The Paulista War - Volume 1: The Last Civil War in Brazil, 1932

Published on
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Javier Garcia de Gabiola; Illustrators: Luca Canossa; Anderson Subtil; Tom Cooper
978-1- 912866380
Other Publication Information
Soft Bound; 8.375” x 11.75”, 80 pages
Product / Stock #
Latin America @ War #18
Company: Helion & Company - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Casemate UK - Website: Visit Site
Product Picture

Javier Garcia de Gabiola, is from Spain and works as a lawyer. He has published numerous articles and books related to legal issues. Always interested in military history, he also regularly contributes to various Spanish military history magazines, for which he has written more than 50 articles and has published multiple pieces with the Universidad Autónoma de México. This is his first instalment for Helion’s @War series.

Helion is a UK based company that produces books on many aspects of Military History from the Late Medieval period through to the present day. Helion was established in 1996, and since then they have published almost 1,200 books, with 100 or more new titles coming out every year, for readers around the world.

Helion’s latest book in the Latin America @ War series is a square back soft cover includes 80 gloss paper pages. The front cover features a color Paulista recruiting poster, along the lines of “Uncle Sam Wants You!” with the Paulista flag rippling in the background. The color profile by Luca Canossa is one of the 19 Waco 240 fighter-bombers utilized by the Federals (This profile can also be found on page 40 i with a nice description). The rear cover artwork by Anderson Subtil features the outfit typically worn by a 20th Federal Battalion de Cacadores (Hunter Battalion) soldier (This illustration can also be found on page 40 vii with a nice description). I counted 102 black and white photographs, there are no color photos. There are also 18 aviation color side profiles by Luca Canossa and three color illustrations of figures Anderson Subtil. There are eight black and white maps, two full color maps by Tom Cooper, and 17 tables.

Javier Garcia de Gabiola starts up with the political history that led into the Paulista War (aka the Constitutionalist Revolution), the largest war ever fought in Brazil. The Paulista War of 1932 was the last in a long series of civil wars and military coups in Brazil going back to Brazil’s independence from Portugal in 1824. This first of two Volumes covers the Paraiba Valley that leads to Rio de Janerio. The second Volume will cover the battles in Mato Grosso do Sul following the Parana and Paraguay rivers.

Javier Garcia de Gabiola continues with a great description of the troops and weapons available to both sides. Both the Federal’s and the Paulistas’ armies used the same arsenals and thus there was a great similarity in weapons. Heavier weapons, howitzers and tanks, were basically World War I leftovers, although the Paulistas did improvise. Page 14 depicts an armored tractor that ran on steel wheels instead of tank treads. This war was a baptism of sorts for aviation in the Americas as it saw the first aerial combat with the downing of an aircraft. Strategic bombing and night-bombing was also initiated for the first time in the Americas. Aircraft involved from both sides were not terribly effective though, primary serving as a psychological weapon, causing panic in the ground troops and death to assorted fish in the rivers that sustained the majority of the bombing.

The final fifty pages is devoted to a nearly daily recount of the political and combat activities in the Paraiba Valley theatre of operations. The Paulistas took the initiative and flew the first aerial mission on 10 July 1932, surprising the Federals who were not quite prepared to intercept these rebel intruders. Two days later the first aerial combat occurred between a Potez and a Waco. The Waco managed to escape after the Potez suffered a machine gun jam after a few bursts. The sections include:

  • Abbreviations
  1. From Republic To War
    Vargas’ Revolution of 1930
    Preparations for the Constitutionalist Revolution
  2. The Brazilian Armed Forces
    Federal Infantry and Artillery
    Table 1: Brazilian Federal Army, Order of Battle, 1932
    Cavalry and Independent Units
    Number of Troops Involved
    The Força Publica
    All Brazil with Bargas
    The Paulista Forces
    Weapons and Equipment [Page 13, 14]
  3. Brazilian Aviation
    The Birth, Death, and Rebirth of the Brazilian Air Service
    Combat Squadron: The Potez 25 TOE
    Table 2: Brazilian Federal Army Aviation, 1932
    Training Squadron and Mail planes: The Wacos
    The Military School: NiD.72 Fighters and Amiot Bombers
    Army and Navy Moths and Avros
    SM.55 and Martin PM 1-B Naval Bombers
    Table 3: Brazilian Naval Aviation in 1932
    Navy Corsair Fighters and Paulista Falcons [Page 21]
    Colours and Markings
  4. The Paulista Uprising
    Aeroplanes and Troops for Sao Paulo (9/10 July)
    10-16 July, 1932: An Offensive that is not an Offensive
    9-10 July 1932: Gois Monteiro Saving the Government in Rio
    The Government’s Reaction in the Rest of Brazil
    What about the Paulistas’ Allies?
    10-12 July 1932: The Birth of the Federal Mixed Aviation Group
    13-14 July: The First Air Combat in America
  5. The Paraiba Valley Front
    Deployment in the Valley
    Table 4: Ground Forces Deployed in the Paraiba Valley as of 20 July 1932
    13-15 July 1932: Areias and Sao Jose Do Barreiro
    14-15 July 1932: Federal Aviation in the Valley
    15-28 July 1932: Emergency of the Paulista Air Force
    Table 5: Combat Aircraft in the Paraiba Valley as of 10 July1932
    17-22 July 1932: Air Strikes on Sao Jose Do Barreiro
    20-29 July 1932: Offensive on Barreiro
    27 July – 3 August: Battle of Salto
    3-5 August: Detachment Teofilo Replaces the Dissolved Agnelo
    6-8 August 1932: Fall of Bianor and Areias
    10 August 1932: Fall of Queluz
    10-15 August 1932: The Return of the Paulista Aviation
    10-15 August 1932: The Vila Quieimada Lines
    Table 6: Paulista Detachments in the Paraiba Valley as of 15 August 1932
    15-24 August: Federals Establishing Aerial Dominance
    Table 7: Federal Combat Aircraft in the Paraiba Valley, 28-30 August 1932
    24 August – 2 September: Breaking the Vila Queimada Line
    Covering the North Flank: The Sierra de Mantiquuly 1932: Paulista Resistance in the Tunnel
    4-19 August: Resistance in Batedor
    Overall Situation in September 1932
    Table 9: Detachments in the Paraiba Valley, September 1932
    4-16 September 1932: Reinforcements for the Federalists
    Table 10: Combat Aircraft in the Paraiba Valley, September 1932
    9-12 September: Federal Offensive in Silveiras-Pinheiros
    13-16 September: Great Withdrawal to Guaratingueta
    17 September: Fall of Lorena
    18 September: Showdown in Guara
    Table 11: Detachments on the Guaratingueta Front
    21-30 September: Federal Aerial Superiority
    Table 12: Federal Combat Aircraft on the Paraiba Front, Late September 1932
    24-29 September: The Guara Pocket
    Color Profiles [Page 40ii]
  6. The Coastal Front
    10-15 July 1932: Blockade and Bombardment of Santos
    Table 13: Paulista Forces on the Coastal Sector, 17 July 1932
    Table 14: Federal Forces Blocking Santos, 10-12 July 1932
    15-17 July 1932: The Federal Landing
    19-21 July: The First Federal Assault on Cunha [Page 59]
    24 July – 12 August: Strategic Bombing and the Littoral Air Forces
    Table 15: Forces Involved in the Second Battle of Cunha, 10-26 August 1932
    10-26 August: The Paulista Victory at Cunha
    Table 16: Aviation in the Coastal Sector, August – September 1932
    16-24 September: The First Naval Anti-Aircraft Artillery Downing in the Western Hemisphere
    Table 17: Paulista Anti-Ship Task Force, 24 September 1932
    16-29 September: The Paulista Collapsa on the Coast
  • Bibliography
  • Notes
  • Acknowledgements

I really liked the nearly daily accounting of operations as it really gives you a great understanding of what was happening. A great example is of the first ‘strategic bombing’ to occur in the Americas, the target being Cubatao Light power plant near Santos. Two Savoia-Marchetti SM-55 seaplanes, accompanied by a Martin PM, took off from Ilhabela to rendezvous with two Vought Corsairs for escort. One of the SM-55s developed engine problems and both aircraft turned back. The Martin PM, unaware of the SM-55 issues, continued on towards the target when they finally realized that there were no aircraft with them. The Martin PM decided to return to its base, not seeing the two Corsairs 600’ above them at the rendezvous. The next day, all five aircraft tried again, only to encounter cloud cover forcing them to turn back. All five would make a third attempt where a Savoia-Marchetti SM-55 did drop a single 68kg bomb, but due to limited visibility, it missed the target.

Once the war starts, Javier Garcia de Gabiola puts the reader into the daily operational accounts from both sides in the air and on the ground. You get 17 tables to provide a lot of the statistical data. I really appreciated the commentary describing the different parties involved. The contemporary photographs support the text, and they certainly give you a good perspective of the events described. Based on this Volume 1 of the war, I can’t wait for Volume 2 providing the second theatre of battle. If you own one the previous releases in the Latin America @ War series, you know what you are getting. If this is your initial entry into this series, you will be quite pleased.

My thanks to Helion & Company, Casemate Publishing, and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!


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