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Paraguay Army Post Chaco War 1935 v.1.

0 December 2, 2001

Adrian J. English

Herewith some more Paraguayan ephemera, in this instance taken from copies of contemporary official documents still bearing the stamp "SECRETO" given to me by one of the surviving Paraguayan Chaco War leaders (O/C C.E. I and D.I. 6, post Armistice), Colonel Carlos Fernandez, whom I had the privilege to know in Buenos Aires, where he lived in exile, during the mid 1970s.

It is interesting to note (particularly in the context of today's bloated senior officer echelon) that all of the Paraguayan leaders in the Chaco War held ranks ridiculously inappropriate to the commands, which they occupied. Thus, Estigarribia (promoted full General only after the Paraguayan victory and Marshal only after his death) started of the war as a Lieutenant Colonel!

Throughout the conflict, Army Corps (normally the command of a Lieutenant General) were commanded by colonels, divisions (which normally merited the command of a Major General) by Lt. Colonels or even majors, regiments by majors or captains, battalions by captains or even lieutenants and companies by lieutenants or second lieutenants, platoons rarely being commanded by a commissioned officer.

Infantry and cavalry both fought on foot after the initial battle of Boqueron where water shortage forced the cavalry to slaughter their mounts. However, during the war, the organization of the cavalry (still retained after they became infantry another name) proved to be more suitable to the conditions under which they operated than that of the infantry.

Another peculiarity, which will be noted from the equipment allocations, is the absence of specialist military vehicles (e.g. ambulances) the standard vehicle being the 1.5 ton Ford, GM or REO truck. These seem to have served all purposes, from staff transport downwards, only the divisional, corps and army commanders having the luxury of staff cars although photographs exist of large tracked prime-movers, towing two or three trailers.

Yet another surprising feature of the post-Armistice army is the small allocation of SMGs; during the latter stages of the war, the average four-man patrol had two SMGs and two rifles.

Finally, the attached orbat obviously refers to the forces maintained in the more-or-less immediate theatre of operations (in accordance with the 5,000 man limit imposed by the Armistice). Even though it seems that no combat units were maintained in nuclear Paraguay during this period, there were obviously, command, training and logistic elements located east of the Paraguay River.

Table of Organization and Equipment

MAJOR UNITS & FORMATIONS

Division de Infantera No. 1(HQ Camacho): R.I. 2 YTORORO (Camacho) & R.I. 4 CURUPAYTY (Km 180 de Casado and Pto. Casado)

Manpower: 87 Officers, 242 NCOs & 949 ORs Total: 1,278 Armament:: 4 Mortars, 8 Hvy MGs, 74 Lt.MGs, 10 SMGs & 1099 Rifles Other Equipment: 1 Saloon Car, 28 Trucks, 3 Radio Transmitters, 1 Telegraph, 3 Telephone Exchanges, 12 Field Telephones, 60 Kms of Cable, 1 Mechanical Workshop, 1 Carpenters Workshop, 34 Axes, 52 Picks, 58 Shovels, 102 Machetes

Division de Infantera No. 2 (HQ Concepcin?): R.I. 1 DOS DE MAYO & R.I. 3 CORRALES)

Manpower: 87 Officers, 242 NCOs & 949 ORs Total: 1,278 Armament: 4 Mortars, 8 Hvy MGs, 74 Lt.MGs, 10 SMGs & 1099 Rifles Other Equipment: 1 Saloon Car, 28 Trucks, 3 Radio Transmitters, 1 Telegraph, 3 Telephone Exchanges, 12 Field Telephones, 60 Kms of Cable, 1 Mechanical Workshop, 1 Carpenters Workshop, 34 Axes, 52 Picks, 58 Shovels, 102 Machetes

Division de Infantera No. 6 (HQ Capirenda): R.I. 5 GENERAL DIAZ & R.C. 1 VALOIS RIVAROLA

Manpower: 77 Officers, 195 NCOs & 893 ORs Total: 1,165 Armament: 4 Mortars, 8 Hvy MGs, 54 Lt.MGs, 22 SMGs & 901 Rifles Other Equipment: 1 Saloon Car, 28 Trucks, 3 Radio Transmitters, 1 Telegraph, 3 Telephone Exchanges, 12 Field Telephones, 60 Kms of Cable, 1 Mechanical Workshop, 1 Carpenters Workshop, 34 Axes, 52 Picks, 58 Shovels, 102 Machetes

R.A. 1 GENERAL BRUGUEZ

Manpower: 27 Officers, 74 NCOs & 231 ORs Total: 332 Armament:four 105 mm howitzers, eight 75 mm guns, 4 Lt. MGs, 4 SMGs & 296 Rifles Other Equipment: 13 Trucks, 1 Radio Transmitter, 2 Telephone Exchanges, 6 Field Telephones, 40 Kms of Cable, 30 Axes, 20 Picks, 20 Shovels, 35 Machetes

R.Z. 1 GENERAL AQUINO

Manpower: 21 Officers, 63 NCOs & 252 ORs Total: 336 Armament: 2 Mortars, 2 Hvy. MGs, 12 Lt. MGs, 6 SMGs & 295 Rifles Other Equipment:4 Trucks, 1 Radio Transmitter, 1 Telephone Exchange , 4 Field Telephones, 20 Kms of Cable, 24 Axes, 48 Picks, 48 Shovels, 72 Machetes.

UNIT ORGANIZATION

Divisional HQ (21 officers, 20 NCOs & 83 ORs Total: 124) Divisional Staff (12 Officers, 8 NCOs & 17 ORs Total: 37) Supply Section (2 Officers, 1 NCO & 3 ORs Total: 6) Field Park (1 Officer, 1 NCO & 4 ORs Total: 6)

Transport Section (1 Officer, 2 NCOs & 26 ORs Total: 29) Medical Section (3 Officers, 1 NCO & 7 ORs Total: 11) Field Post & Cryptographic Section (1 Officer, 2 NCOs & 5 ORs Total: 8) Engineer Platoon (1 Officer, 5 NCOs & 21 ORs Total: 27)

Armament: 2 Lt. MGs, 2 SMGs & 99 Rifles Other Equipment: 1 Saloon Car, 20 Trucks, 1 Radio Transmitter, 1 Telegraph, 1 Telephone Exchange, 4 Field Telephones, 20 Kms of cable, 1Mechanical Workshop, 1 Carpenters Workshop, 10 Axes, 4 Picks, 10 Shovels & 30 Machetes

Infantry Regiment(33 Officers, 111 NCOs & 433 ORs Total: 577):

Regimental HQ (7 Officers, 5 NCOs & 23 ORs Total: 35) Heavy MG Coy (3 Officers, 10 NCOs & 47 ORs Total: 60) Mortar Platoon (1 Officers, 4 NCOs & 15 ORs Total: 20) 2 Rifle Battalions (each 11 Officers, 46 NCOs & 174 ORs Total: 231)

Bn. HQ (3 Officers, 2 NCOs & 6 ORs Total: 11) 2 Rifle Companies (Each 4 Officers, 22 NCOs & 84 ORs Total: 110)

Coy. HQ (1 Officer, 2 NCOs & 2 ORs Total: 5) 3 Platoons (Each 1 Officer, 8 NCOs & 26 ORs Total: 35)

Pln. HQ (1 Officer & 2 ORs Total: 3) 3 Lt. MG Sections: (Each 2 NCOs & 6 ORs Total: 8) 1 Rifle/Grenadier Section (2 NCOs & 6 ORs Total: 8)

Armament: 2 Mortars, 4 Hvy MGs, 36 Lt. MGs, 4 SMGs & 500 Rifles Other Equipment: 4 Trucks, 1 Radio Transmitter, 1 Telephone Exchange, 4 Field Telephones, 20 Kms of Cable, 12 Axes, 24 Picks, 24 Shovels, 36 Machetes

Cavalry Regiment (23 Officers, 64 NCOs & 377 ORs Total: 464):

Regimental HQ (7 Officers, 5 NCOs & 25 ORs Total: 37 ): Hvy. MG Sqn. (3 Officers, 10 NCOs & 49 ORs Total: 62 ): Mortar Troop (1 Officer, 4 NCOs & 15 ORs Total: 20): 3 Sqns. (Each 4 Officers, 15 NCOs & 96 ORs Total: 115 ):

Squadron HQ (1 Officer, 3 NCOs & 9 ORs Total: 13) 3 Troops (Each 1 Officer, 4 NCOs & 29 ORs Total: 34)

Troop HQ (1 Officer & 3 ORs Total: 4) 2 Lt. MG Secns. (Each 1 NCO & 6 ORs Total: 7) 2 Rifle Secns (Each 1 NCO & 7 ORs Total: 8 ):

Armament: Mortars, 4 Hvy. MGs, 18 Lt. MGs, 18 SMGs & 401 Rifles Other Equipment: 4 Trucks, 1 Radio Transmitter, 1 Telephone Exchange, 4 Field Telephones, 20 Kms of Cable, 12 Axes, 24 Picks, 24 Shovels, 36 Machetes

Artillery Regiment(27 Officers, 74 NCOs & 231 ORs Total: 332)

Regimental HQ (8 Officers, 8 NCOs & 32 ORs Total: 48)

Survey & Observation Bty (5 Officers, 20 NCOs & 30 ORs Total: 55)

Battery HQ (5 Officers, 3 NCOs & 2 ORs Total: 10) Cartographic Section (5 NCOs & 10 ORs Total: 15 ) Communications Section (1 NCO & 3 ORs Total: 4 ) Observation Section (8 NCOs & 6 ORs Total: 14) General Services (3 NCOs & 9 ORs Total: 12)

1 Group (19 Officers, 66 NCOs & 199 ORs Total: 228)

Group HQ (2 Officers, 1 NCO & 4 ORs Total: 7 ) 3 Batteries (Each 4 Officers, 15 NCOs & 55 ORs Total: 74)

Battery HQ (2 Officers, 10 NCOs & 11 ORs Total: 23) 2 Firing Sections (Each 1 Officer, 2 NCOs & 20 ORs Total: 23 ) 1 Lt. MG Section (1 NCO & 4 ORs Total: 5)

Armament:four 105 mm howitzers, eight 75 mm guns, 4 Lt. MGs, 4 SMGs & 296 Rifles Other Equipment: 13 Trucks, 1 Radio Transmitter, 2 Telephone Exchanges, 6 Field Telephones, 40 Kms of Cable, 30 Axes, 20 Picks, 20 Shovels, 35 Machetes

Engineer Regiment (21 Officers, 63 NCOs & 252 ORs Total: 336)

Regimental HQ (8 Officers, 9 NCOs & 28 ORs Total: 45 ) Hvy. MG Platoon (1 Officers, 4 NCOs & 21 ORs Total: 26) Mortar Platoon (1 Officers, 4 NCOs & 15 ORs Total: 20) 1 Battalion (11 Officers, 46 NCOs & 188 ORs Total: 245)

Battalion HQ (3 Officers, 2 NCOs & 8 ORs Total: 13) 2 Companies (Each 4 Officers, 22 NCOs & 90 ORs Total: 116)

Company HQ (1 Officer, 1 NCO & 3 ORs Total: 5) 3 Plns. (Each 1 Officers, 7 NCOs & 29 ORs Total: 37 )

Platoon HQ (1 Officer, 1 NCO & 3 ORs Total: 5 ) 2 Lt. MG Secns. (Each 2 NCOs & 6 ORs Total: 8 ) 2 Rifle Secns. (Each 1 NCO & 7 ORs Total: 8)

Armament:2 Mortars, 2 Hvy. MGs, 12 Lt. MGs, 6 SMGs & 295 Rifles Other Equipment:4 Trucks, 1 Radio Transmitter, 1 Telephone Exchange , 4 Field Telephones, 20 Kms of Cable, 24 Axes, 48 Picks, 48 Shovels, 72 Machetes

Breakdown of Armament per Unit:

Infantry Regiment: 2 Mortars, 4 Hvy MGs, 36 Lt. MGs, 4 SMGs & 500 Rifles

Battalion: 18 Lt. MGs, 2 SMGs & 210 Rifles

Company: 9 Lt. MGs, 1 SMG & 96 Rifles

Platoon: 3 Lt. MGs

Cavalry Regiment: 2 Mortars, 4 Hvy. MGs, 18 Lt. MGs, 18 SMGs & 401 Rifles

Squadron: 6 Lt. MGs, 6 SMGs & 99 Rifles

Troop: 2 Lt. MGs, 2 SMGs & 29 Rifles

Artillery Regiment: four 105 mm howitzers, eight 75 mm guns, 4 Lt. MGs, , 4 SMGs & 296 Rifles

Group: four 105 mm howitzers, eight 75 mm guns, 4 Lt. MGs, , 4 SMGs & 256 Rifles

Battery: four 75 mm guns or 105 mm howitzers, 1 Lt. MG, 1 SMG & 68 Rifles

Engineer Regiment: 2 Mortars, 2 Hvy. MGs, 12 Lt. MGs, 6 SMGs & 295 Rifles

Battalion: 12 Lt. MGs, 6 SMGs & 216 Rifles

Company: 6 Lt. MGs, 3 SMGs & 103 Rifles

4 Trucks, 1 Radio Transmitter, 1 Telephone Exchange, 4 Field Telephones, 20 Kms of Cable, 12 Axes, 24 Picks, 24 Shovels, 36 Machetes 4 Trucks, 1 Radio Transmitter, 1 Telephone Exchange, 4 Field Telephones, 20 Kms of Cable, 12 Axes, 24 Picks, 24 Shovels, 36 Machetes