You are not logged in.

Dear visitor, welcome to WesWorld. If this is your first visit here, please read the Help. It explains in detail how this page works. To use all features of this page, you should consider registering. Please use the registration form, to register here or read more information about the registration process. If you are already registered, please login here.


Monday, January 14th 2019, 12:50am

Peruvian News and Events, 1949

Diario Oficial El Peruano (Lima), 5 January 1949

The aircraft carrier Lima was handed over to representatives of the Argentine Navy today at the Callao naval base. A nucleus crew will sail her to Bahia Blanca were she is expected to be formally commissioned into Argentine service.


Monday, January 28th 2019, 12:22am

El Popular (Lima), 18 January 1949

The Ferrocarril Central del Perú has completed the work of extending its southern branch from the former terminus of Huancavalica to the city of Ayacucho, where celebrations marked the occasion. Located high in the Andes Ayacucho is now linked to the sea and the arrival of the long-planned railway is expected to significantly boost the local economy; if nothing else it will ease the hardships of the many pilgrims who visit the city during Holy Week.

The Ferrocarril Central del Perú has plans to continue construction of the railway through to the city of Aguas Calientes and connect with the Ferrocarriles del Sur but the mountainous terrain to be traversed means that completion of the link will take a considerable time, even though construction can commence from both Ayacucho and Aguas Calientes.


Friday, February 1st 2019, 1:17am

Diario Oficial El Peruano (Lima), 22 January 1949

The Ministry of Defense has confirmed reports of a decision has been made for the development of a naval operating base at Chimbote in the Ancash region. The depot ship Alpamayo, the tug Maria, and the hospital ship Misericordia are due to deploy there in the coming weeks to lay out temporary facilities at the Bahia Caleta Colorada.


Monday, February 4th 2019, 8:52pm

La Industria (Trujillo), 29 January 1949

The Servicios Industriales de la Marina at Mollendo-Matarani is due to launch the coastal transports Corongo and Parcartambo today for the Armada de Peru. These ships, and their projected sisters, are intended to support the economic development of both the northern and southern regions of the country by expanding transport opportunities to under-served coastal communities.


Wednesday, February 27th 2019, 3:10pm

Peruvian News and Events, February 1949

The Peruvian Times (Lima), 4 February 1949

The submarines SC-2 and SC-3, the scrapping of which began last month, were hauled into dry dock at the Mollendo-Matarani shipyard of the Servicios Industriales de la Marina for the final stages of their demolition. The boats of the SC-class are being discarded as part of the Armada de Peru’s general draw-down in the wake of the thawing of relations between Peru and Chile.


Saturday, March 9th 2019, 2:25am

El Popular (Lima), 10 February 1949

Empresa de Transporte Aéreo del Perú (Aeroperu) has placed an order for a further eight examples of the Empresa Nacional de Aviación C-25 Ponchito twin engine air transport to expand cargo services in the interior of the country. Its fleet already includes eight of the ten Ponchitos constructed during 1948, two of which were delivered to China to serve as pattern aircraft for local production in that country. The Empresa Nacional de Aviación has announced that it will fund the construction of two company demonstrators in the hopes of eliciting further export orders for the type.


Monday, March 18th 2019, 1:50am

The Peruvian Times (Lima), 15 February 1949

Office of Mines and Mineral Development has announced the discovery of significant deposits of phosphorus pentoxide at Bayóvar in the Sechura Desert in the Piura region in the country’s northwest. The area is presently being surveyed to determine the extent of the deposits and evaluate the possibility of their exploitation.


Wednesday, March 27th 2019, 8:31pm

Diario Oficial El Peruano (Lima), 25 February 1949

Demolition of the submarines SC-2 and SC-3 was completed today at the Mollendo-Matarani dockyard of the Servicios Industriales de la Marina. It is expected that two further boats of that class will be taken in hand for demolition later in the spring.


Wednesday, April 17th 2019, 3:43am

Peruvian News and Events, March 1949

The Peruvian Times (Lima), 2 March 1949

Two additional small transports, the Bambas and the Matagaga, were laid down yesterday at the Mollendo-Matarani shipyard of the Servicios Industriales de la Marina. These small vessels are expected to be completed before the end of this year. Two similar vessels, the Corongo and the Parcartambo, are in an advanced stage of construction at the same yard, and are expected to be completed by July. These vessels are a cornerstone of the Peruvian Navy’s focus on internal development.


Sunday, April 21st 2019, 8:32pm

Servicios Industriales de la Marina, Callao, 5 March 1949

Captain Hernán Larraín, Chilean naval attaché in Peru mused as his car passed through the gates of the Peruvian Navy’s principal naval shipyard at how things had changed in the last eighteen months. Back then the best he might have expected in an attempt to gain entry might have been a diplomatic expulsion; today he was the guest of his hosts to formally observe work on the demolition of some of the Armada de Peru’s older warships. He had to acknowledge that the Peruvians had truly worked at reversing the decades old rivalry between their two nations, setting beside them the arms race that had been so costly; yet he recognized that if the Peruvians sought peace with their neighbors they did not do so naively.

The sale by Peru of a large number of obsolete warships to China – and its sole aircraft carrier to Argentina – had funded the construction of significant numbers of quality vessels well suited for the defense of Peruvian waters – though less threatening to the territory if its neighbors – a point Larraín took to heart. The larger and more capable Peruvian vessels had been modernized and refitted with Dutch-designed dradis systems, and the newer ships had incorporated such equipment from their keel-laying.

His escort indicated that they were approaching the great graving docks which were, Larraín had been told, completely engaged in the work of demolishing no less than five vessels. When they exited the car he could see that his hosts had told no lies – the 220-meter “Muelle grande” held the remains of two of the Peruvian Navy’s P-class submarines – large chunks of their outer hulls stripped away. The “Segundo muelle” held two similar hulks, workmen swarming over them with cutting torches and baulks of steel being carried away by overhead cranes. The 120-meter “Pequeño muelle” had what had been the sloop Rio Ucayali lying on her keel-blocks – a sorry end for a fine ship. The sloop had been damaged beyond economic repair in a collision some months before.

Elsewhere in the yard work was progressing on much new construction – he could see two destroyers and two smaller ships taking shape on the stocks, while two destroyers were in the water fitting out. What intelligence reports identified as corvettes were tied up dockside – suggesting that they would soon complete their construction.

He made mental notes of all he saw, and would formalize his finding when he returned to the embassy to write his report. There was little doubt in his mind that his hosts allowed him to see only what they wanted him to see, but the opportunity to observe such developments at first hand was not to be foresworn.


Wednesday, April 24th 2019, 12:37am

Pucallpa, Ucayali, 11 March 1949

Capitán Manuel Gordon Magne stepped from the air transport to the steel matting of the recently extended runway of Pucallpa’s incipient airport. A car bearing the insignia of the Peruvian Navy pulled up and from it stepped a young ensign.

“Luis Zuta at your service sir! Welcome to Pucallpa. Your fame precedes you.”

The effusiveness of the welcome took Gordon Magne somewhat aback, yet he returned the crisp salute of the ensign with equal vigor.

“Thank you ensign. I take it you are here to escort me to the Pucalipa?”

“Yes sir. She is nearing completion and I am certain that you will find her satisfactory.” Zuta directed the ground crew to stow Gordon Magne’s gear in the trunk of the somewhat elderly sedan and invited his passenger to take a seat.

Gordon Magne paid close attention to the work being done to improve the road from the airport into town – and wished that more progress had been made. For his part Zuta kept his eyes on the road before him while at the same time explaining the basic facts-of-life in this part of the region; to these Gordon Magne paid small mind – he was mentally reviewing his orders.

He was in Pucallpa to take charge of the Mobile Social Action Platform Pucalipa – a river-based floating hospital, school, and workshop – that would, it promised, aid the development of this remote region. Though an Army officer, he had been selected to take charge of the Pucalipa based on his previous record of accomplishments in Jenaro Herrera. Zuta would be in charge of the ‘ship’ itself.

Eventually they arrived at the riverside where the Pucalipa was taking shape – a relatively small barge with structures surmounting most of her deck. Workmen still swarmed over her, the clanging of tools announcing that work was not yet complete. From the river bank Gordon Magne looked down and slowly shook his head. He was having second thoughts regarding the wisdom of the Ministry of Defense.


Thursday, May 2nd 2019, 1:19am

Iquitos, 17 March 1949

Felix Wankel and his team, Germans and Peruvians alike, had worked long and hard on constructing a modular floating dry dock here in the upper Amazon, and they had months more of work before it would be completed. Sufficient depth of water had been found, pilings set for piers to permit movement of men and materials to and from the incipient dock, installation of generators, pumps, and compressors to operate the dock, and only then could they begin to erect the modular sections of the dock itself, pontoon by pontoon. They now awaited the next freighter to arrive, for it bore the next set of pontoons with their ‘jewelry’ that would tie them together.

They were less than one quarter of the way towards completion but already the project was the talk throughout the Tres Fronteras and visitors to Iquitos thronged the riverside to watch the dry dock take form. To himself Wankel wondered if any of these ‘tourists’ were in fact informants for the Iberian, Colombian, or Brazilian military; completion of the dry dock would change many things in the region.


Monday, May 6th 2019, 8:25pm

Diario Oficial El Peruano (Lima), 27 March 1949

The destroyer tender Carrasco was launched today in the Servicios Industriales de la Marina at Callao. The Carrasco is expected to be completed in the latter part of September.


Saturday, May 11th 2019, 12:23am

Pucallpa, Ucayali, 28 March 1949

To his unexpected though pleasant surprise Gordon Magne found that his naval counterpart, Ensign Luis Octavio Zuta Rengifo, had kept his promise. The Pucalipa, the ‘ship’ he and Zuta were to operate on the Ucayali, was indeed nearly finished. Moreover, Lima had shipped out a nearly full complement of crew and specialists – the last were due on today’s airplane from Cuzco. They were a varied lot – most of the engine and deck crew were naval ratings from across the country, with a few locally-engaged men with knowledge of the Ucayali and its network of tributaries. The carpenters and mechanics were Army personnel from his own Unidad Militar de Asentamiento Rural; the medical and educational staff were civilians. Thus far, at least, there had been no trouble among them.


Tuesday, May 28th 2019, 5:47pm

Diario Oficial El Peruano (Lima), 31 March 1949

The river monitor Chachapoyas was commissioned today at Iquitos, where she will be based. The Chachapoyas is the first of four such vessels intended to be the linchpin of security in the upper Amazon.


Thursday, June 13th 2019, 2:04am

Peruvian News and Events, April 1949

BAP Pucalipa, The Ucayali River, 9 April 1949

A week earlier the Pucalipa had departed Pucallpa on her maiden ‘voyage’. Gordon Magne concurred with Ensign Zuta’s recommendation that the ship should venture downstream rather than fight the current of the Ucayali from the outset; no one knew exactly how the ‘social action platform’ would perform. The middle reaches of the river were challenging enough – though broad the Ucayali twisted and turned through thick reaches of jungle, and was littered with small islands and sandbars that were dangers to navigation. Two days’ careful voyaging had brought them to the outlet of a tributary to the Ucayali – one not named on any map, where they had found gathered on the riverbank a small group of natives. Gordon Magne had ordered the Pucalipa to anchor and as he put it to the naval crew, ‘set up shop’.

Starting as a trickle but growing to a steady stream natives came to the Pucalipa seeking medical treatment for all manner of ailments and injuries. The ship’s chief medical officer quickly lost track of the number of rotten and broken teeth he had extracted without the benefit of anesthesia. Thankfully some of the locally-enlisted crew spoke the lingua franca of the region, and the purpose of the Pucalipa was communicated – perhaps imperfectly – to those who came aboard her. Under the guidance of the ship’s team of carpenters a native gang was put to work fashioning a somewhat permanent landing stage to which the Pucalipa might return in the future. As there was no village or other settlement, they named the place Aterrizaje de Pucalipa, and entered it on the rather blank map kept by the ship’s navigator.


Wednesday, June 19th 2019, 5:44pm

Iquitos, Loreto, 11 April 1949

Joaquim Nabuco had only recently arrived in Iquitos from Manaus to serve as his country’s consul-general in the Tres Fronteras region, yet his first reports reflected the contrast between what he saw as the industry of the Peruvians and the lethargy of his own countrymen, to say nothing of the torpor of the Colombian authorities. The work of the semi-military Unidades Militar de Asentamiento Rural had seen villages planted, clinics constructed, health and education standards raised substantially, and roads pushed through the jungle to open communications. Commerce had increased substantially, with cargo vessels arriving from down-river weekly – and from Europe or America on a monthly basis; Iquitos had become the principal distribution point for merchants throughout the Tres Fronteras. Aeroperu, the Peruvian national airline, operated a daily flight to Lima, cutting the travel time to the capital from weeks to hours.

Yet he did find developments that troubled him. The Peruvian naval infantry with their swift river launches could – should matters get out of hand – quickly create trouble for the authorities over the border. The recently commissioned river monitor Chachapoyas was a symbol of Peruvian determination to keep Iquitos as a bastion should conflict arise. Under the direction of German technicians the Peruvians were constructing a floating dry dock whose completion would significantly increase their defense capabilities. The public pronouncements of the Peruvian government were pacific, and most of its actions confirmed its words; but the simmering unease of the region was never far from the surface.


Saturday, June 22nd 2019, 9:36pm

The Chilean Embassy, Lima, 13 April 1949

Captain Hernán Larraín wrote his report with a sense of satisfaction mingled with regret. The prior Monday he had again been invited to the Callao dockyards to witness the final demolition of a number of submarines being scrapped by the Peruvian Navy. He felt satisfaction for the removal of potential threats to his nation and to its seaborne traffic, and for the good faith of the Peruvian authorities in seeking peaceful coexistence. The regret stemmed from the natural sadness of a naval officer in seeing fine boats torn to pieces for their scrap value under the breakers’ torches.

While he had not yet been able to personally witness it, he had been reliably informed that the Peruvians had undertaken the demolition of two more of their submarines, boats of the smaller SC type, in the dockyards at Mollendo-Matarani. He had little cause to doubt the information he had received from the Peruvian Ministry of Defense, and in any event, he would have the opportunity to visit the facility to confirm it in but a few weeks.


Thursday, June 27th 2019, 5:29am

BAP Pucalipa, The Ucayali River, 17 April 1949

According to the map provided to them the settlement of San Francisco sat on high ground above the river; from the deck of the Pucalipa San Francisco was hidden by the verdant jungle, but a landing spot could be seen at the edge of the river, and Ensign Zuta conned the ship towards shore and anchored. While the crew made her fast against the current Gordon Magne noted the track that ran from the riverside back into the jungle.

“We do seem to be in the right place; please get her ready to receive visitors.”

The cooks in the galley prepared simple meals, for they knew not what condition people of San Francisco were in; in the dispensary the medical staff prepared for all possible contingencies – after their last stay at Aterrizaje de Pucalipa they knew that they would be busy. Lights were rigged out against the coming darkness. The first visitor arrived much sooner than expected; the grinding of gears and the thump of tires striking ruts announced the approach of a battered jeep that pulled up and deposited its passenger. Gordon Magne and Zuta came ashore to meet the envoy from the settlement.

“Good afternoon gentlemen! I am Jaime Salomon Vasquez Falcon, proprietor of the plantation of San Francisco, and I welcome you. What brings you here?”

There was something in Falcon’s manner that struck Gordon Magne as out of place. He was at once too inquisitive and too defensive, and as Zuta explained the Pucalipa’s mission of outreach, survey, and assistance, Falcon seemed to put up a show of indifference.

“I am certain that the big men in Lima know the needs of the people of the river better than I, but here in San Francisco we have no needs that cannot be met by the staff of my plantation.”

“You have your own school?”

“The people of the river have no need for schools. Nor doctors – they do not believe in them. We are self-sufficient.”

Based on experience both Gordon Magne and Zuta regarded this as an unwarranted assertion, punctuated by Falcon’s abrupt departure. As they watched him urge the jeep up the trail to the ridge above, Zuta ventured, “Captain, I do not believe he likes us.”

“No Ensign, he doesn’t. And I do not entirely trust what he has told us. We will stay until morning and see what develops.”

When the returned aboard the ship Gordon Magne called for Garcia, who functioned as his team sergeant and the ship’s master at arms. “Post sentries. I think we may have unexpected visitors.”

“Unfriendly visitors sir?”

“That remains to be seen. I want us to be prepared for any eventuality.”


Saturday, June 29th 2019, 7:38pm

BAP Pucalipa, The Ucayali River, 18 April 1949

It had taken several hours for the ether to clear sufficiently for Gordon Magne to get through to the authorities in Pucallpa on the radio, and even longer to get an answer back from them on the question of the putative plantation at San Francisco. That answer was not very helpful - according to their records there had been a mission at San Francisco, established some fifteen years ago, but these had not been updated for ten years or more; they would have to refer the matter to Lima for clarification. As to the identity of Jaime Falcon there were no answers; he seemed to have appeared out of nowhere, but certainly he had no legally registered title to any property in the region. This was the situation Gordon Magne feared – squatters illegally establishing private kingdoms in the reaches of the interior.


In the darkness the Pucalipa seemed cocooned in light – visible through the jungle that covered the ridge above the river. Victor Polay had crawled away from the compound where he had been kept in the direction of the river, the light, the place of safety he hoped it might be. For months he since being taken from his village he had fought the forest under the lash of Falcon’s straw bosses; now, there was a chance. In the distance he could hear a commotion – his escape had been discovered; he had no choice – he rose to his feet and ran down the track which led to the river, running toward the light.


Nestor Cartolini was standing watch on the Pucalipa’s port side, and cradled a carbine in his arm; it was the heaviest weapon aboard the ship, which was never intended for combat. But watches had been set as if trouble was expected, so he remained alert. Then he heard the sound of something crashing into the river with an audible splash and then nothing. A caiman perhaps, entering the river to hunt. Cartolini reminded himself that at least on deck he was safe enough from such. Then he heard what sounded as if someone was swimming in the water, coming closer to the ship; and like any good sentry, he raised the alarm. His presence of mind was rewarded with the arrival, in short order, of several other members of the watch and then an unknown man who tried to clamber up to the Pucalipa’s deck before collapsing.