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The Aztec Eagles, The Forgotten Allies of the Second World War, by Walter S. Zapotoczny, Jr.

Discussion in 'The Pacific and CBI' started by ColHessler, Jun 14, 2022.

  1. ColHessler

    ColHessler Member

    Dec 5, 2010
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    Length: 219 pages, including bibliography

    This book makes a follow up, for me, to the Aztec Eagle book from Gustavo Vasquez-Lozano that I reviewed before.

    Zapotoczny starts with the start of Mexican Army Aviation in 1910 and its campaigns in the civil conflicts of the 1910s to the 1930s. He then gets into Mexico's declaring war on the Axis and the effort to put together the squadron and get it armed and trained. The author sees fit to mention the "Zoot Suit Riots" in 1943, though I can't fathom why. Yes the Mexican pilots had racism to deal with, but the riots were done before they shipped out from California to the Philippines.

    They take a long trip over the equator, and the polliwogs go through the ritual of becoming shellbacks. In May, 1945, they arrived in Manila and get set up near Clark Field. Japanese are still around, and the Mexican ground crews make hunting parties to to care of them.

    The squadron gets P-47s from the other units in the group they're attached to and go on their ground support missions. I'm glad the author actually listed the missions in detail, as in how many planes took part and the pilots names, and their target.

    The 201st is left behind when the group they're part of moves to Okinawa thanks to attrition. They go home at the end of the war, and receive their decorations. The appendices the author has give us the agreement of joint defense between Mexico and the U.S., the specs of the Thunderbolt, the list of the planes the squadron used, a roll call of honor for the pilots killed in action and training, and an enlisted men who dies of disease, and the decorations the squadron members got from the U.S. and their Mexican expeditionary medal.

    One thing I'm not sure he needed to include, though it's good on its own, is a couple of pages on the Bracero (guest worker) program. This provided farm workers for the U.S. to harvest crops and release men for the front.

    It's still, overall, a terrific work for this subject, and I give it 3.5 stars out of five.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2022
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  2. Biak

    Biak Boy from Illinois Staff Member

    Nov 15, 2009
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    I'll have to check this one out. Some of the Thunderbolts came from my uncles 348th Group. As well as the squadron leaders.
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