Battle of Boquerón
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|Battle of Boquerón|
|Part of the Chaco War|
|Republic of Bolivia||Republic of Paraguay|
|Commanders and leaders|
|José F. Estigarribia
|448 besieged and 3,500 attempting relief||7,500|
|Casualties and losses|
|2,200 killed, wounded, sick or captured||500 dead
The Battle of Boquerón was a battle fought from September 7 to 29 in 1932 between the Bolivian and Paraguayan armies in and around the stronghold of Boquerón. It was the first major battle of the Chaco War. The outpost (fortín) of Boquerón, among others, had been occupied by Bolivian troops since late July 1932 following instructions of president Daniel Salamanca leading to the escalation of the border conflict into a full-scale war.
The attack of Boquerón was the first move of the first Paraguayan offensive that was aimed to pound the Bolivian Army and capture territory before Bolivia had fully mobilized its army and resources. Paraguayan lieutenant colonel José Félix Estigarribia led the attack. The first Paraguayan assault on Boquerón was repulsed. Both sides suffered from the lack of potable water, the Paraguayans had to get it from Isla Poí (30 miles to the east) and Bolivians in the compound got their wells contaminated by dead bodies. Bolivian aviation tried with little success to drop ammunition, food and medicine. The Bolivian soldiers were able to get 916 cartridges, a sack of bread and 110 pounds of dried meat from the air drops. On September 12 a 3,500 men-strong Bolivian relief column coming from the southwest was fought back near the outpost of Yucra. As the siege progressed there was a shortage of water supply from Isla Poí due to over extraction from the wells. In the face of these problems Estigarribia ordered an all-or-nothing attack on the outpost on September 26. Three days later on September 29 the last 240 Bolivian defenders surrendered.
- Kallsen, Osvaldo (1983). Historia del Paraguay contemporáneo, 1869-1983. Imprenta Modelo, p. 153 (Spanish)
- Bejarano, Ramón César (1967). Boquerón, la batalla decisiva. Editorial Toledo, p. 34 (Spanish)
- Latin America's Wars: The age of the professional soldier, 1900-2001. Robert L. Scheina. Pages 93-95