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Wednesday, March 1st 2017, 4:43pm

Chilean News, 1947

Yearly Summary (to follow)


Wednesday, March 1st 2017, 4:44pm

Friday, January 3, 1947
The ASMAR shipyards continue to be busy, with the four light cruisers of the Araucanía class now being joined by two new Almirante Simpson-class destroyers. These new destroyers are the first of eight identical ships ordered for 1947 and 1948.

Sunday, January 5, 1947
A sharpshooter fired on a group of Chilean soldiers (CBSAR) who were waiting for a bus in a northwestern suburb of Potosi. One of the soldiers was injured. The soldiers, who were off-duty and unarmed, called for backup using a nearby telephone, but responding Territoriales police did not find the guerrilla. Later that day, an unknown individual telephoned the Potosi newspaper and declared the attack was organized by a group calling itself the Communist Guerrilla Union of Bolivia. This is the first act of political violence in the Special Administrative Region since February of 1945.

Friday, January 17, 1947
Congress confirmed Andreas Trevino Soto to the position of Director General of the Carabineros. Trevino replaces the retiring General Hector Adrian Castillo Tapia as the nation's chief law-enforcement officer. Congress is also currently debating another candidate, Nikolaus Sanhueza Sepúlveda, for the position of Director General of the Intelligence Services. Sanhueza's appointment is expected to be made official on Monday.

Wednesday, January 22, 1947
In his weekly comments to the press, President Jorge Castro spoke at some length about political developments both outside and within Chile. Castro noted his acknowledgement of the Peruvian elections last year, which have resulted in military junta leader General Manuel Arturo Odría Amoretti being placed into office through a democratic vote. However, the president refrained from any comments of approval, and noted that "Peru and Chile follow different and antagonistic theories of how to develop a national economy", which serves as a mild rebuke to Odria's nationalizations of major foreign investment projects.

Later in his comments, Castro obliquely returned to the topic by noting how the American Cerro De Pasco Corporation, having been ejected from Peru through Odria's nationalization of their regional operations, is "intensely negotiating" a project to start developing the Andina copper deposits 80km north of Santiago. If it goes forward, Andina promises to become one of the largest mining projects in Chile in the last two decades, with American funding made possible by Peru's rejection.

Monday, February 17, 1947
The Chilean government has published a request for proposals for a metro system for the city of Santiago. Initial proposals are due for first review on July 4th of this year.

Wednesday, February 26, 1947
The training aircraft carrier Chiloe departed for Europe today on a mission to pick up new aircraft for the Aviación Naval de la Armada de Chile. The carrier is accompanied by the minelayer 21 de Mayo.

Thursday, March 20, 1947
The Antarctic Research Consortium announced today that a three-man party has successfully summited a 4,200 meter volcanic peak in Western Antarctica. The mountain, first discovered by air several years ago, remains unnamed, although the name Mount O'Higgins has been proposed. The three-man party was led by Chilean polar explorer Agusto Pinochet and composed of another Chilean and a Brazilian. A previous attempt last year to climb the mountain was cancelled due to bad weather.


Wednesday, March 1st 2017, 4:44pm

Potosi, Chilean-Bolivian Special Administrative Region - January, 1947
The topic of the 'Sunday Sharpshooter' was the talk of everyone in the Potosi garrison. Paul Eitzen did not know the soldiers who'd been involved, since they'd come from another battalion of the 3rd Reinforced Regiment, but everyone was on alert now.

Paul, particularly, felt increasingly uncomfortable in his role as a motorcycle dispatch rider. He mostly rode a Atlantean Roth-Packard Model 39 - a monster bike designed to be used with a sidecar - or a more tame and comfortable Brazilian-built Gnome-Rhone Asie Junior. Regulations forced Paul to carry an M41 carbine in a leather scabbard on his motorcycle, and as he roared between his various points of call throughout Potosi, Paul wondered if he'd ever have to use it.

The day's schedule took Paul to one of the jointly-operated police stations on Avenue Las Banderas - currently a treacherous place for motorcycles, since the CBSAR administration was tearing up the road to lay buried water and plumbing lines. Twice, Paul nearly lost control of the big Roth-Packard in potholes that were larger than the bike itself, but nevertheless arrived at the station in one safe piece.

"Dispatches from Central," he announced to the Bolivian policeman at the man desk. "Office 204?"

"Up the stairs and to the left. I'll buzz to tell them you're coming."

Paul took the stairs two at a time, and found a Chilean Army lieutenant waiting for him. "Dispatches for Teniente Paredes," he said.

"Thank you," Paredes said, signing for the sealed documents. "...Where have I seen you before, Cabo Primero?"

Paul blinked. The officer did look familiar, but he couldn't... wait. "Sir, we met a year ago when my friend and I escaped from Bolivia. You interviewed me."

"Ah, that's it," Paredes said. "Eitzen, the Mennonite; I remember you now. You joined the Ejercito?" He looked puzzled.

"I was never able to find any of my family, Teniente," Paul reminded him. "It was the best thing I could find to do with myself."

"Hm," Paredes said. "And you're already Cabo Primero?"

"Yes sir. My induction sergeant selected me for NCO training."

Paredes looked amused. "What's your current unit?"

"Headquarters Platoon, 3rd Company, A Battalion, 3rd Reinforced Regiment."

The lieutenant stepped back into his office and scribbled a hasty note, which he sealed. "Please deliver this back to your company CO when you return to headquarters."

Paul saluted. "Yes sir."

An hour later, with his round of deliveries completed, Paul handed the letter to his company commander. "Have you read this?" the captain asked.

"No sir."

"I don't know what you did to impress him, but Paredes asked for your reassignment to his unit."

Paul blinked. "What unit is that, sir?"

The captain shrugged. "All I know is that he works for Army Intelligence."


Wednesday, March 1st 2017, 4:47pm

Top Five Most Popular Radio Programs
Radio ownership is widespread in Chile, with over seventy percent of citizens either owning or having regular access to a radio and one station. Since 1941, Chileans have benefited from the "Radio War" - a fierce competition between two radio station networks, Radio Minería (operated by the Sociedad Nacional de Minería or National Mining Society) and Radio ADN Chile (owned by British expatriate and investor Nigel Tramontin). The resulting competition for listeners has focused both of the broadcasters on providing quality programming. This is a list of the five programs that draw the most listeners in Chile.

1. ADN Evening News
This hour-long program runs at 6:00 every weeknight on Radio ADN Chile. The lead host, Tomás Farías, covers the national news for the first thirty minutes of the program, covering breaking news, politics, economy, and culture. After completing the national news, Farías covers ten minutes of important international news. In the remaining twenty minutes, the two assistant presenters, Alejandro Bustamante and Diego Luis Poblete, each present one in-depth story with a human interest angle. Farías is known for his soothing baritone voice and unembellished presentation of the facts. Bustamante argues a more liberal political line, while Poblete advocates religious and social conservative issues. An estimated four million listeners - one third of the Chilean population - tune in to the ADN Evening News on a daily basis.

2. Radio Minería Evening News
Radio Minería's equivalent to the ADN Evening news, on air between 6:30 and 7:00, features presenters Rubén Sepúlveda and Patricio González. Sepúlveda and González take turns presenting national news stories. The Radio Minería Evening News is shorter than its Radio ADN equivalent, gaining after-dinner listeners or those with less time to listen to the radio. Presenter Rubén Sepúlveda is also known for being a sporting announcer, primarily futbol.

3. Patria Vieja
This radio drama, starring Matias Sepúlveda, Agustin Salazar, and Estefania Leiva, follows a Chilean patriot family during the days of the Chilean War for Independence. Matias Sepúlveda plays Jorge Navarrete, a firebrand patriot living in Valparaiso, while Agustin Salazar plays his younger brother Jaime, a moderate. Estefania Leiva plays the part of Emilia Victoria Navarrete, Jaime's wife. The drama is primarily written by Carlos Maldonaldo with assistance from noted Chilean playwright Ignacio Cassab. The drama started broadcasting in June of 1946, but within three months of its debut it was regularly attracting three and a half million listeners. New episodes are aired on Friday and Saturday evenings, while the previous week's programming is re-run on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Listeners may also subscribe to receive a written transcript of the program via mail.

4. Evening music program ("El Sonido" / "The Sound")
Flavio Cortés hosts this two hour long evening music program on Radio Minería, playing new music both by Chilean artists and foreign performers. The program does not have an official name, but is widely known by listeners as "El Sonido", or "The Sound." El Sonido is influential enough that inclusion in the evening's programming is considered an essential stepping-stone for upcoming Chilean musicians and singers. A list of the previous evening's programming is also placed in the newspaper El Mercurio, so that anyone who misses the name of a song can look it up the next day.

5. Father Patricio
This fifteen-minute segment on Radio Minería, played from 9:00 PM to 9:15 PM, features a Catholic speaker known as Father Patricio, who offers spiritual teaching and encouragement to his radio audience. The program's time slot is important; the program ends right around the time most families turn off the radio for the evening. The program attracts an estimated two million listeners.

Didn't Make the List
The Radio ADN Morning News, broadcast every half hour in six fifteen-minute segments, covers national and international news.

The comedic radio drama Hontaneda follows the misadventures of Miguel and Alina Torres and their four children, who live on the titular Valparaiso street.


Thursday, March 2nd 2017, 7:41pm

Potosi, Chilean-Bolivian Special Administrative Region - February, 1947
Paul struggled to complete his letter to Catalina Gerber. There was a lot he couldn't say about his new job, but the new job was almost the only thing that Paul could think to write about.

His new assignment to the 331st Intelligence Company was broadening his horizons in a way that he'd never expected. The company, along with a handful of civilians from the Agencia Nacional de Inteligencia, was responsible for tracking "persons of interest" in both the Republic of Bolivia and the Chilean-Bolivian Special Administrative Region, with the company's activities divided amongst the five platoons. Lieutenant Paredes, Paul's superior officer, was responsible for keeping tabs on part of a group called the Unión Guerrilla Comunista de Bolivia - the very group that had tried to recruit Paul and Jaime from among the other prisoners a year and a half prior. The camp they'd built was marked as "Beni Camp No.2" on the giant map in the 331st headquarters, with the notation independently verified. How this had been accomplished, Paul didn't know yet.

But he'd started to get an idea.

Every day, the 331st received information - a transcript of an interview with Bolivian refugees, a comment overheard and reported by one of the Chilean Army's hygene units in Tarija, a radio conversation from the Cochabamba region intercepted by the signals intercept tower in Potosi. It was part of Paul's job to read through the information and then fact-check it against other, previously-acquired pieces of information. For every piece of good information, there were ten worthless reports that looked important, but either were obviously untrue or simply meaningless.

Uncertain what he could tell Catalina - or perhaps more to the point, was permitted to tell - about his job, Paul wrote instead about the things he'd seen around Potosi. There was the Cerro Rico, the "Rich Hill" where the Incas and Spaniards had mined silver, and the Casa de la Moneda de Bolivia, where the silver had been struck into coins. It had been abandoned before the Andean War and used as a stable by peasants, then the headquarters of first the retreating Bolivian and then the occupying Chilean armies; but now it was being repaired as a museum.

Satisfied that he'd filled out his letter, Paul paused before signing it; as a last topic, he asked Catalina to send him a photograph.


Tuesday, March 7th 2017, 7:14pm

Wednesday, April 9, 1947
The Technical University of the State is founded in Concepcion. (Later the Universidad del Bío-Bío).

Friday, April 11, 1947
In a surprise move, President Castro traveled to the Iberian-Ecuadorian city of Guayquil for a personal meeting with Peruvian president Manuel Arturo Odría Amoretti. The meeting is unprecedented in the recent history of Chilean-Peruvian relations. In a written announcement distributed to the press this morning, Castro indicated that his objective for the meeting is to try to establish a more direct diplomatic channel to address major political issues.

Castro's visit will be extended by a day in order to meet with the governor of Ecuador. The cruiser BACh Constitución, which carried the president to Guayquil, is exchanging mutual ship visits with an Iberian cruiser of the El Jefe class, one of the current station ships at Guayaquil.

Wednesday, April 16, 1947
Returning today from Guayaquil, President Castro announced that Chile shall re-open its embassy in Peru on January 1st of 1948, while the Peruvian government will reestablish its embassy in Santiago at around or before the same date. The embassies were both closed in 1937 due to the activities surrounding the Leticia Crisis and the Peruvian Civil War. The announcement, which was widely anticipated in the aftermath of Friday's meeting, met with general approval from the Chilean press and public, although some members of the nationalist fringe disapproved.

Sunday, April 27, 1947
The sixth Campeonato Nacional de Rodeo ended today in Rancagua, with rider Luis Charro again denied victory by favored local son and crowd favorite, Tomás Bravo, who won his third consecutive victory. The Rodeo drew an estimated fifty-two thousand spectators over the three-day event.

Tuesday, May 13, 1947
The EFE announced that construction of the 275-kilometer metre gauge railway between the CBSAR towns of Villazon and Villamontes is now scheduled to begin limited operation in January of 1948, although full service will probably not occur until November 1948. The railroad, which will operate under the name [I]Ferrocarril de Tarija, indicated that it will release a series of equipment purchase orders later this month, expanding its holdings of metre-gauge locomotives and rolling stock.

Once completed, this railway line will link the two divided halves of the Bolivian railway system. The western half is composed of lines operated by the Ferrocarril de Arica–La Paz (FCALP) and the Ferrocarril de Antofagasta a Bolivia (FCAB), while the eastern half is composed of lines from Yacuba on the Argentine border and Corumba on the Brazilian border, with the lines intersecting at Santa Cruz.

Tuesday, May 20, 1947
The Cerro de Pasco Corporation announced today that it had finalized an agreement to develop the Andina copper deposits eighty kilometers north of Santiago. The exact details of the agreement come as a surprise, however, as the Chilean-based firm of Molymet S.A. will actually carry out the day-to-day operations of the mine. Investors have speculated that the American firm was forced to turn to Molymet due to their previous record of poor labour relations and environmental safety. The shares of both firms rose in the aftermath of the announcement.

Saturday, June 7, 1947
The Club Deportivo Huachipato, a Chilean football club based in Talcahuano, is founded.


Tuesday, March 7th 2017, 8:15pm

Chile's Top Five Companies That Didn't Exist Five Years Ago
Amongst the increasingly diverse Chilean economy there are examples of both success and failure. Here are five companies that managed to gain significant success in their first five years of operation.

1. Sociedad Industrial de San Fernando / SISF (San Fernando)
The manufacturing concern of SISF was founded in 1943 by a trio of businessmen in San Fernando, Chile (the capital of the province of Colchagua), with half a million pesos of capital from CORFO. The trio purchased an empty building in San Fernando and retrofitted it into a factory where they assembled and maintained mining equipment for the nearby El Teniente copper mine. In January of 1944, SISF signed an agreement with Maschinenfabrik Gebrüder Hamm AG of Germany to manufacture construction equipment (principally road rollers). Two of the founding partners sold off their shares in August 1945. Valdivia entrepreneur Elías Cárdenas purchased a 35% stake in the company and became the company's chairman of the board. Under this new leadership SISF forged an agreement with Mercedes Benz to assemble the Unimog under license for the South American market, which holds great promise for the company's future development. The company's total income for 1946 was reported to be 6.5 million pesos.

2. Aluchile S.A. (Concepcion)
In November 1944, Aluchile S.A. was created through a five million peso loan footed by CORFO (the Corporación de Fomento de la Producción de Chile, a national investment bank); it was the largest industrial loan ever offered in Chile up to that point. Aluchile serves the Chilean aluminium market through importing both finished aluminum and raw bauxite for processing. Currently, the firm is building a world-class aluminium smelter in the port city of Concepcion which shall process Brazilian bauxite into finished aluminium. The new plant, to be finished in May 1948, will be able to process two hundred thousand tons per year. Aluchile also owns a small ten thousand ton smelter in Brazil. Although the firm currently has reported minimal profits (due to its low production so far), the company's total income for 1946 was reported to be 4.7 million pesos, and seasoned investors anticipate significant returns once the Concepcion plant enters full operation.

3. Bayner Fabricación S.A. (Valparaiso)
Bayner Fabricación S.A. first opened its doors in 1942 as a small firm specializing in agricultural machinery. Its first product was a baler driven by means of a power take-off from a tractor or other motor vehicle - the first of its kind to be manufactured in South America. In 1944, Bayner became the local partner for the German Siemens firm, which sought to distribute walk-behind tractors to the South American market. Bayner received a production license, technical assistance, and funding from the larger firm. At the end of 1946, Bayner reorganized as a Sociedad Anónima. The Bayner brothers, who founded the company, still hold up to thirty percent of the shares, and it is believed that Siemens also holds a portion of the shares. The company's total income for 1946 was reported to be 2.1 million pesos.

4. Empresa de Soldadura Bellavista (Concepcion)
In December 1941, shipfitters Juan Flores, Juan Guerrero, and Franco Valenzuela left their jobs at the ASMAR shipyard in Talcahuano in order to found their own industrial welding firm. Originally working out of Guerrero's shed, the trio first did contract work for ASMAR and Sisdef. In March 1942, Franco Valenzuela built his own gas tungsten arc welder, becoming the first GTAW welder in the country (aside from the nationally-owned defense firms). By the end of 1942, the trio moved their firm into a new facility in San Pedro de la Paz and hired more welders. Flores took on the role of the company's chief executive, while Valenzuela served as the manufacturing engineer. However, the partners never formally organized their business arrangements until mid 1945, at which time the company became known as Bellavista. The company is now Chile's third-largest provider of welded structural steel tubing, and the only company in the nation available for GTAW contract welding. In 1946, Guerrero opened a new facility in Santiago with five employees in order to undertake contract GTAW welding for the state aircraft manufacturer ENAER. Overall, the company has thirty-nine employees, and their total income for 1946 was reported to be 1.8 million pesos.

5. Savona (Las Condes)
The Savona apparel company was started in July 1942 by Constanza Carrasco-Jara. Carrasco-Jara had previously worked for the clothing manufacturing concern of Palma y Toro, which went into bankrupcy in 1941 due to mismanagement by its executives. When the company's assets were auctioned off to cover debts, Carrasco-Jara took out a microloan and purchased the rights to Palma y Toro's female footwear line and four shoemaking machines for a mere eight hundred pesos. Carrasco-Jara convinced five former coworkers to continue working for her, thus starting the Savona brand. In December 1943, in need of further capital, Carrasco-Jara took on British-born Argentine businessman Winston Davies as an equal partner. Although initially focused only on women's shoes, by 1944 Savona began providing men's shoes and other apparel as well. In 1945, the company expanded significantly when it was picked up by Falabella, the Valparaiso department store, which resulted in increased visibility for the brand. The company's total income for 1946 was reported to be 1.7 million pesos.

Didn't Make the List
The Empresa Para la Producción de Tubos Polivinílico manufactures polyvinyl chloride piping. Its 1946 income was 1.6 million pesos.

Empresa ZW, founded in 1942, manufactures dyno torches and hand-cranked radios, outselling Philips in the Chilean market. It reported an income of 1.45 million pesos in 1946.


Friday, March 10th 2017, 2:40am

Click HERE for the pretty and formatted version!


No, seriously, it's not a rickroll, I swear. It's easier to read and I put effort into the formatting. I'm only posting the text here in case I accidentally break the Dropbox link someday.


Comparative Vehicle Evaluation
Chief Evaluator: Brigadier Carlos Maldonaldo, Vehicle Testing Commission

In October of this year, this Commission was directed to conduct comparative testing of British and German heavy tanks. The vehicles undergoing evaluation were delivered to the Ejercito's Armoured Training Centre. One example of British "Centurion Mk.I" and one "Centurion Mk.II" heavy tank were made available from November. The Mark.I vehicle was constructed at the Royal Ordnance Factory at Woolwich while the Mark.II vehicle was built at the Vickers factory in Elswick. Two examples of German "Standardpanzer I Panther" "medium" tanks were made available from late December. Both Panther vehicles were constructed at Daimler-Benz of Berlin-Marienfelde. Offer of testing for the Panther was made by German special communication and accepted by Ejercito General Staff, which in turn solicited a request to British Army to provide Centurion tanks for the purpose of comparative trials.

Relevant specifications are as follows.
a) Centurion Mk.I, wt. 50 tonnes, Meteor gasoline engine (650hp), 76.2mm "17-pounder" and 20mm cannon.
b) Centurion Mk.II, wt. 50 tonnes, Meteor gasoline engine (650hp), 84mm "20-pounder" gun.
c) Standardpanzer I Panther, wt. 44 tonnes, Junkers diesel engine (850hp), 88mm gun.

The purpose of the Vehicle Testing Commission was to analyze both models of vehicles to provide a recommendation to Ejercito General Staff and Materiel Command regarding:
a) the advisability of acquiring a tank of the 40 to 50 tonne class (hereafter: 'heavy tank") for service within the Armoured Corps of the Ejercito;
b) assessing the relative performance of the Centurion and Panther types in regards to the possibility of them meeting potential future procurement requirements;
c) evaluating the design of components, technology, and all other items of note regarding armoured fighting vehicle development.

Testing Methodology
The Vehicle Testing Commission established a methodology whereby testing of both vehicles would occur, following a semi-standardized format laid out by the Commission. For purposes of comparison, two M45 medium tanks from the 3rd Battalion were used to establish performance benchmarks. This methodology is described as follows:

a) setup of vehicles upon arrival at the Armoured Training Centre;
---- 1. vehicles inspected for material defects and complete operation of all parts by representatives of the manufacturers and mechanical experts of the Testing Commission;
---- 2. training of key testing crewmen (commander, driver, gunner, loader) in the operation of their assigned station-specific items, under the supervision of uniformed military personnel from Britain and Germany respectively;
---- 3. training of fitting personnel in the operation and maintenance of mechanical components, under the oversight of representatives of the respective manufacturers.

b) Driving trials, broken down into:
---- 1. Cross-country: five 20 kilometer timed trials across unimproved terrain, beginning at headquarters of Armoured Training Centre and returning to same place, using dirt or macadam tracks, as well as crossing extensive undeveloped terrain; during two of these circuits the tanks attempted to fire on-the-move at registered targets;
---- 2. Hill Climb: timed ascent and descent of 35, 45, and 60-degree slopes at the Armoured Training Centre;
---- 3. Road March: two 85 kilometer timed trials along asphalted open highway, macadam roads, and undeveloped terrain, including a 1km section driving through a shallow creek.

c) firing trials, broken down into:
---- 1. HE accuracy trial with five rounds each at brick and wood structures at ranges of 500 meters, 750 meters, and 1,250 meters;
---- 2. AP accuracy trial firing at steel armour plate of 2m x 2m size at ranges of 500 meters, 750 meters, 1,250 meters, 1,500 meters, and 2,000 meters, with three rounds of AP or equivalent and three rounds of HVAP or equivalent at each distance;
---- 3. On-the-move-firing accuracy trials on 20km cross-country circuit, against five armoured-steel target plates, two masonry structures, and three sandbag-and-wood bunkers at ranges of 500 meters to 2,000 meters, with targets to remain under fire until a hit is scored;
-------- 3a. one trial pass to be conducted on-the-move;
-------- 3b. one trial pass to be conducted by stopping, shooting, and moving, with the stop not to exceed ten seconds duration;
---- 4. Night firing, consisting of five rounds each of high explosive, armour piercing, and white phosphorus at illuminated targets at ranges of 500 meters.

Considerations Relating to Heavy Tank Operation
Prior to the start of comparative testing, the Commission solicited information from the Armoured Corps and select officers within the tank battalions regarding desirable characteristics, ideal method of employment, and considerations for use in the field. An overview of all responses will be provided here; however, the Armoured Corps publication TL-958-46 should be consulted for further reading.

a) Desirable characteristics of a heavy tank are to include first and foremost an effective armament of 75mm bore size or larger. Good frontal protection against the German-manufactured 7.5cm KwK 38 L/48 gun or the Italian 75mm L/46 Mod 34. Additional side protection from hand-thrown or shoulder-fired antitank grenades, antitank rifles, and guns up to 40mm size was also viewed as desirable. Mobility was desired to be of 35 kilometers per hour top speed or better, with good performance desired in sandy and rocky conditions such as those found in the northern regions of the country.

b) The general commission of the Armoured Corps has not settled upon an ideal or final method of employment for tanks of this size catagory. At present, Chilean tank forces are organized as follows:
---- 1. Four medium tank battalions of three squadrons assigned to the two Panzergrenaderos Brigades (equipped with M41 and M45 medium tanks);
---- 2. Six light tank squadrons integrated with the armoured cavalry battalions (equipped with M44 light tanks);
---- 3. Six reconnaissance tank squadrons integrated with the armoured cavalry battalions (equipped with M46 reconnaissance tanks);
---- 4. One independent battalion of tank destroyers assigned to infantry reserve forces (equipped with M37 tank destroyers).

Three proposals for the acquisiton of new tanks have been considered by the general commission of the Armoured Corps:
---- 1. That new vehicles replace M41 medium tanks on a one-to-one basis within the 1st and 2nd Tank Battalions, in order to phase that type out of service. This alternative is likely to be rejected due to cost-effectiveness measures.
---- 2. That new vehicles replace M41 and M45 tanks on a one-to-one basis within one squadron of all four tank battalions. This alternative is likely to be rejected due to the issues of operating two different types of tanks within the same battalion, requiring each battalion to maintain parallel supply chains and parts stockpiles for each type.
---- 3. That new vehicles replace M37 tank destroyers on a one-to-one basis within the independent tank destroyer battalion, forming an armoured strategic reserve force capable of more general duties than the previous specialized unit.

In the absence of a final doctrine from the general board of the Armoured Corps, this commission analyzes that option three would be most likely due to reasons of cost, as well as providing the least disruption to existing units and supply organization.

c) Considerations for use in the field.
---- 1. Lack of satisfactory bridging equipment: all heavy scissors-type bridges for use by Chilean panzergrenaderos units are currently rated for a maximum of thirty-five metric tons, while armoured cavalry and infantry units are provided with scissors-type bridging equipment rated for twenty metric tons. Acquisition of a new armoured vehicle of this weight class will require engineering equipment with significantly higher weight ratings.
---- 2. Tank transporters: no road-trailers or railway carriages rated for tracked vehicles of greater than thirty-five metric tons are currently within the inventory of the Chilean Army, requiring purchase of these items.
---- 3. Heavy vehicle-lifting equipment rated for forty or more metric tons, necessary for extensive maintenance or for loading vehicles onto trucks or railway carriages, is not commonly used within the Chilean Army. An immobilized vehicle that cannot be towed away by a salvage vehicle may be particularly difficult to recover.
---- 4. Road width restrictions.

Review of Standardpanzer I Panther
The Standardpanzer I Panther is indentified by the German Army as a medium tank of 44 metric tons, being armed with an 8.8cm KwK43 gun with a length of 71 calibers. The commander, gunner, and loader are stationed in the turret, with both the commander and gunner to the right of the gun while the loader is positioned to the left. The driver is positioned in the left-hand forward part of the hull, while the fifth crewman, who serves as radio operator and machine gunner, is located in the right-hand forward hull. The engine, transmission, and final drive are all located in the rear of the hull.

The 8.8cm KwK43 cannon represents one of the most distinguishing features of this vehicle, being one of the most powerful pieces of ordnance mounted on a fighting vehicle to date. With "discarding penetrating" type PzGr40 ammunition the weapon achieved reliably consistent penetration of twenty centimeters of rolled homogenous armoured plate at one thousand meters, and roughly sixteen centimeters of penetration with the PzGr39 "capped core penetrating" type ammunition. The two vehicles involved in the testing fired ninety and eighty-five rounds respectively, with a total of 52 and 50 EFC (equivalent full charges). Ammunition expenditure for Panther #1 totalled thirty-nine rounds of high explosive, thirty-six rounds of capped core penetrating, and fifteen rounds of discarding penetrating type; ammunition expenditure for Panther #2 totaled thirty-six rounds of high explosive, thirty-four rounds of capped core penetrating type, and fifteen rounds of discarding penetrating type. Barrel wear was observed during the firing trials, and the commission felt it was necessary to replace the liner of Panther #2's gun prior to the conclusion of testing in order to receive reliable results. The barrel liner on Panther #1's weapon was retained in order to observe accuracy as it related to barrel wear. At the conclusion of testing, the commission believes this item of ordnance had achieved approximately 90% of its factory estimated service life, which is in line with data received from the German manufacturers. Similar results have been observed with the similar British "Ordnance QF 20-pounder", and the commission concludes that low barrel life is a cost inherent in high velocity anti-vehicle weapons.

Accuracy of the KwK43 main gun is excellent, with reliable hits being obtained at all ranges during accuracy tests. The gun is equipped with a single-axis stabilization system, which adjusts the barrel elevation in relation to the measured movements of the vehicle. Evaluation of this system was determined by the commission to be satisfactory. The system is largely self-contained and can be maintained by a technician in the field, although calibration is time-consuming and should only be undertaken by qualified personnel. Maintenance personnel noted that the gyros for the stabilizer were not satisfactorily sealed against dust or other fine debris particles, particularly in light of the Ejercito's experience with the M44 light and M45 medium tanks. When testing accuracy on the move, both tanks advanced towards motionless targets at between five hundred and one thousand meters range, firing on the move; average accuracy was 57%. The main armament has a range of motion of twenty degrees elevation to eight degrees depression, which the commission deems sufficient. Turret rotation is hydraulic and performs satisfactorily when the vehicle is level, but when the vehicle is on an uneven surface the hydraulic controls struggle to rotate the turret at a satisfactory rate. Testing personnel also criticized the amount of fumes which blew back into the fighting compartment after firing the main armament. Blast effects also caused a great degree of dust to be kicked up outside the vehicle. The Panther's entire ammunition load is stored low in the vehicle hull to enhance vehicle survivability; no rounds are stowed in ready racks near the gunner's seat. This commission feels this has a negative impact on the crew's ability to maintain a high rate of fire during combat.

All vehicle controls were evaluated as satisfactory. Tank commanders commented favorably on the vision blocks and tank periscopes designed into the command station. The vision blocks are of high quality and sturdy in construction, and can be easily replaced if damaged. Similarly, the gunner's TZF 12a sight is of particularly high quality, possessing great clarity of view, with settings for 2.5x and 5x magnification. However, the gunner lacks any secondary wide-angle sight, which complicated a gunner acquiring a target in his main gunsight after the commander spotted and called it out. The commission notes that a German tank crew demonstrated that this issue could be partially mitigated (although not completely negated) as a result of a high degree of training. However, the Chilean tank crews involved in testing were unable to replicate this performance without more extensive training on the equipment. This commission feels the excellent vision for the tank commander partially offsets the gunner's lack of a secondary general-purpose viewscope, although it does place a higher need for cooperation between the gunner and commander.

The Panther tank's armour provides excellent protection. The upper glacis is eight centimeters rolled homogenous armour sloped at thirty-five degrees, broken only by the machine-gun port, while the turret face is eleven centimeters thick. A conical gun mantlet of ten centimeters covers the gap between the gun barrel and the turret, providing extra effective armour to the front of the turret, which is a fairly small target compared with the rest of the hull. Side armour is four centimeters and is generally not heavily-sloped or angled. This commission's analysis indicates that the Standardpanzer Panther's frontal arc may be completely impervious to 7.5cm guns from almost any range.

A Junkers V-12 diesel engine of thirty liters displacement provides eight hundred fifty horsepower. It additionally powers major vehicle functions. The high engine power gives the Panther an excellent power to weight ratio of nearly nineteen horsepower per ton, which is extremely respectable for a tank of this size and weight. The vehicle could reliably reach its top speed of forty-seven kilometers per hour on macadam or gravel roads. During testing, the engines were operated a total of sixty-two (Panther #1) and fifty-nine (Panther #2) hours each, with approximately half of this time at minimal or light loads. No serious mechanical issues were noted with either engine, although the dust filters on Panther #2 became clogged during cross-country trials, requiring replacement before the vehicle could complete the course. Additionally, some pooling of grease, oil and other lubricants was observed underneath the engines of both vehicles. Due to the design of the engine compartments, maintenance personnel could not clean off or eliminate the greases and oils, and mechanics felt this represented a potential fire hazard. Mechanics were also concerned that the Junkers engine was forced to run at higher rotations per minute in order to achieve the high horsepower output, potentially increasing engine wear. While no negative side-effects of the engine were observed and engine speeds appear to be entirely satisfactory, this commission recommends further investigation into the operational parameters of the Junkers engine.

Suspension components are of the conical spring type, with satisfactory travel and rough ground performance. The units are externally mounted on the hull and easy to remove for repair or replacement by maintenance personnel. Mechanics indicated general satisfaction with this suspension design. Tracks on both vehicles met expectations, demonstrating satisfactory performance in vehicle flotation on soft terrain as well as resilience on roads or hard terrain.

Panther #1 was driven a registered 282 kilometers, with two mechanical issues noted. The first issue resulted from the removal of (and failure to replace) the radiator fan belt during preliminary inspection, resulting in the engine heating beyond its design limits during the first driving trials. Inspection indicated the engine was not materially damaged before the issue was noticed and a spare radiator fan belt substituted. In the second case, mechanics noted excessive leakage from multiple rubber connections in the engine. Mechanical personnel felt this may have been a side-effect of the brief engine overheating. This resulted in drippage of diesel fuel and other liquids, which collected in the bottom of the engine compartment. Inspection of Panther #2 revealed the same sort of buildup of fluids, although to a much lesser degree.

Panther #2 was driven a registered 299 kilometers with two mechanical issues logged by observers. First, the engine's dust filters became clogged with a fine particulate during the initial long-distance driving trial. The cause of the rapid dust buildup could not be diagnosed, but after replacement of the filter the issue did not reoccur, with only normal dust buildup observed. In the second issue, the vehicle consistently suffered from a failure to automatically eject spent ammunition cases from the vehicle, with the empty shells becoming lodged in the mouth of the disposal chute. This contributed significantly to noxious fumes from freshly-fired tank shells entering the fighting compartment. Despite multiple attempts to rectify this issue it remained unresolved at the conclusion of the testing program.

Review of Mk.I Centurion
The Mk.I Centurion is distinguished from the Mk.II variant through having an "Ordnance QF 17-pounder" main armament of 76.2mm bore size, with a length of 55 calibers, and a muzzle velocity of between 880 and 1,200 meters per second, depending upon ammunition. The tank also carries a 20mm cannon in a special mounting within the turret. The Commission is appraised of the fact that this vehicle variant is out of production in Britain at the present time, and so does not intend to spare much comment in this report to the analysis of the fighting characteristics of this vehicle. The Mk.I vehicle was evaluated primarily in regards to aspects of mechanical reliability and mobility, which are identical to the Mk.II.

The sole Mk.I vehicle was driven a registered 288 kilometers and suffered only three noteworthy mechanical events. The first issue occurred when driving in rough terrain resulted in minor damage to certain track elements, which had to be re-straightened in the field using a sledgehammer. The second issue occurred following the long-distance test drive when several gauges at the driver's station stopped displaying. Following detailed evaluation, it was determined by the manufacturer's representative that wiring had been shaken loose during the course of the trials. The third issue occurred when a British driver misinterpreted hand and voice signals from Chilean support personnel and backed the vehicle into a parked Modelo 1938 halftrack, resulting in damage to the right-hand track and rear drive sprocket. Maintenance personnel replaced the damaged components over the course of nine hours and returned the vehicle to testing.

The "Ordnance QF 17-pounder" armament of this vehicle was not demonstrated to be decisively superior to that of the United States-manufactured "3-inch 57 caliber" gun installed on the M45 medium tank, although minor favorable differences were discovered within statistical margin of error of testing. Demonstration of the British high-velocity "discarding penetrating" type nevertheless favorably impressed the Commission, as these rounds are not widely used by Ejercito de Chile armoured vehicles at the present time.

This Mk.I vehicle also possessed a 20mm non-automatic cannon installed to the left of the main cannon. Although armoured to similar standards to the rest of the turret, this Commission believes the mounting location, with its mounting permitting it to be individually-aimed within ten degrees of standard, introduces an armour weakspot. Additionally, the cannon mounting cuts into the working space of the vehicle's loader to a degree that the Commission feels is unacceptable, and is prone to fill the fighting compartment with a high degree of smoke and fumes when the weapon is fired. While this offers an impressive capability for dealing with massed infantry, unarmoured, or lightly-armoured vehicles without using the main cannon, it lacks automatic firing capability and does not offer any capability that could not also be provided by a smaller 8mm or 12.7mm machine gun. The Commission does not recommend adopting secondary vehicle armament modeled on this vehicle, and notes that the British Army has similarly removed this feature from production of the Mk.II Centurion, apparently due to their own experiences and evaluations.

Review of Mk.II Centurion
This vehicle differs from the Mk.I variant by having a new "Ordnance QF 20-pounder", an 84mm cannon of 71 calibers length. The turret is of similar design to the Mk.I, but lacks the coaxial 20mm gun. At the time of testing, this vehicle was not equipped with a muzzle-brake (as designed) but only with a barrel counterweight for purposes of simulation. All mechanical and drivetrain features are identical to those found on the Centurion Mk.I. A coaxial machine gun serves as secondary armament. The driver is located in a position in the right hand forward corner of the hull. The remainder of the crew is located within the fighting compartment, with the gunner and commander on the right-hand side of the gun, and the loader on the left. Testing personnel found all the crew positions comfortable and working room satisfactory, made possible by the relatively spacious vehicle interior.

Vehicle controls and general fightability are overall evaluated as highly satisfactory. Field personnel felt the design and layout of the commander's station was highly satisfactory in all respects. Due to the room available in the turret, loaders expressed a preference for the Centurion Mk.II over the Panther, and even over the Carro de Combat M45, which has been well-regarded for this feature. Personnel also commented favorably on the layout of the gunnery controls, with an excellent power traverse system for the turret as well as gun elevation and depression controls. However, the position of the turret manual traverse lever is so badly-positioned so as to be virtually unusable, no emergency means of firing the main gun is available, and the firing stud of the coaxial secondary armament is located on a footpedal. Another major deficiency is the manual gearbox, which causes excessive driver fatigue. This is a particularly unpleasant feature to drivers who have already trained in the US-built M45 medium tank with its Hydra-Matic transmission.

The Ordnance QF 20-pounder main armament was fired eighty-six times during the course of testing, adding up to the equivalent of forty-five EFC (Equivalent Full Charges). Ammunition expenditure totalled thirty-nine rounds of high explosive, thirty-two rounds of standard armour piercing, and fifteen rounds of high velocity discarding penetrating type. Significant barrel wear was noted after the conclusion of testing, and inspection after the conclusion of firing trials indicates the barrel liner had used eighty percent of its factory-estimated lifecycle. As with similar issues observed on the Panther's 8.8cm KwK43 gun, the commission believes that this short barrel life is the penalty of a high-velocity cannon of this type. Armour penetration figures at all ranges are extremely impressive, estimated to exceed two hundred millimeters of rolled homogenous steel plate angled at thirty degrees at one thousand meters. Accuracy was also excellent even at extreme ranges of 1,500 meters or more. Despite the lack of an installed muzzle brake, personnel unanimously agreed that blast effects from the 20-pounder armament were much less than that of the German 88mm gun, causing less dust to be kicked up during firing. Additionally, the 20-pounder gun has ten degrees of gun depression, two more degrees than available on the Panther; while this difference is slight the Commission feels it is an important distinction.

A Metrovick two-axis stabilizer was installed as part of the associated equipment of the Ordnance QF 20-pounder main armament. This system is being installed as standard on all Centurion Mk.II tanks, and when desired adjusts the elevation and azimuth in relation to the measured movements of the tank, permitting a limited capability at short to medium ranges to fire on the move against immobile or slow-moving targets. After conducting detailed evaluation, the Testing Commission believes the system is highly satisfactory in improving accuracy while moving. When testing accuracy on the move, the tank advanced towards motionless targets at a range of five hundred to one thousand meters and fired on the move. Average accuracy was 83%. However, several items of concern were identified. First, the system is mechanically complex, and must be calibrated prior to use by a highly-trained technician in order to be effective. Although further experience may show otherwise, this system does not appear easily maintainable in the field by normal tank battalion service personnel. Second, maintenance replacement of parts similarly will require re-calibration of the entire system by a trained technician. Third and most critically, the complexity of the system has apparently resulted in a lower degree of 'fit and finish' than is believed desirable. Wires to certain components were left exposed and on one occasion resulted in the gyrostabilizer being taken offline by a careless motion of the gunner's foot, whereupon testing of the stabilizer had to be terminated until the system's repair and calibration. Discussions with a representative of the Metrovick manufacturer indicate the British are aware of the issues with the system and intend to resolve them with an upgrade in the next generation of vehicle, if not before. Nevertheless, despite the concerns expressed above, this Commission is extremely impressed with the results so far obtained by the Metrovick system.

The Centurion tank's armour also impressed the Commission. Armour on the turret face measures approximately fifteen centimeters in thickness, with a semi-sloped and overlapping gun mantlet that adds to the overall effectiveness. The frontal glacis is twelve centimeters angled at approximately forty-five degrees, which again improves the effective overall armour thickness. It is the Commission's opinion that the Centurion Mk.II's armour is proof against its own main armament at ranges of over one thousand meters. Side and rear armour both on the hull and turret is less impressive, but the Centurion may perhaps be one of the best-armoured tanks currently in production at the present moment.

Both Mk.I and Mk.II Centurions are powered by an Orenda Ursa V-12 petrol engine which provides 650 horsepower, additionally providing power to major vehicle functions. The top measured road speed was 37 kilometers per hour, as registered on asphalt and macadam roads, with this speed being reliably achieved in similar conditions. The vehicle has a power to weight ratio of 13 horsepower per ton. During testing, the engines of the Mk. I and Mk.II vehicles were operated fifty-nine and forty-five hours respectively, with approximately half of this time being at light operating load or idling. An average of one hour's preventative maintenance was logged every five operating hours. The Testing Commission observed no mechanical defects relating to the engines during this time. Nevertheless, the Commission strongly feels that the Ursa V-12 engine is not best suited for a tank of this size due to the low power-to-weight ratio.

Suspension components are of the Horstmann bogie type, being externally mounted on the outside of the hull, with good travel and rough-ground characteristics. The bogie may be easily removed in the field by general maintenance personnel for servicing or replacement. Tracks are generally well-designed and resistant to wear, meeting or exceeding performance requirements desired by the Commission.

The Mk.II vehicle was driven a registered 269 kilometers, with two observed mechanical incidents. In the first incident, loose electrical wires on the Metrovick stabilizer were accidentally dislodged by the gunner during firing, requiring an hour of maintenance work and two hours of recalibration. In the second incident, the vehicle was engaged in driving tests crossing a creek with steep banks. Following the vehicle's ascent up the opposite bank, a noise was heard from the tracks, and minor damage was discovered to certain track elements. Analysis indicated rough impact against a large rock bent several track links out of alignment, requiring the replacement of four links after the driving test was completed.

Comparisons to Carro de Combat M45
The Carro de Combat M45 medium tank was accepted for service in the Ejercito de Chile in June of 1945, when it began replacing M41 medium tanks. Its defining characteristics are a gross combat weight of thirty-two metric tons, with an American-manufactured gun of 7.62cm bore size and a barrel length of 57 calibers stabilized in the vertical axis. Mobility is highly satisfactory with a top road speed (in service) of forty-eight kilometers per hour, and the vehicle is immensely popular amongst tank drivers due to its Hydramatic transmission. The M45 tank has demonstrated a high degree of mechanical reliability over the last eighteen months in the Ejercito's service.

To establish testing benchmarks, two M45 medium tanks conducted all trials during the same period as the Panther's evaluation. Both tanks fired 85 rounds from the main armament and drove a registered 375 and 298 kilometers respectively. M45 #1 experienced only one mechanical issue of note during this time, when the engine repeatedly failed to start. Inspection revealed that an electrical connection had been loosened during driving resulting in a flat battery. Both items were replaced. Mechanical personnel also replaced the tracks and two suspension components as a result of scheduled preventative maintenance unrelated to testing. M45 #2 suffered two mechanical issues during the testing period. First, following complaints from the vehicle's driver, an issue was identified with the M45's drive linkage, which was replaced prior to the conclusion of testing. Second, testing personnel discovered that the vehicle's gunner had manually disconnected the main armament stabilization following issues with dust getting into the gyros. As the general board is aware, many M45 crews remain skeptical about the reliability and usefulness of a stabilized main armament due to issues with dust infiltration. The vehicle's crew was permitted to conduct further testing with the gyrostabilizer deactivated, with final shooting scores indicating a substantial performance penalty as a result.

Following an analysis of mean-time-between-failures, neither variant of Centurion nor the two Standardpanzer Panthers suffered what the testing commission felt were particularly high rates of mechanical failure even in comparison with the M45. This came as a surprise to the Testing Commission, as it has long been a fundamental assumption within the Armoured Corps that heavier vehicles will suffer greater incidence of mechanical unreliability which in turn would severely hinder their operation within the anticipated Chilean battle-space. Based upon these tests this Testing Commission no longer feels that assumption should be taken for granted. It should, however, be noted that all testing took place in the environs of the Armoured Training Centre and not in high-altitude regions such as the Andes or the CBSAR Altiplano, and further investigation should be undertaken prior to committing to a course of action.

Conclusions and Recommendations
Based on the trials, the Vehicle Testing Commission concludes that:
a) The Centurion Mk.II is preferred, with some reservations, by field personnel;
b) The main armament of the Standardpanzer I Panther is slightly superior to that of the Centurion Mk.II in regards to penetration, stationary accuracy, and dispersion, with the exception of muzzle blast effect and fumes entering the fighting compartment;
c) The gun controls of the Centurion Mk.II are superior to those in the Carro de Combat M45 and the Standardpanzer I Panther, with the exception of the manual traversing mechanism;
d) The fire control equipment of the Centurion Mk.II is slightly superior to that of the Standardpanzer I Panther and significantly superior to that of the Carro de Combat M45, with the exception of the Panther's gunner's sight, which is superior in quality of manufacture;
e) The mobility of the Standardpanzer I Panther is superior to that of the Centurion Mk.II and equivalent to the mobility of the Carro de Combat M45, (except as regards restrictions resulting from greater weight) due to its more powerful engine and higher power-to-weight ratio;
f) The reliability of the Standardpanzer I Panther and the Centurion Mk.II are generally equivalent to that of the Carro de Combat M45;
g) The overall characteristics and features of the fighting compartment of the Centurion Mk.II, particularly in respect to the larger turret spaces, well-balanced gun, power traverse, and gun stabilization are superior to the Standardpanzer I Panther and the Carro de Combat M45;
h) The suspension components of the Standardpanzer I Panther and Centurion Mk.II are equivalent to that of the Carro de Combat M45 in terms of ride quality and reliability, and potentially superior for maintainability.

Based on these conclusions, the Vehicle Testing Commission recommends that:

a) Tanks of the forty to fifty metric ton weight should not be disqualified from consideration for potential adoption by the Ejercito de Chile, particularly if operational characteristics are able to counterbalance the weight penalties incurred;
b) Efforts should be made to purchase a Centurion Mk.II vehicle for experiments to assess whether a more powerful diesel engine could be substituted; the vehicle should then be re-tested to evaluate its suitability for procurement;
c) The Armoured Corps should consult with the accounting commission to analyze the costs associated with purchasing and equipping a battalion of heavy tanks prior to any final decision to purchase vehicles, as the costs involved in procurement may still be prohibitive for the Ejercito de Chile.


Friday, March 10th 2017, 9:36am

A very detailed and informative write-up, thanks for taking the time to do this.


Friday, March 10th 2017, 7:36pm

A very detailed and informative write-up, thanks for taking the time to do this.

Thanks. :) I enjoyed the research to write it up.

I based my comments on several historical writeups. For instance, I echoed a lot of the Centurion comments from a report by a US Army commission which analyzed the Centurion and compared it to the M26 Pershing. And the Panther notes were drawn from postwar reports of the French (who operated a battalion of captured Panthers) and US inspectors.

Some out-of-character comments...

Purely from an aesthetic point of view, I don't much like German tanks of this period. I think they're ugly steel shoeboxes that are over-rated simply because they're German. The Panther is the first German tank that makes an effort to look somewhat nice (even though it fails)...

...but Centurion; I love this thing. It's probably my favorite tank of this period. It certainly has its flaws, but I love the looks of it. British late-war and postwar tanks are, almost without fail, good-looking machines. Comet, Cent, Chieftain... even Conqueror looks like a proper tank. The Germans only seem to design good-looking tanks when they start work as part of an international joint project (the Leopard I and II). ;)

As for acquisitions, Chile's not in any great hurry to buy new tanks. Even though their active armoured force is the second-smallest in South America (at least as far as I can see from the posted numbers), the M45 is still the best armoured vehicle on the continent at the moment (particularly with regards to firepower). The main reason to buy Cents is to continue having the best tanks in the region - higher on the slide-bar of quality versus quantity than normal.


Thursday, March 23rd 2017, 2:34pm

Potosi, Chilean-Bolivian Special Administrative Region - June, 1947
Paul Eitzen browsed through the last of the day's reports - a tepidly-written transcript of interviews from an American chemical engineer who traveled once a month to consult in Cochabamba. As spies and agents went, the man was hardly worth comment or notice - his findings bordered on tedium - but his reports gave the 331st Intelligence Company a regular snapshot of one of Bolivia's major cities.

The 331st's enemy, the Unión Guerrilla Comunista de Bolivia or UGCB, was an ephemeral organization drawn from across Bolivian society, rooted in the dissatisfaction of the rural peasants, rather than the rural workers that had formed the basis of the old People's Brigades. Chile had long suspected that the UGCB was supported on the sly by the Bolivian government - but there was hardly proof, and little that could be done about it if there was.

With a sigh, Paul finished the transcript and prepared to file it; but as he walked to the cabinets, something nagged at him. Returning to his desk, he read the last page of the transcript again. He consulted his scrawled list of notes-to-self, and found an entry from several days prior.

Paul stepped over to one of his coworkers' stations. "Luis, do you have any travel files for an Italian national, a salesman by the name of Bianchi?"

Luis searched through his drawers and pulled a thin folder. "Not much here, Paul. Want to check it out?"

"For a few moments," Paul said, signing the folder out in Luis's log. "Just want to cross-reference some things."

Going back to his desk, he browsed Bianchi's file. It was thin - Bianchi apparently hadn't drawn much interest from the various Chilean security services, even though he'd apparently made quite a few trips through Chile, Bolivia, Argentina, and elsewhere.

"Lieutenant Paredes," Paul said, standing and walking to his superior's desk. "Can you please take a look at this, sir?"

"What is it, Eitzen?" Paredes asked, clearing a space on his desk.

"Transcript from the American chemical engineer, sir. From two months ago-"

"Smith? The one who goes into Cochabamba?"

"Yes sir," Paul replied. "Have a look at this last page. He mentioned that he'd run into an old acquaintance who he used to work with - an Italian who he hadn't seen in a few years - looks like his name is Bianchi."

"Go on," Paredes prompted.

Paul put Bianchi's file on the desk. "They ran into each other at a restaurant the day before Smith left to return to Brazil. Perhaps it is my inexperience showing, sir, but his file seems a bit thin, considering all of the places he's been."

Paredes took a few moments to browse through Bianchi's folder. "I remember this guy," he said. "I interviewed him... one, two years ago? I don't remember the details, but my interview notes ought to have been included in this folder."


"That's the most likely explanation."

Paredes called Luis over and consulted with him. A few moments later, they discovered the source of the problem: a second folder had been started for Bianchi - one with a middle name, and one without. "I remembering this guy better, now," Paredes continued, glancing over his interview summary. "He wasn't very cooperative, and avoided discussing politics with me. Not a useful source of intelligence, but I had no reasons to keep him out of the country. Why this interest in Bianchi, Eitzen?"

Paul removed the hand-written note from his pocket and set it on the desk. "A Cristiforo Bianchi was murdered four days ago in Manaus, Brazil - one day after Smith met him in Cochabamba. Brazilian police wired us for information, since his passport said he'd come from Chile... the day before."

"...interesting," Paredes rumbled. "Culprits caught? Motive known?"

"Unknown, sir. The telegraph didn't give any further details."

Paredes sat in quiet thought for a few moments. "There's no connection to the UGCB, but I'm intrigued by the discrepancy. Follow up with the Manaus police - share what we have on him, and say that we have reason to believe Bianchi was in Cochabamba the day before. If you receive no response, follow up in a week. In the meantime, try to work out every place this Bianchi has been in the last five years."


Friday, March 31st 2017, 2:33pm

Manaus, Brazil - July, 1947
Heat, humidity, and dust swirled behind the engines of the Cruzeiro do Sul DC-3 airliner as Paul watched out the little window. He'd never been in a plane before, and the flight from Potosi to Brasilia, and then an even longer flight from Brasilia to Manaus, had taxed his nerves to an extreme.

A Brazilian police inspector and an interpreter met him as he disembarked. "Do you have any bags, Senhor Eitzen?"

"Just what I'm carrying," Paul replied. "You must be Inspector Vargas."

It was awkward but necessary to carry on the conversation through the intermediary of an interpreter; just as Paul did not speak Portuguese, Inspector Vargas did not speak Castellano. "It was a very unfortunate murder," Vargas explained, once they were cocooned in the sweltering heat of an official car. "A foreign salesman murdered in... I shall show you the photographs we took, Senhor. It has shown my town in a bad light, very bad, very bad..."

At the police stations, overhead fans tried to beat off the heat while Vargas showed off his photographs. "Bianchi, he had engaged in the services of a, of a... yes, a woman of loose morality. A man, he broke into the place and tried to steal Bianchi's attache case. He noticed, and there was a fight. Very ferocious. The girls at the bordello, they say Bianchi had a gun, and the thief wrestled him for it. Bang, bang, bang, bang, the gun goes off. Bianchi was shot with his gun, and dead before we arrived. Thief ran away."

"So the murderer got the attache case?" Paul asked. Before leaving Potosi, he'd gotten a quick coaching from Paredes on investigative techniques, and had a few questions to ask.

"No," Vargas said. "The robber attracted too much attention, fighting Bianchi for the gun. The moment he got the chance, he ran away and left everything behind."

"Could it have been a targeted murder?"

"I've rejected that possibility," Vargas said. "It doesn't seem to fit the evidence brought forward by the witnesses. The robber simply tried to take Bianchi's belongings when he was busy, and then fought for his life and fled."

Vargas let Paul see the gun - a compact Italian Beretta - and the attache case. "Bianchi had his business papers inside, and his passport. Locked with a combination; we had to break into it. A fair amount of money - Peruvian sols, Chilean pesos, Brazilian reals, Bolivianos. About what I'd expect for a foreign businessman who travels around."

"In other words, something desirable to steal - and something Bianchi would want to save." Vargas nodded.

Paul spent a few minutes looking through the case. In the last pouch, he found a few photographs. "What are these?" he asked suspiciously.

Vargas shrugged. "They were in there when we searched through it. It looks like they are personal photos."

"They're not," Paul said, feeling lightheaded. He recognized some of the other people in the photographs - two in particular. The 331st Intelligence Company had posted photos of them. "This," Paul said, pointing to the first photo, "is Hernando Narra. And José Félix Sánchez. They're leaders of the Unión Guerrilla Comunista de Bolivia."


Friday, March 31st 2017, 3:38pm

Speaking OOC;

Most interesting developments. I look forward to further episodes.


Monday, April 3rd 2017, 3:02pm

Potosi, Chilean-Bolivian Special Administrative Region - July, 1947
It had taken a week of suffering in hot, humid Manaus before the Brazilians allowed Paul to make copies of Cristoforo Bianchi's dozen photographs. When he arrived back in Potosi, all the officers of the 331st immediately pounced on the find.

"Look at this photograph!" Lieutenant Pizarro of No.1 section said excitedly. "These structures here in the background, I am almost certain, are part of Beni Camp No.1..."

"So here's a question." Capitan Leiva, the company commander, sipped his coffee and looked around the table. "What is the relationship between our Italian friend Bianchi and the UGCB?"

"Friendly, apparently," Pizarro said, gesturing towards one of the photographs, where Bianchi and José Félix Sánchez grinned for the camera. "I don't think even ANI's gotten close enough to Félix Sánchez to get a photo like that. He's UGCB's chief of intelligence. He's not a stupid man - otherwise we'd have gotten to him before now."

"I have a theory," Paul spoke up, momentarily forgetting that he was the only non-officer in the room. "I thought about it a lot when I was waiting in Manaus. I think Bianchi was one of the couriers for UGCB's intelligence operations. Look at all of the places he went in South America. Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, two or three trips into Argentina and Peru. I saw his sales sheets in his case, and copied out his profit log. He balanced his books from business in Bolivia."

"I think Eitzen's right," Lieutenant Paredes chimed in.

"Which means several things," Paul continued. "He's been in Chile before, and the CBSAR. Mostly Potosi. What's he been doing here?"

"I think we all take it for granted what he's doing here," Leiva said. "We're sitting in a city filled with a hundred seventy thousand people, some of whom want to go back to Bolivian rule. We know there are cells who report back to the UGCB."

Paul nodded. "Bianchi's murder means that the UGCB will need to reestablish contact with their agents here. And if we can figure out who Bianchi met with here in Potosi, then we could subvert their network."

"Teniente Paredes," Leiva asked, "have you been teaching your group to dabble in counterespionage?"

"Of course, sir."

Pizarro rubbed his temples. "The critical factor, then, is how we figure out who Bianchi talked to in Potosi, and whether or not they're friendly to the UGCB."

"I copied Bianchi's business logs," Paul said. "All of the people he sold to, for the last five years. A couple names popped up several times. We could start there."


Thursday, April 6th 2017, 9:11pm

Potosi, Chilean-Bolivian Special Administrative Region - July, 1947
Of all Bianchi's business contacts in the Potosi region, suspicion fell most heavily on Néstor Medina Zapata and Rodolfo Mostacedo Balderas; and it fell to Paul - as someone already familiar with the specifics of the Bianchi case - to begin the footwork of the investigation. It only took Paul a few hours to determine some of the most important particulars about the two men.

Medina, it seemed, had some reason to buy tools from a travelling Italian salesman. He worked for a construction company, a small firm that sub-contracted on the road-paving jobs sponsored by the Chilean-Bolivian Special Administration. At a closer glance, however, the rationale broke down, as Medina was a only foreman and had little reason to purchase small-time prospecting equipment, as Bianchi's business records showed. What he did have was a thorough hatred of Chile, as the records from local police indicated he'd been arrested on three seperate occasions in the last five years for getting into beer-fueled brawls with Chilean soldiers. That marked him for further investigation.

Rodolfo Mostacedo also seemed at first like a legitimate business contract. He ran a small short-term boarding house in the San Bernardo neighborhood, but as a side-business, actually sold small farm and prospecting implements. He kept his politics - if he had any - private, and he had never attracted the notice of the Territoriales.

Or rather, Mostacedo had never attracted the official notice of the Territoriales. Paul and his erstwhile partner, Private Soto, spent an evening at the nearby corner and noted a half-dozen Territoriales junior officers and noncoms among the boarding house's visitors.

"That's definitely interesting," Paul observed, as he watched another small group heading inside. "I wonder what they're up to in there?"

"Isn't it obvious?" Private Soto replied.

"What do you mean?" Paul asked. "Isn't what obvious?"

Soto snickered quietly. "Cabo Primero, you should try knocking on the back door. Hand the girl who answers a ten-peso note and-"

Paul sighed, finally picking up what Soto had already intuited. "I suppose it makes sense, considering the place that Bianchi died."

Late the next evening, under the cover of darkness, Paul returned with Soto and a specialist from the Agencia Nacional de Inteligencia in order to place listening devices. Paul felt like a burglar, helping the ANI man quietly unlatch an unwatched window and then climb into a darkened room while Soto stood guard; it was simultaneously terrifying and thrilling. Five minutes later, with the listening devices in place, Paul and the specialist slipped back out the window, with no one the wiser.

The next day, still tired from the nocturnal adventure, Paul strolled to the cafeteria for lunch; he noted abrupt movement from one of the Territoriales companies stationed at the caserne. Squads were quickly being called out in full battle dress and loading hurriedly into open-sided trucks. "What's happening, Lieutenant?" Paul asked, noting Paredes nearby.

"I don't know yet," Paredes admitted. "I was wondering that myself."

A half hour later, the rumor finally went around the office of the 331st Company: the UGCB had struck again in Potosi.


Friday, April 7th 2017, 4:33pm

Friday, July 4, 1947
The period for engineering submissions for the construction of a Santiago metro has closed. The government has indicated a decision on the project will be made within three months.

Saturday, July 5, 1947
The Pressed Steel Company has begun the process of shifting their Chilean operations from a temporary facility in Santiago (Los Cerillos) to a permanent plant located at the 5 de Abril Polígono Industrial in Maipú, 4.6km away. This English manufacturer, part of the British Neuffield Group, set up operations in order to produce car-bodies to install on imported auto chassis, but the temporary factory, purchased secondhand in 1945, was too restrictive for high-volume manufacturing, a problem exacerbated last winter when the roof of one of the production bays was damaged by wind. The new three-building facility, on property purchased in 1946, is composed of a recently-renovated assembly hall and a newly-built press shop, with a total floor area of 28,000 square meters.

The Los Cerillos facility used for the last two years will be remodeled over the next four months, as Pressed Steel Company has announced plans to locally produce their Prestcold brand refrigerators for the South American market. Once renovated, the Los Cerillos factory will have nine thousand square meters of manufacturing space, and expects to initially produce thirty units per day.

Sunday, July 20, 1947
A duo of assassins attempted to murder the mayor and police chief of Potosi this afternoon. The assassins are believed to be part of the Communist Guerrilla Union of Bolivia (UGCB). One assassin, believed to be a woman, reportedly approached the mayor as he and his family were returning from mass; she fired four shots at him with a concealed revolver, hitting the mayor with two rounds before fleeing. Despite his injuries, the mayor is expected to survive and recover. The second assassin, a man in his mid twenties, broke in and attacked the police chief in his home less than ten minutes later. Although the assassin had a pistol, it was found to be inoperable; the man instead attempted to use a shortened machete. A scuffle ensued, during which both men were seriously injured. The wounded assassin attempted to flee, but collapsed nearly a block from the scene and died due to blood loss. The police chief was able to phone for medical help, but it is uncertain yet if he will succumb to his injuries.

Members of the Territoriales, assisted by the Chilean Army, are conducting a manhunt for the escaped assassin.

Wednesday, July 23, 1947
A spokesman for the Territoriales admitted that it is 'highly likely' that the female UGCB assassin implicated in the recent attack on senior members of the Potosi civil government was able to escape across the border to Bolivia, evading the strong attempts by the Territoriales to apprehend her. The suspect was named as Antonia Sanjines, age 35, who is a well-known member of the Communist Guerrilla Union of Bolivia.

One of the targets of this despicable attack, the mayor of Potosi, made a short public appearance at the local hospital, where he was being treated for gunshot wounds. He answered few questions but made a short public statement encouraging local citizens to assist the local police and the Territoriales. The Potosi police chief, who was more seriously injured by the assassin who targetted him, is not expected to survive, although doctors stated that they still have some hope that a further blood transfusion will help him.

Wednesday, August 13, 1947
The new natural-gas power plant in Concepcion was commissioned into service today. Seventy percent of the facility's energy output is expected to go to the Aluchile S.A. aluminium smelter. The plant, designed according to the most modern of specifications and methods available, is reportedly a model for cleaner energy production, which has become a major topic of concern for the Santiago valley region.

Tuesday, August 19, 1947
In a ceremony today at ENAER's Santiago assembly factory, the first F5E jet fighters were presented to the FACH. Two aircraft were present for the event, with one of the planes making a flight several times around the airfield.

Wednesday, September 3, 1947
The government announced that the contract for design and construction of the planned Santiago Metro system would be awarded to SOCHERTU (the Sociedad chilena de estudios y realizaciones de transportes urbanos), a joint Franco-Chilean urban rail design firm. SOCHERTU's proposal outlines four phases of design and construction over a thirty-year timeperiod, with initial operation of the first metro line planned for 1952, and complete operation of all stage one lines to be accomplished by 1958.

Friday, September 5, 1947
After nearly three years of construction, the first segment of the Route 5 toll highway between Santiago and La Serena is opened for traffic. The 462km-long road section is a multi-lane "restricted access" divided highway modeled on the major European autoroutes. A large and significant portion of the new highway is composed of a three lane divided highway, although some of the less frequented sections are only two lanes. Due to its modern construction, Route 5 has one of the highest posted speed limits of any public road in South America.

Tuesday, September 23, 1947
Doctors at the Potosi Chilean Military Hospital announced that the city police chief, who was badly injured two months ago during the 20 de Julio Attack, has made a sufficient recovery to be released to home care. The chief's recovery was far from certain due to the serious nature of the injuries he sustained while fighting the machete-armed assassin.


Friday, April 7th 2017, 5:40pm

Is the F5E fighter aircraft what I believe it to be? ;)


Friday, April 7th 2017, 8:55pm

Is the F5E fighter aircraft what I believe it to be? ;)

The F5E is the ENAER license-built Focke-Wulf Fw.340.


Friday, April 7th 2017, 9:01pm

Is the F5E fighter aircraft what I believe it to be? ;)

The F5E is the ENAER license-built Focke-Wulf Fw.340.

I suspected that was indeed the case. :D


Saturday, April 8th 2017, 12:12am

And your suspicions may be confirmed. :)

Not the first Chilean jets, however. I need to make a post in the next couple days about Chile's aviation upgrades for 1947 and 1948, in order to lay things out in a more organized and dedicated fashion.