of the Black Sea Fleet.
THE KUBAN 1943: THE WEHRMACHT’S LAST STAND IN THE CAUCASUS was written by Robert Forczyk and illustrated by Steve Moon. It was published by Osprey Publishing in 2018 as No.318 in their ‘Campaign’ series (ISBN 978 1 4728 2259 8).