Armies of the War of the Pacific 1879–83

Armies of the War of the Pacific 1879–83

Chile, Peru & Bolivia

Men-at-Arms 504
  • Author: Gabriele Esposito
  • Illustrator: Giuseppe Rava
  • Short code: MAA 504
  • Publication Date: 20 Jan 2016
  • Number of Pages: 48
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About this Product

The Pacific War was the greatest and bloodiest war ever fought in the Andean region, and is one of the most important conflicts in South American history. It is also known as the 'Saltpeter War' or the 'Guano War' because the possession of these two highly profitable nitrates was the main cause of the conflict.
By the 1870s Chilean military superiority and expansionist policies exploded into full scale conflict. This book examines the troops, uniforms and equipment used by the Chilean, Peruvian and Bolivian forces and traces the events of the war from the early naval blockades, through major pitched battles, to the final guerilla campaign in occupied Peru. The war ended in total victory for Chile, and that country's military emergence thereafter as 'the Prussia of South America', while it cost Peru some lucrative provinces, and Bolivia its outlet to the Pacific coast.

Biographical Note

Gabriele Esposito is an Italian researcher and a long-time student of military history. His main field of research is the military of 19th-century Latin America, but his interests range from the Ancient world to modern post-colonial conflicts. He has published several works in the UK, including MAA 499 Armies of the War of the Triple Alliance 1864-70 published in March 2015, and is a regular contributor to many specialized magazines.Giuseppe Rava was born in Faenza in 1963, and took an interest in all things military from an early age. Entirely self-taught, Giuseppe has established himself as a leading military history artist, and is inspired by the works of the great military artists, such as Detaille, Meissonier, Röchling, Lady Butler, Ottenfeld and Angus McBride. He lives and works in Italy.


Introduction - the importance of the war for South American history, and its political and military consequences for the nations involved
The road to war
The land campaigns: first - Chilean occupation of Peruvian province of Tarapacá, 1879 ; second - Arica and Tacna campaign, January-May 1880; third - Lima campaign, November-December 1880; fourth - Peruvian guerrilla resistance in the Sierras, 1881-83
Navies and naval operations - Iquiquique and Antofagasta
The Chilean army - organization, uniforms, weapons, tactics and performance
The Peruvian army - organization, uniforms, weapons, tactics and performance
The Bolivian army - organization, uniforms, weapons, tactics and performance
Plate Commentaries

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